When Honda announced the release of its immensely sensible 2010 NT700V-a mid-size sport touring motorcycle that Europeans have enjoyed under the uninspiring Deauville moniker since 1999-my immediate reaction was "Oh, mm hmm."
The Honda NT700 is a nice-looking, respectable motorcycle that you wouldn’t mind telling your mom you were riding. There are no wild graphics or flashy paintwork here; the classic Honda wing sits on the tank, and the few decals on the metallic red or silver paint are crisp, minimalist design elements.
The motorcycle is not tall, but with a claimed curb weight of 562 pounds, I am happy the saddle is not any farther than 31.7 inches above terra firma. My 32-inch inseam does not allow flat feet on the ground, but the NT is well balanced, so I am secure at stops. Slow-speed maneuvering is equally uneventful as the motorcycle has a reasonable turning arc, relatively short 58-inch wheelbase, smooth power delivery and easy clutch action.
There is an ease of handling that is immediately clear. This middleweight tourer has a familiar feel; no get-acquainted time is necessary. Because of the relatively long reach to the bars, I found myself sitting slightly snug to the tank-not my preferred riding style-to keep a small bend in my arms. Taller riders will appreciate the extra space on the roomy, supportive saddle.
The NT is solid on the open road, as it dispenses the enjoyably damped vibration of its 52-degree V-twin. It has enough torque down low to allow me to pass dawdling cars without downshifting, and the mirrors do not flinch when the speedometer momentarily registers a ticketable offense. With the easily (but manually) adjustable five-position windscreen at its highest point, the rider is insulated from most of the buffeting wind, allowing for an extended touring comfort range. Travel on high-speed interstates is effortless, making it a practical entry-level tourer, and the smaller engine is more than adequate for solo excursions. Thanks to a generous 5.2-gallon tank and an estimated 50 mpg, longer rides between fuel stops are possible.
At speed in a wholly different environment-curvy canyon roads-the Honda NT700V is equally stable. True to its sport-touring pedigree, its profile is slim, and the motorcycle moves through transitions nimbly enough that you forget you have bags permanently installed behind you. While definitely not a pure sport motorcycle, it is spirited enough to put a smile on my face zipping down a favorite winding road. The 17-inch Bridgestone Battlax tires hold the road well in turns, and the suspension finds the middle ground that instills confidence without sacrificing comfort.
Equally confidence- inspiring is a set of good brakes, and in the case of the 2010 NT700, that would be its Combined Braking System. Squeeze the front brake lever and four of the six pairs of pistons engage the twin 296mm front discs. When the rear brake is applied, two rear pistons grip the rear rotor, in combination with a single pair of pistons in the front left caliper. This shared duty provides strong, balanced braking, and the actuation of the system is transparent. For those with wet roads frequently in their forecast, an optional Antilock Braking System is available (on the silver model only), though it is not the newest unit found on the flagship Honda CBR1000RR.
The Honda NT is predictably enjoyable at casual speeds. The motorcycle is undemanding, so stealing long glances at tempting views while riding along scenic back roads is a constant occurrence. Even when the road isn’t in the best of repair, it is easy to ride for miles this way-motoring along without a thought to the motorcycle, which seems quite adept at taking care of itself.
Equipped with two efficiently sized built-in saddlebags, the NT700 is a natural for commuting riders. As one who usually stuffs a backpack to the seams, I appreciate having usable, lockable space to carry my daily haul. The pass-through compartment between the saddlebags-said to be used for baguettes in Europe-adds flexibility for transporting long, narrow items. Additionally, there are two small compartments (one lockable, one not) at the front of the motorcycle to stash items you want to keep handy.
It is worth noting that the 680cc SOHC powerplant is basically the same design used on the Honda DN-01, albeit with distinct tuning. Having ridden the DN-01, a motorcycle that didn’t do much for me, I cannot help thinking how Honda could have turned the unpretentious, quietly capable, NT700V into something special by equipping it-at least as an option-with the DN’s fully automatic, high-technology constantly variable ratio Human Friendly Transmission. It’s not that I have a problem with the NT’s flawless five-speed, manual-shift transmission; I would just like to have a chance to experience Honda’s latest technological marvel in a more traditional motorcycle. This motorcycle would have been the perfect platform.
There is something about motorcycles that goes beyond the simple mechanics of transportation. Each motorcycle brings an instant image to mind, and once I’ve swung a leg over the saddle, there is an immediate mental back-story that is often more intriguing than reality. With the 2010 Honda NT700V, what you see is what you get. It trades personality for practicality, but when a motorcycle works this well with an MRSP of $9,999, it is difficult to complain. Honda NT700V Preview
|Model:||2010 Honda NT700V / NT700VA ABS|
|Engine Type:||680cc liquid-cooled 52° V-twin|
|Bore and Stroke:||81mm x 66mm|
|Valve Train:||SOHC; four valves per cylinder|
|Induction:||PGM-FI with automatic enrichment circuit, 40mm throttle bodies
and 12-hole injectors
|Ignition:||Digital transistorized with electronic advance|
|Suspension||Front: 41mm telescopic fork; 4.5 inches travel
Rear: Single shock with spring preload adjustability; 4.8 inches
|Brakes||Front: Dual full-floating 296mm discs with CBS three-piston
Rear: Single 276mm disc with CBS three-piston caliper; Optional ABS
|Tires||Front: 120/70 ZR17 radial
Rear: 150/70 ZR17 radial
|Rake (Caster Angle):||26.0o 50’|
|Trail:||115mm (4.5 inches)|
|Seat Height:||31.7 inches|
|Fuel Capacity:||5.2 gallons, including 0.9-gallon reserve|
|Colors:||NT700V: Metallic Red, Metallic Silver
NT700VA ABS: Metallic Silver
|Curb Weight*:||566 pounds (NT700V) / 571 pounds (NT700VA ABS)|
|*Honda NT700V Specs include all standard equipment, required fluids
tank of fuel- ready to ride.