2021 Honda NC750X First Look
Dang, it sounds like Honda has given one of my personal favorites a little more of everything that makes it a favorite: More power, more rpm, outstanding fuel efficiency (up to 66 mpg), 13 fewer pounds of weight, a bigger storage compartment, lower seat height, sharper styling, ride modes, a slipper clutch for the 6-speed version – and the automatic Dual Clutch Trans is still an option, which gives the NC really all the best features of a motorcycle and a scooter. Which makes it interesting that Honda categorizes it as an Adventure motorcycle (where the current NC’s price is $8,099 in the US).
Never a big seller in the US, Honda says the NC750X has enjoyed consistent popularity throughout Europe since its 2012 introduction (as NC700X). Its “ground-breaking, torque-laden, fuel-sipping twin-cylinder engine, a relaxed, roomy riding position with wide handlebars and comfortable seat, compliant suspension and distinctive adventure styling are all part of its success,” says Honda. Also, the storage compartment (where the fuel tank would normally be), capable of holding a full-face helmet and Honda’s unique Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT), which over half of European customers chose in 2019.
For 2014, the NC gained 75cc, going from 670 to 745cc; for 2016 a new more adventurous aesthetic, new instruments, DCT upgrades and LED lighting were added; for 2018 two-level Honda Selectable Torque Control and a less powerful, 47-horsepower version was introduced for licensing purposes.
Now for 2021, Honda says it’s building on the NC’s core strengths of practicality, do-it-all comfort and handling composure, improving all three.
Honda Press Release:
Two kW more peak power (2.7 hp) for the NC750X’s EURO5-spec engine, plus an extra 600r pm to the redline are the headline changes, thanks to work on valve timing and intake/exhaust efficiency. Shorter ratios for first, second and third gears smarten response while a slipper clutch reduces lever load and keeps the ride smooth on rapid downshifts.
Throttle By Wire (TBW) brings with it adjustable engine character through 3 default rider modes – RAIN, STANDARD and SPORT plus a customizable USER mode. Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC) now has a finer level of input over 3 levels, while the Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) option features Automatic shifting schedules that integrate with the riding modes, as well as USER control.
The other attention-grabber is the 6kg (13 lb) weight loss, thanks to a new frame and detail improvements around the engine and bodywork. There’s also a sharper, more minimalist edge to the bodywork, with fresh style for both LED headlight, taillight and rear indicators, while the redesigned storage space grows in volume and usability. Seat height is reduced 30mm, the screen offers more wind protection and a new LCD dash is an attractive addition.
The 2021 NC750X will be available in the following colour options: Grand Prix Red,Mat Ballistic Black Metallic, Pearl Glare White, Glint Wave Blue Metallic
- Throttle By Wire and an extra 3kW peak power: 43.1kW (58 hp) with 69Nm (51 ft-lb) torque
- Shorter first three gear ratios for sportier feel, plus an extra 600 rpm to the redline
- Slipper clutch reduces lever load 20%, manages rear wheel on down changes
- EURO5 compliant, with 28.3km/l (66.6 mpg) possible (WMTC mode)
- 35kW A2 licence version available
The design of the NC750X’s liquid-cooled, SOHC 8-valve parallel twin-cylinder engine ensures punchy performance in the low-to-mid range. Its relatively long-stroke architecture and specially shaped combustion chamber combine with the high-inertial mass crankshaft to produce large amounts of effortless torque from very low rpm. A forward cant brings the centre of gravity down for optimum stability. Through the course of its 2021 update it is now 1.2kg lighter than before.
Also for 2021, thanks to a finely balanced delay to valve timing (which also now differs between the two cylinders), plus addition of Throttle By Wire (TBW) and improvements to the exhaust, the engine makes more power and revs harder for longer to the new 7,000rpm redline. Alongside the power hike it holds onto an increased torque output for longer above 5,000rpm.
Peak power is raised 3kW to 43.1kW (58 hp) @ 6,750rpm, with maximum torque of 69Nm (51 ft-lb) @ 4,750rpm. Hand in hand with the performance hike are shorter gear ratios over first, second and third gears (for both manual and DCT) improving standing start and roll-on acceleration through each gear. From 30 km/h (19 mph) the NC750X will cover 20m in 1.7s and 50m in 3.2s; at 60km/h (37 mph) the engine is turning at just 2,500rpm. Fourth, fifth and sixth gears are now slightly taller, for maximum fuel efficiency.
For A2 licence holders a 35kW version is available, which can be easily converted to the full power version by a Honda dealer at the appropriate time. Equally, it is also possible to restrict the full power version to 35kW at a Honda dealer by replacing the standard throttle body and remapping the ECU.
Twin balancers counteract vibration from higher rpm inertia, for an engine that is not only smooth-running, but has a distinctive ‘throb’ thanks to its 270° crank and uneven firing intervals. Bore and stroke is set at 77 x 80mm. Where possible, components are made to do more than one job: the camshaft drives the water pump, while one of the balancer shafts drives the oil pump. By keeping the number of parts to a minimum in this way, the engine is kept light, efficient and reliable.
The addition of a slipper clutch for 2021 reduces lever load by 20% and manages rear-wheel lock up under fast down changes of the manual 6-speed gearbox while decelerating.
A lightweight pentagon-shaped muffler uses two chambers joined by a hole-punched link pipe, which works with a final resonator chamber to create a deep, distinctive sound and exhaust pulse. The built-in catalyser has a two-layer structure for cleaner emissions.
The NC750X engine sips fuel – with a measured consumption of 28.3km/l (66.6 mpg)(WMTC mode) providing a near 400km (249 miles) range from the 14.1-litre (3.7 gallon) underseat fuel tank – and is now EURO5 compliant.
- Throttle By Wire delivers 3 default riding modes, plus USER customisation
- Honda Selectable Torque Control features much finer control, and 3 levels of intervention
With TBW now managing engine performance and character there are 3 modes for the rider to choose from for various riding conditions. Mode selection is managed between the left-hand switchgear and the LCD display.
SPORT gives more aggressive delivery of engine power and braking, with low HSTC intervention and DCT mode 4.
RAIN delivers engine power and braking least aggressively, has high HSTC intervention and Level 1 for the DCT shift pattern.
STANDARD delivers a balanced middle point for engine power delivery, engine braking and HSTC intervention, plus mode 2 for the DCT.
USER offers custom options of low/medium/high for delivery of engine power and engine braking, low/medium/high/off for HSTC, and four different shift patterns for DCT.
Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC) is fitted as standard on both the manual and DCT NC750X. It now offers much softer, finer control as it manages rear wheel torque thanks to TBW, over 3 levels as opposed to 2:
Level 1 allows the minimum intervention for some rear wheel spin – on gravel or dirt for instance, and its level of control is reduced from the previous design.
Level 2 is the default setting and provides confidence-inspiring traction for general riding conditions.
Level 3 provides maximum control for slippery roads.
HSTC can also be switched OFF.
3.3 Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT)
- Differing shifting schedules employed depending on riding mode selected
- USER mode allows choice of 4 settings
- Adaptive Clutch Capability Control gives natural feel
Having arrived on the market on the VFR1200F in 2010, Honda’s unique-in-motorcycling DCT technology is now in its eleventh year of production. Over 140,000 DCT-equipped motorcycles have been sold in Europe since introduction, and 52% of customers chose the DCT option for the NC750X in 2019.
The ‘easy and direct’ DCT technology delivers consistent, seamless gear changes up or down and very quickly becomes second nature in use. It uses two clutches: one for start-up and 1st, 3rd and 5th gears: the other for 2nd, 4th and 6th, with the mainshaft for each clutch located inside the other for compact packaging.
Each clutch is independently controlled by its own electro-hydraulic circuit. When a gear change occurs, the system pre-selects the target gear using the clutch not currently in use. The first clutch is then electronically disengaged as, simultaneously, the second clutch engages.
The result is a consistent, fast and seamless gear change. Furthermore, as the twin clutches transfer drive from one gear to the next with minimal interruption of the drive to the rear wheel, any gear change shock and pitching of the machine is negligible, making the change feel direct as well as smooth. Extra benefits include durability (as the gears cannot be damaged by missing a gear) impossibility of stalling, low stress urban riding, reduced rider fatigue, and extra ‘brain space’ to concentrate more on all other aspects of riding.
With the DCT gearbox, the rider may choose Manual mode, using paddle-style triggers on the left handlebar to change gear, or Automatic mode. In Automatic mode for the NC750X, 4 different shifting schedules operate, with 3 defaults: Level 1 is the most relaxed, and is used within RAIN mode; Levels 2 and 4 shift up at higher rpm and are linked with STANDARD and SPORT riding modes.
Within the USER riding mode, a fourth DCT shift pattern – between those for STANDARD and SPORT in terms of ‘aggressiveness’ can be chosen.
Adaptive Clutch Capability Control is a feature of the NC750X’s DCT and manages the amount of clutch torque transmitted. This adds a natural ‘feathered’ clutch feel when opening or shutting off the throttle for a smoother ride.
Styling & Equipment
- Sharper, more aggressively minimal styling
- New LED headlight/taillight, indicators and LCD display
- New screen improves wind and weather protection
- Larger 23L (6.1 gallon) storage space now holds an adventure-style full-face helmet
The NC750X features a sharpened identity thanks to redrawn, smaller upper and lower fairings accentuated by the muscular fuel tank. A new LED headlight and running lights form a strong frontal signature.
Improving wind and weather protection, the screen is also new. The side panels and side covers are slimmer and, along with the svelte seat unit, are underlined by the exhaust muffler, further emphasising the mass-forward stance. A redesigned LED taillight mirrors the front beam and is matched with LED indicators.
A unique NC feature – the storage area where traditionally the fuel tank sits – increases in volume by 1L to 23L (6.1 gallon) and in the process saves 1kg (2.2 lb); its revised internal shape will now hold an adventure style helmet easily. The lid exterior features rugged external rails – useful for mounting a tank bag. The lid’s interior has four hooks to allow rubber straps to assist in organising luggage and make best use of all of the space. New for 2021 is the option to mount a USB-C socket, tucked away on the upper left.
Also new is the full-color LCD dash, which allows management of the riding modes through the selection switch on the left handlebar. The rear indicators now have an Emergency Stop Signal (ESS) function: at a minimum speed of 53km/h (33 mph), with either brake working if negative acceleration of a minimum of 6.0m/s2 is detected, the hazard lights flash to warn other road users a hard stop is in process. At the same speed the threshold is reduced with ABS in play – for wet conditions – to a negative acceleration of a minimum 2.5m/s2.
The indicators also auto-cancel; rather than using a simple timer, the system compares front and rear wheel speed difference and calculates when to cancel the indication relative to the situation.
A ‘wave’ key features the Honda Ignition Security System (HISS). If the ID chip embedded in the key and the ID in the Engine Control Unit (ECU) do not match, the engine will not start.
- Revised tubular steel diamond frame saves weight and makes space
- Kerb weight a full 6kg (13 lb) lighter
- Seat height 30mm (1.2 inch) lower
- Shorter travel 41mm Showa Dual Bending Valve front fork and Pro-Link rear monoshock, spring preload adjustable
For an invisible – but major – advance of the NC750X’s chassis Honda’s development engineers started with the tubular steel diamond frame and, through a careful redesign (using varying tube thicknesses and weight) not only saved 1.8kg (4 lb) over the previous model but also freed up more useful space for the storage compartment by relocating the battery and redesigning the airbox. Detail work in all areas of the chassis contributed 1.2kg (2.6 lb) of weight saving.
Rake remains 27° with trail of 110mm (4.3 in), wheelbase of 1,525mm (60.0 in)(1,535mm DCT) and front/rear weight distribution of 48/52. Kerb weight is 214kg (472 lb) (224kg/494 lb DCT), 6kg lighter. Seat height is also 30mm lower, at 800mm (31.5 in).
The riding position is upright and neutral, with a high viewpoint for enhanced hazard perception. Another advantage of this adventure-style riding position is great low-speed control – combined with the low centre of gravity and generous steering lock, the result is exceptional low-speed handling and balance.
A lower seat height has been achieved by a slight reduction in suspension travel. The 41mm telescopic forks now employ 120mm (4.7 in) (from 153.5mm) travel and use Showa Dual Bending Valves, with ratios optimized for both compression and rebound damping. This allows the generation of damping force in precise proportion to piston speed – from the low speed range – improving ride quality and comfort.
The rear monoshock features a spring preload adjuster system with 120mm (4.7 in) travel, from 150mm. It operates through Pro-Link that offers an optimized balance of a soft initial stroke, for dealing with low-speed bumps, together with excellent control.
Up front the 320mm wavy disc and two-piston brake caliper deliver plenty of easy-to-modulate stopping power, complemented by the rear 240mm wavy disc and single-piston caliper. Lightweight two-channel ABS provides powerful and confident braking even on slippery or wet road surfaces.
Cast aluminum front and rear wheels – sizes 17 x 3.50-inch and 17 x 4.50-inch – wear 120/70 ZR17 and 160/60 ZR17 tires. Forged aluminum L-shaped rim valves make checking and adjusting air pressure easier.
A full range of Honda Genuine Accessories are available for the NC750X and include:
USB-C charging point for the internal storage area
Resin rear rack
38L / 50L top box with aluminum/color matched insert option
Panniers – right 26L/32L, left 33L with aluminum/color matched insert option
Side protector bars finished in Metallic Silver
2021 Honda NC750X Specifications
|Liquid-cooled 4-stroke 8-valve, SOHC parallel 2-cylinder. EURO5 compliant.
|Bore & Stroke
|77mm x 80mm
|Max. Power Output
|57.8 hp at 6,750rpm
|50.9 lb-ft. at 4,750rpm
|PGM-FI electronic fuel injection
|Fuel Tank Capacity
|MT：Wet multiplate clutch
DCT: Wet multiplate hydraulic 2-clutch
|MT: 6-speed Manual Transmission
DCT: 6-speed Dual Clutch Transmission
|Diamond; steel pipe
|41mm telescopic fork, 4.7 inches of travel
|Monoshock damper, Pro-Link swingarm, 4.7 inches of travel
|17M/C x MT3.50, multi-spoke cast aluminum
|17M/C x MT4.50, multi-spoke cast aluminum
|320mm single wavy hydraulic disc with 2-piston caliper and sintered metal pads
|240mm single wavy hydraulic disc with single-piston caliper and resin mold pads
|ABS System Type
|87.0 inches x 33.3 inches x 52.4 inches
|MT: 471.8 pounds (claimed)
DCT: 493.8 pounds (claimed)
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