Bikes we love

What I want: Honda NC700X

Pictured is the DCT model. (Note the missing clutch lever)
I think I’d prefer the manual version.

It’s nowhere near as sexy as a Bonneville or Speedmaster. That’s true. It’s unlikely to be the sort of machine that would result in having to fight off the ladies. But still, it has something. A kind of geek cool, perhaps? The sexiness of efficiency and reliability.

Whatever the case, the NC700X still manages to tick that all-important box of putting a big grin on my face. It is a bike that’s been on my wish list from pretty much the beginning of this whole obsessive episode –– in part because I’ve never seen it given a bad review. Sure, it occasionally gets labeled as slightly dull, but the articles all seem to agree that it is efficient and effective. The NC700X is capable of doing just about everything pretty well.
It gets upward of 60 mpg (1), it can actually hold its own against proper adventure bikes, it has more storage than any other motorcycle I know, and it has the respectability and presumed reliability that comes from being a Honda. This is the sort of thing that is infinitely appealing to a new rider: a reliable, predictable bike that can do a little bit of everything. A perfect fit because a new rider doesn’t yet really know what he or she wants to do.

I mentioned in my previous post that I got a chance to see the NC700X in the flesh recently. It looked a little bit cooler in real life than in pictures, has a comfortable seat and a more natural riding position than on the CBF600 to which I’ve grown accustomed. But the thing that really struck me was how light it was.

Or, rather, how light it felt. The machine weighs in at roughly 218kg (480lbs), which is some 20kg (44lbs) heavier than the CBF600. But it feels so much different. The weight is low in the frame, so when you sit on the thing you can shift the bike from thigh to thigh as easily as you would a 125. It is amazing!

There are a handful of low-mileage used NC700X bikes out there, so if/when I finally come across the money (2) it’s a good bet this will be my first bike. True, it does not quite match the image of motorcycling that I seem to love (check my Tumblr and I’m usually posting videos of bearded dudes riding greasy old bikes or hipster Harleys). Rather than blue jeans and a leather jacket I might look more the part wearing a Roadcrafter. But I’m pretty sure I’d still feel cool. Maybe I’d keep a few Kriega bags strapped to the thing at all times to communicate to the world: “Hey! I’m on an adventure!”

Because, in a way, I always would be.

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(1) CycleWorld managed 73 mpg on their non-DCT version.

(2) And actually pass my Mod 2 exam.