Is Honda’s CTX700N a cruiser without chrome and leather or a standard with a cruiser’s seat height and riding position? We don’t know, but Big Red’s plan of attracting new riders, who may not fit into motorcycling’s usual tribes, to the sport seems like a good idea. The equation is a simple one: Take a friendly 670cc parallel-Twin, put it in a smart-looking chassis with a low seat height, make it easy/fun to ride, and give it a $6,999 base price. Who cares if the bike doesn’t fit in traditional categories?
With a low, 28.3-in. seat height, the CTX700N makes it easy for even the shortest riders to flat foot both boots at a stop. The feet forward, cruiser-style riding position puts the rider’s upper body in an upright position perfect for viewing the road ahead. The pulled-back handlebar places the grips where the rider’s hands would naturally fall. While the seat feels perfect for shorter riders, taller ones may find that its shape prevents the pilot from sliding back far enough for long-distance comfort.
The cylinders’ 62-degree forward tilt means there is plenty of room for the 3.17-gallon tank to ride low in the frame above the engine, which aids Honda’s long-standing mass-centralization goals. The resulting low center of gravity (CG) means that, even at a standstill, the CTX feels much lighter than its claimed weight of 478 lbs. would suggest. At speed, the low CG translates into neutral but responsive steering, allowing the CTX to turn in or change lines without any fuss. Ground clearance is above average for a bike with similarly mounted pegs. Low-speed, parking-lot maneuvers are handled with aplomb.
The CTX’s linked brakes shorten the learning curve of new or returning riders, but as they progress in their skills, riders will appreciate the decent power provided by the 320mm front and 240mm rear discs.
The parallel-Twin’s low- to mid-range torque combine with an easy to modulate clutch, making pulling into traffic a no-stress affair. Shifting gears – both up and down – is remarkably slick for a budget-priced motorcycle. While the CTX wasn’t designed to win any races, it can easily best the traffic typically found in city riding. While the CTX’s delivery of smiles per hour is off the charts, the gas range is more than reasonable. With a thrifty 57.3 mpg, riders can expect to get around 180 miles out of a tankful.
With this much motorcycling competence for just $6999, the CTX700N tips the value meter in a very positive way. For riders who want a little more help when riding, Honda offers a Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) with included ABS for $1000 extra. When you consider that the DCT removes intimidating clutch work from the equation and allows the CTX to do all of the mundane shifting for you (while still allowing for manual shifting when desired), the upgrade price seems like even more of a bargain on top of the already budget-conscious MSRP.
While the CTX700N may not fit into the traditional cruiser or standard categories, it certainly excels in the amiability and fun factors. Honda may be on to something by bending traditional styling and giving a low entry price in an effort to convert folks from being motorcycle-curious into full-fledged riders – which is a good thing for motorcycling’s future.
|Honda CTX700N Specs|
|Engine Type||Liquid-cooled, SOHC parallel-twin, 4 valves per cylinder|
|Bore x Stroke||73mm x 80mm|
|Fuel System||PGM-FI with 36mm throttle body|
|Front Suspension||Telescopic, 41mm fork, 4.2 in. travel|
|Rear Suspension||Pro-Link single shock, 4.3 in. travel, ramped preload adjusmtent|
|Front Brakes||Single 320mm disc with two-piston caliper|
|Rear Brakes||Single 240mm disc with single-piston caliper|
|Seat Height||28.3 in.|
|Curb Weight (claimed)||478 lb.|
|Fuel Capacity||3.17 gal.|
|Colors||Candy Red, Black|
|Warranty||One year, unlimited miles|