2010 Honda NT700V | Review
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.