The NC700X – launched two years ago as a brand new model, part of a 3-bike platform – has achieved an impressive level of sales, becoming one of the best selling motorcycles in Europe. Its combination of torque-laden parallel twin-cylinder engine, frugal fuel economy and tough adventure-style chassis, riding position and looks has won it recognition from thousands of customers as a superb, stylish do-it-all tool.
Launched as a Fun Crossover Commuter concept from Honda, loaded with a great deal of fresh thinking and new technologies, its sheer all-round competence – with convenient details like helmet storage space where the fuel tank would normally be – made it a truly useful motorcycle both for day-to-day living and weekend touring. For 2014, Honda has added to its range the NC750X – a bike designed to offer more of what every rider liked about the original, and nothing less.
A larger 745cc engine capacity gives the NC750X more power and torque throughout the entire rev-range, whilst delivering the pride in ownership of a full 750cc motorcycle. The gearing is taller but acceleration and top speed are both improved, while the addition of twin-balancer shafts and new exhaust muffler ensure a smooth yet characterful engine feel.
Additional instrumentation, plus a span-adjustable brake lever, 2-channel ABS, revised seat material and off-road pattern tyres round out the updates. Still affordable to buy and run – and still made in Japan – the NC750X offers high build quality and the option of Honda’s unique Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) six-speed gearbox. The DCT itself has received software updates and offers an even more intuitive riding experience. Over the last two years the NC700X has proved itself a unique and compelling two-wheeled proposition – and the NC750X is even better.
An extra 75cc capacity has been added to the liquid-cooled, SOHC 8-valve parallel twin-cylinder engine thanks to a bore increased 4mm to 77mm. Stroke remains at 80mm, as does compression ratio of 10.7:1. Peak power is boostedto 40.3kW @ 6,250rpm with maximum torque of 68Nm @ 4,750rpm. Both power and torque curves are considerably stronger throughout the entire rev-range.
The design of the NC750Xengine ensures punchy performance in the low-to-mid range. Its relatively long-stroke architecture and specially shaped combustion chambers combine with the high-inertial mass crankshaft to produce large amounts of effortless torque from very low rpm. In addition, for 2014 Honda’s engineers have added an extra balancer shaft to inject the engine with just the right amount of ‘good’ vibration. The effect of the twin balancers is to counteract vibration from higher rpm inertia, making the engine feel more refined, yet still with the distinct “throb” delivered by its 270° firing order. A new muffler design with revised internals to regulate back pressure due to the capacity increase further adds to the riding experience, with a more characterful beat and exhaust note.
The overall gearing is now 6% taller, giving increased top speed and more relaxed highway cruising; another effect of the taller gearing is to broaden the usable rpm range relative to road speed For those choosing the DCT option – 34% in the first nine months of 2013 – the gearing is 6% taller across 1st to 5th gears, and 3% taller in 6th.
There are other benefits to the NC750X’s innovative engine configuration. It is both practical and efficient in terms of layout, freeing up space within the body of the motorcycle – thus making room for the large storage compartment, capable of taking a full-face helmet. By keeping the number of parts to a minimum, the engine is kept light (it weighs 62.4kg, 69.2kg in DCT form), efficient and reliable. There is just one 36mm throttle body and 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.
Thanks to extensive stoichiometric analysis during development the engine is always fed the exact fuel/air ratio required for a complete and clean burn at all rpm in any riding situation. Fuel consumption of 28.9km/l (WMTC mode) is particularly impressive and goes a long way toward making the NC750X inexpensive to run day-to-day. It also extracts a 400km plus range from the 14.1-litre underseat fuel tank. The clean combustion also minimises harmful exhaust gas emissions; PGM-FI fuel injection system supplies the optimum amount of fuel/air mixture thanks to an oxygen sensor in the exhaust. A revised high-absorption catalyser is located close to the engine – as a result the catalyst reaches operating temperature quickly after a cold start, further reducing emissions.
Available as an option on the NC750X, Honda’s second-generation DCT gearbox offers a unique combination of direct riding feel and ease of use. A world first for motorcycles when launched on the VFR1200F in 2010, it delivers consistent, seamless gear changes, and very quickly becomes second nature in use. The system 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 minimized, making the change feel direct as well as smooth.
With extra benefits such as durability (as the gears cannot be damaged by missing a gear), impossibility of stalling, low stress urban riding, and reduced rider fatigue, DCT has seen increasing acceptance in the market: 34% of NC700X customers chose the DCT option across Europe in the first nine months of 2013, compared with 20% in the whole of 2012. Three modes of operation are available. MT mode gives full manual control, allowing the rider to shift with the handlebar trigger control buttons. Automatic D mode is ideal for city and highway riding, and achieves optimum fuel efficiency. Automatic S mode is sportier and the ECU lets the engine rev a little higher before shifting up, giving greater performance. It also shifts down sooner when decelerating for extra engine braking.
In either D or S mode DCT offers immediate manual intervention if required – the rider simply selects the required gear using the up and down shift triggers. At an appropriate time DCT seamlessly reverts back to automatic mode, depending on throttle angle, vehicle speed and gear position. Furthermore, in “D” mode, the DCT system detects variations in rider input typical to certain environments, from busy urban streets to mountain switchbacks, and adapts its gear change schedule accordingly to create an extra level of riding compatibility. For the NC750X, upgrades to the software and operating logic ensure an even more intuitive system; downshifts in D and S mode happen earlier for a more responsive feel and extra engine braking, making corner entry natural. Kick down is also smoother thanks to faster gear changes.
The NC750X’s rugged steel diamond frame delivers the high levels of rigidity required for agile, responsive handling in a variety of conditions. It’s also ideal where space is at a premium, since it takes up very little volume but offers superb riding dynamics. Rake is set at 27° with trail of 110mm, wheelbase of 1,540mm and front/rear weight distribution of 48/52. Kerb weight is 219kg (229kg DCT).
Seat height is 830mm and the seat itself features a new cover for improved grip. The riding position is upright and neutral, with a high viewpoint for enhanced hazard perception; the addition of a 6-position span-adjustable brake lever for 2014 adds adaptability. Another advantage of this adventure-style riding position is great low-speed control – combined with the low center of gravity and 35 degree steering lock, the result is exceptional low-speed handling and balance. And thanks to a carefully shaped fairing the NC750X is equally comfortable when cruising at speed; the windscreen and bodywork divert wind around the rider, minimizing fatigue. 41mm telescopic forks feature 153.5mm stroke. The rear monoshock has 150mm travel and operates through Pro-Link which offers an optimised balance of a soft initial stroke, for dealing with low-speed bumps, together with excellent control.
The front 320mm wavy disc and two-piston brake caliper offer plenty of easy to modulate stopping power, complemented by the rear 240mm wavy disc and single-piston caliper. Lightweight two-channel ABS – fitted as standard equipment –greatly reduces the chance of wheel lock-ups on slippery or wet road surfaces.Cast aluminium front and rear wheels – sizes 17 x 3.50-inch and 17 x 4.50-inch – wear 120/70 ZR17 and 160/60 ZR17 tyres. The clear and easy-to-read instrument display features a digital speedometer, digital bar-type tachometer, clock, bar-type fuel meter and two trip meters. Updates for 2014 include a gear position indicator and ‘instant’ and ‘average’ fuel consumption. The NC750X features the Honda Ignition Security System (HISS), an effective anti-theft set-up. If the ID chip embedded in the motorcycle’s key and the ID in the Engine Control Unit (ECU) do not match, the engine will not start. With this electronic inter-lock system, the engine will only fire when one of the keys with the correct ID chip is used. Also, even if attempts are made to hot-wire the engine, or substitute the ignition switch module because it’s the ECU that’s in control the engine will not start.
The NC750X will be available in the following color options:
- Sword Silver Metallic
- Graphite Black
- Matt Pearl Glare White
- Candy Arcadian Red
Honda NC750X Technical Specifications
- Engine Type: Liquid-cooled 4-stroke 8-valve, SOHC parallel 2-cylinder
- Displacement: 745cc
- Bore*Stroke: 77mm x 80mm
- Compression Ratio: 10.7 : 1
- Max. Power Output: 40.3kW @ 6,250rpm (95/1/EC)
- Max. Torque: 68Nm @ 4,750rpm (95/1/EC)
- Oil Capacity: MT : 3.7L, DCT : 4.1L
- Fuel system: PGM-FI electronic fuel injection
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 14.1 litres
- Fuel Consumption: MT: 28.9km/l (WMTC mode)
- DCT: 28.9km/l (WMTC mode-Tested in D-Mode)
- Starter: Electric
- Battery Capacity: 12V/11.2AH
- MT : 420W/5000rpm
- DCT : 450W/5000rpm
- Clutch Type: MT-Wet multiplate hydraulic clutch: DCT-Wet multiplate hydraulic 2-clutch
- Transmission: MT- 6-speed Manual Transmission, DCT- 6-speed Dual Clutch Transmission
- Final Drive:Chain
- Frame Type: Diamond; steel pipe
- Dimensions (L´W´H): 2210mm x 840mm x 1285mm
- Wheelbase: 1540 mm
- Caster Angle: 27°
- Trail: 110mm
- Seat Height: 830mm
- Ground Clearance: 165mm (minimum)
- Kerb Weight:MT- 219kg, DCT- 229kg
- Suspension Front: 41mm telescopic fork, 153.5mm stroke
- Suspension Type Rear: Monoshock damper, Pro-Link swingarm, 150mm travel
- Alloys Type Front: Multi-spoke cast aluminium
- Alloys Type Rear: Multi-spoke cast aluminium
- Rim Size Front: 17M/C x MT3.50
- Rim Size Rear: 17M/C x MT4.50
- Tyres Front: 120/70-ZR17M/C (58W)
- Tyres Rear: 160/60-ZR17M/C (69W)
- Brakes type Front: 320mm single wavy hydraulic disc with 2-piston caliper and sintered metal pads
- Brakes Type Rear: 240mm single wavy hydraulic disc with single-piston caliper and resin mold pads
- ABS System Type: 2-channel ABS
- Digital speedometer, digital bar-type tachometer, clock, bar-type fuel meter, two trip meters, gear position indicator, ‘instant’ and ‘average’ fuel consumption and coolant temperature warning light.
- Security System: HISS
- Headlight: 12V; 60W ´ 1 (high) / 55W ´ 1 (low)
- Taillight: 5W x 1