Welcome to Netrider ... Connecting Riders!

Interested in talking motorbikes with a terrific community of riders?
Signup (it's quick and free) to join the discussions and access the full suite of tools and information that Netrider has to offer.

Featured Honda NC700SA review

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by dundas, Sep 11, 2013.

  1. 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.

    • Like Like x 3
    • Informative Informative x 1
  2. Thank you for that very informative review. I think these are interesting bikes and wished they had a LAMS version when I was on my Ps.
    I am disappointed to read that the helmet space is so tight.
  3. Haha good read. You do you know it is apparently just a jazz engine cut in half? so you have 1.5 Honda jazz's
  4. I like it, its good that Honda is brave enough to try something different. I think they should have bought the x out instead of the naked but well..

    I do want to try one.

    Good writeup.
  5. Brilliant review dundas. I rode a service customer's NC700 and for it what it's marketed as; it's a great bike. On a personal note; I love the styling. I reckon it's sexy. Well, a sexy commuter bike anyway.
  6. good read (y)
  7. That is one bike that is bound to polarise riders. Personally I don't like them, but I can see how they would be the ducks guts for other people.

    Glad you're happy with your purchase.

    Yes I'm one of the people that gave the NC700 a bollocking....
  8. Yeah, if only you could get on one as a learner I reckon they'd sell heaps to people who go from car commuting to a bike for money saving and convenience.
    Honda should campaign for inclusion in the LAMS listing.
  9. I will see your ducking for cover and go one further: I think the best thing about NC series is the auto transmission... which we can't get on this model, of course. However we do get it on the Integra, which is the same machine in scooter clothes (literally - the frame underneath the plastic is exactly the same on both models), and that was the model I rode. Heaps of fun flicking the paddles in manual mode, perfectly scooter-like convenient in auto. I liked it a lot!
  10. Strange to relate, but I'm another proud owner of 1.5 Honda Jazz engines. I'd been aware of the NC700 from it's release but had no interest. However, a bit down the track I was in the market for a new bike & was offered a ride in lieu of what I asked for. Game over.
    I'm also an older rider & most riding is done around Melbourne for which it's excellent. Dundas criticised the screen - it's hardly worthy of the name & is useless. I fitted an MRA short screen which is slightly better. The only other additions have been an R&G rad screen & hugger. The hugger did not nearly fit & needed surgery.
    It's the first bike I've had with ABS & I love it.
    Riding comfort is a bit of an issue on rides of 200 km +.
  11. The NC700 has intrigued me for a while now. I have been tempted to take one for a ride just to see what it's like. I know it wont blow me away with it's performance but as a dedicated commuter it could be ideal. It has the fuel economy of a 250cc but should be much more relaxing to ride, especially with the auto. Good storage as well. I reckon they should have given it a belt or shaft drive as well. As a low maintenance commuter I think this bike would be selling better than it is.
  12. Mine is the NC700SA, so no auto. However, I checked the fuel consumption a week or so ago & it is returning a little better than 29km/litre which should give a range of about 400km on a tank. Though it is 20 bhp shy of my previous SV650 it has plenty of tow when needed. I most appreciate the lower centre of gravity.
  13. I'm also a recently new owner of the NC700 and, happily for me, my helmet does fit in the storage compartment.
    Mostly when I'm parked under cover, though, I hang my helmet from the helmet hook and put my jacket in the compartment.

    I must say that the compartment is a superb idea, for someone who uses a bike almost exclusively for transport, being able to fit a small load if groceries on the bike is very valuable.

    And it is certainly enjoyable to ride, too. The engine is smooth and torquey. The low screen is fine for me sometimes, when I want to feel the wind, but I'll definitely find a bigger one before winter because it offers much less wind protection than even my old CBR.

    I think Honda has done something good by expanding the options available in the bike market in a different direction. Just wait to see how consumers respond.

    PS. I'm not an older rider.
  14. Maybe I'm missing something. You have a helmet hook? If you tell me where, exactly, I'll check my bike, very carefully. I suspect it's because yours is a 2013 model, though.
  15. Oh, could be. The hook is under the pillion seat, and you need to use the included extension cord.

    This picture may help, the cord loops through the D-ring on the helmet.

  16. Better photo for those interested.

    Jacket, tool kit, wet weather pants, phone mount, sunglasses and disc lock go in the storage compartment (though if I'm parked then the lock is on the disc) and helmet on the hook.

    That way by the time you walk up the hill to work you're not hot from carrying or wearing too much gear.
  17. Great photo, it helped a lot. I went out to the bike, found the hook, undid my tool kit and found the extension cord. D'uh! Now I can leave everything on or in the bike, which is great. Thanks!
  18. Can someone update on this bike please?
    I may consider it for pillioning and commuting.

    A few concerns I have though:
    - single front disk, is the stopping adequate?
    - ~50 hp. I would expect q bit more from 700cc. Would it do the job with 2 people on it?

    So just curious to know more about this bike in general.
  19. I have done some pillion riding on mine, and for my money the torque is quite adequate, though my passengers were slim young ladies.

    I did a bit of test riding before buying and it seemed to me that the brakes on the NC700 were a lot firmer and had a more positive feel than the CBR500. The linked brakes probably part of that.
  20. Theres a big thread on advrider about it.

    I doubt if any bike needs two disks on the road and 50hp is fine around town. You have to look at torque for two up anyway.

    Theres a new 750 coming out apparntly.