The Honda NC700SA attracted some pretty derogatory comments on netrider when the model first came out, so I’m thinking I might just post this review and then duck for cover. Just so as you know my limitations and biases, I am an older rider, and I drive a Honda Jazz. OK, I’m already ducking for cover. Yes, the Jazz is gutless, but the engine will still rev out if you push it, it makes brilliant use of the internal space, and it holds its value. No complaints at all. In fact I’ve been driving cars for most of the last forty years, quite a few of them Honda, every bike I’ve ever owned has been a Honda, and my last real bike was a gold and black CB750K1, a long time ago. I still have fond memories of the 750 being smooth and fast. Maybe it didn’t handle that brilliantly, but we didn’t know any better back then and I used to regularly commute the 380 miles between Canberra and my parent’s home in the Hunter valley in six and a half hours, down the Putty road and all, in the days before the police had much in the way of radar. Then I had a family, moved to Melbourne and somehow didn’t manage to keep renewing my motorcycle licence. So I went for the best part of 20 years without one. In 2010, I got back into motorcycle riding in Thailand, mostly on small 100 or 110cc rental bikes where flat chat is 100km/hr, down a very steep hill. I rode illegally for quite a while there, and then decided to get legal again. And so when I finally got my full Australian motorcycle licence back again, I started thinking about what kind of bike I wanted here. Initially I was interested in the GSX650, but was a bit put off by the lack of ABS brakes (here I am, ducking for cover again, I know that’s a controversial topic around here). Apart from the GSX650, I was also interested in the 650 V-Strom which does have ABS, but when I went into Suzuki forums, I also learnt about the likely expense of paying someone who knew what they were doing to adjust the valves. I wanted something that I could do myself, if possible. And then the NC700 came out, and the more I looked at the reviews, the more I thought it might be a good bike for me. I liked the ABS brakes - I have no doubt that any electronic brain is going to be better than mine, 99% of the time. I liked that it was all about torque (and in fact in sixth gear the engine is running at a very similar speed to the Jazz’s at 100 km/h). Low revving isn’t all bad, in my book. I also liked the storage in the ‘not the petrol tank.’ It’s not just the engine where the bike has some affinity for the Jazz, it’s also in its use of space. I’m more than six feet and in the past had no trouble riding just about any bike - but now I’m getting older, low seat clearance was also important. The 790 mm seat height seemed fine, when I tried it. The NC700 is reasonably easy to service at home. It has relatively simple valve adjustment, although not as simple as an old CB450 I had, which I used to adjust using a ring spanner and a screwdriver while the engine was running. So I finally bought a new 2012 build NC700 that had been sitting on the showroom floor at motogc in Thomastown probably since 2012. I bought there, because they were local to me, and because they were willing to give me the time of day on the showroom floor. The sales staff actually seem interested in their clientele. Motogc’s service area was short staffed at the time and it took the best part of a week to prep the bike - I had Oxford heated grips installed, and a centre-stand. As soon as I got the bike I realised what I hadn’t really taken in when I saw it on the showroom floor. The radiator sticks out beyond the frame a bit and looks vulnerable in a drop, so I bought a Hepco-Becker engine and radiator protector which a mate later fitted for me. This protects the bike if I drop it; it doesn’t protect the radiator from flying stones, though. The dealer quoted $200 for a radiator guard, so I decided not to proceed with that - I’m currently using a somewhat flimsier home made version made from fly-wire. It will stop at least some of the bugs getting caught and small stones, if I’m very lucky. I’m now coming around to the idea of buying something a bit stronger. Around town ... I love riding this bike. Think of the speed you want to get to, roll on the throttle in just about any gear, and you’re there, it’s quick, and it’s effortless - Honda claim it’s faster around town than a CBR600, and I’m guessing that’s true. I like the fact that the ABS might protect me from some of my bad riding habits (and yes, I also need to do some rider training). The ‘not the petrol tank’ is supposed to take a full face helmet, but it won’t take all full face helmets, and it won’t take mine. So as there’s no other way of easily securing the helmet to the bike, I carry mine with me. On faster roads, I don’t like the amount of wind buffeting from the small screen, and I’m hoping to replace it with something more suitable for the relatively upright seating position on the NC700. The seat also becomes hard after 45 minutes or so, so I’m thinking of going down to Andy Strapz in Frankston and buying an Airhawk cushion. I’ve still only done just over 500 km, not much around town, and a couple of trips down to the Peninsula and into the country. And yes, I dropped it in the first 100 km, leaving a friend’s driveway. A moment’s inattention .. and I was down, the third time in my life. I hadn’t fitted the engine protector at that stage, but luckily the only damage done was to my ego. My bones, and the bike, were fine. I’m still getting used to the idea that Honda say I need a torque wrench for when I’m adjusting the chain, otherwise I might affect the ABS. Bikes are more high-tech than they used to be, and so the torque wrench is another item on the list to buy. Maybe I’ll add to this review in in a few months, when I’ve done a few more km, and know a bit more about what I’m talking about.