By: IOL Motoring Staff
When we first rode Honda's NC700X crossover, we said it combined the best of motorcycle and scooter features in an impressively fuel-efficient package - after all, two consecutive outright wins on the RFS Econorun are difficult to argue with - but that its power output was more akin to that of a 650cc single-cylinder plonker than a 670cc parallel twin.
Well, apparently we weren't the only ones to say so; Honda has extended its NC range with the addition of a new, big-bore version - the NC750X, launched this week in South Africa in both manual and dual-clutch transmission formats.
The NC-series long-stroke twin parallel twin (widely thought to be half a Honda Jazz car engine!) has been bored out 4mm to 77mm x 80mm (still undersquare but less so than previously) for 745cc of swept volume, improving power and torque throughout the rev-range - and legitimately conferring upon the owner bragging rights to a genuine 'seven-fifty'.
Quoted peaks are up from 38.1 to 40.3kW at 6250 revs and from 62 to 68Nm at 4750rpm, and overall gearing is taller - six percent on the conventional 'box, six percent from first to fifth and three percent in top on the DCT auto, which also has updated software to make its operation more intuitive - as well as standard-fit anti-lock braking.
A second balancer shaft damps out buzzy secondary vibration without affecting the distinct thump of the 270-degree crankshaft architecture; Japan Inc has long since learned that riders prefer to be able to feel that there is really something happening in the engine room.
On the same note (if you'll pardon the pun) the muffler has revised internals to reduce the backpressure of the bigger engine pulses, for a 'more characterful' beat.
Why is it that no bikemaker on the planet will come straight out and say that loud pipes not only save lives but also make the bike more fun to ride?
Honda also claims better numbers for both acceleration and top speed, which we'll take under advisement until we've taken an NC750X down our notorious Six-Kay Straight.
As on the earlier models MT gives full manual control, allowing the rider to shift with the handlebar buttons. Automatic D mode is meant for hassle-free commuting traffic as well as open-road cruising and is set up to return optimum fuel efficiency.
Automatic S mode is sportier, with upgraded software and operating logic on the 750 allowing the engine to rev a little higher before shifting up, and shifting down earlier on the overrun for extra engine braking.
Honda quotes average fuel consumption of 3.46 litres per 100km. Noting that we recorded 4.58 litres per 100km on the manual NC700X and 4.06 on its dual-clutch Integra stablemate (although that was in the hothouse conditions of the RFS Econorun) we'll get back to you on that one.
The seat of the NC750X is trimmed in a new 'extra grip' material that reduces bum-slide, the brake lever is now six-way adjustable for span and the digital dashboard now includes a gear-position indicator as well as 'instant' and 'average' fuel-consumption displays.
Honda's media release also makes mention of dual-purpose tyres, although what purpose that would serve on a bike with absolutely no soft-road pretensions is beyond us, and Honda's official photo's show a bike wearing 17” semi-slick sports rubber.
Kerb weight is 219kg (up five kilograms on the 700) with the dual-clutch transmission adding another 10kg weight penalty. The NC750X is available in metallic silver, black, pearl white and candy apple red.
NC750X - R74 990
NC750X DCT - R75 990
Engine: 745cc liquid-cooled parallel twin.
Bore x stroke: 77 x 80mm.
Compression ratio: 10.7:1.
Valvegear: SOHC with four overhead valves per cylinder.
Power: 40.3kW at 6250rpm.
Torque: 68Nm at 4750rpm.
Induction: PGM-FI electronic fuel-injection with one 36mm throttle body.
Ignition: Computer-controlled digital transistorised with electronic advance.
Clutch: Cable-operated multiplate wet clutch (DCT: Dual automatic wet multip[late clutches).
Transmission: Six-speed constant-mesh gearbox with final drive by chain.
Front Suspension: 41mm conventional cartridge forks, non-adjustable.
Rear Suspension: Pro-link with monoshock adjustable for preload.
Front brakes: 320mm petal disk with Nissin twin-piston floating calliper.
Rear brake: 240mm petal disk with Nissin single-piston floating calliper.
Front tyre: 120/70 - 17 tubeless.
Rear tyre: 160/60 - 17 tubeless.
Seat height: 830mm.
Kerb weight: 219kg (DCT: 229kg).
Fuel tank: 14.1 litres.
Fuel consumption (claimed): 3.46 litres per 100km.
Warranty: Two years, unlimited distance.
Service intervals: 12 000km.
Price: R74 990 (DCT: R84 990).