HONDA NC750X (2021 - on) Review

Highlights

  • Staggeringly efficient and practical all-rounder in its best-yet guise
  • Proper Honda quality and dependability for realistic money
  • Potentially all the bike any of us really need

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 3.5 out of 5 (3.5/5)
Power: 58 bhp
Seat height: Medium (31.5 in / 800 mm)
Weight: Medium (472 lbs / 214 kg)

Prices

New £7,495
Used £6,500 - £7,300

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
5 out of 5 (5/5)

Polite, mild mannered, and unpretentious, the Honda NC750X is the unsung hero of British biking.

An instant success all over Europe when launched as a 700 back in 2012 (even here in the big bike-loving UK), the NC’s unrivalled blend of usability, efficiency and value for money has made it the go-to option for riders after a true all-round workhorse – but one that’s enjoyable away from the daily grind, too.

Gentle updates over the last nine years have kept the modest adventurer up to date, with the latest bevy of small but important upgrades arriving for the 2021 model year. Designed to keep the 745cc twin nose-to-nose with rivals and maintain its solid sales position, the NC has more tech, greater performance and better storage than ever.

And it all helps make a great bike even greater. I already really liked the NC750X, but the refresh has given it even more appeal. No, it hasn’t got power in reserve, won’t playfully leap of yumps and would be lost on a trackday.

Riding the Honda NC750X on UK roads

The NC doesn’t have a TFT dash, heated bits or self-tweaking suspension either. And I don’t care.

The Honda is a genuine UJM; the sort of machine you’ll use for everything from commuting and running errands, to two-up weekends away, to sunny summer sunset rides just for the hell of it. Yes, it’s still more workhorse than passionate purchase – but it’s so damn usable you’ll ride more than ever before.

Crucially the Honda is still great value too. The original NC700X was a very attractive £5850 when launched in 2012, which is around £7100 in today’s money. This means the latest bike complete with modes, traction control, more power, better suspension, greater practicality and the same price-defying finish is only £400 more.

Tipping into a corner on the Honda NC750X

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
4 out of 5 (4/5)

Looks like all the NC frames before it, but the steel structure is pretty much new. With revised wall thickness it’s 1.8kg lighter than the frame of earlier 750s and with grams shaved in other places, including the engine, the NC weighs six kilos fewer than previously – about two house bricks or one portly cat.

Perhaps realising nobody sees the 750 as a real adventure bike, the Showa 'dual bending valve' forks and preload-adjustable monoshock on the 2021-on model feature reduced wheel travel.

This makes the already breezy handling of the agile, low-slung, well-balanced 750 even easier, and with revised damping it is more accurate too. The trade-off is a ride that’s a bit firmer than older NCs; not uncomfortably so, but enough that you notice large bumps a bit more.

Honda NC750X front brake

A perfectly weighted riding position and first-class ergonomics make it a doddle to exploit the Honda’s brilliant low-speed agility. Comfort is very good too.

The seat heigh is 30mm lower than before (the amount the suspension’s travel was reduced, funnily enough) so it’s simple to hop aboard and easier for less confident riders to drop a hoof. The screen’s still a modest fixed affair but provides far more protection than its size suggests.

The brakes are entirely unmemorable, which suggest they’re not all that. But equally it means the simple set-up must work without issue.

Engine

Next up: Reliability
4 out of 5 (4/5)

It’s the low-revving, easy-access 745cc parallel twin that’s been in the NC since 2016, and which is used in the chunky X-ADV scooter and city-slicking Forza 750.

Tweaked to meet Euro5 emission rules and with ride-by-wire throttle, there’s additional torque for this version with almost a whole foot-pound of extra grunt. Maximum shunt is 50.9 lb.ft at a modest 4750rpm, in turn creating four more horses for a peak of 57.8bhp at 6750rpm – the highest peak-power engine speed of any NC to date.

Honda NC750X parallel-twin engine

With a rumbling 270˚ crank and different valve timing for each cylinder the Honda has plenty of feel. The first three gear ratios are lowered for sharper acceleration helping it to be the peppiest NC750X so far, feeling brisker than its modest numbers and limited rev range suggest.

It retains the frugality that the model is famous for too: averaging 70mpg is easy, and steady use pops economy into the 80s.

Honda NC750X exhaust

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
5 out of 5 (5/5)

Buy an NC750X and you can expect faultless dependability. Previous incarnations have developed an enviable reputation for reliability and there are lots of massive-mile workhorses that slog on tirelessly without a niggle. Their owners love 'em, and there’s no reason why the 2021-on model should be any different.

Build quality on the Japan-made 750 is impressive; from the paint and fit of parts, to switchgear that will survive millions of prods.

A rear view of the Honda NC750X

As with any bike you’ll need a squirt of anti-corrosion fluid splashed on the brake banjo bolts and some fasteners to prevent them cultivating fur in the salty depths of winter. There are a few clips, bolts and brackets that’ll rust, too.

The suspension on well-used older variants gets a tad saggy at 30,000-odd miles, though the better-quality items on this model may well stay in shape for longer. Overall, the Honda has a finish that’s as good as anything else at its price point. Or better. Buy with confidence.

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
5 out of 5 (5/5)

Attractively priced? Indeed. The Honda is £7495 on the road and so is cheaper than the humdrum BMW F750GS, cheaper-feeling Kawasaki Versys 650 and less practical Yamaha Tracer 7. Suzuki’s evergreen V-Strom 650 is about the same sort of cash as the NC750X but just not as refined, agile or frugal.

Having a Honda badge and a solid reputation should mean pleasing residuals too. You could buy, say, a perfectly capable CFMOTO 650GT and save £1500, but the NC will do a grander job of holding onto its value. Same is true compared to the more mainstream opposition above.

Plenty of storage space on the Honda NC750X

Equipment

4 out of 5 (4/5)

For a seven-grand bike the Honda NC750X has a decent quantity of accessories. It has a more sophisticated three-level traction control system than previous versions, linked to four riding modes – Rain, Standard, Sport, plus self-defined User. Each has a dedicated power output.

Go for the excellent Honda NC750X DCT option (dual clutch transmission, an extra £830) and you get automatic gearshifts. Or you can change gear using games console-style buttons on the left switchgear.

In auto the shift points adjust to suit the riding mode, with Sport noticeably hanging onto ratios for longer and giving keen autoblipped downshifts. It’s a super-posh quickshifter. It takes a while to get used to not having a clutch lever, but DCT makes the 750 super-smooth and is great with a pillion.

The Honda also has a little lamp on its LCD dash that can be set to show different colours for things like gear position, gearshift points and so on. I find turning it off is the best way to avoid continual annoyance.

2021 Honda NC750X LCD dash

What really makes the NC750X stand out is nothing to do with superficial electronics, though. Fuel isn’t carried in the conventional place but instead sloshes about in a tank within the seat unit, with the filler under a neat pop-up pillion perch.

And what looks like the fuel tank is a handy locking storage area designed to swallow a crash helmet. It’s always been a feature of the NC but unfortunately lids with fins or peaks wouldn’t always fit in earlier bikes.

For this model it’s increased in size to 23-litres and reshaped to accept an adventure-style helmet. This also means room for an extra portion of garlic chilli chicken and a side order of saag aloo when collecting a generous family-size takeaway.

Specs

Engine size 745cc
Engine type Liquid-cooled, DOHC, 8v parallel twin
Frame type Steel tube
Fuel capacity 12 litres
Seat height 800mm
Bike weight 214kg
Front suspension Telescopic fork, non-adjustable
Rear suspension Monoshock, preload-adjustable
Front brake 320mm disc with two-piston caliper. ABS
Rear brake 240mm disc, one-piston caliper. ABS
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 160/60 x 17

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 70 mpg
Annual road tax £101
Annual service cost -
New price £7,495
Used price £6,500 - £7,300
Insurance group -
How much to insure?
Warranty term Two years

Top speed & performance

Max power 58 bhp
Max torque 51 ft-lb
Top speed 115 mph
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range 217 miles

Model history & versions

Model history

2014: Honda release a new platform around a super-efficient 670cc, 51bhp parallel-twin engine and that’s staggeringly easy to ride. There are three variants: the adventure-styled NC700X and naked NC700S with built-in storage, and the scooter-esque Integra which manages to blend the worst bits of a motorbike and step-thru’.

2016: Update turns the 700 into the NC750X, with more grunt and even smoother running from an enlarged 745cc twin thrumming out 54bhp. There’s a styling improvement, larger screen and lower seat, better colours, a larger storage compartment, plus improved front forks, enhanced modes and a better-function DCT option.

2019: Small tweaks, including the arrival of adjustable traction control.

2021: New NC750X released with ride-by-wire, improved electronics, a slight styling update, LED lights and a larger, better-shaped stashing area. Agility and roadholding both improve thanks to shorter-travel road-biased suspension. This also means a 30mm reduction is seat height.


Watch MCN's first-generation Honda NC750X video review here:

Other versions

There used to be a naked version called the NC750S, but it was dropped because everyone bought this far superior X model. The platform is also used for the Forza 750 step-thru’ device and the wonderfully alternative X-ADV adventure scooter.

Owners' reviews for the HONDA NC750X (2021 - on)

2 owners have reviewed their HONDA NC750X (2021 - on) 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 NC750X (2021 - on)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 (4.5/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 4.5 out of 5 (4.5/5)
Engine: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Reliability & build quality: 3.5 out of 5 (3.5/5)
Value vs rivals: 4.5 out of 5 (4.5/5)
Equipment: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
5 out of 5 Don’t believe it’s boring!!!!
04 July 2022 by Kevin Walding

Year: 2022

Only bike I have ever brought a second version of… ideal real term bike

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Normally stop for coffee before the NEED to stop

Engine 5 out of 5

Enough power for real term riding!! Surprises quite a few sports bike riders.

Reliability & build quality 3 out of 5

Fist one I had corroded so bad I had to sell it..(but I do live next to the sea!)

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5

Should have a main stand as standard!!!

Buying experience: Dealer paid £7800 but had extras included also first service included

4 out of 5
25 April 2022 by Daniel Moda

Year: 2022

Beautiful design

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
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