2012 Honda NC700X | Doin’ Time

Staffers' Rides

Wrist: Marc Cook
MSRP (2012): $6999
Miles: 6984
MPG: 56
Mods: EBC brake pads, Honda Accessories luggage

Boring. That’s how the NC700X has been in terms of maintenance and reliability. Pull it out of the garage, turn the key, and the mellow little twin fires right up and idles quietly while you suit up and think about the workday ahead. Maybe on Sunday nights I’ll enjoy a little ritual of checking the oil and tire pressure, perhaps spritzing the chain. This is why your friends warned you about monogamy.

One upgrade I've been meaning to make came up this month: improved brakes. To that end, EBC filled my mailbox with a set of Double-H Sintered pads for the front and conventional organic pads for the rear (www.ebcbrakes.com; $38.74 front/$38.74 rear). Incidentally, the rear fitment listed on the EBC Web site is incorrect for non-ABS bikes—you want the FA140, not the FA174.

How’d we do? The EBC Sintered pads give the Honda’s front brake much better initial action yet maintain a smooth, progressive feel. The stock pads, also HH rated, were adequate on the initial bite, but, for lack of a better term, the hand-squeeze/deceleration curve flattened out the harder the brakes were applied, giving the impression that the NC had extremely hard pads. Overall, the brake system benefits from the more aggressive (and slightly noisier) pads and a good disc-deglazing with a Scotchbrite pad—though the low-speed shudder vanished only for a 100 miles or so. You won’t think someone has slipped a set of Brembo Monoblocks in place, but at least we’re going in the right direction.

I mentioned before that my NC came fully accessorized from Honda and that I would take most of the stuff off to live with the stock machine. Well, I cheated. I never removed the rear rack and have—frequently, unrepentantly—put the tail trunk to use. The 45-liter top box holds two full-face helmets (just), and together with the central compartment—something NC700 owners call a “frunk,” for front trunk—takes the X deep into Ultimate Commuting Geek territory. The setup’s not cheap, though. You need the rear carrier ($149.95), mounting brackets ($149.95), and the trunk itself ($299.95). If you want to run the 29-liter (total) hard saddlebags, add their brackets ($199.95) and the cost of the bags ($599.95); you still need to have the rear carrier and mounting brackets even if you don’t mount the top box. A bit pricey, sure, but now all my stuff rides inside.

Like many NC700X owners, I’m not in love with the stock saddle. It’s fine around town and for the first couple of hours on the road, but on longer trips it’s a bit of a pain, literally. I blame the forward cant more than the aggressive taper (meant to aid shorter riders) or choice of foam. Let me spark up Firefox to see if the aftermarket seat manufacturers have caught up with this new model.

Next month, real excitement: The 8000-mile service. Oh, boy!

2012 Honda NC700X

Sintered Pads
EBC’s HH Sintered pads improve the NC’s stopping abilities, but don’t completely remedy the situation; this near-500-pound bike could use more brake.
2012 Honda NC700X
Honda’s accessory luggage has been indispensible on the daily commute, at least the 45-liter top box has. The saddlebags combine to hold just 29 liters.
Puig Touring windscreen
Trimming yet another 12mm (for 37mm total) off the Puig Touring windscreen reduced turbulence without an appreciable loss of coverage.