NC750X vs Desert Sled

Discussion in 'Japanese polycylindered adventure bikes' started by WalterMitty2, Sep 20, 2019.

  1. WalterMitty2

    WalterMitty2 Been here awhile

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    Not sure where to put this thread....Japanese bike section or Italian....I picked here.....

    What may seem like wildly different bikes, have come down to scratching the same itch for me.

    Anyone owned both? Or have lots of experience with both?

    My riding will prob be 90% around town/suburban neighborhood taking “decompression” rides post work for my mental health. You know...making up excuses to ride the bike.....”what’s that honey....we’re out of mustard? I’m on it!!!!”

    While I do plan to get some Adv riding in, I have to honest with my self. While I’d love to take multiple trips all over the US, the reality of my job, limited time off, and budget will mean a few...maybe 2-3 short trips (3-4 days each) a year. And with those trips the riding won’t hit too much extreme off road.

    My take on the bikes.....

    NC750X
    Pros:
    It’s a Honda (means something to me)
    Great storage for in town scooting around
    I can get a DCT (this really intrigues me for some reason)
    Comes with some wind protection
    Costs less.

    Cons
    Probably out of its element off road on anything other then maybe a gravel road.


    Desert Sled
    Pros:
    Style, style, style. I’m a half century old and I’m just drawn to this thing.
    Will have some decent off road ability.

    Cons:
    Air cooled. Just seems low tech to me.
    Possibly a bit harder to pack with stuff.
    Costs more
    Will it be as reliable as a Honda?

    Even if you haven’t owned both...please give me your thoughts.

    Thanks.
    #1
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  2. MotoSpen

    MotoSpen Adventurer

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    Just based on your comment about doing some small trips across the US, I would initially say that the NC750X would fit the bill. The storage in the front is extremely useful and came really handy when I travelled in Scotland on a NC700X. You would be stretching the bikes limits if you wanted to hit anything beyond smooth gravel roads.

    That being said, it doesn't mean the Desert Sled wouldn't be suited for some adv riding either. Exhibit A: https://instagram.com/henrycrew?igshid=13h20ozv405y1 This fella took one around the globe (and broke the youngest rider record doing so) so it definitely is possible! How reliable it is compared to a Honda, I'm not sure. The style is pretty amazing though. For simple enjoyment rides there is something to say about riding in the city on a good lookin bike!
    #2
  3. mentolio

    mentolio King of the island of unwanted toys...

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    Having worked on both for a few years in my youth:
    Honda makes a dependable if somewhat uninspiring package. Easierer to work on than some, and usually very low maintenance. Their dealer network/availability is second to none, and you'll likely never have a problem finding parts or getting it serviced (bad service always a possibility, but if you don't like the local Honda, another is never far away).

    Ducati makes a product that gets the blood moving, even when sitting still. Higher maintenance, tho I here the maintenance intervals have improved somewhat, I'd be surprised to find you don't still need a valve check every time it's serviced. More expensive maintenance too (usually a lot more expensive). Oh, and that's maintenance you don't want to skip....not ever. As far as air cooling...don't think "low tech," think "simpler." Less power than a four valve head, but no coolant to leak/hoses to replace/waterpump to fail/temp sensor or fan to fail/radiator to clog with mud or dirt. Yeah, you'll have an oil cooler (radiator for your oil) to worry about keeping junk out of, but it's smaller (and the water cooled bikes have one too). Service? Hopefully where you bought it, but if they suck you may have to travel to find another. Parts? Don't know what I'd expect to be on the shelves at any given time. But oooh that sound! Ooooh that look! There is a reason people pay through the nose for these machines.

    While I would never compare reliability between Honda and Ducati (I have my opinions, but I only worked on Ducks, never owned one), I always liked the more simple two valve Desmo. This Desert Sled is claiming over 70 horsepower, and that's nuthin' to sneeze at. The two valve will/should cost less to maintain, be easier to maintain, and if cared for will last a good long time and deliver excitement, even if you're just staring at it in the garage. The Honda is much lower on power (wanna say sub 50hp, could be wrong on that one), and won't get anyone's blood boiling at the local hangout. But it's much lower in price, both initially and cost to own, and it'll get you where you need to go without complaint even if you only do the bare minimal maintenance.
    #3
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  4. Gestalt

    Gestalt Been here awhile

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    I have a DS ad do the very same short trips on it, I believe the bike is an excellent choice. You can have multiple choices of luggage from full on to light, the bike handles well on the road and is capable off. Its comfortable, I have had no issues as regards reliability and it is without doubt the most fun bike I have ever owned, try one, I think if you ride one you will see just what I mean. O I pinted my bike scrambler orange and purchased fabricated a 5 gallon tank, honestly I would not change this bike for anything else. .

    New paint.PNG
    #4
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  5. ukiboy

    ukiboy Been here awhile

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    I’ve ridden an NC as a loan bike while mine was in for service. A good commuter/workhorse bike. Dependable, reliable, frugal and very easy to live with I would think.

    Not ridden the Desert Sled but I love the way it looks. And probably still very reliable and dependable like most motorcycles available today are..

    In my opinion: if you are buying with you heart you’ll get the Ducati,
    if you’re buying with your head it’s the Honda
    #5
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  6. HarveyM

    HarveyM Been here awhile

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    #6
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  7. Gestalt

    Gestalt Been here awhile

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    ukboy is probably right, both are good bikes, the Honda is for sure a good bike whereas the DS is more from the heart or more likely the soul purchase. I am not saying the Honda is just transport because it is not but the Ducati is just more, especially as they really have this one so good right out of the box, the 2nd gen even seems to have fixed the crappy standard seat. If I was planning to purchase the bike as a daily commuter, I would maybe go the Honda way due to the weather protection and ease of servicing, otherwise it would be the Ducati all the way. I would also add there are some other pretty good bikes out there, KTM of similar size the Yam T7 is another as are a couple of Triumphs, a bike should pull the heart strings, should be more than just transport unless transport only is what you are after.
    #7
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  8. fastnlight

    fastnlight Tire Tester

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    Nc750x all the way for what you described. I owned and rode a 700x for a few years.

    Just get one and go for the DCT for the in town advantage.
    Greg
    #8
  9. jb882

    jb882 13HP of fury.

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    I have never owned a desert sled but i have owned a Ducati before. I will echo the comments of maintenance as something to strongly think about. When i owned my Multistrada it did not require any more maintenance or repairs than any other motorcycle would but boy was it expensive maintenance when it did need it. Every few years was ~a 3k bill for me. If you ride it a lot it will get real expensive really quickly. Parts are also stupid expensive for a Ducati so it you break something it can be quite costly. For example i busted a brake lever once on mine far away from home and it was broken to the point i could not get even a finger on it so i could not ride the bike. The only replacement i could get at the time so i could get back on the road was OEM Ducati. It was $160 part and I had to rent a car to drive to the nearest dealer that was 90 miles away. I passed more than one of Honda dealer on that trip to get the lever.... The overall cost of ownership of the Honda will be a lot less.

    As far as which bike, well that is up to you. If you can deal with the high maint costs the Ducati will be a much more soul moving bike to ride if that is what you are looking for. The Honda will be plenty of fun but i find the NC( my wife has one) kind of bland. Hers is not DCT. It is fun and a fantastic commuter and a great around town bike that is capable of a lot of things, its just a little bland. It will never be a bike that causes you to wake up randomly at 3am to want to go ride it like a Ducati can. We do some dirt with hers too but never venture off dirt roads.

    I think the suggestion of waiting for the 790 AT might be a good one since it will have better off road capability than the NC and a better selection of off road tires. The 17" rim on the front is a big detriment on the NC IMHO.

    FWIW i sold my Ducati this year and bought an Africa Twin for a lot of reasons. I owned the Ducati for 9 years and loved it but wanted something that cost less to own, was more capable off pavement and better in town. I think i got it for sure with the AT.
    #9
  10. WalterMitty2

    WalterMitty2 Been here awhile

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    Did you get a DCT AT or a "normal" AT?
    #10
  11. jb882

    jb882 13HP of fury.

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    I have a "normal" AT. I bought a leftover 2018 Adventure Sports. I would have considered a DCT if they had one...
    #11
  12. 10/10ths

    10/10ths Road Trip Fool Supporter

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    I own a 1997 Ducati Monster 750 and a 2018 Honda NC750X DCT.

    Buy the Honda.
    #12
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  13. WalterMitty2

    WalterMitty2 Been here awhile

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    This thread is a bit old. I ended up totally changing directions and got a Honda....just not the one I was originally considering. Back in February I bought a CRF250L and love it.

    It's sort of a "fat guy on a little bike" story! :jack

    But I truly thought long and hard, and here's where I ended up....

    1) My first love is dirt bikes.
    2) After only being on the dirt for the last 20+ years, I wanted to ease into street riding, and I was perfectly happy to get a bike that might be "too little" or not enough, versus getting a bike that was "too much"
    3) I'm a Honda guy
    4) The CRF250L is a fairly cheap way to get into the sport

    After 5 months and a little over 1,000 miles, I know I made the right decision. While I do plan to do some light adv trips, most of my riding consists of little post work "mental health" rides where I just putt around the neighborhood. I could even do this type or riding on a scooter, but they are good for my soul. But when I see a dirt road, or some small trail, the CRF is more than capable. It's heavy for a 250, but light when compared to most bikes. Its perfect for easing back into street riding...it won't surprise you at all in terms of power.

    I looked hard at the 450L, but when you factor in it costs double the 250L, it's has issues (throttle on/off and stalling) that will take around $1,100+ to fix, and it's race bike maintenance intervals I took a hard pass. Yes there are times I wish the 250L had more power....but those 5% of times aren't worth it to me....for now!

    I say for now, because that Yamaha T7 sure looks tempting.
    #13
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  14. vintagecycle

    vintagecycle Adventurer

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    I've ended up here searching opinions from NC750X owners, very intrigued with this bike and all the tech/features. Started out looking at the CB500X but I think the NC is more my cup of tea. Not sure if this will be a second bike or end up replacing my '06 Tiger.
    #14
  15. 10/10ths

    10/10ths Road Trip Fool Supporter

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    Just buy an NC750X DCT.

    If it’s not your cup o tea, sell it. You won’t lose money.
    #15
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  16. 10/10ths

    10/10ths Road Trip Fool Supporter

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    Vintagecycle, progress report?
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  17. Burner29

    Burner29 Adventurer

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    Had a Desert Sled for two years, in the end couldn’t get rid of it soon enough! Emotional purchase at the time, money wasted... live and learn. Have a T7 now and loving it!
    #17
  18. 4PawsHacienda

    4PawsHacienda Long timer

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    Seriously contemplating the 750X as an everyday rider for the winding country roads in my area. Found a leftover ‘18 at a local dealer (red) at an excellent price plus enough incentive money to farkel.

    I read that the NC750X is to be replaced this upcoming model year with an updated model.
    How much of a detriment is that? The next bike I buy will in all likelihood be my final one.
    #18