2012 Honda NC700X | First Look Review

At the New York stop on the International Motorcycle Shows tour, American Honda is unveiling an all-new model, the 2012 Honda NC700X. First seen at the EICMA show in Italy last October, the NC700X features adventure-bike styling, a new engine, and nimble handling. In addition, the NC700X offers the option of a six-speed manual transmission or Honda’s second-generation automatic Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) with Combined ABS.

Whereas the NT700V, dropped from Honda’s lineup for 2012, was powered by a 680cc 52-degree V-twin, the NC700X gets a liquid-cooled, eight-valve 670cc parallel twin tuned for low-end and midrange torque. An undersquare 73mm x 80mm bore/stroke and a high-inertia crankshaft are designed to provide smooth, tractable power. Canting the cylinders forward 62 degrees allows the single 36mm throttle body to be positioned vertically for ideal intake port position and shape, while the combustion chambers are designed for clean burning and optimal power production. Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI) continuously monitors numerous variables to ensure the correct fuel mixture for riding and atmospheric conditions. An engine balancer shaft reduces vibration for smooth, comfortable operation.

The base-model NC700X features a manual six-speed transmission; the NC700X DCT/ABS features Honda’s second-generation automatic six-speed Dual Clutch Transmission that uses two hydraulically controlled clutches to deliver quick and smooth gear changes in three modes: Manual (MT), which allows the rider to shift gears using buttons, and two automatic (AT) modes—S for sport riding and D for everyday use. The DCT model also features Honda’s Combined ABS, linking the front and rear calipers and providing safe antilock functionality.

2012 Honda NC700X: A modern, adventure-styled touring bike.
A modern, adventure-styled touring bike.

A rigid, compact diamond-shape steel frame, low center of gravity and long-travel suspension are said to provide responsive and agile handling. A 41mm fork provides 6.0 inches of travel and the Pro-Link rear shock offers 5.9 inches of travel. Adventure-bike styling, a protective windscreen and bodywork, and roomy ergonomics provide comfort and versatility for any type of riding, from the city to the badlands.

The NC700X’s 3.7-gallon fuel tank is located under the seat, centralizing mass and lowering the center of gravity. Similar to the Aprilia Mana, in the traditional fuel tank location is a 21-liter, lockable storage area that’s large enough to hold a helmet or other gear.

Available accessories include a 45-liter rear trunk, 29-liter saddlebags, saddlebag liners and panels, touring windscreen, luggage rack, cowls and deflectors, LED fog lights, heated grips, 12V socket and centerstand.

The 2012 Honda NC700X will be available this summer in Silver Metallic with an MSRP starting at $6,999.

2012 Honda NC700X: The parallel twin allows the bike to be very narrow.
The parallel twin allows the bike to be very narrow.

2012 Honda NC700X / NC700X DCT/ABS Specs

Engine Type: 670cc liquid-cooled parallel-twin

Bore and Stroke: 73mm x 80mm

Compression ratio: 10.7:1

Valve Train: SOHC; four valves per cylinder

Induction: PGM-FI with 36mm throttle body

Ignition: Digital transistorized with electronic advance

Transmission: Six-speed / Automatic six-speed with two modes and a manual mode

Final Drive: Chain

Wheelbase: 60.6 in.

Rake/Trail: 27 degrees/4.3 in.

Seat Height: 32.7 in.

2012 Honda NC700X: Available with a 6-speed manual transmission or automatic Dual Clutch Transmission with Combined ABS.
Available with a 6-speed manual transmission or automatic Dual Clutch Transmission with Combined ABS.

Suspension, Front: 41mm stanchions w/ 6.0-in. travel

Rear: Pro-Link single shock, adj. for spring preload w/ 5.9-in. travel

Brakes, Front: Single 320mm disc w/ 2-piston caliper / Single 320mm disc w/ 3-piston caliper & Combined ABS

Rear: Single 240mm disc w/ 1-piston caliper / Single 240mm disc w/ 1-piston caliper & Combined ABS

Tires, Front: 120/70-ZR17

Rear: 160/60-ZR17

Fuel Capacity: 3.7 gals.

Claimed Wet Weight: 472 lbs. / 505 lbs.

2012 Honda NC700X: All-new liquid-cooled, eight-valve 680cc parallel twin.
All-new liquid-cooled, eight-valve 680cc parallel twin.
2012 Honda NC700X: Access to the 3.7-gallon fuel tank is under the passenger seat.
Access to the 3.7-gallon fuel tank is under the passenger seat.
2012 Honda NC700X: In the traditional fuel tank location is a 21-liter lockable storage compartment.
In the traditional fuel tank location is a 21-liter lockable storage compartment.
2012 Honda NC700X: Tucked behind the small windscreen is a fully digital instrument display.
Tucked behind the small windscreen is a fully digital instrument display.


    • Re-read the article. It says that there is optional saddlebags and trunk with removable liners. Very cool and reasonably priced in my view. I don’t know how it would look with the optional touring windshield though. Might take away from the aesthetics. Definitely would look good in the garage but I have to sell a couple to make room.

    • This bike has been shown by Honda with both saddlebags and top trunk. If and when those are available from Honda is hard to say but they are planned options.

    • Honda will offer 29 liter saddlebags and a 45 liter trunk. With the 2 liter “tank” storage, that totals 124 liters of storage. That’s close to Gold Wing totals!

      • Yes and the great thing is they are locked on and they all come off in about five seconds. The bike looks great with them all in place but you cannot get the liners in the US.

  1. I like SX version better….can I have one? how about a cb1100 or the inline four sold in Canada or the cb 1300 from Europe? when is honda going to let the U.S have these bikes WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH HONDA USA?

    • Be thankful in Canada they charge 8999 for the higher end but it only comes with the 6 speed manual transmission and abs, for the same price you get the more advanced auto transmission not a fan but we get hose up here in Canada,

      • Brad I will get you an nc700x from here in the U.S you get me the cb1300 inline four and we could swap (plus the price difference). I tried to get a Canadian dealer to sell me one but wouldn’t something about a dealers agreement. is the difference in price due to taxes? or exchange rates perhaps?…Roy (see my latest post about the nc700x)

        • Hi Roy,
          I have already acquired the Cdn Version was able to get a decent price dealer was willing to deal, I was not interest in the automatic it is just more how the pricing is to out of whack, there are more import duties on the bike here in Canada and they charge more cause we are already nearly taxed to death !
          Also I have found out that I have to pay the duty if I bring it over the border so the savings start to get slim plus then you have to get it certified and the warranty is null and void no dealer will touch it, Honda cars are the same way they are one of the last companies to hold out on that
          thanks for the offer,

  2. This bike looks perfect for my requirements but I insist on ABS. In order to get that, I have to take the automatic transmission too. I doubt if I want to give up the fine control of the friction zone especially on wet or dirt roads. I’ll see how I feel about it after a test ride.

  3. This bike in a GT form is exactly what many folks have been waiting for. Most of those “many” don’t even know it. A practical bike that’s good on gas, auto transmission, ABS, with onboard storage on a decent looking frame is the answer to commuting and short trip riders who have been relegated to maxi-scooters (I love ’em) or, perhaps, the Aprilia Mana. Unfortunately, the biggest threat to the success of the 700X in this country is the American bike industry itself. While there are those who will never think anything less than a liter and a half of displacement and a price tag twice as much is child’s play, it’s too bad that so many in the industry have poo-poo’d the bike even before they seen it.

    A whole league of potential riders are looking for a gateway into the world of motorcycling and the 700X may be it. These folks don’t need the gallop of huge V-twins, the noise, the limited storage, the horrid gas mileage, and, mainly, the lifestyle and commitment that some bikes and their attendant cultures demand. Frankly, they don’t need fake helmet or the goatee nor do they need the $1100 racing leather and puck. What they want is something to beat the rising cost of gas, the rising cost of running a car, the traffic backup, and they want to do it with bike that’s easy and safe to ride and, yeah, with a modicum of style.

    Yet the industry will test the bike, feel “unsure” about how it powers through corners but mostly indicate “how it rides like a real motorcycle” as if it’s something other than a motorcycle. I would hope that “RIDER” gives the bike a fair shot – even let someone new to the sport review it. I hope Honda has the marketing savvy to realize the usual channels aren’t where their focus needs to be.

  4. I was interested in this bike and got very excited when I read that it would start at $7K. However, my enthusiasm waned when I read that you can only get ABS bundled with the Dual Clutch (automatic) Transmission. I don’t want to give up the control of the Friction Zone on wet or dirt roads. Only a test ride could convince me to get this bike. I’ll try to keep an open mind when I get the chance.

  5. Maybe many are not so concerned about fuel costs as they are on a bike costing over $10,000, Its the payments cost. Then to have a wimpy engine that requires Wrist twitching over moderate hills just to keep the bike in a decent speed zone,To be able to use a throttle lock for a while on a triip to a destination over 600 miles or more is a dream. Plus maybe some gravel roads, kinda muddy graded roads and a 12000ft pass with pine trees. Yeh, not trying for pro Journalist tour guide. I got other things to be done And, sure dont want to power lift 550 pounds that dropped on me. And lastly buffiting for 5 hours in the saddle 32.5″ off the ground @ just under 5000RPM.

  6. I’d love to test ride this bike and see how it compares to my 650 Kawasaki Versys and Yamaha FZ6. Unfortunately having the gas tank filler cap under the pillion seat is a real turn off. I do a lot of touring and having to unstrap my caping gear and then remove the soft side bags two or three times a day to gas up just won’t work for me no matter how great the bike might be in every other respect.

  7. Why would you put a fuel fill under the rear seat? If I have a bag strapped to the seat,I have to remove the bag to gas up??? With a 3.7 gal. tank, you will be humpin a ton of luggage. WTF!

    • All those problems go away if you get the luggage storage they offer The box that fits on top fits BEHIND the rear seat so does not affect the gas tank and it is enormous it will take TWO full face helmets.
      Gas tank placing is ideal as you have a centre stand option as well and the gas mileage claims ARE accurate. As far as I am concerned Honda got it right and it is a fantastic machine for the price.

  8. I was ready to trade in my ’07 WeeStrom for the new 2012 version, and then I saw the new NC700X. Now I’ve got to wait to hear what Rider says when they test it.
    So, come on Rider. Give us a head to head test on the DL-650 and the NC700X asap!
    In reading the description of this new Honda, I too am disappointed that the 6-spd manual didn’t get ABS. The Strom one-upped them there. I also agree it would be a pain to have the fuel filler under the rear seat.

    Until I read your comparo test, I’m thinking the Strom still gets my vote.

  9. Always have been a big fan of Honda bike. There bullet proof, but this bike just does not have the size engine and power that is needed for the average American Dual Sport Rider. I have a BMW 1978 R1000/7, BMW 2005R1200RT, 2008 BMW R1200GS and a 2003 Honda 919. That said I wish Honda would put something out that would be on the same level as the BMW GS, Adventure or the new 2012 Triumph Tiger 1200cc Shaft Drive. The more experienced dual sport rider in the US like larger motors for their Dual Sport Bikes. I for one would be very interested in a bike of these proportions if Honda could come up with something(I’m sure they could).
    As one other Reader wrote…

    RV on January 27th, 2012 8:17 pm

    I like SX version better….can I have one? how about a cb1100 or the inline four sold in Canada or the cb 1300 from Europe? WHEN IS HONDA GOING TO LET THE U.S. HAVE THESE BIKES. What the hell is wrong with Honda U.S.A.

    That’s one of the big problems, but I think it is more to do with..The U.S. will not let these bikes come into the U.S. market from Japan for reasons that probably have to do with Harley does not want more good Japanese bikes coming into the U.S. market to compete with….!!! ;-}


  10. The BMW G 650 GS has the filler off to the side of the rear seat so you can strap down your gear and not interfere with tank fill-ups. It costs more and is dual sport. Fuel economy tested at 69 mpg on regular. No automatic option but has selectable ABS and heated grips.

    • Have you had a chance, to use a GPS to check the speed O, to see if it’s true or not. My SV650 gets 63MPG+ but the odometer reads around 10% fast. Hope that is not true of the Honda. If so there are other bike’s with more power , and yes they do cost more, like the DL650 that get 50 MPG to 60 + MPG. You can check many bikes MPG on this website to compair…. http://www.fuelly.com/motorcycle/suzuki/dl650 I looked at the Honda today it was 6,999.00 + tax. On another note, the valves must be checked every 8K, instead of 15K, and up to 26K+ for others, the info about the valve’s check’s wasn’t easy to get on the new Honda, but seems to be a nice bike.

  11. Perfect timing Honda.
    I find myself commuting daily on one of my bikes now – usually my YZF 1000 Yam from 1996! This is and has been my best machine to date, but at age 61 the call is for a lighter ecconomical ride that has an easy roll on and good torque. Definately be considering the NC700X at this price.

  12. I have been waiting for honda to produce a bike like this and look forward to seeing and riding one. Thought I was going to have to buy a Suzuki VSTROM to get a bike like this. Only ride Honda’s so hopefully this will be another great product.

  13. I have bought a NC700x, it comes with ABS and does evrything Honda said it would. Do as I did ride it then buy it you will not be disappointed.

  14. I’m a rider of 40 years looking for a bike I could commute on and do the usual rec riding. At first glance this looks fantastic. I don’t need 130 mph or a faux Harley. But the gas tank — both size and placement — are darn near deal-killers. 3.7 gallons? With the filler under the seat? Seriously? No way. One, you’d obviously spend half your life at the gas pump and two, it’d be a major pain in the arse when you were there. C’mon, Honda! Dumb, dumb, dumb. I don’t care if it lowers the center of gravity by a few millimeters. That’s being too clever by half and not worth it. Finally: don’t be such dorks about the ABS (not that I’ve ever had it or missed it). Offer it with the 6-speed, which everyone who’s ridden more than a month wants anyway. Bottom line: Great idea, but it needs a couple of tweaks.

    • Wrong Jim Smart Smart Smart you forget or did not know this bike does 70 mpg so will go well over 240 miles between fill ups centre stand makes it a cinch for fill ups and with the massive amount of storage ( 4.4 cubic feet ) you do not have to strap anything to the seat behind you. If you make a mistake and slightly overfill, the gas will go into a recessed well NOT all over your tank!
      If you ever get to ride one you will realise the low centre of mass makes an enormous difference. Why not put all your negatives aside and try one. I did I am 72 and have been riding for 56 years and this is the best by far.

      • Yes, you’re right. I’m 68 and this is the best bike I’ve had —includes 3 hondas, two triumphs, stella and Harley. I love this bike! The only issue is the windscreen (optional high one) is still too small. A wider one would hinder the handlebar from going to the lock position. But I can certainly live with that.
        -It is ironic how the gear box discussion that started with the NT 700 and how it needed, they said, another gear. Now we have the sixth gear and my left hand is getting a work-out. With the grunt this engine has, it could do nicely with 5. Honda was listening and was darn sure this bike had 6 gears!

        If I had it to do over, I would have gotten this bike sooner! The cool factor is off the chart. Women love this bike. Somehow I’ve got to tell the lady next door she can’t go for a ride. I’m serious!


  15. I would like to know when Honda is going to bring back the VTX the best bike they ever made it had POWER and Confort

  16. I ordered the 230 Tour Master tires for my 2002 HD 1200 S Sportster. I didn’t like the Dunlop 591 tires so want to try some thing different. From the sounds of it I may have found the tire that I will be happy with. I just got them delivered the other day so have to get them installed on the bike and check them out. Will let you know more at a later time. Carl

  17. This Honda looks great and I like the gas filler under the passenger seat. The storage compartments are a real big thing to me, I have a PC 800 and like the storage on it a lot. I hope that it is available for a test ride at the Sturgis rallie in the Black Hills this fall.

  18. The fuel tank size and filler location immediately stood out to me as serious problems which keep me from even trying what seems to be an otherwise good and useful traits in a bike. Very disappointed. Very stupid. I won’t even consider it for these reasons.

  19. I bought one today. Everything is an improvement for me. My Honda XR650L is just not good enough for doing the 100miles to work and 100miles back every day.

  20. Nobody seems to notice this bike weights a hefty 472 lbs! A KTM 990 Adventure R with 116 hp weights about 465 lbs and a Kawasaki KLR 650 about 245lbs. Has anyone tried picking up 472 lbs of bike by himself after an off road misadventure?! Stay on blacktop roads and call this Honda a maybe dual purpose bike or if you are serious about the “dual” in this size of bike look at a KTM 680.

      • Ken,

        Not a dual purpose bike..!? See the quote in post immediately below- a bike for a dual sport rider..

        Also, then what is with the skid plate, the extended suspension travel, the riding position and more upright ergonomics with the handlebars, fuel tank out back so you can place tank bags up front..?

        If this bike should not be called a dual purpose machine then no one should call you an informed motorcycle magazine moderator.

        Park the Honda next to a BMW 650/850 GS and look at the similarities. In German “GS” in means “gelande (und) strasse”- backroads and street- dual.

        • I’m not a magazine moderator: I’m a rider and reader, and no actual reviewers who have ridden this bike have called it a dual-sport machine, except in looks-only. It is purely a street bike.

        • Ken,

          Now we agree- it is a dual purpose lookalike bike without that ability. Then as you say, it is designated exclusively as a street bike. The problem is for that kinda money there are multiple other street bike options and with this Honda’s high seat and suspension arrangement, weight and moderate power it will get wasted in a comparison test/competition.

          I maintain that if you want a reliable, cheap dual purpose workhorse buy the KLR 650( $6,000-00), if you have deeper pockets and want more power visit your BMW or KTM( $10,500-00 range) dealer. If you like street bikes- flash the $11,000-00 this one will cost you at any street racer shop and you will get set up riding something you’d think was developed at Area 51.

  21. “3.7 gallons?” it does approx 80mpg so that works out as a range of nearly 300 miles. That seems pretty decent to me.

    “Why would you put a fuel fill under the rear seat?” it lowers the centre of gravity (considerably) and offers you a tonne of storage where the tank used to be. I’d prefer it if it had a filler cap on the side though.

    “this bike just does not have the size engine and power that is needed for the average American Dual Sport Rider”. This bike is a sensible bike that offers great mpg and long service intervals but also looks pretty cool. I don’t think it’s aimed at replacing the BMW etc. Does the American Dual Sport rider really need an engine over 700cc? – how fast do they want to go?

    “Nobody seems to notice this bike weights a hefty 472 lbs!” It’s a heavy bike but all the weight is very low down. That means it will be pretty easy to pick up if you drop it. It also means you’re likely to get a more comfortable ride due to sprung/unsprung weight ratios.

    It might not offer the huge displacement or massive power that many folks seem to want. Instead it offers riders exactly what they need – it looks great, it’s way quicker than the car and it will be cheap as chips to run.

  22. I ride a 1999 Yamaha Tenere 660 in the caribbean and have traveled thru the Dominican Republic and throughout Haiti where there are lots of bad roads. I definately appreciate Honda to come up with a new model – although they had a model in the 80s that I bought from a guy who had brought it from France, the 750 XLV, 2 cylinders, 6 valves.

    I do agree that having the tank size and location are a set back. My Tenere has a capacity of 6 gallons, and it goes and goes and goes… and I don’t have to move all my gear around when I am filling up. I just move the tank bag and that’s it..

    I do love the design of this new Honda, though..

  23. Interesting to read all the misinformation of people who don’t have a clue as to what they’re talking about. I’ve ridden bikes hundreds of thousands of miles over the last 50 years, everthing from 50cc to Chevy powered Boss Hoss. I own several bikes now, BMW GS1150, V Strom 1000 amoung them and I purchased the lst HondaNC700X my dealer recieved. This bike is a game changer and the future of things to come.I’m getting 7l to 80 mpg. The bike has all you need up to 85 mph where most people live. Is quicker to 75 then many bikes you think are fast.

    KLR 650’s weigh more like 389 lbs. not 245. I know, I’ve owned 2 of them.

    • Thanks Nat, for some mature input. Sounds like I can trust your opinion. It’s amazing that your geting that kind of MPG! I, somewhat like you, have ridden most everything and am really interested in this bike. How about the leg room? Wind protection? Other niggles?

      • Just installed the Honda bags and trunk. Love them! In regards to ergonomics on the 700, I’m 5′ 10″ at 175 lbs and find the bike to my liking.
        No adjustments needed for comfort except I may seek a more comfortable
        seat for long range. Those concerned about the range with the small tank
        need not fret. I usually get 230 miles before reserve and then have a gallon
        left even though the manual claims .7 gals.Still waiting for the taller wind-
        screen to be available so am getting wind in the face, but the upper legs
        are tucked in behind the fax-tank. Need heated grips installed and center-
        stand to round out the bike for touring. Saddle bags are larger than they
        looked in the pictures, just narrow at the front for passenger leg room.

  24. I am most impressed by the fuel consumption. Remarkable. I ride the old Africa Twin and I only get around 50. OK its a much older bike. But even this is better than the Varadero thirst.

    The weight of my bike and this new one is an issue. More for me because after being pushed off the bike by an aggressive cardriver in a French Gorge, I was trapped under the bike and couldn’t get out from under unassisted. And the new one’s heavier still.

    Against this new Honda is the price.

  25. i love it, everything about it . im a ex vmax owner and having the fuel under the seat keep the clutter down, and gets ya off the bike to fill up the power is more than enough im 285 pounds and had no issues . im hearing a lot of babies out there. its a touring bike not a race bike slow down enjoy the ride.

  26. The tension and excitement on the comment pages has become too much. I find that the lively debate and thoughtful comments are nail bitingly relevant and exciting.

    I’ll go and lie down in a darkened room ………….

  27. The nc700x finally got to our showroom floor….it was almost to tall to get on (without the saddle and tail bags)and had to tip toe on the ground, the distance from the seat to the pegs too short (hard on the knees) and I couldn’t get my riding boots under the gear stick. I am six foot and a 190 pounds, I ride 75 miles a day……I didn’t buy the bike and don’t know who could. I think the S model is an inch short that would help.

  28. I love the looks and the mpg (63 mpg according to a Honda ad I read), but 3.7 gallon tank? I like to do 1000 mile days, and that’s just not acceptable. And when you’re packed for a long trip, you most likely have something tied on to that passenger seat. Pain to undo it. Otherwise, I am intrigued, and would expect it to be an excellent bike.

    • Daniel,
      Your concern about moving something off of the passenger seat for refuels
      seems less inportant to me as I always had to remove my tank bag to
      refuel my other bikes. Just re-think the way you strap it on. I did an Iron-Butt 1000 and 1500 with a guy who filled up every 125 miles. A lot of
      stops but did it in under 24 hrs and 36 hrs. My butt needs a break every
      3 hours or so anyway.

  29. This strapping stuff to the seat is an obsession with some of these guys…..I ordered the rack and light bar to provide some protection for the radiator. Dealer is waiting for my backordered center stand to put it all on in one fell swoop. So far I’ve only had 2 fill ups, 68mpg and 77mpg, so I am a happy camper. Zipping off the stoplights is a blast and it handles great on any road with a curve or two. The lower center of gravity cannot be overstated. It feels like a much lighter bike until you have to push it up the driveway into the garage. I don’t push it much. Sylvia will be my riding partner for the foreseeable future.

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