There’s nothing wrong with being sensible and practical, is there? That might have once described unattractive and prudent shoes, but don’t let that dissuade you from checking out the 2015 Honda CTX700 DCT ABS. This is one well thought out bike that is immensely practical and functional, while also being an easy, fun ride.Cruiser by nature, but with modern lines and a clean look, the CTX700 DCT ABS uses technology to provide plenty of options for different conditions, mood, and riding style. This is, perhaps, the CTX’s most appealing trait – multi-functionality that can be changed as often as you like with the push of a button.
Powered by a 670cc parallel twin, the mid-sized CTX700 DCT ABS is a cool 516 pounds at the curb, which might sound intimidating–except that it’s not. The cylinders are tilted forward 62 degrees to lower the center of gravity, and with a decently low 28.3-inch seat, many riders will be flat-footed at stops. With abundant torque at low rpm thanks to an undersquare motor, getting underway and maneuvering, even at very low speeds, couldn’t be easier.The DCT ABS in the CTX700’s name denotes the second-gen automatic Dual Clutch Transmission (and ABS package) that gives the rider a choice between a fully automatic transmission, a paddle-shifting override option for finessing the automatic transmission at will, or complete manual shifting if you choose to turn off the ‘auto’ mode altogether. There is no manual clutch. My four-wheel transportation is a 6-speed manual – i.e. I like shifting – so I was surprised to find that of the three options, I used the manual mode the least.The default mode on the CTX700 DCT ABS is semi-automatic upon start-up, but you can flip a switch on the right handlebar to set the bike in the fully manual mode before you set off. Otherwise, you’ll be choosing between two semi-automatic modes, Drive and Sport.Drive is perfectly suitable for most situations with a relaxed, but responsive power delivery aimed at everyday casual riding around town. Good acceleration can still be had in this mode, but you have to give the throttle a healthy twist. In Sport, the engine revs higher before shifting, so everything happens quicker and with just a small twist of the wrist. You can flip between D and S with a push of the right handlebar-mounted toggle switch.The CTX700 DCT ABS makes a terrific commuter bike. While one might expect that slow moving traffic would be the perfect scenario for the fully automatic mode, but this is where I used the thumb/finger paddle shifters on the left grip the most. The automatic transmission tends to shift the CTX into a higher gear sooner than I would choose in the Drive mode as this optimizes fuel efficiency, but this means I have to brake more often in the constantly changing traffic.I don’t like the momentary free-floating feeling as the transmission regroups and downshifts, but I found paddle shifting in the semi automatic mode was the perfect alternative. Manually overriding the auto transmission to downshift instead of braking, then letting the auto transmission kick back in, allows me to smoothly slide through traffic make time splitting lanes in my usual manner.When the congestion loosens up, I let the automatic transmission have free rein, enjoying the ease of riding without minding the gears. The CTX’s relaxed ergonomics make it a perfect companion for longer rides; the forward-mounted pegs give your legs room to stretch, the wide saddle has plenty of wiggle room, and the bulk of the windblast is directed over and around you by the discreet windscreen and fairing without blocking your view. The CTX feels quite solid and stable at freeway speeds thanks to a 60-inch wheelbase.The feet-forward cruiser position is comfortable, but over rough road you will be bounced around a bit. That is to be expected to some degree, because your weight is not over your feet; it is a bit insecure-feeling when moving along briskly through winding hills, transitioning through rough corners. The Bridgestone Battlax tires are more than up to the job of providing high-quality traction for the CTX700.When the pavement is pristine, though, the CTX is a dream, surprisingly nimble and as easy to control as I imagine steering a powerboat might be. The low-carried weight surely helps counteract the lengthy cruiser profile, and there’s plenty of cornering clearance.You can enjoy the sporty side of the CTX thanks to confidence-inspiring brakes. There’s just a single 320mm disc up front, but it has an initial soft touch and linear response. No one is going to get in trouble with a clumsy grab, but a good firm squeeze delivers enough deceleration to slow you down.The rear brake pedal is perfectly positioned under your right toes and delivers useful power from the 240mm rotor. As added security, ABS is there to back you up.There’s a small storage compartment on top of the 3.3-gallon gas tank, which puts the fuel weight a bit lower in the chassis. There’s room enough for wallet, keys, gloves, but you won’t be stashing your Arai like you can on the NC700X.While there’s no built-in cool vibe or old-school charm to the 2015 Honda CTX700 DCT ABS, it is a neutral slate from which you are encouraged to customize it to your needs. Billet accents, saddlebags, heated grips, and a full windscreen are some of the available options from the Honda Genuine Accessories catalog.Delivering a claimed 60+ mpg on a welcoming platform, Honda’s 2015 CTX700 DCT ABS is a terrific ride if you’re not trying to impress anybody but yourself. There is a stripped version without DCT and ABS, but the low-revving motor makes more sense with an automatic transmission. Spend the extra $600.This sporty cruiser is a great choice for newer or returning riders and is unexpectedly fun and capable, and it’s a Honda so reliability is there and maintenance is low. You can’t go wrong.Photography by Don WilliamsRiding Style:
This week Teejay chats to Tyler Poppe. Tyler works on the TV show Mayans MC–and yet he doesn’t ride an American V-Twin. Wassup with that?? Also, Arthur finds out from friend Mike Cardillo about his thoughts on the full-size version of the Kawasaki KLX 140R F trail bike.