Honda reveals new NC750X
One of Europe and SA’s favourite all-rounders gets a well-rounded evolution: more power for the engine, plus higher redline and revised gearbox ratios, which come hand-in-hand with Throttle By Wire management, 3 riding modes and refined, expanded Honda Selectable Torque Control. Its renowned fuel efficiency is maintained, and a full 6kg has been shaved from the kerb weight. A redesigned frame is clothed in sharper-edged styling, the unique up-front storage compartment is usefully larger and seat height 30mm lower. The Dual Clutch Transmission variant continues to offer a technology unique to Honda on two wheels. A new screen, LED lighting and LCD dash round out the update.
Since its introduction in 2012 the NC750X has enjoyed consistent popularity throughout SA and Europe. Reasons for the success are several: a ground-breaking, torque-laden, fuel-sipping twin-cylinder engine, a relaxed, roomy riding position with wide handlebars and comfortable seat, compliant suspension and distinctive adventure styling all play their part.
The storage compartment (where the fuel tank would normally be), capable of holding a full-face helmet and Honda’s unique Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) that over half of European customers chose in 2019 are further features that set the NC750X apart.
Viewed as a whole, the NC750X’s qualities combine to create a motorcycle which functions superbly. And for all types of riding – commuting, touring and simply for pleasure – it has proved a motorcycle with compelling all-round appeal.
Honda has taken care to continuously evolve the NC750X’s successful (and unique) formula, with several upgrades over the years. For 2014 it gained 75cc, going from 670 to 745cc; for 2016 a new more adventurous aesthetic, new instruments, DCT upgrades and LED lighting were added; for 2018 two-level Honda Selectable Torque Control and a 47hp version arrived.
Now for 2021, Honda are building on its core strengths of practicality, do-it-all comfort and handling composure, improving all three. At the same time, there’s also more spirited engine performance, with an injection of extra torque and a boost of top-end zap, with a raised redline. The addition of electronic riding modes completes a polished package.
3hp more peak power for the NC750X’s EURO5-spec engine, plus an extra 600rpm to the redline are the headline changes, thanks to work on valve timing and intake/exhaust efficiency. Shorter ratios for first, second and third gears smarten response while a slipper clutch reduces lever load and keeps the ride smooth on rapid downshifts.
Throttle By Wire (TBW) brings with it adjustable engine character through 3 default rider modes – RAIN, STANDARD and SPORT plus a customisable USER mode. Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC) now has a finer level of input over 3 levels, while the Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) option features Automatic shifting schedules that integrate with the riding modes, as well as USER control.
The other attention-grabber is the 6kg weight loss, thanks to a new frame and detail improvements around the engine and bodywork. There’s also a sharper, more minimalist edge to the bodywork, with fresh style for both LED headlight, taillight and rear indicators, while the redesigned storage space grows in volume and usability. Seat height is reduced 30mm, the screen offers more wind protection and a new LCD dash is an attractive addition.
Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT)
Having arrived on the market on the VFR1200F in 2010, Honda’s unique-in-motorcycling DCT technology is now in its eleventh year of production. Over 140,000 DCT-equipped motorcycles have been sold in Europe since introduction, and 52% of customers chose the DCT option for the NC750X in 2019.
The ‘easy and direct’ DCT technology delivers consistent, seamless gear changes up or down and very quickly becomes second nature in use. It uses two clutches: one for start-up and 1st, 3rd and 5th gears: the other for 2nd, 4th and 6th, with the mainshaft for each clutch located inside the other for compact packaging.
Each clutch is independently controlled by its own electro-hydraulic circuit. When a gear change occurs, the system pre-selects the target gear using the clutch not currently in use. The first clutch is then electronically disengaged as, simultaneously, the second clutch engages.
The result is a consistent, fast and seamless gear change. Furthermore, as the twin clutches transfer drive from one gear to the next with minimal interruption of the drive to the rear wheel, any gear change shock and pitching of the machine is negligible, making the change feel direct as well as smooth. Extra benefits include durability (as the gears cannot be damaged by missing a gear) impossibility of stalling, low stress urban riding, reduced rider fatigue, and extra ‘brain space’ to concentrate more on all other aspects of riding.
With the DCT gearbox, the rider may choose Manual mode, using paddle-style triggers on the left handlebar to change gear, or Automatic mode. In Automatic mode for the NC750X, 4 different shifting schedules operate, with 3 defaults: Level 1 is the most relaxed, and is used within RAIN mode; Levels 2 and 4 shift up at higher rpm and are linked with STANDARD and SPORT riding modes.
Within the USER riding mode, a fourth DCT shift pattern – between those for STANDARD and SPORT in terms of ‘aggressiveness’ can be chosen.
Adaptive Clutch Capability Control is a feature of the NC750X’s DCT and manages the amount of clutch torque transmitted. This adds a natural ‘feathered’ clutch feel when opening or shutting off the throttle for a smoother ride.
Keep a look out at your nearest Honda dealer for more info and arrival dates of the new NC750X range. www.honda.co.za