2012 Honda NC700X | Doin' Time

Staffers’ Rides

Photography by Kevin Wing, Marc Cook

Wrist: Marc Cook
MSRP (2012): $6999
Miles: 8330
MPG: 56
Mods: Denali D2D LED driving lights, Honda light bar

I ride to work five days a week, and many of those rides occur under typically overcast beach-city skies. I’m here to tell you that a silver motorcycle ridden by a guy in a gray Aerostich and a metallic-gray helmet is hard to see. Keeps my reflexes sharp, at the very least.

To give me a fighting chance at conspicuity—without repainting the bike, switching to high-viz gear, or hacking the NC’s exhaust off at the head pipe—I installed a set of Denali D2D driving lights (www.twistedthrottle.com; $359.99). Each finned enclosure, just 2 inches in diameter and 2.4 in. long, houses a single, intensely bright LED backed by an interchangeable reflector; choose a 10-degree driving-light pattern or a 25-degree “flood” beam. The kit includes a professionally rendered wiring harness with weatherproof connectors, a switching box, and a lighted on/off switch. The apparent quality of the components is amazing.

And, man, are the Denalis bright. Twisted Throttle says the lights put a white-hot stream out to 423 feet. I haven’t measured to verify, but all of a sudden roadside reflectors blossom at night and errant Chevy Volts (my current four-wheeled bete noire) steer obediently for the center divider in the carpool lane. Even better, the Denalis hook into the high-beam circuit so they can run at reduced intensity on the main beam.

Exactly as I suspected, the 8000-mile service revealed no dents in the Honda’s anvil-like personality. After removing the radiator—not a difficult task, actually—getting to the valves for a clearance check took all of half an hour, one positive aspect of the NC’s laydown engine. All four exhaust valves were tight by 0.001 in. (The spec is 0.011 in. plus or minus 0.001 in.) I know most guys wouldn’t bother to make the adjustment, but I’m a bit anal and it’s a screw-and-locknut system after all. One of the four intake valves was slightly tight—though technically in spec—but the other three were right on spec, so I brought the fourth in line.

Changing the oil—three and a half quarts of Silkolene Pro 4 10W-40 (www.silkoleneusa.com; $17.95/quart) and a Honda OE filter—was complicated only by the guy who did the 600-mile maintenance and apparently installed that filter with a 7-foot-long breaker bar. The old punch-through-the-filter trick finally got it off. Also, I decided to flush the brake fluid because it was looking dark; technically, it’s supposed to go at 12,000 miles.

Next stop, summer. In anticipation, the low stock screen has gone back on. I may remove the Barkbuster hand guards as well. Let’s see how fast it gets warm around here.

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