2012 Honda NC700X Review

The bike itself is perfectly competent. It’s comfortable, agile, well built, reliable, a typical Honda, but now with better fuel economy. But in building a bike that fulfils its remit, there’s never anything in reserve for those ‘ah, fuck it’ moments that makes biking brilliant. There are chinks of excitement, though. Yes, the motor is docile and packs up at 6,500rpm, but you can build momentum up and hit 110mph. This can get you into corners well, where the unadjustable soft suspension copes well enough with the stresses and strains of these speeds, but once you’re at the apex the fun is all over as there’s nothing to kick you out of a turn. Plenty of torque was promised, but not enough felt like it was being delivered.

But we come back to the bike’s purpose. A day spent in the hills of the Algarve was never seat-of-the-pants stuff, but filling up the bikes after a 150kph ride proved the bike’s point. It sucked just seven litres of fuel, even with the throttle cable stretched for much of the duration. It carried my rucksack in the dummy tank, and allowed my to store my lid in it at lunchtime. It kept me comfortable throughout the day. It was easy to negotiate through town, and quick enough to dispatch slower cars out in the country. The ABS provided reassurance on some still damp Portuguese roads. And it did all this while looking stylish enough and with zero hassle.

Honda hopes the NC700X will walk on water

The NC is a commuter’s dream, a newbie’s friend, a riding school workhorse, a carrot for frustrated car drivers, a mile-muncher, a hop to the shop style-piece, the first truly sensible offer for the times we live in. It is all of those things. Is it exciting? No, but don’t let that put you off.


Verdict: 6/10

The NC700X doesn’t fail – it’s the thinking behind its conception that’s flawed. It’s a radical departure, just not radical enough.

Track 4


To ferry crashed riders maybe

Fast Road 5

Sub 100mph smirks


Hooligan 2

Busy saving the planet

New Rider 9


Easy, frugal and cheap

Desirability 6

Looks better than it goes

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  1. You ask two key questions here:

    Is this the future of biking? – probably yes for the majority of bikers who really would love the exotica but whose bank accounts and marital status suggest this as the only alternative

    What about those ‘fuck it moments’? – they are few and far between in this country where the state of the roads and the likelihood of licence loss mean that only the terminally befuddled would attempt them with any regularity. Personally I would rather see many, many more bikers on the road than in court.
    Thank you for a good honest report đŸ™‚
    Peter (Cog) Clark

  2. An excellent report however, more effort from Honda please.

    Here we have a mid sized engine, designed for economy, but only reaching some 78mpg. We are now in the 21st century, where design from economy is paramount, and not a new concept. I have had over 50MPG from my Bandit 1250, and my new Versys 650 brings 55mpg. I admit, I am tight with the throttle and should I want a shot at the 10%, I would be looking at a good old RGV250 or even maybe the RD500LC. Regardless.

    Lets take a look at our 4 wheeled counterparts in this market place. The triple 1 litre from Toyota, 55mpg and thats pulling a car!. The 800cc from the Smart car….thats much more than 55mpg….much more. We have the might of Honda, creating a new solution for the fruggle rider, which brings at best, 78mpg. This is not good enough. The programme manager for the build should have stippulated high expectations. I would be looking for 120mpg…and this is not out of reach where Honda could really offer its customer, new, current, and up an coming, a true option to economical transportation. That said, if the same machine could do 120mpg, I guess the OTR price would be much more than the current NC700X, and probably out of reach of the economy driven motorist (I say motorist as this machine is trying to tease car drivens onto two wheels…..which is a great thing).

    This reminds me of my days at school……..Honda, a good try but you could do so much better. I will seriously be considering this bike as a replacement for my Versys in a couple of years.

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