MD Double-Take: 2012 Honda NC700X -…

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Honda NC-I

MD Double-Take: 2012 Honda

First Take: John

Years Riding: Countless, Complaint: Fuel Range

riders are asked repeatedly: motorcycle should I buy?” The response is: “What kind of do you do? What’s your budget?”

The the needs, the wider the choice—commuter or sport bike or sport-tourer, or adventure machine, and so forth. The the bucks, the narrower the possibilities.

machines—say, sport bikes—may do a few brilliantly, the rest hardly at ‘Do-it-all’ models may cover everything badly. Ya pays ya

Motorcycle uses and categories proliferated. Choice is a conundrum. For of us, able to afford only one motorcycle, and considering shaky economics, Honda’s NC700 (NC = New line may offer a solution: enough, affordably.

It represents an compromise built for thrift in unstable times.

Honda’s an ‘efficiency-algorithm’ power platform, the fuel-to-motion converter. Honda’s understand design efficiency—they’ve hundreds of cars and motorcycles off-road vehicles, generators, and, and, and).  marketeers know world demographics and trends.

Honda’s can calibrate beans within widths.

Stir these and challenges in the motorcycle-design pot and—voilà—the For efficiency and minimum internal (mechanical friction kills the result is an under-square (73mm …), SOHC eight-valve, parallel Twin, conceptually a Honda Fit car engine with crank. It delivers modest (47 bhp) at low revs (6250) and torque (44 ft.-lb. at 4750rpm), emitting a hushed, throaty

Power/torque vary slightly on model—X (tested), S or D, described

Honda wanted economy. The NC gasoline—70 mpg average, more or they say, depending on how one rides, offering outstanding  (or more) range from the under-seat tank (that is a big storage locker, accommodating a helmet).

The power platform, angled forward 62 degrees to the storage locker, powers models: dual-sport (the NC700X ‘adventure,’ introduced in in 2011—the U.S. came in Honda’s global release), (NC700S, not sold in the U.S.), and (NC700D Integra, also not yet). Optional Honda is available—ABS, VFR1200F-derived DCT (dual-clutch transmission).

Other options a 45-liter top case, 29-liter crash guards, LED foglights, grips and center stand. The DCT and ABS on the NC700X adds a whopping

You can please some of the customers all of the or all of the customers some of the time. To you must please enough of the enough of the time. Thus the series. Compromises, principally in brakes and tube-steel frame, that base sticker. Yet the is executed brilliantly, in typical fashion.

Every detail works.

motor, cammed for low- and torque, performs well, the machine easy to ride, for beginners. It runs out of revs 6000rpm, but delivers smooth, power everywhere below. The clutch engages smoothly; are Honda decisive.

Ride Though rear-shock preload is the suspension adjustment, the X’s almost travel at both ends the way, though severe push the limits of comfort and

Brakes? The single, two-piston operating on the front 320mm disk does a workmanlike Ignore the insensitive 240mm brake.

Handling? Bar effort is Corners track neutrally. The low CG easy low-speed maneuvering, at a claimed 451 pounds dry, no lightweight.

The seating position is upright but the firm-ish, slippery inflicts discomfort around 200 miles. Wind protection the stock flyscreen is minimal. the aftermarket will address the and screen issues.

Economy? I saw measured, riding purposefully ( Joss rode the bike Torrance, California to the San Francisco Bay in a day—ed.) —still notable. The stems partly from the sixth gear: at an indicated 75 the ribbon LCD tach shows a 4000 rpm.

Bottom line: does it

What can the NC700X do for you? engineers have managed the satisfying the marketeers and bean meeting that ‘most-of-the-customers-most-of-the-time’ It’s versatile: commute, strafe apexes with agility. Will the S come

Dunno. Viewed on the Web, the man-sized wheels are safer competitors’ minuscule rubber front and rear. Will bring it? One hopes.

But avoid tracks, bridge grids and anyway!

A motorcycle for the ages? 17 to whatever, rookie or returner. every indication, worldwide, has a palpable hit: enough at the right time at sensible

Will the NC cannibalize other models’ sales? Probably It has its own niche, and faces down the at its friendly base price. is compromises. This one works.

Take: Gabe Ets-Hokin

Riding: Too Many and Yet Not Enough, Complaint: Too Much Fuel

Ol’ Raymond Blank, how we miss ye. The V.P. for Motorcycles at American Motors helmed Big Red’s in the USA for decades and now he’s gone—retired? Melted down for seat

We don’t know, as we haven’t from him, but I have a vivid memory of sitting at a bar in Alabama at some press or another and hearing him talk Honda’s incredible engineering and capabilities. “We can make anything we Super-awesome V5 MotoGP racer-for-the-street? Electric dual-sport?

Why not?

But why it build the perfect bike for you Honda can build the perfect for everybody . Because when you vehicles in the tens of millions, it make sense to build niche products a relative of well-heeled 50 year-olds might buying. Instead, we get…the

Don’t get me wrong. I really this motorcycle. The design is with eye-pleasing shapes and

The seat is low for an adventure-styled machine, with an underseat gas tank (it took 100 years for designers to out the best place for the tank is the seat, freeing up storage and improving handling?). It’s as to ride as any bike in this with great steering quick steering (those feel higher and wider they are, somehow) and light gearbox and clutch. But probably skip having 4eVr” tattooed on my chest.

John calling the 670cc half a Fit engine is very Like a car, the NC bumps off the rev at 6000 rpm, surprising the to redline, the motor is just a buzzy, feeling the same at as it does at 1500. First is very short, but after the gears are well-spaced and the motor is enough so that there are guts for passing in fifth or sixth.

Cruising at an indicated 90 mph is if that’s your thing—not too okay wind protection, and a little thrumming from the

I’m at a loss to imagine a better commuter. Sixty miles per More trunk space a lot of scooters? Lots more if you add the bags and trunk, which are finished and easy to use.

me up. It’s also just fun and to ride around town or on freeways, a product so refined and it’s hard to believe it can be to market for under $7000.

It’s slow, there’s no around that. Suzuki an honest 70 hp with a budget-priced, liquid-cooled Twin 15 years Honda took tuning-for-torque to a new level, lopping 40 percent off the top of bike’s powerband—and though the is plenty fast to keep up traffic, I missed it.

ABS without the extra 33 pounds and of the dual-clutch version would be but isn’t available. The brakes and are el cheap-o, even for this range—I could feel the brake juddering under pressure, and bumpy freeways are pleasant than they be, although the spring rates and feel well-calibrated.

So, you and I and just everybody else you’ll would probably rather this bike with 20 horses, better brakes, suspension…but then again, we have plenty of choices that kind of spec This kind of refinement, value and ease of use has opened up new for Honda (and boosted that’s what Honda to do.

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