THE ENVELOPE PLEASE …

Motorcycle.com  650 comparison photo shoot

Our hats are all off to the geniuses at Yamaha who built this thing. It’ll run right with the curve-slaying $8,999 KTM Duke up and down our favorite roads, then deliver you home with nearly the comfort of the practical-shoes Honda NC700X, for considerably less money than either of them.

We believe the Duke’s a great stable pony for the well-heeled enthusiast who has another bike or three in the garage more suited to the everyday slog. But if money is an object, and you’ve got to pick one bike to do it all, you really can’t do better than Yamaha’s new FZ-07, a motorcycle that can’t decide if it’s a sportbike, eco-commuter, naked hooligan or standard? You will not go wrong with the FZ-07 or the 690 Duke, our two favorite bikes in our favorite class. This week.

The 645cc-plus Twins (SFV, Ninja, FZ) eke out similar peak numbers, but it’s the Yamaha’s 689cc powerplant that pulls hardest, longest. Amazing that KTM’s 690cc motor pulls so strong from just one lung. Note how it spins 2000 rpm higher than the twin-cylinder 670cc NC700X. The CB500F feels far more frisky than the chart indicates.

The 645cc-plus Twins (SFV, Ninja, FZ) eke out similar peak numbers, but it’s the Yamaha’s 689cc powerplant that pulls hardest, longest. Amazing that KTM’s 690cc motor pulls so strong from just one lung. Note how it spins 2000 rpm higher than the twin-cylinder 670cc NC700X. The CB500F feels far more frisky than the chart indicates.

2014-Middleweight-shootout-torque-dyno

The FZ-07’s torque curve is the cream of this crop, with the broadest swathe of strong power. The KTM puts up a slightly bigger number, but note the curve’s jagged quality and how it wouldn’t smoothly accept throttle below 3000 rpm. The NC700X delivers immediate power but signs off disappointingly early. With just 471cc to work with, the CB500’s numbers are small, but its incredibly flat torque curve yields whatever juice it has whenever its needed.

2014 Middleweight Mash-Up Six-Way Shootout
Category Honda CB500F Honda NC700X Kawasaki Ninja 650 KTM 690 Duke Suzuki SFV650 Yamaha FZ-07
Price 100% 74.4% 76.3% 52.3% 71.2% 73.0%
Weight 86.1% 75.8% 77.4% 100% 80.2% 89.3%
lb/hp 59.7% 58.0% 80.6% 100% 86.6% 96.7%
lb/lb-ft 53.5% 67.5% 72.6% 100% 76.2% 89.2%
Engine 73.3% 60.4% 81.0% 87.5% 89.0% 93.1%
Transmission/Clutch 85.0% 85.4% 82.5% 82.1% 87.1% 91.3%
Handling 83.8% 69.6% 75.4% 94.6% 85.4% 88.3%
Brakes 74.2% 73.8% 79.6% 92.1% 80.0% 88.3%
Suspension 72.5% 79.2% 79.2% 94.2% 77.1% 81.7%
Technologies 61.3% 68.3% 66.7% 71.7% 60.0% 70.0%
Instruments 74.2% 73.8% 74.6% 70.8% 72.9% 89.6%
Ergonomics/Comfort 80.4% 85.8% 70.4% 86.7% 78.3% 87.9%
Quality 75.8% 78.3% 70.0% 89.2% 75.8% 80.8%
Cool Factor 68.3% 66.7% 68.8% 90.4% 66.7% 88.8%
Grin Factor 70.8% 62.5% 72.9% 93.3% 80.8% 88.3%
Overall Score 75.7% 71.8% 75.5% 86.2% 78.3% 86.4%
Price and weight are scored based on objective metrics. Other scores are listed as a percentage of editors’ ratings in each category. The Engine category is double-weighted, so the Overall Score is not a total of the displayed percentages but, rather, a percentage of the weighted aggregate raw score.
Honda CB500F Honda NC700X Kawasaki Ninja 650 KTM 690 Duke Suzuki SFV650 Yamaha FZ-07
MSRP $5799 (ABS: $6299) $7799 (DCT ABS: $8799) $7199 (ABS: $7599) $8999 base; ($11,097 as tested) $8,149.00 $6990 base; ($7939.41 as tested)
Type 471cc liquid-cooled parallel Twin 670cc liquid-cooled parallel Twin 649cc liquid-cooled parallel Twin 690cc liquid-cooled Single 645cc liquid-cooled 90-degree V-Twin 689cc liquid-cooled parallel Twin
Bore and
Stroke
67.0 x 66.8 mm 73.0 x 80.0mm 83.0 x 60.0mm 102.0 x 84.5mm 81.0 x 62.5mm. 80.0 x 68.6mm
Fuel System PGM-FI, two 34mm throttle bodies PGM-FI, one 36mm throttle body EFI, two 38mm throttle bodies EFI, ride by wire Fuel injection Fuel injection
Ignition Digital Digital Digital Digital, two spark plugs with individual mapping Digital Digital
Compression Ratio 10.7:1 10.7:1 10.8:1 12.6:1 11.5 : 1 11.5:1
Valve Train DOHC; 4 valves per cylinder SOHC; 4 valves per cylinder DOHC; 4 valves per cylinder SOHC; 4 valves per cylinder DOHC; 4 valves per cylinder DOHC; 4 valves per cylinder
Emissions EPA, CARB compliant EPA, CARB-compliant EPA, CARB-compliant EPA, CARB-compliant EPA, CARB-compliant EPA, CARB-compliant
Horsepower 43.04 hp @ 8400 rpm 46.59 @ 6300 rpm 64.86 @ 8900 rpm 61.78 @ 7600 rpm 67.47 @ 8300 rpm 67.11 @ 8900 rpm
Torque 29.13 @ 6800 rpm 41.78 @ 4700 rpm 43.76 @ 7100 rpm 46.87 @ 5500 rpm 44.20 @ 7900 rpm 46.7 @ 6500 rpm
lb/hp 9.71 10.20 7.17 5.83 6.65 6.00
lb/torque 14.35 11.37 10.63 7.68 10.16 8.63
Transmission 6-speed; multi-plate wet clutch 6-speed, multi-plate wet clutch 6-speed, multi-plate wet clutch, positive neutral finder 6-Speed, wet, multi-plate slipper clutch 6-speed; multi-plate wet clutch 6-speed, multiplate wet clutch
Final Drive Chain Chain Chain Chain Chain Chain
Front
Suspension
41mm fork; 4.3 in. travel 41mm fork; 5.4. in. travel 41mm fork; 4.9 inches travel 43mm inverted fork, fully adjustable; 5.3 in. travel 41mm fork, preload adjustable; 4.9 in. travel 41mm Telescopic fork; 5.1-in travel
Rear
Suspension
Pro-Link single shock, adjustable for spring preload; 4.7 inches travel Pro-Link single shock, preload-adjustable, 5.9 in. travel Single cantilevered shock; preload adjustable, 5.1 in. travel Single shock, linkage-mounted, fullly adjustable; 5.3 in. travel Single shock; 3.9 inches travel, preload adjustable; 5.1 in. travel Single, preload-adjustable shock; 5.1-in travel
Front Brake 320mm wave disc; 2-piston caliper 320mm disc; 2-piston caliper Dual 300mm petal discs, 2-piston calipers 320mm disc, radial-mount 4-piston caliper; ABS Dual 290 mm discs, 2-piston calipers Dual 282mm discs, 4-piston calipers
Rear Brake 240mm wave disc; single-piston caliper 240mm disc; single-piston caliper 220mm petal disc, single-piston caliper 240mm disc, 1-piston caliper; ABS 240mm disc, single-piston caliper 245mm disc, 2-piston caliper
Front Tire 120/70-17 120/70 ZR-17 120/70-17 120/70 ZR-17 120/70 ZR-17 120/70 ZR-17
Rear Tire 160/60-17 160/60 ZR-17 160/60-17 160/60 ZR-17 160/60 ZR-17 180/55 ZR-17
Rake/Trail 25.5° / 4.05 in. (103mm) 27° / 4.3 in. (110mm) 25° / 4.3 in. (110mm) 26.5° / 4.53 in. (115mm) 25° / 4.1 in. (104mm) 24° / NA
Wheelbase 55.5 in. 60.6 in. 55.5 in. 57.7 in. 56.9 in. 55.1 in.
Seat Height 30.9 in. 32.7 in. 31.7 in. 32.9 in. 30.9 in. 31.7 in.
Measured
Weight
418 lb. 475 lb. 465 lb 360 lb. 449 lb. 403 lb.
Fuel Capacity 4.1 gal. 3.7 gal. 4.2 gal. 3.7 gal. 3.8 gal. 3.7 gal.
Tested
Fuel Economy
52 mpg 58 mpg 44 mpg 47 mpg 45 mpg 49 mpg
Gauges /
Indicators
LCD panel with tachometer, fuel gauge, clock, odo, two tripmeters. High beam, neutral, low oil pressure, turn signals, engine diagnostics, low fuel warning lights LCD panel with tachometer, fuel gauge, clock, gear-position indicator, odo, two tripmeters, average fuel mileage. High beam, neutral, low oil pressure, turn signals, engine diagnostics, low fuel warning lights Analog tachomter, LCD panel with speedo, fuel gauge, clock, odo, two tripmeters.High beam, neutral, low oil pressure, turn signals, engine diagnostics, low fuel warning lights Analog tachomter, LCD panel with speedo, fuel gauge, clock, odo, two tripmeters.High beam, neutral, low oil pressure, turn signals, engine diagnostics, low fuel warning lights Analog tach, LCD digital speedo, dual tripmeters,
odometer, clock, digital gear-position indicator; High beam, neutral, low oil pressure, turn signals, engine diagnostics, low fuel warning lights
LCD bar-type tachometer, gear-position indicator, digital speedo, odometer, dual tripmeters, fuel gauge, fuel reserve tripmeter, clock, instant and average fuel consumption. High beam, neutral, low oil pressure, turn signals, engine diagnostics, low fuel warning lights
Available Colors Black, Pearl White Black, Red Candy Lime Green / Metallic Flat Spark Black, Metallic Spark Black / Metallic Flat Spark Black, Pearl Flat Stardust White / Metallic Flat Spark Black White, Black Metallic Thunder Gray, Glass Sparkle Black Liquid Graphite, Rapid Red, Pearl White
Warranty One year, transferable, unlimited miles One year, transferable, unlimited miles 12 months 24 months, unlimited miles 12 month unlimited mileage One year

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  • IslandTosh

    I know the title says “Naked Twins”, but seeing that there’s an outlier for each word in the title, I’d have liked to see how the Honda CBR650F would do against these bikes.

    • I agree Tosh, but we went the democratic route and I was out-voted. (I also thought the Versys 650 shoulda been in there.

      • dustysquito .

        The Versys definitely would have fit the group here. Same engine but with more comfort makes it damn near a no brainer – especially with the new versions not being butt ugly.

        • IslandTosh

          Right on about the Versys too guys. Those new models shown at Intermot are definitely way better to my eyes than the current model too.

  • ChainsawCharlie

    This ad will close in 26 seconds
    I guess I am not watching that then.

    • Andrew

      god forbid you give advertising dollars to the company that gives you a motorcycle magazine with videos for free.

      • ChainsawCharlie

        Ads are fine, but not 30 sec videos that you can’t skip.

        • Because you can’t spare 30 seconds out of your unbelievably busy and obviously ultra-important life to see the free content? What do you do when an ad comes on TV? Blow up the television?

        • Chris_in_Kalifornia

          Simple enough, do something else for 30 seconds. I fixed myself a hamburger (already cooked but hey).

      • Crickets

        Actually the ad revenue for video triggers on starts, so MO gets the cut either way. The lame part is that the advertiser is allowed a 30 second play for the money and people are either forced to watch it, or pause it.

        The user experience in most new forms (see: video) advertising is quite poor and will eventually adapt to user feedback as time goes on, but much like commercials on TV, we’re going to have to watch them if we want the programming for awhile longer.

        BTW, the FZ was an easy pick without even reading the article. Surprised the buzziness of the highstrung KTM wasn’t talked about more. It’s a fantastic bike, but is obnoxious droning on a freeway.

    • jerry mander

      Perfect time to go grab some Doritos!

  • Auphliam

    Pet Peave Alert: Why does the Ninja dash have to say “Clock” right above the time display? There’s not some other kind of moto-related data displayed in hours/minutes, amirite?

    • dustysquito .

      While the Ninja’s dash doesn’t have anything else that would look like a clock but not be one, my bike has Ride Time, Accumulated Ride Time, and Lap Timer functions built into the dash as well as a clock, so having it remind you which one you’re on is handy.

      • Auphliam

        Ah, good point.

  • ‘Mike Smith

    Great comparison guys. The only thing I wish y’all would do is some drag racing on these things. Quarter mile times, 0-60, 0-100 times would be as appreciated as any other stats already listed.

  • sundogmtn

    I like your format on the videos of open discussion which help cover almost every possible aspect. It will help sell bikes. What I find missing to help the individual buyer is what consumer groups have provided for decades, reliability ratings. If you are a new rider you likely won’t be doing your own mechanical work and that would be very expensive these days.

  • George Herbert

    Its to bad the US gets screwed on the NC700/750 platform. even here in Canada we get the X and S versions, ABS standard without the auto trans.

    • denchung

      Honda Canada also introduced the 750 engine with the 2014 model year while the US is still using the 700.

      • Goose

        And you can get the NC750 with ABS without the DCT and without the stupid linked ABS found on the 700. The NC750 would still have finished last in this test but Honda has lost a sure NC750 sale (me) with this idiotic embargo on the improved NC.

        • denchung

          If new documents from the California Air Resources Board are any indication, it looks like American Honda will stay with the 700 engine for 2015:
          http://blog.motorcycle.com/2014/10/07/manufacturers/honda/carb-certifies-2015-honda-nc700x-still-750-engine-sight/

          • Goose

            Honda marketing slogan “Preventing sales since 1963”.

            One other thing, the 750 isn’t just a bigger engine, the new bike is better in nearly every way. Besides the bigger motor and ABS without the DCT you also get an improved transmission, better instruments, improved seat, second balance shaft, etc. for a few hundred dollars more. I’ve read Honda’s logic is the 750 will cost more. That didn’t seem to bother them when they raised the price of the 700 by $800 without making any improvements. They’ve about driven this customer away.

          • American Honda is a little bit stupid sometimes. And then sometimes they do the right thing, like bringing the VFR800/Interceptor to the US. How well did that sell?

          • Goose

            Honda marketing slogan “Preventing sales since 1963”.

            One other thing, the 750 isn’t just a bigger engine, the new bike is better in nearly every way. Besides the bigger motor and ABS without the DCT you also get an improved transmission, better instruments, improved seat, second balance shaft, etc. for a few hundred dollars more. I’ve read Honda’s logic is the 750 will cost more. That didn’t seem to bother them when they raised the price of the 700 by $800 without making any improvements. They’ve about driven this customer away.

  • DickRuble

    Who in the riding group weighs 270lbs? Needs to trade the motorcycle for a bicycle and the doritos for some soy beans.

    • Yea he does!

      • john burns

        250 of it is heart though. Other 19 lbs 12 oz of brains. Rest reproductive organs.

        • Still a good three ounces more than your own bitter little man.

    • Chris_in_Kalifornia

      So I don’t see your picture up there. I was 360 pounds for a long time but I rode anyway. Reasons aren’t important, Your bigotry is not acceptable. Tried everything to lose weight. Gastric Bypass finally allowed me to lose 130 pounds and keep it off but some can’t even do that. It’s not always the person’s fault. Depression era parents who force you to eat everything on your plate gives you a pretty permanent eating habit. I’m GLAD they have someone on there who can give a perspective from a heavier person.

  • Kenneth

    Thanks for the thoughtful and comprehensive review, MO, of widely-appealing bikes for the cost-conscious (I will be new bike shopping next spring). The only missing ingredient for me is — not here yet: The new Versys 650. ‘Anxiously awaiting that coming review. By the way, I appreciate a straight-on, side-view photo of each tested bike with a normally-sized rider mounted, to see its ergonomics.

    • DickRuble

      Normally-sized? Where? I didn’t see any of those..

  • Old MOron

    After all the excitement of Intermot, I was kind of having withdrawals.
    MO comes through in MO style! – fluttering mutton chops, tender buttocks, and all.
    Highly informative and very entertaining at the same time. Well done, MO.
    I can’t wait to see these bikes at the Long Beach show.

  • Reid

    The FZ-07 is unquestionably the best bike in the test, given the price. The Duke is just too expensive. If its pricing were in-line with the FZ (even FZ-09, for that matter), I strongly believe it would win this test.

    • DickRuble

      though the Duke is what I’d rather ride in town…

      • Reid

        The Duke is an exceptionally good bike. I bought one. It wasn’t cheap though lol

        • DickRuble

          Post a picture..

  • BTRDAYZ

    Congrats to the Duke 690 for it’s runner up finish. It’s my favorite bike of the group because KTM extracted maximum power from a single cylinder. Also, it’s the most expensive, but it has the most attractive frame. So much so that KTM doesn’t resort to the cheesy trick of trying to hide the frame beneath plastic molded to look like an alloy frame (God, I hate that!!!).

    Hope you bring back the Duke and FZ to test alongside the Ducati Scrambler when it arrives!

  • Andrew Capone

    I really want a lusty thumper in the fleet, and the Duke is the obvious choice. I’d have to repaint the thing, KTM psychedelia doesn’t do it for me. But I really dig that thing.

  • Luke

    Even thought I’m not as heavy, I appreciate the comments from the bigger guy in the field. It might be a good idea to list the height weight of all the reviewers. I’m 200lbs, and 6’1″ and I sometimes feel like most motorcycle reviewers are a good 5 inches shorter and 50lbs. lighter.

    • Ditto. I’m 6′, 240lbs WITHOUT gear. Seems like many reviewers are light/thin and height-challenged? Is that the right way to say that? I dunno.

      • Chris_in_Kalifornia

        I wish I was 6′ and 240. I’m 5’6″ 240 also without gear. And I lost a bunch too. Loved my 04 Vstrom. I’d rather have a brand new 04 Vstrom than any of these.

  • Old MOron

    Okay, I finally watched the video. Well done, gents.

  • Backroad Bob

    “even the losers are winners”. Sounds like the New America. JB, you’re a classic. More, please.

  • Paul Cypert

    As an aside dealerships were practically giving last year’s Dukes away. Around 6K OTD was not unheard of….

  • Chris_in_Kalifornia

    What the NC700 needs is a supercharger. Hmm. I wonder if a big smog pump off a late 70’s luxury barge would work…

    I saw a supercharged GL1200 Honda a long time ago, built by a machinist. Looked stock, wickedly fast.

  • DCGULL01

    This just validates my theory that the FZ-07 is the everything bike for everyman (and woman!). I love the comparison though- it really shows how choppy this market segment is- proving that every manufacturer is aiming for a slice-rather than the whole pie! Like Suzuki’s SV- Yamaha’s FZ-07 will still be in the hunt in over 10 years, when the current crop is tested again. Middle-aged buyers (silent majority that have/spend money) have been ignored until the “lil’ Yamaha that could”, but, now we can do what we do: do our own services, and- tinker with accessories, like we love too. This will change, highlight- elevate this segment- and, all manufacturers will want some- so, our world is going to get better and better for the next few years!