Hard To Love And Hard To Hate, It Does So Many Things Right
Introduced in 2012, the Honda press release reminds me of an excited toddler. “Look, I made a thing!” “Wow, it sure looks nice, what is it?” “It’s that! I took a bunch of different stuff and stuck it all together.” “Yes, you sure did. Well done, we are very proud of you.” This was my gut reaction to seeing the NC700X at the motorcycle show for the first time.
To quote the press release, “What do you see when you look at the 2012 Honda NC700X? An adventure-style bike? An urban assault commuter? A dirtroad explorer? A two-up getaway machine? Or perhaps all of the above?” Clearly, Honda wasn’t totally sure what they had cooked up, but what I agree is very accurate, “This is a fun machine that will appeal to all kinds of riders, and with the option of having an automatic Dual Clutch Transmission for unrivaled ease of use, this bike will open the door to many potential newcomers to the sport as well.”
The Honda NC700X and its eventual successor the NC750X, are very thoughtfully designed to ease the way into this wonderful two-wheeled method of transportation. Much like the Honda Accord, the NC700X, and 750X do not offend the eyes, wallets, or safety-minded members of the local fun patrol.
Let’s take a deeper look at these unique motorcycles.
Our Take: Why You Should Buy an NC700X Or NC750X
“NC,” in Honda speak this means “new concept” and indeed Honda has taken a clean-sheet approach to the entire design of this bike.
Starting at the core, the 670cc SOHC parallel-twin, 4-stroke, 4 valves per cylinder, liquid-cooled engine has its cylinders angled 62º forward. This design hit all the Honda objectives, low RPM torque, fuel economy, and very low center of gravity. Making 30 ft.-lb. at just 1600 RPM, and 40 ft.-lb. at only 2600 RPM the NC700X moves off the line with little effort and absolute smoothness.
The gearbox can be had as a typical 6-speed manual, or what many opted for, Honda’s second-generation fully automatic Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT). Learning clutch control, for many new riders is a barrier to their riding progression. Stalling in traffic, over-revving, starting off in the wrong gear, are all very stressful situations when learning to ride. The NC700X with the DCT eliminates clutch levers, stalling, and the need for you to shift taking the riding experience to a far simpler twist and go pleasure.
Part of the “new concept” for Honda’s commuter required a fresh storage solution. Thanks to the angle of the engine and relocation of the 3.7-gallon fuel cell to under the saddle, space opened up for a 21L trunk where a fuel tank is typically found. Honestly, I find this to be brilliant. The clean lines of the bike to remain unburdened with afterthought saddlebags the NC700/750X has enough space to secure a full-face helmet or those few items you needed at the store. Additional top and side cases are available for greater touring capacity, but daily commuter needs are easily met with this slick storage compartment.
Bottom line: The Honda NC700X and 750X may have Adventure bike looks but like many modern SUVs they thrive on urban adventures. Opting for the DCT transmission takes little away from the overall riding experience, and truly the only complaint experienced riders are able to make is missing the high RPM powerband found on most bikes. The NC700X and 750X engines are silky smooth and all about low rpm torque and useful power, new riders can feel at home very quickly thanks to intelligent Honda engineering. I wouldn’t call this a bike for a traditionalist, but it is an easy enjoyable ride that is perfect for riders looking for simple two-wheeled enjoyment.
Reasons to buy the NC700X/750X:
45 ft-lbs of torque at 4750 RPM, strong smooth power from low RPM
21L of hidden storage
Available with DCT transmission
The upright riding position is much comfortable on long rides
Linked ABS Brakes available
Wide assortment of factory Honda accessories
The NC750X gained about 12% more power and torque
Affordable and holds its value well
Reasons not to buy the NC700X/750X:
Can be a little boring due to low revving engine
The saddle is on the taller side at 33 inches
Not an Adventure bike despite the styling
Production Run & Notable Model-Year Changes
Production Run & Model Generations
Introduced in 2012 it represented a “new concept” in motorcycles from Honda. Unique storage and available DCT transmission, designed to appeal to commuters and new riders.
First Generation – NC700X (2012-2015)
Monocolor digital LCD
DCT, Single sport mode.
21L – storage
Second Generation – NC700X (2016-2017)
Color changing digital LCD
Improved DCT, snd three Sport modes
22L – storage
More aggressive styling
First Generation – NC750X (2014-2016)
Available in Canada and Europe
745cc engine bumps power to 54hp
Second Generation – NC750X (2016-2018)
Color changing digital LCD
Improved DCT, and three Sport modes
More aggressive styling
2018 model year is now available in the USA
Third Generation – NC750X (2019-)
Redline increased 900 RPM
Honda’s adjustable traction control system (HSTC) now standard
Power levels now at 58bhp at 6000rpm and 51 ft-lbs at 4500 RPM
Owner Reviews of the Honda NC700X/NC750X
Press & Magazines
HONDA NC750X (2014 – 2021) Review
“The 750 is a doddle to ride. It swings about with the sort of easy-rolling balance that only Honda seems able to achieve, hiding most of its 214 kilos with weight all seemingly carried between your ankles. The chassis pivots beneath you like one of those posh Dyson vacuums with the ball. The NC is easy to flick through urban congestion or usher gracefully down a cascading A-road, and with reserved geometry and an ample wheelbase it’s always surefooted.”
“All of this adds up to an affordable, versatile, and efficient motorcycle that is a pleasure to ride. At 472 pounds, it’s not particularly light, yet it feels light. I expected the conservative steering geometry, long wheelbase, and tall seat height to offset the low center of gravity, slowing steering response at walking speeds, but that’s simply not so. The X feels lively and delivered excellent maneuverability even through the congested traffic of downtown Milan.”
“Although the NC700X’s suspension is well-damped and sprung for corners and dips and the bike handles very well on its Bridgestone Battle Wing adventure-sport tires, it is surprisingly firm and harsh over sharp bumps and lacks any adjustment other than inconvenient ring-and-locknut spring preload in back. The suspension handles heavy loads well, though, and works adequately for most riding.”
DCT – Once you try it some say they would never go back
Riding comfort – Honda ergonomics seem to suit a wide variety of bodies
The price – Even new, an NC750X can be out the door for less than $10K
Fuel efficiency owners report up to 80mpg with easy cruising
Quality – The refinement on these Hondas is quite high
What Owners Complain About
Low Revving engine – with peak power coming in at 6750 RPM, owners of the regular 6-speed tend to hit the rev limiter quite often
Braking performance – The bike stops but the brakes are nothing special and could use improvement. (Hint – Dual front disc Honda)
Looks like an adventure bike, definitely not an adventure bike
The Bottom Line
The NC700X/NC750X is a home run as an urban commuter, with occasional stints as a long-distance touring machine.
Thanks to clever engineering, Honda has delivered a motorcycle that is very versatile. New riders and experienced riders find the riding position very comfortable and ideally suited to city riding. The engine has a satisfying exhaust note and plenty of smoothly delivered torque that makes traffic maneuvers fuss-free.
The automatic DCT transmission is perfectly suited to the torquey engine and really allows new riders to focus on traffic safety and rider confidence. Many owners who previously scoffed at going clutchless now report they would never go back, and honestly I get it. The DCT is not the “scooter” experience many feared it would be, instead, it is smooth and responsive, never leaving you caught in the wrong cog.
Finally, there simply is no other bike that has such a slick integrated storage “frunk”. Not needing saddlebags for day-to-day around-town riding is amazing.
Honda delivers as Honda often does with the NC700X, a bike no one expected that fills a need many didn’t realize they had.
Honda NC700X/NC750X Competitors
If you’re looking at a NC700X/NC750X, you may also want to check out: