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Honda NX650 DOMINATOR Trail Motorbike Review

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Honda Dominator motorcycle review - Riding
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MCN overall verdict rating is 3

The Honda Dominator is the motorcycle that defined the ‘urban trailie’ craze of the Nineties. Beloved by town-bound motorcycle couriers and B-road hackers thanks to its punchy delivery, rufty-tufty build quality and commanding riding position the  Honda Dominator still makes its mark as a value-for-money commuting motorcycle.

Engine

MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 3.5

Most Honda Dominators will have had tough lives. Fact. Fortunately the SOHC, air-cooled single-cylinder motor is super-reliable and good for almost 100,000 miles, The only problem is overheating, which can cause the valves seats to drop, and oil consumption, which can border on the greedy. It’s got decent tug and away from motorways the Honda Dominator is a competent enough performer.

Ride and Handling

MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 3.5

The whole motorcycle verges on the budget, but providing you don’t ask too much of the shock or forks you’ll be OK. The Honda Dominator's shock is weak and off-road miles will knacker it in triple time. Ditto the rear sub-frame, which seems to be made of silver-painted cheese. The Honda Dominator's teeny nose fairing does its job up to around 80mph – after that you’ll be pressed into the familiar flying cruciform so beloved of naked motorcycles.

Equipment

MCN rating rating is 2
Owners' rating rating is 3

You get a sump and hand guards, a tacho, a single trip-meter and that’s your lot with a Honda Dominator. The pillion seat, pegs and grab handle are excellent on this motorcycle, though.

 

Honda Dominator (1988-2001)

Detail Value
Used price range View Honda NX650 DOMINATOR bikes for sale to see current asking prices
Engine size 644 cc
Power 43 bhp
Top speed 105 mph
Insurance group 11 of 17
  MCN ratings Owners' ratings
Overall rating is 3 rating is 4.5
Engine rating is 3 rating is 3.5
Ride & Handling rating is 3 rating is 3.5
Equipment rating is 2 rating is 3
Quality & Reliability rating is 4 rating is 4
Value rating is 3 rating is 4

Quality and Reliability

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4

The serious things to watch out  for when looking at a Honda Dominator are clunking motors, seized brake calipers, corroded tailpipes and damage sustained from off-road forays. Other than that it’s furred forks (protect them with clear nail varnish), chipped and worn cases, the odd busted spoke (run a pencil around them and listen for the dull ‘dung’ of a knackered one). Otherwise Honda Dominators will run and run.

Value

MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 4

Buy a Honda Dominator as a winter hack or commuter you won’t go wrong – it’s the same engine that’s now found in Honda’s FMX650. But the Honda Dominator is way cheaper. Find a Honda Dominator for sale.

Insurance

Insurance group: 11 of 17

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Model History

1988: Honda Dominator introduced. Electric and kick start.
1989: Grease nipple on rear shock, electric start only now.
2002: Honda Dominator deleted.

Other Versions

None.

Specifications

Top speed 105 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 14.6 secs
Max power 43 bhp
Max torque 39 ft-lb
Weight 167 kg
Seat height 880 mm
Fuel capacity 16 litres
Average fuel consumption 50 mpg
Tank range 165 miles
Annual road tax
Insurance group 11 of 17
Engine size 644 cc
Engine specification 4v single, 5 gears
Frame Steel cradle
Front suspension adjustment None
Rear suspension adjustment Preload only
Front brakes Single 256mm discs
Rear brake 220mm disc
Front tyre size 90/90 x 21
Rear tyre size 120/90 x 17

Owners' Overall Rating rating is 3.5(4 reviews)

  • 7 winters and still going strong

    R1SquarePants

    Average rating rating is 3.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    I've had my '97 Dommie for for seven years now and have used it as my all-year round transport to work. Rain, snow, sleet and ice the Dommie has seen it all and so long as I keep on top of the cleaning the finish still looks quite good; winter road salt will eat it alive. A regular change of the oil and filter ever 3,500 kms is an absolute must along with regular checking of the oil level. Mine doesn't seem to use much but I've heard stories of some engines being a bit thirsty and owners letting the level run low resulting in top-end rebuilds. Mines now done 51,000 kms and the only thing I can fault it on has been the starter motor letting me down but with new brushes it's working fine again. It used to be the butt of a few jokes from the guys at work who occasionaly commute in on their sportsbikes (only when the sun's shining of course), but with a couple of weekend rideouts with them along some twisty back roads they are a lot more respectful. It's gets a bit breathless on dual carriageways so keep clear of these whenever you can, but it is so gratifying to ride quickly along the back roads that afterwards it's a struggle to get my crash helmet off because of the huge grin I'm wearing. With 10bhp more and a better front brake this bike would be 10/10 I get just under 50mpg on the commute to work and 55mpg on less congested rides. Apart from a Hagon rear shock, the original saw one winter too many, the bike is standard. I keep thinking about swapping it for something else but I just can't bare to part with it. Perhaps I'll have to make some space in the garage for another bike.

    25 April 2009

  • Loved by it's owners!

    Gwynn Rance

    Average rating rating is 4

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    The fact of the matter is; if you own a Dommie, you love the Dommie! When I bought this bike, I wasn't entirely convinced with it's looks and styling. I did not even get a chance to test ride it (restricted license), so it was a risk but I'm glad I went with it. It's an awesome bike. It's high seat is perfect for my 6'5" frame and even restricted it has enough horsepower and torque to pull my 20 stone bulk with ease. Being a Honda the build quality of the NX650 is outstanding. Mine unfortunately has a minor idling issue which I have yet to fix. Aside from this, the bike is solid. Built like a brick. I've dropped it more than once, resulting in only minor cosmetic damage to the fairings. Being a dual-sport, the bike is designed to take the occasional drop, the foot pegs and gear lever are spring loaded to prevent damage. The bike is perfectly suited to riding in winter, it is well balanced and the wide handlebars give great maneuverability. All in all this bike is a great all-year commuter. Rain or snow this bike performs. Full stop.

    14 February 2009

  • Great value

    peter rabbit

    Average rating rating is 3.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    Seem to have bottomed in price now with most going at around £1500 mark - for which - if you get a good un - you will get a good useref reindly all year round fun bike. Not a scorcher performance wise but capable of cruising at 75-80 on the motorway if you must. High & long seat means good vision and room to move around or carry a pillion in comfort. Fancy little rack thing is more use than you might think. If you need a second bike or just fancy something different give the Dommie a go. I bought an Italian import which wasin better condition than similar aged UK models I had seen then. Chenged the light and put a MPH overlay on the KM speedo and Bobs yer Uncle as they say!

    18 September 2008

  • NX650 - Great Bike!

    olylowe

    Average rating rating is 4

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    Nice simple, single cylinder, reliable, cheap fun bike to run...what more could you want!?! OK, so maybe another cylinder, but then you wouldn't get 60mpg?! We all know Honda make great bikes of rock solid reliability, but it's fun to ride too. A high seat suits some (like me!), but a high centre of gravity means that its easy in the corners with a great engine note from the dual exhaust too (almost in comparison to the VTR!). The only downside to this bike is the vibration due to it being a single cylinder - however...I'm willing to forgive it that as otherwise it wouldn't be the frugal fun machine that it is! If Honda could make a V Twin version with the same mpg 5 stars would be garanteed!!!

    23 February 2008

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MannyDommi

MannyDommisays

BelovedDommi

I am Australian and found this sight via youtube on a bike review of a KTM 990. I followed the link and found this great review. I have a 1996 Dommi. I had been searching for a dommi for around a year and could not find one for sale. I finally found one in Melbourne as i was in Sydney I took the journey to view the bike. Knowing its reputation i secured the sale and had my cash ready to go after the test ride. What can i say. I had the biggest grin on my dial after a short vigorous ride. I cant tell you how great a bike it is as all others have commented it is so reliable. I have had it now for a year and it has only ever give trouble twice.Once a flat battery as i hadnt ridden it in about 3months and the other a flat tyre through no falt of his own. I picked it up with 81000kms on the clock. It now has 84500kms and still running strong. Replaced the air filter with an Australian Unifilter,New tyres MEFO added a KLR 10inch high screen for the highway here its 110km per hour speed limit so the screen takes all the wind out added some wider footpegs for off road diviations lol and bobs your uncle. This bike is a joy to ride and great still at 84500kms and 15years old runs well.Yes he chews a bit of oil and you have to check before and after a ride but its like giving your grandpa a cuppa tea and seeing his face smile with delight. A beautiful bike. When i bought it it had new alloy handle bars and an Australian staintube exhaust pipe fitted. Now with the Australian unifilter i think i have at least that 6horse power needed to make the 650cc. I have been looking at the new tenere with delight.However cant bring myself to sell the Dommi for the price its going for now $2500. He will still be good for a while yet. Its good to see a design that has lasted the test of time and now its back in style now. Be Safe on the roads guys and this bike will out last the appocylipse it should have been in madmax if honda had though of it then.

All My Best

Manny

02 February 2010 16:35

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