So, as I told you in my last update – the CB500F has gone back to Honda and, as I predicted, I’m definitely having withdrawal symptoms.
In place of the sensible but great fun CB, I’ve got the even more sensible Honda NC750X and after 300 miles on the twin cylinder commuter, I can see why Honda have sold tens of thousands of them across Europe.
It’s easy, it’s simple and it’s incredibly straightforward. You just get on and ride; there’s no hassle whatsoever. It could well be the perfect commuter bike, is ridiculously economical, has a handy little ‘front box’ where the fuel tank should be (while the fuel tank is under the seat) and the upright seating position and wide bars give you all the confidence you need when making your way through traffic. And, if you’ve got Honda’s Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) fitted, you don’t even have to change gear! Effortless riding.
However, my bike doesn’t have DCT. It’s a manual, and this has highlighted a problem. In fact, I’d come across the problem after my first few miles on the bike - the first few gear changes, in fact. You see, the 745cc twin motor is basically half of what you’d find in a 1.5-litre Honda Jazz car and with that comes a bewildering 6500rpm red line. This means in first, second and third gear I'm hitting the limiter almost as soon as I’ve opened the throttle.
I can see how it wouldn’t be a problem on the DCT model, as while the bike might be constantly changing gear, you aren’t. That said, once you get used to this style of riding it’s not unbearable.
It’s not at all a problem on mydaily commute, as soon as I hit the A1, I stick it in sixth and cruise quite happily at motorway speed. However, I can’t see it being as much of a barrel of laughs as the CB500 when out on the twisties for fun – something I’ll find out tomorrow as I head for a ride through the Lincolnshire Wolds to Cadwell Park.
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