Purchased NC700X Dec 26th
I purchased a NC700X recently and have only put 180 miles on it.The first 50 were easy miles around town then I took a 130 mile ride to Bartlett Lake and a long way around coming back. The second ride involved some freeway time, lots of two lane and some undulating dirt road. I bought the NC from Western Honda and they did let me test drive it prior to buying along with a CRF250L. The 250L by the way did not impress. It felt really heavy for a dual sport of that size and had the engine characteristics of a CRF 230. I was expecting more.
on the NC test ride I wasn't particularly pleased with the angle of the handlebars, the thinness of the grips and the clutch engagement. I still elected to buy it because I wanted good fuel mileage and a quiet no fuss motorcycle.
After the 130 mile ride yesterday, I noticed on the last 30 miles that hey... the clutch feels great! Nice long linear engagement. So that already seems to have improved.
Same goes for the suspension. Was stiff at first, particularly on Bartlett Lake road where small imperceptible bumps in the road didn't move the front suspension but were felt right through the handlebars. But then on a rolling dirt road with a few stutter bumps it felt pretty good. I'm sure the suspension will soften up over time where that comfort feeling might switch around to be better on the asphalt and less comforting on the dirt. Don't know, but I attribute the harsh feeling in the forks to stiction from the fork seals at this point.
The power delivery takes some getting used to but I more or less was expecting a decent 0 to 70 acceleration and then signing off after 80 based on the acceleration times from Cycle World. So while the bike may get up to 110 give or take, it takes a really long time from 90 to get to 110. I only saw 90 indicated on the ride yesterday and some of that was chasing a BMW 1200GS down a hill. On the way back up another hill the NC still held 90 but wasn't going to go any faster. And yes the GS could easily out accelerate me from what was already a good clip (around 65).
Still, for what I bought it for, an inexpensive commuter that can go on a long trip (which I rarely do). It seems a good fit for me. I'm a short 5'7" and have a varied background in motorcycling for some 40 odd years. The NC is replacing a Buell XB12X (which if for sale if anyone is interested). The Buell replaced an 1100GS and an SV1000S in 2008 which seemed like a good compromise of retaining sportyness yet an upright riding position.
The short time on the NC does make me appreciate the Buell for all of it's benefits, great handling, brakes, acceleration, but I'm looking to calm down a bit and I think the NC is the right direction for me. It still did a spirited ride on the twisty sections and seemed to pull the hills with little effort. But on the freeway, if you are already going 75 and want to go 85, it takes a little longer to get there where the Buell is effectively already there just thinking about it.
On the plus side for the NC, it's very smooth, linear acceleration, very flickable, feels much lighter than the Buell even though the Buell is actually lighter. Turn in is quick and effortless on the NC while the Buell requires a conscious counter steer or significant lean to the inside to hold the same line. And... the NC is really quiet and gets outstanding gas mileage. The last two items are what I was looking for along with the great initial cost.
Honda did their homework.
Then I found this thread today. It's comical how so many people will talk about a motorcycle model with authority (trash talk) without having ever ridden one. All of the comparisons to other middle weight machines that have higher initial cost and get significantly lower mileage are missing the point of the NC. And if any of those other machines are close in cost, the low CG is still the kicker on the NC. It feels lighter than any other bike I have every put a leg over other than my trials bike and my RD350 or RD400. If I want to get my thrills, I still have the RD400 which gets all of 25 MPG on expensive pre-mix.
The NC gets scooter mileage in a motorcycle package. That comes with a compromise in top end performance. On the flip side, the Buell "can" get over 50 MPG, averages around 43 and has a huge grin factor. I don't care what the journalists say, the NC does not excel in the hooligan department but... I didn't buy a Toyota Corolla hoping it would be a WRX. Still, if you ever tried to drive a Corolla fast, it can be fun because it handles reasonably well. It's no WRX, but it can still attack corners. I put the NC in the same category only its still a motorcycle and still a lot more fun, accelerates faster and gets better fuel mileage than a Corolla.
Anyway those are my impressions after 180 miles on the new NC.
2012 Honda NC700X
2006 Gas Gas 300 Pro
2003 Kawasaki KDX220R
1976 Yamaha RD400C