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2010 Honda NT700V | Review

February 26, 2010 by  
Filed under Motorcycle Reviews

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Subtlety has never been a strong selling point in the USA, but when it’s teamed with quality, versatility and a pinch of personality in an excellent, practical motorcycle like Honda’s NT700V, even thrill junkies ought to take a look.

The bike has been sold in Europe for years, and its 52-degree V-twin engine has been around in one form or another since 1988, but it’s now available in its latest, fuel-injected guise in the US. That means the latest, 680cc version of this single-overhead cam engine, capable of 65 horsepower at 8,000 rpm and 49 pound-feet of torque at 6,500 rpm, hooked to a slick-shifting five-speed transmission and shaft final drive.

The NT700V is equipped with integral hard bags as part of its rear bodywork, featuring a pass-through tunnel between the bags for longer items. A rolled-up camping mat, for example. The half fairing has a manually adjustable windscreen and two storage boxes.

2010 Honda NT700V Launch Review

2010 Honda NT700V Launch Review

Available with or without ABS and Honda’s linked braking system, the NT700V sells for $9,999 and $10,999 respectively, and there is a selection of genuine Honda accessories, including a top box, a rear backrest, a front wind deflector, and heated grips. The bike comes in two colors—metallic silver and metallic red—with the ABS-equipped machine available only in silver.

Editors’ Note

Standing with our new format – we will write the review with three separate perspectives: 1) a Beginning Riders , 2) an Intermediate Rider , 3) and an Expert Rider . We hope you find this format helpful…. The Honda NT700V Review for Beginning Riders – Click Here. Honda NT700V Review for Intermediate Riders- Click Here. NT700V Review for Expert Riders- Click Here.

2010 Honda NT700V Review

2010 Honda NT700V Review

Beginning Riders

At 562 pounds (or 569 with ABS), the NT700V—also called the Deauville in Europe—may be a bit heavy for not-so-tall beginners, and its performance may be more than new riders really need. But the light clutch, slick shifter and predictable throttle response make the bike very easy to ride, as does its sense of lightness and balance when on the move.

The extra margin of safety offered by the optional ABS and linked brakes will lend confidence to new riders, particularly in situations where the surface is wet or covered in gravel. Nobody will find any surprises with engine performance—it is utterly unintimidating in the way it builds power, and the excellent integration of control feel and response is reassuring to riders of every level.

2010 Honda NT700V Review

2010 Honda NT700V Review

Despite its relatively modest output, the NT700V is not a slow bike, and using all of its potential could put inexperienced riders in situations beyond their capabilities. But the V-twin is so flexible at medium engine speeds, and is so well-mannered and undemanding, that it takes a deliberate attempt to go fast.

According to EPA tests, the Honda returns 50 mpg when ridden sensibly. But the best thing about this bike is that its build quality and finish is so good and its range of operation is so wide that beginners won’t need a new bike as their skills increase. They can simply use more of the Honda’s available potential. In the meantime, they’ll be hooked on the convenience of luggage, weather protection, and low maintenance costs.

2010 Honda NT700V Review

2010 Honda NT700V Review

Intermediate Rider

This machine is just about perfect for this set of riders, offering adequate performance, good handling, moderate weight, and plenty of convenience. The upright riding position does not tax a rider’s wrists or back on a long trip, and the provision of luggage and storage boxes does away with the need for backpacks or bags.

The slick controls and automotive-style dashboard offers all the information anyone could need, with large fuel and temperature gauges, a clock, and highly visible speed and tachometer dials. A 32-inch seat height should suit all but the shortest riders, but the bike’s relatively low center-of-gravity will not pose much of a handling issue for even short riders.

2010 Honda NT700V Review

2010 Honda NT700V Review

With steering that uses moderate rake and trail geometries and a chassis that is accurate and stable, the Honda quickly builds confidence in its rider. While the tire sizes are also modest at 120/70-ZR17 at the front and 150/70-ZR17 at the rear, overall grip feels good, and there is a generous amount of lean angle available before anything starts dragging. That despite the bike’s standard-issue centerstand. There’s some slight harshness in the 41mm non-adjustable fork on concrete highways, but the firm setup is otherwise welcome for the sense of control it imparts.

The five-position windscreen adjusts manually (you can bump it down on the move, but usually have to stop to extend its height), and there’s a good range of movement. It goes down further than most tourers allow, making the NT700V feel something like a sportbike with the screen at its lowest height. Again, the best thing about the NT for intermediate riders is its available repertoire. It operates as well in its easygoing sweet-spot as it does at full lick on a mountain road.

2010 Honda NT700V Review

2010 Honda NT700V Review

Expert Rider

Very experienced riders might find the 65-horsepower output a little humble, even though it is undoubtedly entirely adequate for the vast majority of their riding situations. The NT has plenty of passing power, a brisk supply of acceleration, and it is very flexible on the open road, seldom calling for a downshift.

2010 Honda NT700V Review

2010 Honda NT700V Review

Its sensible calibrations may have precluded dizzying engine speeds and a big rush to the tachometer redline, but the resultant flexibility makes the NT a pleasure to ride in all circumstances. The “little” V-twin has a pleasing feel to it, with a light patter at low speeds and a subtle pulse at anything but very high revs, where vibration becomes much more noticeable.

Because the integrated bags are narrow, the NT will split lanes (where allowed) about as well as a naked bike will. And while the rear moldings that comprise the bike’s tail end—including the bags—lend the rear aspect a somewhat scooterish look, it should not be a problem for any but the most style-conscious riders.

2010 Honda NT700V Review

2010 Honda NT700V Review

We grew to like the feel of the linked brake system (which applies one piston on one front disc when the rear-brake pedal is depressed), appreciating the freedom this provides the right hand in congested traffic situations. Some expert riders will prefer to control each end independently, and may opt for the model without this facility, even if it means losing the ABS at the same time. Some of the taller riders felt that the relationship between the seat and the footpegs was a bit constricted. I didn’t think it much of a problem. At 6-foot-5, perhaps I’m accustomed to small spaces.

Despite its relatively compact size—wheelbase is just 58.1 inches—the NT700V has enough style, performance, space and luggage to transport two people in much the same way as bigger and heavier tourers. As a bonus, its compact dimensions and much lower weight make it a great commuter as well as a pretty good weekend leisure ride.

At ten grand, it isn’t the cheapest motorcycle around, but if you factor in its all-encompassing convenience, the NT700V can be seen as a real bargain.

2010 Honda NT700V Review

2010 Honda NT700V Review

Line Break

Author: SmartCycleShopper (642 Articles)

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SmartCycleShopper.com is founded on the idea that an educated consumer can make an objective purchase decision, and our goal is to provide all of the relevant motorcycle specs and performance information along with interactive tools that will help in the shopping process.

Comments

15 Responses to “2010 Honda NT700V | Review”
  1. avatar Alan LaRue says:

    Enjoyed the article, especially since I’m very interested in this bike. Seems to be perfect for my 72-mile round-trip commute, and I might even be able to persuade my wife to take a weekend trip on it.

    One correction: You suggest that in order to forgo the linked braking, experienced riders may opt for the non-ABS model. However, according to the Honda literature, the combined braking is standard on both the ABS and non-ABS models: “Combined Braking System (CBS) with a triple-disc brake system plus the option of ABS for confident braking in varying conditions.”

    Thought you’d want to be made aware of that.

  2. avatar admin says:

    Hey Alan –

    Great Catch!

    We stand corrected – Alan is right, on the Honda NT700V the combined braking system is standard on both models.

    (Man! – we can’t sneak anything past your guys!)

    Thanks
    Alan

  3. avatar gene says:

    Thanks for the bike review. Stylewise, the nt700v seems to be missing a lower fairing or chin.

  4. avatar Dawn says:

    I bought the NT700 about a month ago, and am still adjusting to it. I’d call myself an intermediate rider…I ride about 10K miles/year and I’ve been riding for 8 years now. In fact, put about 200 miles on the bike today.

    As a short (28″inseam) woman, the seat height IS an issue. The bike is heavier than any other I’ve owned, so not being able to touch both feet down can be tiring on long rides. I actually undid the seat cover and pulled out about an inch of the foam (waiting for my Corbin seat, which will lower the height and they are going to narrow the nose a bit also, for a better touch also…). It’s made the bike a lot easier to handle on stops, especially on inclines.

    The clutch is also a challenge. It is almost fully out before you hit the friction zone. I’ve learned to rev the bike to get started after a full stop, especially if I have to make a turn. The bike likes to be around 3-4000 revs before moving smoothly.

    Gas mileage is very good. Even as a new bike (not quite 400 miles on it yet), I’m getting 54 mpg. As soon as I get the top box installed it will take its place as my get-to-work bike as well as the weekend ride (currently, my old SV650 is the go to work bike…also with a Corbin seat to lower seat height!) I also ordered the heated grips but won’t need to report on those till next winter.

    Haven’t really used the saddle bags yet. The locked and unlocked storage units are nice. The gas cap is easy to use, on top of the tank. The windscreen is easy to raise and lower. Putting the bike onto its integrated centerstand is a SNAP! For someone who has always struggled with bikes with aftermarket centerstands, the balance and ease of the Honda centerstand is a dream come true.

    So, in general, I love my NT700 (red,non ABS).

  5. avatar admin says:

    Thanks Dawn –

    Great to hear that you love your NT700!

    We agree – We feel that this bike will be one of the top selling motorcycles this year!

  6. avatar Kris says:

    I test drove one as a possible update to my 21-year old Pacific Coast (75K miles). The NT700V that I drove seemed to vibrate quite a bit, so much so that the mirrors were shaking and unusable to view when moving around, and the handle bars left a ringing sensation in my hands after the ride. Is this vibration normal, or did I test drive one that wasn’t properly assembled? I used to restore CB350s and CB450s and once had one that excessively vibrated the handle bars – so I know that there can be an occasional bad apple (or motor mount).

    I too found the clutch a little quick to engage, having used a hydraulic one on the PC800 for 20 years. The windscreen (fully raised) tended to bend backwards slightly at the 75-mph speed limit on I-10, reminding me of a Rifle aftermarket windscreen. The fairing kept most of the wind off, chilling my legs when held over one-inch away from the panels. In order to warm them up, I had to hug my legs against the fairing – this is opposite of how the PC800 fairing works with body temperature regulation. Hugging the panels also tended to increase the amount of vibration that I picked up from the bike. The wind and engine noise was higher than I’m used to. There are speaker grills in the fairing, but a stereo option, if made available, might not be able to compete over the ambient noises at highway speed.

    The bike itself tended to have a higher center of gravity than the PC800 and did not give the “mini-goldwing” ride and feel. At 6’3″, I could look over at truck drivers at nearly eye-to-eye level. The saddle bags made a good impression, being able to hold four one-gallon milk jugs plus having room for a few more plastic grocery bags. This is more capacity than the spacious ones of the PC800. The “cop factor” was also present on the NT700V, with some drivers slowing down when I pulled up behind them on the silver bike, just like they do for my white PC800.

    The vibrations changed my mind about buying one. Let me know if the one I drove was a fluke.

  7. avatar Joachim Calvert says:

    @Kris: I would definitely say that the vibrations you felt were a fluke. This is my first bike so I don’t have much to compare to, but other than the normal subdued hum of the V-twin there is only a tendency for vibration above 5500 revs, about 75-80 mph or so. The heated grips combined with a relaxed grip makes it quite bearable even on the longest rides. A good reminder not to speed basically.

    The mirrors are perfectly positioned with a commanding view of what’s behind the bike, but the long arms do mean that there is a slight resonance vibration at certain revs. Nothing too bad, usually the car behind will just grow a third headlight.

    All in all, I don’t think I could possibly have bought a better machine as my first bike. This summer I’m taking it on my vacation from Sweden down to the Pyrenees in SW France, a nice little trip of about 5000 kilometres. I have absolute confidence that my Deauville (as they’re called on this side of the pond) will take me there and back again in great comfort with some moderately spirited riding around the French countryside.

  8. avatar Bill Hudson says:

    I purchased my NT a few weeks ago. I traded a 2007 VT1100C in on it. I have had my eye on some sort of Sport/Touring machine for a while. When Honda made this model available here I had to check it out.
    I consider myself an intermediate rider, commute a lot and ride a bunch on weekends. I have to say I am really enjoying my decision on getting this bike. It may not be the most exciting bike for some, but everything it does, it does well and without any fuss.
    I would recommend that anyone looking for this class of machine and doesn’t want to spend 15k or more give it a serious look. I feel you won’t be disappointed.

  9. avatar Harry says:

    I looked at this bike today becuase I like riding the short distance to work and I love 200 mile weekends. Good fuel economy, ergonomics and element protection a er my needs as well as a fair amount of storage. It would seem this bike does it all. Throw in the ABS and it’s a winner.
    I had an Aprilia Scarabeo 500 that sat at abou the same height. I’m 5’9″ with a 32″ inseam and this bike wan’t too high at all. No heels on the ground but nearly.
    My current bike (Suzuki C90 cruiser) is so not “me” and I can’t stand it. I think this bike would be perfect.

  10. avatar Ed says:

    I just bought this bike. It has a lot of bells and whistles and is by no means a light-weight bike. It is rather top-heavy, especially with a full tank of gas. So, if you happen to drop this bike, you are not going to be able to pick it up by yourself unless you are a weightlifter!

    I’m 5′ 8” with a 30 inch inseam, and I can’t put both feet down flat. So, seat height is an issue. Beginning riders who cannot put both feet down flat in the showroom on an NT700V might be better of with another bike. I would be interested in hearing from the owner who put a Corbin saddle on her bike. That would shave something like .7 inches from the seat height.

  11. avatar FRASLIN says:

    I Have a deauville 700 NTV ( Manufactured in 2008) I would like to buy two big saddlebags black.
    How much is it?
    Where can i find it?
    Thank a lot.
    Thierry

  12. avatar Dale Ordes says:

    I just bought a Honda NT700V ABS model. As of this writing, I am about 500 miles into test riding in the first month. The most immediate feature of this bike is its HANDLING. It dips and rolls into long and short turns with ease and grace. I came from 5 years on a Suzuki Burgman 650, and four years before that on a Honda Shadow cruiser. The cruiser was clumsy; it did not turn with any finesse. The Burgie was a hot beast off the line, especially in Power Mode. But the Burgie was jittery at high speeds. Maybe the open tunnel seating position had something to do with that — no knee control and small wheels. And the small wheels danced dangerously on cracked highways at high speed.

    On the other hand, the NT700V is SMOOOOTH. High speed gets even more stable as you run up the speedo. Bad road surfaces seem to be swallowed up. Maybe other bikes do that just as well, but I am coming off the overpowered and under-controlled Burgie. I agree with some other commentators above who complain that the 700 has a long clutch travel with an abrupt grab. Takes some practice to shift smoothly, but it is coming. (This would be a great model for Honda to introduce its Dual Clutch shifter, but that’s probably going to the 1200. Although this is the market that would most appreciate the clutchless shifter.) Some writers talked about excess vibration. I never found that. At speed, there is a lot of garbled noise coming out of the air intake section under the windshield. But that is noise, not vibration.

    The seating position seems OK for me. I have only a 30 inch inseam, but I manage to get both feet flat on the ground. I have no long trips to measure the comfort level of the seat after a full day of travel, but seating seems comfortable, so far. (I see that Corbin already has a custom seat made for the NT.) My major concern is with my aged and failing knees. The seating position requires a fairly acute knee bend angle. My first few rides led to cramping, but strangely enough, my knees seem to be bending easier the more I ride. And the posture with bent knees and forward tilt of the arms is what makes the ride and control of the NT so fluid. So I will continue to work on my knee bends. If I can’t keep up the bends, I will look into a seat pad to raise me an inch or so to reduce the knee angle. Hope it doesn’t come to that.

    So for smooth and confident cruising, the Honda NT700V is the one. (Do we have to use this awkward number system? Can’t we call it the Deauville?) By the way, wear NEON — there are dangerous idiots on the road.

    Dale
    Upstate NY

  13. avatar Mike says:

    I just traded in my V Star 1100 Cruiser for this bike. I commute back and forth to work 50+ miles per day so a cruiser just didn’t make sense to me any more as it’s not really a good commuter bike. This bike is a dream to handle versus what I just came off of and I’m nothing short of impressed with it.

    I don’t see the vibration issue as a big deal, especially coming off of the 1100 v twin where vibration was part and parcel for the ride. In comparison this bike seems much, much smoother and I have no issues with my mirrors vibrating to the point of uselessness or anything like that.

    As far as the height, I’m 5’10″ with a 31″ inseam and my feet sit flat on the pavement. The clutch was a little different than my V Star but I got used to it quickly and now I like it more.

    The 680cc v twin is perfect for me because it saves me money on gas and since I hardly ever ride two up the 1100cc v twin was far more than I needed.

    The integrated saddlebags are awesome, the one regret is not getting the rear trunk. I think I’m going to dig down and get one for the extra storage.

    Also, I found some useful tips on the NT700V on YouTube. Just search for videos by “soundtechguy”, I think he has 10 or 11 videos ranging from changing the oil, to wind deflectors, to tank pads, to heated grips, to replacement windshields. The vids were useful, at least for me anyway.

    Overall I rate this bike a solid 8 on a 1-10 scale. This bike will be with me for long time no matter what other rides I might fill my garage with in the future…

  14. avatar Dawn says:

    Well, now it’s nearly August, I have over 2000 miles on the bike and I’m more comfortable with it. The Corbin seat has helped me a lot. I still can’t flat foot the bike, but then, I’m only 5’2″ with a 28″ inseam. I can get the balls of my feet down on both sides at a stop on flat road. I like the bike a lot. Next week, the bike and I take off for a 1300 mile round trip. We’ll see how that goes!

    I do find that there is some handlebar vibration at high speeds, but not intolerable (not much more than I have with my SV650). I will use a cramp buster on the trip next week just because I’m planning on long days on the highway. For local roads with lots of stops, I don’t find it a problem. I’ve adjusted to the clutch pretty much.

    @Ed (or anyone): if you want to email me and ask more about the Corbin seat, my email address is triskelethecat at gmail dot com.

    I don’t think I’d recommend this bike as a first bike for someone who is short like me. But, it’s a good bike for an intermediate or more rider who wants to do some touring and doesn’t want (or can’t handle) a big sports-tourer.

  15. avatar admin says:

    Hey Mike – Thanks for the comments

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