Long-term introduction: Honda NC750X
This is a car magazine – what do motorcycles have to do with cars? It’s a question we’re sometimes asked and the simple answer is that many car owners, for a variety of reasons, also own motorbikes.
Most often, they’re off-road adventure bikes or commuter ones like this pearl-white Honda NC750X (R87 490). The 745 cm3 engine powering the bike actually started life as half-a-Honda-Jazz engine. The parallel twin now has a 270-degree firing order and delivers 40 kW and 68 N.m of torque. This was a brave move by the engineers at Honda and their sole aim was to provide a bike that would be efficient and easy to ride – the perfect ingredients for a commuter bike.
The NC750X’s styling is a good deal more exciting than that humble commuter tag would suggest. The high stance and wide bars mimic those of enduro bikes, while the headlamp and flowing plastic body panels add a futuristic touch. The fuel tank is actually under the seat, which frees up space under the “traditional tank” for a full-face helmet.
I decided to explore the West Coast on the NC’s maiden voyage and left home before sunrise for a 300 km ride. The quiet exhaust system did not wake any neighbours and I immediately felt comfortable on the bike. The riding position is upright and provides an excellent vantage point in traffic, with the wide bars making directional changes easy. After a photoshoot in Melkbosstrand, I pointed the bike in the direction of Yzerfontein and Langebaan. Although the Honda is aimed at commuting, it is good to know that we will be able to conduct longer rides and still have some fun. The small screen provides wind protection and the bike sits comfortably at the national speed limit. I did find, however, that the engine is no fireball and you can easily hit the low rev limit of 6 500 r/min during overtaking. The advantage, though, is fuel efficiency and the bike consumed only 4,7 litres/100 km on the way to Langebaan.
A strong headwind and enthusiastic riding on the way back pushed the average fuel consumption into the fives, but it is clear that the bike will be a strong contender in any fuel economy run.
We’re looking forward to our six-month tenure with the bike and plan to not only commute, but also test its all-round ability.
For example, just before this issue went to print, the bike managed a stint of dirt-road riding to Grotto Bay. Also keep a look-out for some aftermarket additions in the form of a top box and a slip-on exhaust.
Mileage now (km): 625 km
Fuel consumption (litres/100 km): 5,64 litres/100 km
We like: practicality, comfort, ease of riding
We don’t like: limited engine-speed range