Ringleader: Joe Neric
MSRP (2010): $10,999
Mods: Honda large pannier lid set, Kriega Kube 1 pouch
Everyone mocks my NT, yet it's the most borrowed bike in the Motorcyclist garage. Cat commandeered it for a weekend getaway and said it nearly put him to sleep. Tim rode it home and nicknamed it "Captain Sensible." Photographer Joe Bonnello rode it to the Motocross of Nations in Colorado and damned it with faint praise, saying, "It's not that bad." Tough room, but thanks for racking up an easy 3000 miles!
The NT is kinda like a mini-van: No one wants to own one, but they'll borrow it when they need to carry a load.
Speaking of which, Captain Sensible may be s-l-o-w, but it'll haul a serious amount of cargo. I was able to stuff a one-piece riding suit and full backpack in the stock side cases and two full-face helmets in the accessory top trunk. In other words, the luggage is pretty accommodating.
With the larger pannier lids installed, I can stuff in two canned hams, a case of beer and
If for some reason you want to carry more than that, don't look to your local dealer. Honda's accessory division offers larger saddlebag lids, but not in the U.S. No matter, perusing the NT owners forum (www.nt-owners.com) I learned that they can be ordered from David Silver Spares in the UK ($392.26; www.davidsilverspares.co.uk). Just be sure to call them "panniers" like the Brits do. The larger lids increase capacity by 17.2 liters to 71.3 liters total, the left bag big enough to swallow a full-face helmet. (The right one is smaller due to its proximity to the muffler.)
While Cat had the NT, he had the brilliant idea of finding a small bag to fit in the pass-through hole between the saddlebags. The space isn't huge, but it'll fit a 5 x 7.5-inch Kriega Kube 1 pouch ($16; www.kriega.us), inside of which I neatly stow a tire-plug kit, a small flashlight and a few tools. I asked the missus to sew some Velcro to the bag and it's now firmly affixed out of the way, ready in case of emergency.
What's next? I need to sort out the lighting (or lack thereof) and maybe see about filling those speaker holes in the fairing-Honda doesn't offer the accessory sound system in the U.S. either. Also, after Bonnello's Colorado jaunt I'll need to replace those squared-off tires. Thank goodness the NT has a centerstand...