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Honda NC700X: new take on all-rounder

Published Feb 24, 2012


Never mind that there are scooters out there that will out-drag a Ferrari and hit 160km/h (the old “ton”) with contemptuous ease, there is still a whole generation of riders for whom any two-wheeler with a hole in the middle is for wusses.

For those guys - and any rider who'd like to see motorcycles picking up on the practical advantages of the scooter layout - Honda has designed the NC700X, an typically middle-of-the-road Honda take on combining scooter simplicity and storage with “real motorbike” architecture and performance.

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Rationalising that scooters are used mostly for going to work and back, the Big Red Aitch has pitched this one straight at the commuter market - by which it may be doing itself a disservice, because this thing could just turn out to be a classic all-rounder.

It all starts with the engine, as always - in this case a compact, steeply inclined, long-stroke 670cc parallel twin, tuned for a lean-burning, economical 38.1kW at 6250 revs and 60Nm at 4750rpm, while achieving a quoted 3.6 litres per 100km.

We'll take that last figure under advisement; fuel-consumption claims that sound too good to be true, usually are.

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Both inlet and exhaust ports are siamesed so it has only one 36mm throttle body and one exhaust system and, wherever possible, components have more than one job - for example, single overhead camshaft drives the water pump and the oil pump is on the end of the balancer shaft.

All of which reaches the back wheel via a very conventional wet clutch, six-speed constant-mesh gearbox and chain final drive - simply because no more efficient method has yet been devised, although it must be said that toothed-belt final drive a la Harley is so much cleaner and more elegant I would have expected to see it in this application.

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The engine sits in a tubular-steel diamond frame, with real-bike-sized 17” rims and decent rubber (120/70 front, 160/60 rear), modulated by 41mm conventional forks and a Pro-Link monoshock rear suspension set-up - which should give it a substantial handling advantage over even maxi-scooters such as the Gilera GP800 and the attitudinous Yamaha T-Max.


Borrowing from the popularity of dual-purpose and motard-styled machines, the NC700X has an upright seating position and relatively wide handlebars, for commanding visibility and agility in traffic, and a tall narrow screen for comfort at cruising speeds.

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But this is where it gets really interesting: the 14.1-litre fuel tank is under the seat, while the dummy tank is taken up by a 5.3-litre air-box and a lockable storage compartment big enough, says Honda, to hold a rainsuit or small rucksack while you're riding, or a full-face helmet while you're not, putting the NC700X on a par with most scooters for sheer, everyday practicality.

Honda describes the styling as “crossover” - a term that's been so misused by the car guys that we refuse to apply it to motorcycles; suffice it to say the NC700X blends off-road ergonomics with smooth street-bike contours.


At R64 999, however, it does promise a relaxed, comfortable ride, whether in traffic or weekending in the country, with enough power that you'll never be bored. We've been promised one on test soon; we'll tell you more about the NC700X - and in particular whether it lives up to Honda's fuel-consumption claims - when we've ridden it for a week or so.


Engine:670cc liquid-cooled four-stroke parallel twin.

Bore x stroke:73 x 80mm.

Compression ratio:10.7:1.

Valvegear: SOHC with four overhead valves per cylinder.

Power:381.kW at 6250rpm.

Torque:60Nm at 4750rpm.

Induction: PGM-FI electronic fuel-injection with 36mm throttle body.

Ignition: Computer-controlled digital transistorised with electronic advance.

Starting: Electric.

Clutch: Cable-operated multiplate wet clutch.

Transmission: Six-speed constant-mesh gearbox with final drive by chain.

Front Suspension:41mm conventional cartridge forks.

Rear Suspension: Pro-Link with monoshock, adjustable for preload.

Front brakes:300mm petal disc with twin-piston floating calliper.

Rear brake:240mm petal disc with single-piston floating calliper.

Front tyre:120/70 - 17 tubeless.

Rear tyre:160/60 - 17 tubeless.


Seat height:830mm.

Kerb weight:218kg.

Fuel tank:14 litres.

Fuel consumption(claimed): 3.6 litres per 100km at 120km/h.

Price: R64 999.

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