Friday, 9 August 2013

Naughty Or Nice NC700X?

I have owned the Honda NC700X for over a month now and the first service is out of the way, so now I am going to type up my initial thoughts about ownership and anything that has stuck out. It is a very positive review mainly as its all been good so far. I am still smiling every time I climb on board and happy to say that if I could have just one bike in my garage this is the one I would still pick.



Missing Links

Anything I thought I needed to get myself into my comfort zone I bought from the off. This included luggage, chain-oiler, mud-guards and hand-guards. Daytona heated grips and a Honda 12v accessory socket have been installed during the first service as they were on backorder.  Of course owners do bemoan the need to purchase various bits and pieces they view to be obvious necessities. I have to admit that I understand why these items are not seen as deal breakers by companies, because they are not. Those of us that only use and own motorcycles are in the very small minority, for most the motorcycle is now a luxury item and not a workhorse. If I could not sit unaided on the saddle then would buy an Ural outfit before a car, but again that is just me. I am perfectly OK with Honda building a motorcycle as useful as the NC700X and then making it versatile enough to get tweaked to the owners needs and desires, regardless if they lean towards bling or rat.

I will add reviews of the specific accessories I have added in due course, really not had a chance to give everything a good test out yet.

Going Round The Bend

Or coming out of the bends I should say, this is when I notice the difference in engine performance compared to the Buell. Normally I would hustle through the bend, exit and be on the back of whatever vehicle was ahead of me, instead now I exit and watch those same vehicles escaping from me. This was disconcerting the first few times I took the bike out, I kept thinking I was doing something wrong or telling myself that I was taking it easy for the first 500 km so this sort of thing is a given. That said I started coming to terms that maybe I do not need to be on them like Lorenzo chasing Pedrosa into the first corner. Once I detuned my attitude a bit then riding started becoming a lot more rewarding and also much smoother. To paraphrase Lorenzo's phrase, the NC is less about the hammer and all about the butter. Its also a little bit more work on the back roads, the Buell was probably the easiest motorcycle to turn I have ever ridden but with the NC700X I am consciously aware that I need to counter-steer a little more to get myself around.

Out on the open road its a pleasure to ride. The seating position puts you up nice and high, well high enough to be able to see over the tops of most vehicles and get a good narrative of what is going on ahead of you. I notice very little vibration from the engine and likewise it just purrs underneath you all day long. The legal limit on the motorway/highway here in Ireland is 120 km h and the NC handles this with no fuss or stress. Like I said, the only time the power difference becomes apparent is when you want to make a quick overtake, it just requires you to engage the brain a bit more and plan the safest way to do it (or as the rule goes; Is it legal? Is it safe? Do I need to?) . As long as instant power is not an absolute requirement then the NC's power delivery is exactly what you need 90% of the time.

Quality - Build It & They Will Come

I went to the cinema on a Tuesday night, a late night showing of World War Z, which I recommend, and the after midnight run home was going to be my first night run on the NC. I slip into my gear, turn the key and on comes the light. I looked down to check if I had turned the high-beam on by mistake, nope, this was the standard light. At that moment I was smiling like a Cheshire cat, why? Every bike I have owned previous has required me to upgrade the light to some extent, be it expensive bulbs, messing with positions and researching all sorts of accessory lights. The headlight on the NC is superb. I headed straight for the back roads just so that I could use the high-beam, and when I did everything seemed to turn to daylight. I was a very happy camper. Also the side mirrors are a decent size, do not vibrate and do exactly what they are supposed to. Again, the first bike I have owned that I was not going online looking for replacement mirrors or extensions. That sort of attention to detail is all over the NC, yes it is built to a price, but everything is put together very well.

Where you notice the budget the NC is built to is with the suspension. An indicator of this is that if you go through the manual from cover to cover you will find no mention of suspension settings. You can make some limited adjustments but I would hazard that the default setup is as good as it gets. On the bumpy bits or when dealing with speed bumps in built-up areas it is nowhere near as plush as my previous bike, but that was also €6,000 more bike! Most of the time the suspension is perfectly adequate, though I find myself easing off into certain stretches of road which I would not have before.

Economical? Yes...VERY

When I got the bike it had 3 bars on the display and it would be 172 km before I would fill up. I am going to keep a Fuelly.com link on this blog to show how I am doing mileage wise. Some owners have said they see the lowest mileage figures when they first get the bike, that could be down to new bike, new owner or combination of both. Economics had a big part to play in choosing this motorcycle so hopefully this proves to be a wise investment over my period of ownership.

Between bringing Nyx home and dropping in for the first service with 1091 km on the clock I had two full fill ups. On the way home from the service I filled up a third time. In all my average since purchasing has been 3.4 L/KM (or 82.6 UK MPG or 68.8 US MPG).

Summing Up

It does not come with a whole lot, but what it does have I am not looking to replace. Anything I am adding is to suit my own personal requirements. The engine will keep you happy 90% of the time. The fuel economy is ridiculously good. It's also priced pretty damn good. Sure the adventure style might not suit everyone, but that explains why Honda has grown the NC700 range to include naked, maxi-scooter and now cruiser models. If any of the above ticks many boxes for you then give one a test ride.

Peace and keep the rubber side down.