HONDA NC700X (2012-2013) Review

Published: 20 July 2012

Probably the easiest motorcycle available today to get on and just ride

HONDA NC700X  (2012-2013)

Probably the easiest motorcycle available today to get on and just ride

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

The idea of a cheap, capable bike that offers more in terms of style and versatility than a basic commuter is a good one. Being able to stash a helmet turns 'good' into practical brilliance. Affordability and ease of use is what the NC700X is all about with bags of comfort, stability, an agile chassis and a simple engine with an 8000-mile service schedule. This is probably the easiest motorcycle available today to get on and just ride.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

As with the engine, the handling feels effortless. The engine is carried low in the frame and there's an empty space for yor helmet/shopping where the tank should be, giving the bike a low centre of gravity. Suspension is budget but the forks are damped strongly enough to give feel and hold the bike under heavy braking. Honda makes a big deal about the NC's slim build and how it aids city riding and, yes, it helps make it easy to throw around, so much so that the daunting wet weight of 218kg doesn't come into it.

Engine 4 out of 5

As motorcycle engines go it's not an exciting one. It does the job it's meant to do perfectly and offers a terrific amount of grunt between 1000 and 4000rpm, which makes commuting and motorway cruising a breeze. It's likable from the off because of the way it pulls cleanly and strongly thanks largely to its long stroke. More experienced riders WILL hit the rev limiter several times until they get used to it, but think of it as a diesel car and you'll soon settle into a more relaxed style of riding. The DCT in fully automatic mode stops this.

Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5

The NC700X comes with the high level of quality you expect from a Honda - everything feels like it will last forever, the paint's deep. It feels a lot more expensive than the cheap price tag would suggest.

Insurance, running costs & value 5 out of 5

At under £6000 the NC700X is hard to ignore, for that you get a bike that'll do everything you could ask of it with relative ease (apart from a track day in the fast group, perhaps). In these cash-strapped times a cheap, real world motorcycle such as this is a breath of fresh air.

Equipment 5 out of 5

For £5850 you get a lot of bang for your buck. Honda's brilliant Combined Anti-Lock braking system (C-ABS) comes as standard. The screen, although small, offers plenty of protection from the elements and makes 80mph+ cruising a doddle. Perhaps the best part is the storage space, where the tank would be on conventional bikes. The 'boot' can easily hold a full face helmt and makes quick trips to the supermarket a doddle.

Owners' Reviews

10 owners have reviewed their HONDA NC700X (2012-2013) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your HONDA NC700X (2012-2013)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.3 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4.2 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.8 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.9 out of 5
Equipment 4.1 out of 5
4 out of 5

The Hilux of motorcycles (with a turbo)

26 August 2017 by Aaron

Does what it says on the packet and is actually a sleeper. I bought this bike to keep myself out of trouble. Riding with mates who are on Ducati etc and the NC easily keeps pace until they open up on the longer straights. With a pillion on board... Read more you'll want to change down a gear to make best use of the power to overtake but it still passes rapidly enough. This is the second NC that I've had. I had the S version first with shorter stiffer suspension until it was stolen. (they have a RFID immobiliser key but I left the key in the bike - idiot!) Ironically you won't outrun the cops on this bike - and the thief found out the hard way! I'm a reasonably aggressive rider on sunny days and after doing 30,000km on both the S and the X, I think I prefer the S version as its better suited to my riding style. X is a bit softer and taller. I would buy another S.

Ride Quality & Brakes
3 out of 5
Suspension - adequate for general riding but that's all. Old style rod suspension in the front can be a bit harsh on the square edge bumps. Upgrade the suspension - emulators in the front and an aftermarket rear - it will make a huge difference. The S suspension is a lot shorter and stiffer than the X which makes it feel better connected to the road. Seat is actually reasonably comfortable for both rider and pillion. Have done a 5 hour nonstop mission. Generally my pillion and I can ride a couple of hours before needing a brief break. Brakes: Mint. Front is only a single disc but is more than adequate. Add a bit more of a squeeze with a pillion on board but still stops fine. The rear is excellent - it has good braking traction but doesn't lock up easily. Handling: Very easy to ride. The S version with it's very low center of gravity feels very lightweight and you can really tip it over in the corners. X version is a little higher so a little more care required but the long suspension is mushier so you get a more comfortable ride. Loss of traction: There's a few things interacting together here (tires, engine power/torque application, lean angle, suspension) but this bike has been awesome for the times I've pushed it to loss of traction. When the back steps out, I just button off the gas a little and stand up on the pegs to make sure I don't get too much of a kick in the bum, and pop! it catches and hops back into line. I love it! I think this is mostly influenced by the torque being delivered by the engine rather than raw power which would just rip up the rear wheel. For the 5 times I've stepped out the rear and twice that I've locked up the front - I've never dropped it!
Engine
5 out of 5
The engine is awesome. Heaps of low down torque makes it feel much more powerful than what it is. It just pulls. Heaps of power for blasting around and overtaking traffic but not so much that you'll kill yourself. It's a 270 degree crank and occasionally there will be a little hicough if I drop too much clutch with no revs but it doesn't stall - just makes me wish they had made it a 180 degree crank to smooth it out better. Makes it excellent for crawling through tight traffic but still has so much power to play with on the open road.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
Overall quality is quite good but there are some niggles: The key is difficult to put in and take out always struggling. As it's something you encounter every time you use it, it's quite annoying. I'm hoping Honda doesn't use these crappy barrels again in other bikes... Original suspension is adequate for everyday riding but that is all and it will need replacing after 20k km Dashboard: Great little display but the small sealed unit is not sealed... Both of mine fogged up within the first 20k km. Paint: after 30k km I'm starting to see a lot of surface corrosion around the engine casings, spots of rust appearing around frame welds and on the chromed front suspension tubes - disappointing as the rest of the bike still looks new. OEM chain will only last 10k km - don't replace it with another OEM chain or you'll get the same again! Get a decent aftermarket chain. With the smooth power delivery and regular chain lube, there is no sprocket wear. Reliability: bullet proof. Starts and goes every time. Neither bike faulted at any point. Oil and filter change every 12k and regularly lube chain. Suspension will need revisiting about every 20k which is reasonable. Air filter is a bit dicky to get at but at 30k intervals its nothing. This is the easiest bike I've ever had to maintain.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
So cheap to run! Half the amount of gas used of any other bike I've had but still so much power! Ridiculously cheap! Purchase price of the bike (new) is cheap compared to comparative bikes. The X version is a few thousand more than the S but it's just a pricing/marketing point as there's minimal difference between the two bikes really.
Equipment
4 out of 5
The false tank/glove box is amazing. Helmet goes in there. Groceries go in there. I can get a whole box of beer in there! I no longer use a backpack and its awesome. Get some aftermarket heated grips - they extend your riding season dramatically. They kept me going on the morning it was so cold I had ice forming on the inside of my visor... Fuel tank fill point is under the pillion seat. If you're on a long journey, make sure anything you have strapped to the pillion seat is easy to remove. The grab handles on either side of the seat are outstanding for strapping to. Tires: I've trialed heaps of different tires. My S version came with Metzler Roadtec Z8 interact. Amazing tire! Highly recommended. Tip it right over to the edge in the dry. The wide breakaway characteristic gives you plenty of warning when you're near the traction limit. Stick insanely well in the wet as well - confidence inspiring on wet days to get a good lean on. My X version came with Bridgestone BT 023. After 5000km I swapped them out. They didn't stick so well in the wet and traction breakaway point was very sudden. Have also run Conti Sport Attack 2 EVOs - similar to the Metzlers - stick very well wet and dry but the more rounded and deeper profile on the front tire left it feeling like it wanted to wander a little. The Metzler felt more planted. Michellin Road Pilots felt a little greasy when cold. They never let go but the movement didn't inspire confidence, and when you want to push hard - you need confidence.
5 out of 5

The Jeep of motorcycles

07 December 2016 by Mike

Best universal Japanese motorcycle available Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Seat is a little uncomfortable, but super low center of gravity and upright seating position makes the bike light and nimble. One of the best handling bikes on the road.
Engine
4 out of 5
U.S. version not de-tuned like the U.K. bike, and power output is solid. Very strong low-end and mid-range which makes cruising its forte. Redline is totally acceptable unless you are a racer and used to revving bikes past 10k all the time. The NC isn't built for that, and the redline is actually higher than cruisers. Remove the CAT from the exhaust and you gain a lot more top end.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
It's a typical Honda. Well built with high quality.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Bike is very easy on oil according to used oil analysis reports at 8k. Only minor gripe is valve adjustments every 16k, but it's very easy to do. Fuel economy way above Honda's estimates.
Equipment
4 out of 5
Storage trunk is brilliant, gas tank location works great. Center stand should be standard along with gear indicator for manuals (newer models have a gear indicator now). 2012 model had great Bridgestone tires, later models had horrible tires that lasted only a short time.
Buying experience

Purchased new from dealer.

4 out of 5

05 November 2016 by Rods

Well built. Cheap to run. Great storage in the false petrol tank. You tend to feel every pothole through the front shocks. Seat a little slippy. Could do with a larger wind shield if using motorways a lot. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Great cornering. Decent power. Not good on pot-holed roads.
Engine
4 out of 5
Economical. Still getting used to the DCT.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
No issues at all so far.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Economical without sacrificing too much power.
Equipment
4 out of 5
Great storage compartment, especially for commuting. Found an Autokicker tank bag which will fit inside the dummy tank for extra storage options. If the bike stays then I'll look at changing front forks and seat at some point, though no rush.
Buying experience

No problems from dealer.

4 out of 5

Low cost practical biking.

04 April 2016 by Mike Heaney

Not everyones choice but I like it. Red lines @ 6500 rpm. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Two up across Europe last summer. No problem, stop every 70ish miles. Fantastic tank range.
Engine
4 out of 5
Low revs but loads of torque. Tad more power would be useful for those overtakes.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Honda build quality is very good.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Great value low running costs.
Equipment
5 out of 5
Road Pilot 2 seem to be lasting much longer than the original Bridgestones. Sliding forward on the seat when braking, seems slippy lacks grip. Tank storage makes bike practical, odd bit of shopping etc. Comfortable riding position.
4 out of 5

Good value for money

08 June 2015 by Gary Stansfield

Honda quality at a cheap price Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Once new seat added it is very comfortable. ABS excellent
Engine
5 out of 5
Best ridden like you're driving a diesel, low revs.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Typically Honda. Paintwork good
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
It really will reach 75mpg if ridden steadily
Equipment
3 out of 5
Needs a new seat as soon as you buy it. I have also added a centre stand and rear hugger.
Buying experience

Dealer, second hand. No movement on price due to low cost of bike.

3 out of 5

Its not perfect

04 July 2013 by Benjijackson

Bought a NC700X from new. I have done 5kmiles and have sold it. Good bits; Engine - grunty (up to a point) and economical (avg'd 75mpg), storage compartment, light, good handling, mirrors Bad bits; Awful seat - slippery and thinly padded,... Read more Suspension on bumpy roads - here's where you see/feel the cost cutting, Aerodynamics - screen not big enough, not really suited to lots of high speed work, you get blown around too much. Riding position, a bit cramped. Not really a criticism but be aware that 40- odd bhp is ok for commuting but I missed a bit of oomph out of town or when i needed to overtake quickly. Summary; economical, good handling low-ish speed commuter. Be prepared to spend on suspension and/or seat upgrades.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
2 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

NC700X Dual Clutch Transmission take 2

28 April 2013 by Kingsil

There has been a lot written about the NC series of bikes so I thought I would make a few general points and then write a bit more specifically about the Dual Clutch Transmission. For starters with the NC you are getting a machine that is actually... Read more built in Japan, not just designed there, and for what is a very low price. It will probably be a few years yet before production is shipped abroad. In the mean time you get excellent welding, deep paint and quality fit and finish for what amounts to peanuts. The suspension for the price point is good with a rising rate linkage at the rear and fairly decent forks. The brakes are very good indeed despite using a single front disc. The ABS/CBS is unobtrusive unless very severely provoked. The handling has been a revelation to me and entirely a consequence of the low centre of gravity, it’s a fairly chunky bike but you don't feel it at all. Slinging it into corners makes you smile a lot, it's an unexpected bonus. The engine however will never be enough if you like a regular adrenaline hit but if you are happy making smooth progress and use good forward planning (don't we all?) overtakes are easy. The engine characteristics are all about low revving torque, it feels lumpy but not at all vibey if that isn't a contradiction in terms. It's swift over distance but no one is ever going to accuse it of being quick and of course it’s very economical. But everyone knows that by now. As for the storage, everyone loves it even if they hate the bike. And while on the subject of hates and likes the Dual Clutch Transmission is Marmite! There are a number of myths and misconceptions surrounding it already, one guy insisted that the drive would drop out on slow corners, it doesn't, another insisted it had a power sapping fluid drive, it doesn't. There is a very good video explaining how it works on YouTube, it isn't rocket science but it is very clever and entirely computer controlled. That alone might put some off. Quite a few people will find it anodyne and boring. It would be a dull world if we all liked the same stuff. Get a test ride. So how does the DCT on the NC700x work in practice? The answer is very well most of the time. The two modes are distinctly different in behaviour. Drive mode short shifts at two and a half thousand revs and is best on steady A-roads and motorways (I hate m-ways but it copes easily) also Drive is best for slow town/filtering work. You can feel like you are in too high a gear sometimes but the engine just chugs away and you will never stall it or lose drive but there is little or no engine braking in Drive. This is where the linked brakes come in handy especially when filtering, you can balance on the foot brake and auto-clutch down to a dead crawl and with the low centre of gravity putting your feet down becomes a rare event. Sport (sic) mode is a little snatchy at town speeds so I don't use it in town anymore, and this is the thing, I'm learning as I go. This is all new stuff, like switching from a hand change to a foot change must have felt in the nineteen twenties. Sport mode really comes alive on twisty B-roads and so far doesn't seem to pick a gear I wouldn't have chosen myself, except it changes super smoothly and with no lag and doesn't get tired after a long day in the saddle. I have used manual shift on roads like the A32 for instance and it is interesting to do as an exercise but you soon find yourself thinking “what's the point?” In auto you still get all of the sensations of the gear-changes, the acceleration and the attendant lovely noises of down changes on the over-run. You just don't have to move your foot anymore. That will appal some people and if it does then DCT is not for you. The manual buttons might appear to be superfluous in light of what I've written but that couldn't be further from the fact. They are useful in a number of situations that I regularly encounter and I expect to learn of a few more as time goes on. The handbook mentions hills and recommends sport mode when encountering them so as not to lug the engine too hard but I simply select manual (right forefinger) and knock it down a gear or two (left thumb) switching back to auto at the brow of the hill. If you live in the West Country or somewhere similar you might never get out of sport or manual mode though! I also use the manual buttons while in Drive approaching slow corners in town knocking down a gear for a little more feeling of control, though the bike could care less and in truth the difference is negligible and more about me getting used to how low this thing revs in Drive. The other time I use the down shift button is for overtakes especially on fast A roads in Drive, if you whack open the throttle it will eventually take the hint and downshift but if you shift down manually and open the throttle it gets straight to it. In Sport mode this isn't an issue as it responds pretty much instantly. As I say it's just learning how to use it, there's no book on it. Finally you can switch between all modes while on the move so if you fancy a change you don't have to stop to switch over but you'll be glad to know you can't select neutral until you are at a dead stop. Personally I love Marmite just be sure you do too before ticking the DCT box. As I said get a test ride. Latest news from MCN: Looks like the new Yamaha R1 will be getting a version of DCT, very interesting times we live in! (MCN reader reviews have no formatting making anything beyond a few lines totally unreadable so I am pasting a copy of my review from a word doc and hoping the formatting travels with it. If it doesn’t, all I can say is sorry, I tried!)

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

NC700X Dual Clutch Transmission

27 April 2013 by Kingsil

There has been a lot written about the NC series of bikes so I thought I would make a few general points and then write a bit more specifically about the Dual Clutch Transmission. For starters you are getting a machine that is actually built in... Read more Japan not just designed there and for what is a very low price. It will probably be a few years yet before production is shipped abroad. In the mean time you get excellent welding, deep paint and quality fit and finish for what amounts to peanuts. The suspension for the price point is good with a rising rate linkage at the rear and fairly decent forks. Brakes are very good indeed despite using a single front disc. The ABS/CBS is unintrusive unless very severely provoked. The handling has been a revelation to me and entirely a consequence of the low centre of gravity, its a fairly chunky bike but you don't feel it at all. Slinging it into corners makes you smile a lot, it's an unexpected bonus. The engine however will never be enough if you like a regular adrenaline hit but if you are happy making smooth progress and use good forward planning (Don't we all?)overtakes are easy. The engine characteristics are all about low revving torque, lumpy but not at all vibey if that isn't a contradiction in terms. It's swift over distance but no one is ever going to accuse it of being quick and of course its very economical. But everyone knows that by now. As for the storage,everyone loves it even if they hate the bike. And while on the subject of hates and likes the Dual Clutch Transmission is Marmite! There are a number of myths and misconceptions surrounding it already, one guy insisted that the drive would drop out on slow corners, it doesn't, another insisted it had a power sapping fluid drive,it doesn't. There is a very good video explaining how it works on youtube, it isn't rocket science but it is very clever and all computer controlled. That alone might put some off, quite a few people will find it anodyne and boring. It would be a dull world if we all liked the same stuff. Get a test ride. So how does the DCT on the NC700x work in practice? The answer is very well most of the time. The two modes are distinctly different in behaviour. Drive mode short shifts at two and a half thousand revs and is best on steady A roads and motorways (I hate m-ways but it copes easily) also Drive is best for slow town/filtering work. You can feel like you are in too high a gear sometimes but the engine just lugs away and you will never stall it or lose drive but there is little or no engine braking in drive. This is where the linked brakes come in handy especially when filtering, you can balance on the foot brake and auto clutch down to a dead crawl and with the low centre of gravity putting your feet down becomes a rare event. Sport(sic) mode is a little snatchy at town speeds and I don't use it there any more, and this is the thing I'm learning as I go this is all new stuff, like switching from a hand change to a foot change must have felt in the nineteen twenties. Sport mode comes alive on twisty b-roads and so far doesn't seem to pick a gear I wouldn't have chosen myself, except it changes super smooth and with no lag and doesn't get tired after a long day in the saddle. I have used manual shift on roads like the A32 for instance and it is interesting to do as an exercise but you soon find yourself thinking what's the point? You still get all of the sensations of the gear-changes, the acceleration and the attendant lovely noises of down changes on the over-run. You just don't have to move your foot anymore. That will appall some people I know and if it does then DCT is not for you. The manual buttons might appear to be superfluous in light of what I've written but that couldn't be further from the fact. They are useful in a number of situations that I regularly encounter and I expect to learn a few more as time goes on. The handbook mentions hills and recommends sport mode when encountering them so as not to lug the engine too hard but round town I simply select manual (right forefinger) and knock it down a gear or two (left thumb) switching back to auto at the prow of the hill. If you live in the west country or similar you might never get out of sport mode though! I also use the manual buttons while in Drive approaching slow corners in town knocking down a gear for a little more feeling of control,though the bike could care less and in truth the difference is negligible and more about getting used to how low this thing revs. The other time to use the down shift button is for overtakes especially on fast A roads in Drive, if you wack open the throttle it will eventually take the hint but if shift down manually it gets straight to it. In Sport mode this isn't an issue. As I say it's just learning how to use it, there's no book on it. Finally you can switch between all modes while on the move so if you fancy a change you don't have to stop to switch over but you'll be glad to know you can't select neutral until you are at a dead stop. Personally I love Marmite just be sure you do too before ticking the DCT box. As I said be sure to get a test ride.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

NC700X DCT

14 November 2012 by petervoros

Have had all types of bike in the past and loved them all for various reasons. This is something else though, it's the usual Honda good at everything but even more so and brilliant in value, cost to run, ride quality and comfort crowned by that... Read more engine and box which complement each other perfectly to make an unbeatable commuter that you can have fun on and is uber practical to boot. One demo ride convinced me very quickly that this is a sensible choice.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
4 out of 5

bordersmike

01 November 2012 by bordersmike

I've owned every type of bike over the years but I find the NC700X to be the ideal all-rounder and incredible value for money. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
Read all 10 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2012
Year discontinued 2013
Original price £5,999
Used price £3,200 to £5,000
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group -
Annual road tax £85
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 51 bhp
Max torque 45.75 ft-lb
Top speed 115 mph
1/4-mile acceleration -
Average fuel consumption 75 mpg
Tank range 210 miles
Specification
Engine size 670cc
Engine type Liquid-cooled 8v sohc four-stroke parallel twin.
Frame type Tubular steel diamond frame
Fuel capacity 14.1 litres
Seat height 830mm
Bike weight 218kg
Front suspension 41mm telescopic forks, non adjustable
Rear suspension Single rear shock. Non adjustable.
Front brake 1x320mm front disc, three-piston caliper
Rear brake 240mm disc, single-piston caliper
Front tyre size 120/70 17
Rear tyre size 160/60 17

History & Versions

Model history

2012: model introduced

Other versions

Honda NC700X DCT

Photo Gallery

  • HONDA NC700X  (2012-2013)
  • HONDA NC700X  (2012-2013)
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