2018 Honda NC750X Tech
11/6/2017 6:29:00 PM
Honda's midsize adventure-touring machine—long heralded as the ultimate commuting motorcycle—gets a number of important updates for 2018, enabling sportier performance while retaining the practical, utilitarian attributes for which it is known. The new model year brings a 75cc displacement increase to 745cc, along with the addition of two-level Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC), while mode changes to the automatic Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) allow the possibility of higher-rpm shift points.
When it was originally introduced in 2012 as a 700, the model was noted for its "crossover" styling; comfortable, upright riding position; available automatic Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT); long-travel suspension; and innovative, under-seat fuel cell, with a faux tank housing a storage compartment. The bike's NC moniker stood for New Concept, and its torque-laden parallel-twin engine borrowed from Honda's automotive technology, with a long-stroke design leading to a low rev ceiling and excellent fuel efficiency. Now, updates result in a sportier character, resulting in a fresh take on a highly functional machine that is now more versatile than ever.
Much of the motorcycle-riding experience comes down to feeling, and guiding the NC750X's design is the phrase "Sensual Performance." From the front, the machine has a bold, adventurous identity, with an LED headlight and running lights forming a unique impression.
The tall windscreen guides airflow around the rider's upper body, and a central duct equalizes pressure, while slits on the upper left and right sides reduce wind noise. The side cowls and side covers create muscular lines, and the svelte seat unit and clear-smoke LED taillight are underlined in a minimal manner by the exhaust muffler, further emphasizing the mass-forward stance.
Volume of the storage compartment is 22 liters (enough to hold a full-size helmet), and its lid features external rails that are useful for mounting a tank bag. Inside the lid are four hooks that allow rubber straps to assist in organizing contents.
Attractive instruments use a negative LCD display, and information includes odometer, trip meter, gear position, fuel economy and consumption gauges, (optional) heated grip temperature, and three-stage SPORT mode for the DCT model.
The color of the rev-counter bar display can be changed by the rider; a total of nine options are available. It is also possible to have colors change according to gear selected, rpm range, or (for the DCT version) riding mode.
ECO mode turns the display to light blue if riding with good fuel efficiency, and green if riding even more economically. SHIFT mode sees the color change to orange if engine rpm exceeds a level pre-set by the rider.
The design of the NC750X's liquid-cooled, SOHC, 8-valve parallel-twin-cylinder engine ensures punchy performance in the low-to-mid rpm range. Its relatively long-stroke architecture and specially shaped combustion chambers combine with the high-inertial-mass crankshaft to produce large amounts of effortless torque from very low rpm. The engine's forward-leaning position lowers the center of gravity for optimum handling.
For 2018, the NC750X gets Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC), featuring two levels. Level 1 allows some rear-wheel spin—on gravel or dirt for instance—while Level 2 reduces wheel spin, particularly on slippery roads. Level 2 is the default from "ignition on," and a push of the button on the left side of the handlebar changes the setting to Level 1. Pushing and holding the button turns HSTC off.
Twin balancers counteract vibration from higher rpm inertia, refining the engine yet still allowing the distinct "throb" delivered by its 270° firing order, and bore and stroke are set at 80mm x 77mm. By minimizing the number of parts, the engine is kept light, efficient, and reliable, as components are made to do more than one job where possible; for example, the camshaft drives the water pump, while one of the balancer shafts drives the oil pump.
A lightweight, pentagon-shaped muffler uses two chambers joined by a hole-punched link pipe, which works with a final resonator chamber to create a deeply distinctive sound and exhaust pulse. The built-in catalyzer has a two-layer structure to help reduce emissions.
Honda's automatic Dual Clutch Transmission technology is now in its eighth year of production and is steadily gaining popularity. DCT uses two clutches—one for startup and first, third, and fifth gears, and the other for second, fourth, and sixth gears, with the main shaft for one clutch located inside that of the other. Each clutch is independently controlled by its own electro-hydraulic circuit.
The DCT system features two automatic modes, plus the manual mode for manual gear changes. The standard automatic DRIVE mode is for general or highway riding and maximum fuel efficiency. SPORT mode—which holds a higher rpm for up- and downshifts—offers three levels of performance.
Some riders prefer to ride higher gears, some lower, and the three mode options make it possible to tailor the gearbox response to riding style. The selected level is stored and acts as the default SPORT Mode for subsequent rides. It is also displayed on the dash.
The DCT used by the NC750X features Adaptive Clutch Capability Control, which manages the amount of clutch torque transmitted. This adds a natural "feathered" clutch feel when opening or closing the throttle, for a smoother ride. Further refinements include fast operation of the Neutral-Drive switch when turning on the ignition, as well as a control system in Automatic mode for gauging the angle of ascent or descent and adapting the shift pattern accordingly.
For 2018, the DCT rev ceiling for upshifts has been raised from 6,600 rpm to 7,500 rpm (which is where redline starts), to make more use of the engine's peak power.
The NC750X's rugged steel diamond frame has the high levels of rigidity required for agile, responsive handling in a variety of conditions. It's also ideal where space is at a premium, since it takes up very little volume but offers superb riding dynamics.
Rake is set at 27°, with trail of 110mm, wheelbase of 60.6 inches, and front/rear weight distribution of 48% / 52%. Curb weight is 474 pounds (500 pounds DCT), and seat height is 32.7 inches. The riding position is upright and neutral, with a high viewpoint. Another advantage of this adventure-style riding position is great low-speed control; combined with the low center of gravity and generous steering lock, the result is exceptional low-speed handling and balance.
The 41mm telescopic Showa Dual Bending Valve fork features 6.0 inches of travel and has ratios optimized for both compression and rebound damping. This allows the generation of damping force in precise proportion to piston speed (in the low-speed range), improving ride quality and comfort. Increased compression damping provides more progressive, firmer suspension response and helps reduce dive under heavy braking. Gray Alumite caps add a finishing touch.
The single rear shock features a spring-preload adjuster system and has 5.9 inches of travel. It operates through a Pro-Link® configuration that offers an optimized balance of a soft initial stroke for dealing with low-speed bumps, together with excellent control.
Up front, the 320mm wave rotor and two-piston brake caliper deliver plenty of easy-to-modulate stopping power, complemented by the rear 240mm wave rotor and single-piston caliper. Lightweight two-channel ABS provides powerful and confident braking even on slippery or wet road surfaces.
Cast-aluminum front and rear wheels—sizes 17 x 3.50-inch and 17 x 4.50-inch respectively—wear 120/70 ZR17 and 160/60 ZR17 tires. Forged-aluminum L-shaped rim valves simplify the process of checking and adjusting air pressure.
The range of genuine Honda Accessories includes:
- Specifically designed new rear rack
- Hand guards to add integrated function and tough adventure style
- 35 liter and 45 liter top boxes
- 29 liter panniers
- Inner bags
- Center stand
- Fog lights
- Fairing bars
- 5 stage heated grips
- 12V accessory socket