I’m just going to come right out and say it: Honda’s NC750X is the best commuter bike out there right now. Don’t worry, I’m wearing my flame-retardant suit and a fire extinguisher is standing by. But I can also back up my bold claim, if you’ll bear with me.
When the original NC700X debuted in 2012, we proclaimed it “the bike many of you have been asking for…and more” (Rider, November 2012 and here). Base price was just $6,999, with the (then) newfangled DCT automatic ABS version coming in at $8,999, and it checked all the boxes: excellent fuel economy, accessible size, appealing ADV styling, comfortable seating, surprisingly decent handling and a locking storage compartment large enough to hold a full-face helmet.
Read our Tour Test Review of the Honda NC700X DCT here.
In 2014 the European market got a revised model, its 670cc parallel twin bored out to 745cc and dubbed the NC750X…but here in the States we were stuck with the 700 until last year, when Honda finally dropped it in favor of the 750.
So now we have the NC750X, which has matured into its role as a class-bending, do-it-all machine that hits the sweet spot in terms of price, functionality, style and fun. Base price is now $7,999 for the six-speed manual with LED head- and taillights and colorful LCD instrument, with the DCT ABS model, now featuring Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC, a.k.a. traction control), priced at $8,699.
Honda has nearly perfected its three-mode (Drive, Sport and manual) DCT dual-clutch automatic transmission, and honestly for just $700 and roughly 30 extra pounds the DCT model is the way to go, especially since it’s the only way to get the HSTC and combined ABS, which applies front brake when the rear is applied as well as preventing lock-up. But EIC Tuttle must think I’m tough, so a base model, bone stock 2018 NC750X is what I tested, logging more than 1,400 commuting, canyon carving and errand-running miles.
Helmet: Nolan N100-5
Suit: Aerostich R-3
Boots: Tourmaster Trinity
On paper the NC750X is nearly identical to its predecessor, with the primary difference being the squarer bore and stroke (77 x 80mm vs. 73 x 80), which adds a few ponies and ups the rev ceiling to 7,500. The liquid-cooled, dual-counterbalanced, 270-degree, SOHC parallel twin cranks out power well into the midrange. Not to say it’ll ripple the blacktop on a holeshot, but it’s enough for a one-up rider to stay interested on a weekend fling through the twisties, and despite a surprisingly aggressive snarl it pulses pleasantly with no buzzy vibes. It’s also impressively fuel-efficient. On a mixture of high-speed (read: 75-80 mph) freeways and surface streets, I averaged nearly 69 mpg over 1,400 miles, meaning I was filling up the 3.7-gallon tank with regular every 250 miles or so.
The other major upgrade is the two-level HSTC, available only on the DCT ABS model, that allows the rider to choose between low intervention that allows some rear wheel spin (on gravel or dirt, for example) or high intervention for slippery roads. On our test bike my hands and right foot substituted for traction control and ABS, and fortunately the NC750X is easy and forgiving to ride.
That “just enough” power (51 peak horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 48 lb-ft of torque at 4,700 per the Jett Tuning dyno) never feels out of control and throttle response is smooth. A single 320mm wave-style front brake disc necessitates “combined” braking during anything resembling sporty riding, but I’m in the habit of using both front and rear anyway and found brake performance to be more than adequate for my one-up riding habits. As an added bonus, the front brake lever is now adjustable!
Now take a few steps back; at 478 pounds ready to ride the NC750X is essentially a three-quarter-size ADV bike, and this is a major component of its class-bending capabilities. The rider is perched on a 32.7-inch seat, which is comfortable enough for long commutes or day rides, narrow enough for 29-inch-inseam legs to reach the ground and high enough to allow an excellent view of traffic. Reach to the handlebar is also comfortable, and it’s not so wide as to require a yoga pose for full-lock turns. The windscreen does a good job of deflecting air and the LCD instrument is easy to read even in direct sunlight.
Handling potholes, railroad tracks and other pavement irregularities are a 41mm non-adjustable fork with 5.4 inches of travel, and a Pro-Link rear shock with spanner-adjustable preload and 5.9 inches of travel. For just about any type of “normal” riding, including gravel roads and tackling the twisties, I found the suspension to be surprisingly good; it only felt out of sorts when hitting hard bumps while leaned over in a turn.
Lastly, while it’s easy for us grizzled gearheads to become jaded about styling, I must mention that my NC750X tester received numerous compliments from strangers, including one sportbike rider at my gym and a car full of young people who cruised slowly past and called out, “Rad bike!” I’ll admit, it felt good!
Speaking of styling, other testers have complained about having to remove luggage like a tail bag to use the NC’s unorthodox fuel filler under the passenger seat, but there’s an upside: a waterproof 22-liter locking front trunk (endearingly known as the “frunk”), so as a commuter/errand-runner I never found it to be an issue.
Not only does the frunk hold a full-face helmet, I managed to stuff all manner of–well, stuff–in there. Groceries, a gym bag, my 13-inch laptop in a protective sleeve, extra gloves and layers, a combination of the above…you’d be surprised at what you can shove inside. And if you really need more space or want to go touring, Honda sells accessory hard saddlebags and a rear trunk. I only wish my tester’s frunk was fitted with the optional 12V accessory outlet.
Going back to our original 2012 review, I think we can amend our statement to say the updated NC750X is the motorcycle many riders–and soon-to-be riders—have been waiting for. It’s a bike built for today’s motorcyclist: affordable, fuel efficient, with integrated storage and available DCT/ABS, and ready to do it all, from commuting to canyon carving to touring. And it looks good doing it.
2018 Honda NC750X Specs
Base Price: $7,999
Warranty: 1 yr., unltd. miles
Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse parallel twin
Bore x Stroke: 77.0 x 80.0mm
Compression Ratio: 10.7:1
Valve Train: SOHC, 4 valves per cyl.
Valve Insp. Interval: 16,000 miles
Fuel Delivery: PGM-FI w/ 36mm throttle body
Lubrication System: Wet sump, 3.6-qt. cap.
Transmission: 6-speed, cable-actuated wet clutch
Final Drive: O-ring chain
Ignition: Digital transistorized w/ electronic advance
Charging Output: 420 watts @ 5,000 rpm
Battery: 12V 11.2AH
Frame: Tubular-steel diamond w/ engine as stressed member, box-section steel swingarm
Wheelbase: 60.4 in.
Rake/Trail: 27 degrees/4.3 in.
Seat Height: 32.7 in.
Suspension, Front: 41mm telescopic fork, no adj., 5.4-in. travel
Rear: Single link-type shock, adj. for spring preload, 5.9-in. travel
Brakes, Front: Single 320mm disc w/ 3-piston floating caliper
Rear: Single 240mm disc w/ 1-piston floating caliper
Wheels, Front: Cast, 3.50 x 17 in.
Rear: Cast, 4.50 x 17 in.
Tires, Front: 120/70-ZR17
Wet Weight: 478 lbs.
Load Capacity: 432 lbs.
GVWR: 910 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 3.7 gals., last 1.3 gals. warning light on
MPG: 86 PON min. (low/avg/high) 55.9/68.9/78.1
Estimated Range: 255 miles
Indicated RPM at 60 MPH: 3,000
No flame suit required because it is hard to argue the facts as detailed above. Cost, MPG, storage capacity, decent performance, low-heat, low-octane fuel requirements, comfort, reliability etc….. Can’t think of a bike out there that ticks those boxes. My ONLY issue is, it’s not the most exciting motorcycle to own and ride, which is why I commute on a far more impractical bike. Honda nailed it for all the purposes mentioned in the article….it’s a very sensible bike for very sensible people. Unfortunately, I am not sensible enough to own on.
Yes their is a lot of non sensible people driving other brands. lol I owned 18 other bikes and been riding for 40 years I owned Harleys kaw. and mostly Hondas. This bike and the cb500x is one of my favored.
“their is” (sic) ……. but why are people who ride other brands “non-sensible”. Did someone decree every other brand is a forgery or something?
Anyway, another 50mm of suspension travel, spoked wheels and switchable ABS would make it appeal more broadly
I had a 2012 model and loved it. Over the five years that I had the bike I averaged over 71 mpg. even running between 85-90 I got 61 mpg. Had saddle bags, tour box ,center stand, heated hand grips, and an aftermarket windshield. Best mpg was 85.5!!
Honda makes two-wheeled appliances. They tick a lot of boxes but always manage to omit a feature people actually want.
Do this thing still not have ABS with a manual gearbox in the US?
apart from Honda being the largest MC Company in the world, you’re on the money….Why so many people buy bikes they don’t want is a great mystery.
Honda does things their own way. I can’t understand why they think that ABS should only be available with DCT. I test-rode one of the older versions, and it was a nice bike. Still, the no-ABS with a manual transmission would be a deal-killer for me. That, and the stupid decision to swap the horn and turn signal button location.s
The No-Abs nonsense is dealer driven. Too many potential buyers of “entry level” models walk in, hat-in-hand, wondering of they can “qualify” and make the monthly payment. They’re then fairly easy to convince/sucker into handing the $250 cost of ABS over as dealer markup instead…….
That is a very uneducated reply. First and foremost Honda has not listed to a dealer in over 30 years. Second do you have any idea what the average net profit is a year. 2-5% that is it!!! I guarantee you that what ever industry you are in that the net profit is higher then that. So what about gross profit on units, A home run out of the park and very seldom seen is 18-20%. the average deal is around 12%. So as you pay a up to a 400% gross mark up on furniture, jewelry and a few other items or Keystone on almost all other products do you call them and yourself suckers.
You pretty much nailed it with Honda. From a pure engineering standpoint, it’s like they make perfect engines. Totally linear and smooth power delivery, totally reliable, also kinda boring. They have to do odd things like v-tec (a la the VFR 800) to make them interesting. There are a few things that makes this bike not perfect though – still have to do valve adjustments, it has a chain drive (more maintenance), and it is woefully underpowered for the high speed interstates of today (where HP matters more than torque).
Have ridden my NC750X across Europe on all sorts of Motorways, including the Autobahn (no upper speed limit)
Absolutely no issues of it being underpowered.
Obviously its not designed to mimic a race machine like many sportsbikes, but its not a sportsbike.
Will cruise comfortably all day at 85mph with full luggage. Top speed of 122mph
Just spent a month touring California and Nevada on interstates, never really saw anyone going much above 80 mph?
Top speed of 122 mph ?!?!? Seriously…
I own one and it will go not much more than 105 – 110 mph on gps
I’m always amazed at how people believe (and quote) their speedo readings. A speedo reading of 122 is NOT, EVER 122 mph. And your indicated 85 with full luggage is well under 80 mph.
Sylvain is right on here.
sounds like a great do-it-all bike. affordable enough that a bike wacko can still afford something exciting (like a 2017 Thruxton R w/fairing).
I can only think of one thing this bike needs – shaft drive – to make it a perfect solo tourer.
Agreed! Or at least belt drive.
At the cost of making it clumsier in the pothole and speedbump ridden cities where it makes the most natural sense……..
If you tour city-to-city, with meaningful time spent exploring the cities you visit, this bike rules! Aside from somewhat wide steering lock, it’s darned near scooter like in cities. Yet still a bike out on the open road. The dct model, is even city (or beach…) -wear friendly. The scooter like, low, center of gravity making it more comfortable to muscle around wearing flip flops (or pumps…) Not advocating dressing that way on a bike, but of you are going to do it anyway, you may as well have a bike well designed for it.
given the low hp number wonder if a belt drive would work. Occassional maintenance but no lubing or or messy back wheel.
Is this finally the bike that will cause us PC800 owners – the Pacific Coast – to upgrade? If it were shaft driven with hydraulic valves (no adjustment needed), it’d be a contender, for sure.
As I enter my dotage this thing looks better and better
when honda finally hire a designer who has 20/20 vision, I’ll start taking their bikes seriously.
Just read this today. So, basically, you fueled up every time on fumes at the 255 mile mark?
Having factory cruise-control and belt-drive would make it perfect. A bigger tank would also be nice but not necessary.
Exactly. I’d buy one tomorrow if that was the case.
I really like this “no frills” bike. But I’ll buy one when it gets 18” wheels, shaft drive and hydraulic lifters.
What’s wrong with wheels you can get tires for? I mean, 17.64″ fonts and 18.28″ rears are obviously superior and all, but sometimes having tires on your bike is kind of cool, too…….. 🙂
Of course we know that the NC – and nothing short of a touring bike – will be getting a more-expensive, heavier, and rear suspension action-inhibiting shaft drive. And, as to hydraulic valves: easy screw-and-locknut adjusters on this accessible, forward-slanted, parallel twin every 16,000 miles is a virtual non-issue, as well.
Looks nice, want to try it, but engine increased up to 51BHP? The older NTV ( RC33 ) , witch i own, peaks out at 55BHP. Has the new exhaust emissions taken HP? To me adding 100ccm should increase HP with atleast 10HP.
I owned both and can assure you that the NC feels quite a bit more powerful than the NTV – even if it isn’t on paper. The engines are quite different, the NTV being short stroke and NC is a long stroke. This means the NC doesn’t rev quite as high (therefore losing out on maximum achievable power) but up to its modest red-line goes better – and neither of these bikes are typically revved up very high.
I wonder if the new 750 provides more power than the previous 700 models.
I own a 2013 NC700X DCT, on which I just completed an 11,000 mile tour of the USA and part of Canada. The bike is equipped with Honda hard bags and trunk, crash bars and driving lights. Modifications include a Shad comfort seat with a modified mount to reduce the forward slope of the very uncomfortable stock seat; RaceTech gold valve modifications to the forks (stock forks would almost shake my grip off the handlebars when hitting sharp bumps, like freeway seams); 1″ lower footpegs; and a Madstadt windshield. I typically rode comfortably for 300-400 miles per day, and sometimes up to 700 miles per day without significant discomfort.
This is the best bike I’ve ever owned for solo touring, except for its lack of power.
Riding south through Texas and west through Nevada in strong headwinds and up slight hills, the bike would struggle to reach 60 mph at full throttle without shifting down to 5th gear. Passing requires forethought (or down hill sections) but was not a real problem. The flip side is excellent fuel economy: I averaged 65 mpg with a high of 72. Range with the 3.7 gallon tank was only about 195 miles (without risking running out of fuel) but this is similar to what my Kawasaki Concours C14 achieved with a 6 gallon tank.
The DCT transmission is marvelous. Drive mode does shift to higher gears too soon but this can be remedied using the paddle shifters. DCT is a life saver in the ridiculously heavy traffic in Montreal, Boston, and other large cities. It’s responsive, eliminates “tired clutch hand”, and lets you focus on maneuvering around all those creeping cars.
I’ve owned many different bikes and can’t provide enough praise for the 700X. It’s agile, balanced, is not disturbed by strong cross winds, provides excellent handling in wet and dry conditions, fun for sport riding, and is very easy to ride.
If anyone has a 750, I would be interested to hear if the new model offers an improvement in power.
I fell in love with the 700, then 750, as rentals in Europe. They’re so much nicer in tight cities than other touring worthy adv-styled bikes, with the low center of gravity and general narrowness making them much more city friendly than typical adv monsters. But I’ve never tried them with the side cases and the topbox attached. Is it still crosswind stable and good handling, even with the luggage stuffed full? Bringing the bags into the hotel room, and still having the frunk for around town, is pretty sweet for an exploring bike…..
The 750 is faster than the 700. The new “bending valve” (I believe it’s called) front suspension is much nicer as well. Doubly so since abs is a bit hyper active when braking over bumps and the front wheel momentarily loses ground contact on the old suspension (proven by rolling into a busy intersection in Barcelona….). Against a strong headwind at altitude in the rockies, even the Africa Twin is darned near maxed out trying to maintain 90 uphill, so I doubt the 750 would be night and day. But it is definitely faster and a bit more effortless at speed than the 700.
Bill, there is either something wrong with your bike or you had it way overloaded and were in the wrong gear to begin with. The 700 has plenty of power and would have outrun anything on the road prior to the 69 Honda 750 back when speed limits were even higher than today. Most horsepower talk belongs in bars, not a reality on the road.
Amen! This bike reminds me of my 2010 Moto Guzzi V7 which looks underpowered on paper but does not disappoint if you know how to ride her. The aficionados of raw power always strike me as not wanting to work WITH the bike, but just sit back and be dragged along. And I also own a 2108 Indian Scout Bobber.
I own a 2016 750x dct and also rode the manual 75 and 700. No significant feel of power increase for the 750X.
Best commuter bike by far and mine looks and sounds absolutely sexy
Have had my 700 n for 3 years, average 71 mpg., cruising 5 mph. Over limit, I have a new yamaha tracer 900, for when I’m in a hurry, looking to get the 750cc., this summer, fall, upgrade, will be my last bike purchase, .
It’d be nice if they took this engine and made a real adventure bike with it.
As a potential reentry rider, I was interested in this bike – a local dealer has a leftover 2018 manual trans. model.
But I want ABS on any bike I might get (and I don’t need or want auto-transmission)
Cross this one off the list.
Shame, sounds like it otherwise would have been a good fit for my needs.
Frankly, as inexpensive and lightweight as motorcycle ABS systems are nowadays, I don’t understand why all street bikes don’t have it. Provide an off switch and almost everyone would be happy.
I’ve owned my 2018 nc750x and love it. Its a great allrounder and will perform well in varied conditions. Its not sportbike-quick, adventure-ready, or tourer-comfortable. But you can use it for most of those rides.
The DCT transmission is a revelation. It works well giving you the freedom to shift freely according to terrain and conditions. And easy on my sometimes arthritic hands. Most of the time im in auto, over-riding as needed. Technical riding begs for manual. Such choices!
Power is good, not over-the-top. Lots of torque, easy to ride, but not super exciting.
This is (about?) my 20th motorcycle, so I can say although its not my favorite, but it feels like a familiar old friend
Just bought a new 2020 Nc750x with abs as standard manual gear box. first impression is it revs lower at 120km/hr than my last bike ,bmw rt1200(2013). It is very smooth and does not seem to have any vibes at that speed. It requires a lot more driving to get the best from it.but overall I am looking forward to riding it. Fuel economy is something I am looking forward to,not that the bm was not good it always did between 54 to59.mpg. It has tappets great.regards from Ireland.
Well after over 30 years of riding ….mostly cruisers I decided to go a different way. I bought a 2016 nc 750x and wow I’m born again. It’s a very forgiving bike I’m 54 with moderate arthritis in my neck and wrists. It’s 350lbs lighter than my previous bike a 1700 cc touring cruiser which I could not push around in the garage anymore. It’s sips fuel …. More than twice the gas mileage of my previous bike, and here in Canada that’s important. It also costs a lot less to insure half the price of my previous bike in Canada we pay a lot for motorcycle insurance. So the NC 750 x DCT ABS is a no brainer for me. It makes me feel like riding again. Power it has I say this because I compare it to the cruisers I’ve owned it will walk away from them. I have added heated grips hand guards givi rack and top box. It does everything I want and takes up a lot less space in my garage.
After 37 years since my last bike , I bought a Honda NC750X , for these reasons , looks , practicality and affordability, at my age nearing retirement I wanted something to suit my age and pocket. Having parked next to a NC for 3 years , I saw felt myself wanting to own one day before I get to old to enjoy the the motorcycle, 4 of my work colleague own an NC, after haven spoken to them and given their opinion on their experiences on their bikes , I set out looking for one , eventually with my wife’s blessing I bought one , after having lent one for a weekend. WOW it matched my mindset and gave me a new breath in life , I felt alive again , I’m sure any other brand would have done the same but I wanted the ability to tour , get to work in one bike , the NC ticked all the boxes , sweet riding position , enough power , and the very appiling looks. Even my fell in love with the bike and ride , at times hard depending on road surfaces but in general a well ballanced ride on South African south 🇿🇦 roads . WE now want the full NC experience and are.saving up for more gear , and are wanting the DCT model , I have always be in love with Suzuki but will have a great affair with out Honda NC.
How are you getting 69mpg? I have a 2021 and I get 54mpg if I baby it and keep it on the highway. If I do more in-town and spirited riding, it drops to 52mpg.
I bought a 2016 NC750-XA – had all manner of bikes in past but approaching 60 years old wanted to try touring out with the wife. Came with panniers & topbox, heated grips & extended front screen & larger front footpegs. Am I impressed – you bet your bottom dollar I am.. Rev limiter cutting in has caught me out once or twice but really can’t knock it as fuel economy averages around 80mpg even when ridden hard. Fuel talk could have held more but not complaining.
I am a proud owner of a 2018 Honda NC 750 xd. This is the best bike I ever owned. It has enough power if you are not afraid to use all your 54 horses. The DCT is amazing and always seems to know what gear I want and if it gets it wrong I can always manually override it. I am getting older (62 years) and I was getting pains when using the clutch on my BMW K75 ABS. I was looking for bike that was light enough so that I am hoping to be able to ride for a very long time. This is my last motorcycle. I just did a big trip up to Tuktayaktuk and the bike performed amazingly well on gravel, wet muddy gravel and pavement. The fuel economy is great and because of my extra weight I uses 3.6 litres per hundred for this trip. The low Center of gravity is also very helpful and improves handling. This is my first bike with a chain on so I personally prefer the shaft drive models. A shaft drive will loose 30% of the power where as chains only loose 9% to 12%. This is one of the reasons this bike gets such great fuel economy. Top speed is perfectly fine no matter what it actual is and I do not need to find out any more what it is.