2021 Honda NC750X
We all know that motorcycles represent freedom, and fun. But what if people really need motorcycles to get to work every day? This concept may not be super common in Canada and northern states, but increasing demand for motorcycles and increasing gas prices may change people’s mind.
2021 Honda NC750X is for people who prioritizes lower operating costs, fuel efficiency, practicality. You don’t usually hear those 3 words in motorcycling world and that’s what makes the NC750X unique. It is the ultimate commuter for all types of riders. What makes the NC750X even more impressive is that it almost has no compromises while being budget friendly.
So, let’s start with overall looks, as this is the first thing that riders look when they are shopping for a new motorcycle. Though Honda puts the NC750X under “Adventure” bike section, it is more of a commuter that feels more like a sport touring bike with low seat height. It almost feels like a naked motorcycle with raised handlebar.
Honda redesigned the NC750X this year, though it is a mild refresh in terms of the looks. Now the NC750X comes with full LED lights including the indicators. Old TFT screen is replaced with new LED screen for more modern look. On top of that, now the bike has throttle-by-wire and as a result, it comes with different riding modes as well as traction control.
31.6 inch seat height makes the NC750X very approachable for all types of riders, despite having higher suspension travel than an average middleweight naked motorcycle. NC750X also offers very relaxed riding ergonomics for the rider, handlebars are quite high but unfortunately you only get a small non-adjustable windscreen.
One of the most iconic features of the NC750X is the “trunk” that comes standard. The front storage compartment, a.k.a. “frunk” is positioned where the fuel tank would traditionally sit, is a feature which is exclusively available with this bike. Compared to the previous generation, it has 1 more liter of storage space, a total of 23 L.
Although it is larger than the previous gen, a large full face helmet unfortunately would not fit. At the end of the day, if you want to put your helmet on your bike in a safe spot, you still need to add a top case in the rear. However, for small items, you can just use it for pretty much for anything else without the need of additional storage.
Honda placed the fuel tank under the seat, and as a result the tank is not the largest in this segment. You would expect better range from a commuter, but unfortunately due to the tank size, the range is limited to 250 km. Speaking of the range, 2021 Honda NC750X compensates the range problem with excellent fuel economy. My average fuel consumption was around 4 liters / 100 km and it is exceptionally good for this type of bike.
There is a reason why NC750X is known as a fuel sipper, and it relies on Automotive technology. It essentially uses Honda Fit engine block cut into half and Honda re-engineered it so that it can be used in a motorcycle. NC750X comes with liquid cooled, SOHC 8-valve parallel twin 745cc engine that produces approximately 58 horsepower and 51 lb-ft of torque.
Having an engine derived from an automobile has its own advantages and disadvantages. For instance, it has SOHC (Single Over Head Camshaft) and rocker arms in the valvetrain which is also used in a Honda Fit, meaning that it doesn’t rev as high, but super easy to do valve adjustments in the long term. The engine is tipped quite forward for better center of gravity.
58 horsepower may not seem a lot for a 745cc engine, but it is tuned for fuel economy. It has traditional parallel twin engine character, decent amount of torque at lower rpms and in the midrange, making it a perfect daily rider. Despite having original exhaust, the engine sounds pretty cool at idle and lower rpms thanks to the 270 degree crank.
Despite it’s calm character, NC750X handling and suspension tune is surprisingly firm for a commuter. Honda revised the suspension and now it comes with Showa non-adjustable forks in the front, and rear shock with just preload adjustment. Though the rear suspension can be rough on big bumps, I would say I’m pretty impressed with overall cornering performance even with touring focused tires.
Braking performance is also surprisingly good, considering it only comes with single 320mm disc and two piston Nissin caliper. I found the brake feeling quite neutral, predictable and initial bite gives you enough confidence. Rear brakes are pretty standard in this price range, but the brake feeling is good for low speed braking.
2021 Honda NC750X comes with two transmission options. Our tester is the manual transmission, but you can also get the NC750X with Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT). Honda has been offering DCT since 2010 in North America, and it is a tried-and-true platform. I would probably prefer the DCT because it would be a great match with NC750X’s calm character and it would be a great asset for commuting.
Let’s get back to the manual transmission. The clutch lever is extremely soft, it shouldn’t take too much to get used to the friction zone. Shifts are crisp, and it is probably the easiest manual transmissions I have ever ridden. It’s a perfect drivetrain combination for a commuter, but I would still go with an automatic transmission for even more comfort.
Honda NC750X has a lot of teachable points for every type of rider. First of all, motorcycling is not a luxury, NC750X reminds you that commuting can also be done with two wheels. There is a reason why it is one of the bestsellers in Europe, as people use their motorcycles for commuting every day.
As mentioned in the beginning, due to the increasing gas prices and higher levels of inflation, I think more people will start riding motorcycling in the near future and this is also a big market. All manufacturers have offerings for newer riders but NC750X is targeted for multiple types of riders.
NC750X would be a great beginner bike. Despite it’s larger displacement, the power delivery is very tame and predictable, nothing is overwhelming about the riding experience even for a brand new rider. In the mean time, it is not boring for more experienced riders, as it is a purpose built practical commuter that can still be fun without drama.
2021 Honda NC750X is priced at $9799 and if you want the DCT, it sets you back additional $1000. Though it is priced competitively, I was expecting to see more touring oriented features such as cruise control, center stand, and adjustable taller windshield as they are important features for riders commuting on a daily basis.
For more details – please visit motorcycle.honda.ca