When choosing my 4th Motorbike, I did so in the middle of a pandemic with a keen sense of the economic implosion happening around us; So my main priorities was the bike had to meet 3 criteria
- Great fuel consumption
- Easy to run / bulletproof engine
- Affordable to buy
So when it came to meeting those 3 criteria, I inevitably narrowed down to the NC range by Honda, NC standing for ‘new commuter’. Having a decent amount of experience with Honda prior with the CB500, I was keen to give Honda another go.
Great Fuel Consumption
Coming from my last Motorbike, a Suzuki GSX650F – essentially a ‘posh bandit’ as I liked to call it ( it shares like 95% of the parts), this has been a mixed bag of a change. One of the huge benefits has been the fuel consumption change. The NC700s averages about 30km per Gallon more than the Suzuki which is a huge increase but not an entirely surprising one given the riding styles of the 2 bikes.
Whilst the Suzuki is a screaming monstrosity with up to 14000 revolutions, the Honda NC700s permanently seems to live below 7000. In fact, it has a somewhat annoying feature that seems geared towards the DCT version of the bike ( dual clutch transmission ) that the motorbike will physically cut back if you try to pass 7000 revs / enter into the ‘redline’. Which makes for some horrible overtaking experiences, though I’d say most of these come from trying to ride the bike like I’m still on the Suzuki.
The perks of this fuel consumption cannot be overstated however, despite having a smaller tank than the Suzuki and a fairly small one at that at about 14litres compared to the GSX650Fs 19Litres, I feel like topping up is always an after thought with the NC700s. It sips on the fuel like it’s a rich whiskey, providing hours of riding at a highly cost efficient & enjoyable experience.
Easy to run / Bulletproof Engine
It’s a honda, not much more explanation needed here.
Affordable to Buy
Getting a 2nd hand 2012 NC 700 S was just within my budget I had set out here, otherwise i probably would have opted for the NCX, depending on how the next year or so goes, I might still yet. Used Motorbikes and vehicles in general tend to be a lot more expensive in Spain, than you would see in the UK, reaching up to 2x as much as back in the UK for those priced in the low thousands but after import fees and tax and the ‘import’ status affecting resale, it hardly becomes worth your while to import either.
The fuel efficiency of the NC range can’t be understated, yet it still is amazing to ride with and wonder when the next ‘bar’ on the fuel gauge is going to finally drop. It’s a pleasure to top up knowing the amount of miles you’ll get out of it everytime.
The torque is instantly available and in the lower speeds and uphill roads, this bike shines for that. A friend of mine compared it to a tractor and that’s not necessarily the worst thing, as living where we do is in some seriously hilly mountainous terrain and the torque has never struggled once.
A unique feature of the NC range is the helmet storage in the ‘tank’, well where the fuel tank would normally go but in this bikes case, it’s located under the seat instead. While I would have never have ride a scooter, I did see the appeal for the helmet storage space and being able to have that bit of extra carry room is truly an excellent feature. My helmet fits in there no problem and I’m a L. So you can fit your shopping, bottle of water, puncture repair kit or whatever else you can think of in the 21 Litre storage space.
The wife, riding pillion was surprised at just how much room was available on the back, as looking at the size of the bike you wouldn’t think it. She also complimented that it felt much more stable to sit on than the Suzuki GSX650F.
The suspension doesn’t feel great on more rough roads / cobbled streets provide plenty of bumps. I haven’t heard much better of the Honda NC750X either. So I wouldn’t imagine it would be too great for off roading.
The seat is a pain in the ass after a few hours – will probably solve this with an air cushion
Being a ‘naked’ style bike, the front fairing provides absolutely zero wind cover so it’s tough going on highways in no time, especially on windier days. I’ve already ordered a new screen so that should be the worst of it solved however.
The exhaust is a bit on the quiet side but then again, which modern bike isn’t these days. Easily solvable with an aftermarket exhaust.
The NC700s is just lacking in speed, that and it’s annoying cutback feature for the redline to prevent damage to the engine is probably its worst feature but that directly leads to its best, which is the fuel efficiency and bulletproof’ness of the engine.
Honda NC700s In Review
If I had to sum up the Honda NC700s in one word, it would be predictable and that’s a turn off for some. It’s predictable in its somewhat slow acceleration compared to other bikes in the same CC range. It’s predictable in it’s cornering, it will never really shock you, nor does it give you the highs in the ‘twisties’ I’ve had with other bikes. Yet it’s still enjoyable
You’ll get the most enjoyment from the NC taking it through cities and back country roads, where the instantly available torque gives it a huge advantage over smaller CC bikes that may match or beat it on horsepower. It’s a breeze to filter through traffic with
This may be the most sensible Motorbike I’ve ever bought or probably will ever buy. If I had to recommend it to anyone, it would be especially geared towards starter motorcyclists as it’s a much safer ride for a learning experience than 90% of the bikes I’ve tried. I’ve barely been able to ride the GSX650F over the last couple of years due to living abroad so in some ways I feel like I’m learning to ride again and this bike is very forgiving.
The downsides are for the most part, easily solvable by purchasing extras but the only thing that can’t be solved is the speed and acceleration but if you’ve done any research on this bike, you’ll know exactly what it is and probably how it will ride, prior to buying it.
I bought this bike to be a commuter for tough economic times and for it to be a bike for the weekends to tour the beautiful regions of Catalonia. For the criteria I set, it’s hard to have imagined a better bike besides the Honda NCX variation but it was just out of my set budget.