Great, just not very exciting
After riding the NC for a few hundred miles you realise it has very little in common with the other two twins here. In fact, it’s very different from almost any other bike. For starters, the ‘fuel tank’ is actually a large storage space complete with tool kit. It’s incredibly useful and just about fits a full-face lid. The fuel is actually stored under the rider’s arse, and the fuel cap located under the pillion seat.
Then there’s the 750cc, watercooled, parallel twin engine, which only revs to 6500rpm. It’s like driving a diesel car – all the go is at low to mid-rpm. You have to recalibrate your brain, especially after riding the rev-happy Suzuki. On the Honda you short-shift around 5000rpm, before
the colourful rev counter changes to orange, then red. This makes it sound tediously devoid of pace, but at just over 4000rpm in top it will happily cruise along at 85-90mph. I did one long ride hovering between 80-90mph, which the NC dispatched with ease, while managing a remarkable 76mpg. And it’s that fuel economy that lets you do 180 miles before the fuel light comes on, despite only packing a 14-litre tank.
The only downside is this makes the Honda a tad uneventful if you head away from the motorway searching for fun. It’s quick enough, has decent brakes and stable handling, and is predictable and secure in the wet – but it’s just not very exciting. Its biggest selling point is also its biggest weakness: It’s almost too good at making life easy, which in turn makes it dull. The fuelling is perfect, there are very few vibrations, and virtually no noise from the low-revving engine – it just does the job, but it’s as exciting as Lovejoy.
But on the flipside, the NC is an incredible town bike. Once you’ve removed the small panniers, the Honda is at home on the city commute. It will pull from 1000rpm in any gear, and is so smooth that it’s almost scooter-like, especially if you opt for the DCT model.
There are times when you might hate it; when you want to have real fun it simply doesn’t deliver. But for the rest of the time you’ll love it. Continued over: Verdict, stats, accessories and typical PCP deals
‘The fuelling is perfect, but it’s about as exciting as Lovejoy’