2012 Honda NC700X | Doin' Time

Staffers’ Rides

Photography by Marc Cook

WRIST: Marc Cook
MSRP (2012): $6999
MILES: 3122
MPG: 65
MODS: Puig Racing Screens Touring windshield, Aerostich Letter Bag

My long-term NC700X spent most of the month out of pocket. Our ace lensman, Kevin Wing, wanted to see if the Honda, using the full capacity of the optional saddlebags and tail trunk, would be a suitable photo-mule/chase vehicle. He didn’t get far, put off by bad weather and the quandary of where to stash a pro-grade tripod. Unimaginative sissy…

I got the NC back in time to try some accessories, including Puig Racing Screens’ dark-tinted Touring windshield (www.puigusa.com; $135.74). Where the original Honda screen is pretty compact—13 inches tall and 10.9 in. at the widest point—the Puig item is substantially bigger, 18.8 in. tall and 16.3 in. wide near the base. Puig’s design is intended to increase protection by way of small “bat wings” at the bottom. It mounts as did the stocker and clears the bars, cables, and controls with room to spare.

The windshield is a good compromise between increased helmet noise and wind protection. On the stock bike, your helmet is up and out of any turbulent air, but with the Puig screen, any helmet will seem noisier—it’s not turbulent air, just more of it. But upper-body protection is substantially improved. Behind the Puig, most of my torso is in still air, with just the shoulders and arms exposed. I think I prefer the short stock screen for the summer, but the Puig should be the ticket in colder weather. As are the crazy-hot Honda Accessories heated grips.

A few quirks of the NC are coming to light. First is that for whatever reason—tire profile or weight distribution, perhaps—it is very sensitive to tire pressure. A drop of 2-3 psi in the front tire turns the handling heavy and prone to bump steer. I’ve been running the recommended 36/42-psi tire pressures with good results. The next quirk is the Honda’s fuel gauge, which sits on full through 70-90 miles and then falls fairly rapidly to the last blinking digit, which indicates reserve. Only it’s pretty conservative, indicating reserve with 1.5 gallons still in the 3.7-gal. tank. Fortunately, the NC is still consistently getting mid-60s for mileage on my daily commute.

The rest of the bike is wearing well. I haven’t had to adjust the chain yet, the mild 670cc parallel-twin hasn’t consumed any oil, and the Metzeler Roadtech Z8 Interact sport-touring tires are holding up well, though the rear’s profile is flattening thanks to all the commuting. The next scheduled maintenance isn’t until 4000 miles, but it’s all about inspections. Honda says the oil and filter don’t need to be changed until 8000 miles, the same time we check valve clearances for the second time since the 600-mile service.

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