Firing it up it sounded good, too. The parallel twin had a little obnoxious rumble to it, something which is not very common with Honda’s smooth inline fours or V-four engines.
The first thing you notice on the bike is that it has a very upright riding position to it. Some call it an adventure bike, some say it’s a commuter and some even say it’s a super moto-like motorcycle. Firstly, the bike is a great do-it-all motorcycle. When I rode it the 1st day, I admit to not liking it at all; it felt so bland to ride. Then I figured out that I was doing it all wrong. This motorcycle was meant for the city, lane splitting or taking the occasional twisty country road.
At 120kph there is ample power to ride along all day and you should return pretty good fuel consumption too. Honda claims just 4l/100 for it and while I got 5l/100km I did not ride it in any way that had fuel economy in mind.
With the fuel tank under the seat, the relatively heavy 214kg dry feels nimble and light and I could not believe how well it takes the bends. The 14l tank is good for at least 300km with normal riding and probably closer to 400km if you ride a little more fuel conscious. The 38kw and 62nm feels nice and torquey, but never feels like it gets going like a conventional, higher revving motorcycle. It shines in town and traffic, where you never find yourself doing gazillion miles per hour! The cubbyhole compartment located where most motorcycles have their fuel tanks is a brilliant idea. It carries one helmet and you gloves with ease and is also perfect to picking up bread and milk from the store. I was surprised to see how many groceries to could fit in there.
Most people argue that if it looks like an adventure bike, it must be one. It is, in fact, a lifestyle bike. Call it a soft roader of some sorts. It does good gravel road and tracks perfectly fine and, with companies manufacturing crash bars as we speak, people will have protection when they do venture off road. Keep in mind that the sump is fully exposed, so if you are planning to go into more extreme rocky conditions, please fit a skid plate. There is also a relatively good range of dual purpose tires available in 17inch. The 120/70/17 front tire and the 160/60/17 rear tire are road only tires. They work great everywhere except on gravel, mud and sand.
The front suspension is 41mm non-adjustable telescopic forks. The rear is a pre-load adjustable monoshock type. I feel that if the bike was aimed at adventure riding, the front suspension should have been adjustable in one way or another.
You might be disappointed that Honda gave us another road bike. This bike is aimed at the commuter segment, which I think is brilliant for that. It turns quickly, stops well and also has enough poke for around town. On the open road, don’t expect much more of a top speed over 170kph. There simply is not enough power to pull you around at that kind of speed.
It takes a lot for a bike to change my initial opinion after riding it for a while. The NC700x completely surprised me after a few days. If at first glance you feel the bike is too boring or bland when riding it. Think about it again. This bike rocks, given its purpose: People who are commuting.
The NC700X retails for R66 000 and is available from Honda dealers nationwide. Book your test ride today.