2012 Honda NC700X First Look

January 20, 2012
Bart Madson
By Bart Madson
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Bashing away at the MotoUSA keyboard for nine years now, Madson lends his scribbling and editorial input on everything from bike reviews to industry analysis and motorcycle racing reports.

Honda offers U.S. motorcycle riders an affordable machine for 12 with the  6999 NCX700V.
Honda offers U.S. motorcycle riders an affordable machine for ’12 with the introduction of its $6999 NCX700V.

American Honda chose the New York International Motorcycle Show to reveal its NC700X. Big Red will bring the first of its new NC700 designs to the United States as a 2012 model, arriving at dealer showrooms this summer with a budget-friendly MSRP of $6999.

The NC700X is one of three bikes in the NC700 range which debuted at the 2011 EICMA Bike Show in Milan. All three NC700 siblings, as well as the Integra scooter (also revealed at EICMA), are powered by an all-new eight-valve 670cc Parallel Twin. The liquid-cooled, SOHC mill reaches its middleweight displacement via 73mm bore and 80mm stroke. A balancer shaft promises to smooth out the Twin, and the new ride makes use of Honda’s standard PGM-FI fuel injection.

The NC700 models expand Honda’s production development of its Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) technology. First deployed on the 2010 VFR1200F, the DCT system on the NC700 offers three modes: two automatic settings, sporty S and standard D, as well as MT – which allows riders to shift manually via switchgear buttons. Like the VFR, the NC700X will also be offered in a standard non-DCT system with manual six-speed transmission.

The NC700X offers a large compartment in front of the seat for helmet storage.
Fill-er up  under the pillion seat. Honda claims the 3.7-gallon tank will net a 240-mile range.
The Honda’s ‘fuel tank’ houses a 21-liter storage area. The real fuel tank goes underseat with its 3.7-gallon capacity stretching into a 240-mile range

A steel “diamond-shape” frame anchors the chassis, mated to 41mm fork and Honda’s Pro-Link rear shock. The only suspension adjustment option is rear preload with Honda keen to tout the “long-travel suspension” with 6.0 inches travel up front and 5.9 inches out back. The new Honda incorporates a final chain drive and rolls on 17-inch wheels.

Braking features Nissin calipers and a single 320mm front rotor with 240mm rear. Honda’s Combined ABS (C-ABS) is available as an option. Curb weight is listed at 472 pounds for the standard version, 505 pounds for the DCT model.

Honda claims the NC700’s 3.7-gallon tank will net a range of “nearly” 240 miles. That’s more than 64 mpg by our remedial math reckoning. Riders will have to pop the seat, however, to fill up, as Honda repositions the fuel cell, allowing the area for a traditional ‘fuel tank’ to house a 21-liter storage area. (It’s a neat trick we appreciated when testing the Aprilia Mana 800, which seems most analogous with the DCT-equipped Honda.)

Touring friendly accessories will be offered for the new Honda including 45-liter top case and 29-liter saddlebags. Also available are crash guards, LED fog lights, heated grips, 12V DC socket and centerstand.

Honda first tipped its hand on the new NC700 lineup in the run-up to the 2011 Bike Show season by announcing its development of the 670 Twin engine platform. Spy photos spotted prototypes of the NC700 models and the Integra testing in Europe. (The Integra was itself teased the year prior as the Honda Mid-Concept).

So what’s the NC700X exactly? It looks a like head-scratching genre-bender of a bike (kind of like the similarly hard-to-pin-down Euro-only Crossrunner). Honda press material acknowledges as much saying: “What do you see when you look at the 2012 Honda NC700X? An adventure-style bike? An urban assault commuter? A country road explorer? A two-up getaway machine? Or perhaps all of the above?”

One thing that’s certain, the $6999 price tag undercuts many of its middleweight rivals (Update: Honda representatives confirm pricing for the DCT ABS version is $8999). So will the new 700 will deliver as a polished jack-of-all-trades, or be a muddled master of none? That’s what the test ride is for folks… Stay tuned.

2012 NC700X sports an MSRP starting at  6999.The latest trio of NC700 models  and the Integra scooter  run on an all-new engine platform - a 670cc Parallel Twin.The NC700 models expand Hondas production development of its Dual Clutch Transmission  DCT  technology.

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