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2012 Honda NC700X Review

November 29, 2012 by  
Filed under Motorcycle Reviews

Honda’s new NC700X is tricky to classify, as it could fit in several classes including sport-touring and streetbike categories. Styling is reminiscent of several recent models from Italy. The NC700X is designed for comfort, ease of use and practicality in an affordable everyday motorcycle, and it’s aimed at fairly new riders and folks who are re-entering motorcycling. There are actually two NC700 versions. The NC700X is the base model with a conventional six-speed gearbox for $6,999, while the NC700XD comes with an automatic dual clutch transmission (DCT) along with a combined antilock braking system (ABS). Together these options add $2,000 to the base price, but unfortunately buyers who want the manual gearbox can’t get one with ABS. 2012 Honda NC700X Review Both models are powered by an all new liquid-cooled 670cc parallel-twin engine with four valves per cylinder. Engine architecture includes a pair of parallel cylinders canted forward 62-degrees, with a relatively long stroke (80mm with a 73mm bore) and a high-inertia crankshaft for torquey, tractable power. Light aluminum roller rocker arms and a low-friction coating on the pistons reduce frictional losses and boost fuel efficiency. An internal balancer shaft quells vibration effectively. A single 36mm throttle body feeds both cylinders via Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI), which accurately meters the air-fuel mixture for good performance and mileage. Auto enrichment eliminates the need for a choke. The NC700X is rated 51 horsepower at 6250 rpm and 45.7 lb-ft of torque at 4,750 rpm, while the NC700XD is tuned more conservatively with 47 hp and 44.2 lb-ft of torque at 4,750 rpm. 2012 Honda NC700X Review NC700X’s manual six-speed gearbox is smooth shifting, and clutch-lever effort is light. Honda’s NC700XD has a second-generation (the first gen was used in the VFR 1200 series) six-speed Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT). The DCT employs two hydraulically actuated clutches to provide slick gear shifts without a clutch lever or gear-change pedal. The optional DCT has a pair of paddle-shift buttons on the left handlebar, which are used in manual mode. There are two fully automatic modes which can be selected on the fly; S for sport riding, which holds the gears longer for higher revs, and D for daily use, which is more conservative and helps save fuel. This latest generation DCT has a learning function which allows the engine control unit to recognize various riding situations and adjusts the DCT’s shifting accordingly. 2012 Honda NC700X Review A sturdy diamond-shape steel trellis frame uses the engine as a stressed member for greater strength. The smallish 3.7-gallon tank is tucked under the seat, which helps mass centralization and lowers the center of gravity. Honda claims 64mpg, which would give the NC700 more than 200 miles range, but expect real-world mileage to be closer to 50 mpg. Located where the gas tank typically is in other bikes is a 21-liter lockable internal storage compartment which will hold most helmets (my XL didn’t fit) or other items. Conventional 41mm non-adjustable front fork legs have 5.4 inches of travel; rake is 27.0 degrees and trail is 4.3 inches. A single shock with Pro-Link rear suspension with preload adjustability provides 5.9 inches of wheel travel. The bike is fitted with a 120/70-17 front and 160/60-17 rear tire. These are common sizes found on sporty motorcycles, but the smallish diameter limits off-pavement travel. 2012 Honda Motorcycle NC700X Review The braking system consists of a single petal-type 320mm front disc with a three-piston radial-mount caliper, and a single 240mm rear rotor with single-piston caliper. DCT-equipped models also get Honda’s combined anti-lock braking system (ABS), which links front and rear calipers. A small windscreen provides modest wind protection. A wide variety of accessories include a taller windscreen, a 45-liter rear trunk and liner, 29-liter saddlebags and liners, a rear carrier, front side cowl panel, foot deflectors, leg deflectors, heated grips, a 12V DC socket and a centerstand. The saddlebag capacity is on the small side, so consider carefully before selecting these extras. 2012 Honda Cycle NC700X Review Riding Impressions Riding posture is comfortably upright, with the handgrips in easy reach, and footpegs are directly below the rider for good control and all-day comfort. The saddle is firm and seat height is 32.7 inches, but it’s tapered to allow shorter riders to reach the ground with both feet. However, the distance to the footpegs may feel cramped if you’re taller than about 6-feet. Throttle response is smooth through a wide range of riding conditions and the broad torque curve gives the NC700 linear power delivery. Select the DCT’s Sport mode and shifts firm up noticeably and the engine revs higher before the next gear is engaged automatically. Choosing DCT manual allows you to bang gears with the touch of the paddle shifter switch. The rev limiter hits at 6,500 rpm, and it’s easy to find that limit often. Watch the bar-graph tach (it’s hard to see) and shift before redline and you’ll find pleasing acceleration through the low-end and midrange. The long-travel suspension provides a comfortable ride and the NC700 models feel responsive and agile. Steering is light, it turns in easily, holds a line through a corner well and feels stable and confidence inspiring. Braking is one of the weak areas of the bike, as the binders don’t produce the kind of stopping power a sporty machine should have. The linked braking requires a hard press on the rear brake pedal (which activates the third front-caliper piston) to wring the most stopping power out of the front brake (while also pulling the front lever strongly. A second front rotor and caliper would be welcome. Curb weight of the NC700X is 474 pounds; the NC700XD is 505 pounds. Honda NC700X Review Impressions of the bike in-terms of: Beginning riders: This bike could probably be handled by a beginning rider who is tall enough to plant both feet on the ground and has taken a MSF course. However, we think it’s best to wait just a little longer until you get some miles and experience before purchasing a machine of this size and weight. This model is aimed at intermediate and re-entry riders, and should be a good match with riders who have some experience. Advanced riders should enjoy the nimble handling and comfortable ergonomics, but may wish for more power, especially if they have owned more powerful bikes. 2012 NC700X Review Comparison to a few competitors: Suzuki V-Strom 650 Suzuki’s V-Strom 650 has a somewhat livelier V-twin engine, standard ABS, and a 19-inch front wheel which makes it easier to ride on dirt roads. The 2012 V-Strom 650 ABS lists for $8,299, while the Adventure model (which has available large panniers) has a base MSRP of $9,799. Kawasaki Versys 650 The Versys shares some major components with the Ninja 650R, including electronics, engine block, 17-inch wheels, brakes and main frame. However it has a more comfortable, upright, riding position, a re-tuned engine that’s more potent than the Honda, and long-suspension travel. The MSRP is $7,899 with ABS 2012 Honda NC700XD Review Summary of review and pricing Here’s a nicely designed and well-made mid-size motorcycle that is capable of long-distance riding, yet comes fully equipped for under ten grand. The NC700 is a versatile machine that will work well for local riding, commuting, touring and sporty runs through the twisties. However, it’s not very dirt capable in an adventure-touring role. Specifications Base Price NC700X $6,999/ NC700XD $8,999 Model Year 2012 Manufacturer Honda Models NC700X/NC700XD Categories Sport-touring or Street-bike motorcycles Fuel Capacity 3.7 gal. Engine DOHC inline 2 Transmission Manual 6-speed (NC700X) / Automatic 6-speed with two modes and a manual mode (NC700XD)

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Author: Tom Robertson (12 Articles)

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Comments

2 Responses to “2012 Honda NC700X Review”
  1. avatar Steve Souther says:

    I wonder why this bike doesn’t have the ‘flash-to-pass’ switch. This could be a life-saver when that car suddenly starts turning left in front of you; and you pull the trigger and release that heat seaker…no, a quick flash of your headlights suddenly gets their attention. It could save the day.

    I know, your thumb is supposed to be trained to roll the rocker switch up and down and manually flash, but that thumb could be released from duty (IF if there is a trigger switch), and be freed up to be next to the horn button…. hey, both horn and lights could then be activated simultanious.

    I wouldn’t be going on so if I hadn’t been there to witness a biker dying because that van driver didn’t see him and turned left into into him.

    I think the NT 700 had such a device. Maybe I could order that part and have it installed before delivery. Who knows, it could make all the difference.
    Steve

  2. You’re so awesome! I don’t believe I’ve read through something like that before.
    So nice to find somebody with a few genuine thoughts on this issue.
    Really.. thanks for starting this up. This website is something that is needed on the web,
    someone with a bit of originality!

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