Honda NC700X

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The cool kids always pick on the weird one, the kid with the hump, the wandering eye, the massive storage compartment where its gas tank should be. You could argue that the Honda NC700X doesn’t even belong in this group, but we decided to let it come along anyway, since it’s great for stowing GoPros and things. Oh, and because Yamaha identified the 670cc parallel-Twin NC as a competitor for its 689cc parallel-Twin FZ-07. As the heaviest bike here and second-to-weakest in the horsepower department, it wasn’t going to win the backroad-maniac competition. It’s also the longest of wheelbase and is 0.2-inch from having the tallest seat. Heck, man, it’s not even naked with that little windscreen; in profile it’s more a small adventure bike.

The funny thing, though, is whoever was riding the NC over all the ridiculously twisty, entertaining roads these bikes dragged us to like truffling pigs, always managed to keep the pack in sight. Is it easier to go fast on the 115-pound lighter, 19-hp stronger KTM Duke? Yes. Can the Duke carry a bowling ball? No. Which one do you want to drag your tired butt home over the freeway when playtime is done? That’s right, the NC.

Full-size melons go in the front compartment, 3.7 gallons of Regular goes in the underseat fuel tank. Hugely convenient.

Full-size melons go in the front compartment, 3.7 gallons of Regular goes in the underseat fuel tank. Hugely convenient.

As usual it’s horses for courses, and if you’re after the best sportbike in the group, the NC isn’t it. But 42 foot-pounds of torque at only 4700 rpm means you can always get the throttle open early, and the NC’s long, stable chassis and lack of any kind of horsepower hit make you feel like it’s okay to just keep it open. Run it a gear higher to take advantage of  its torque and avoid the low rev limiter. Longish-travel and well-balanced suspension works very well for the whole MO crew, ranging in weight from 150 to 270 pounds. “Considering its suspension travel is the longest of this group, the spring/damper combination keeps the bike remarkably composed when ridden aggressively,” says Captain Duke.

Some of us couldn’t wait to stop riding in order to recommence slagging on the NC, usually following a midpack finish, while fishing a warm Gatorade and a granola bar out of its live well.

Clock, gear-position indicator, bar-graph tach, fuel gauge are all clear and concise.

Clock, gear-position indicator, bar-graph tach, fuel gauge are all clear and concise.

There’s more to life than sport riding. As a day-to-day commuter/errand runner, the NC has no peer in this group. None. If you’re a one-bike family, you could do way worse than the NC700X, and don’t forget the 58 mpg under combat conditions – the best fuel mileage here by a long shot.

2014 NC700X DCT ABS Review

“While perhaps the most practical bike of the bunch, the NC suffers from being the motorcycle equivalent of comfortable shoes.” – Evans Brasfield
+ Highs

  • Storage compartment will stow a helmet
  • 60-plus mpg is easily doable in normal use
  • Extremely versatile
– Sighs

  • Some say it’s a little bland
  • You can’t order ABS without the automatic gearbox
  • If you get to be my age, you’ll appreciate function over form

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