Honda NT700V-ABS | Doin' Time

Staffers' Rides

Ringleader: Joe Neric
MSRP (2010): $10,999
Miles: 9827-10,052
MPG: 40
Mods: Bridgestone tires, Denali driving lights, PIAA headlight bulb

If you plan on doing your own maintenance on your NT700V, the first thing you should do is pick up a shop manual. The $65 cost will pay for itself pretty quickly, since peeling off the NT’s overlapping plastic panels is nearly impossible without instructions.

Even our all-knowing test fleet manager Michael Candreia had to consult the manual when I asked him to help me swap out the NT's squared-off Bridgestone Battlax BT-020 tires for a new set of BT-023s ($188 front, $222 rear; In order to get the rear wheel off, we had to remove the exhaust and rear fender, which took 2.5 hours. Fortunately for me, Michael works for beer, but you're far less likely to get that sort of deal at your local shop. At an industry average of $75 per hour plus the cost of the tires, swapping out worn tires can really put a dent in your wallet!

On to the lights, or lack thereof. At the suggestion of a reader, I aimed the headlight a bit higher and replaced the stock bulb with a PIAA H7 intense white bulb ($64;, which produced a notably brighter beam.

If you plan on changing the headlight bulb, make sure you have a weekend free. I had to pull off _all _the bodywork to get to the housing! The only plastic left on the bike was the top case, saddlebags and front fender. Even the windscreen and instruments had to come off. I wish I were kidding..

At least with the plastic off, it was easy to wire up the Denali D1 LED auxiliary driving lamps ($299.99; I'd ordered to increase my visibility. Installation was surprisingly simple since the mounting kit was made specifically for the NT and there was no drilling of bodywork required. I've seen some people on the NT owners' forum fabricate clever brackets to mount the lights underneath the headlamp, but I don't think Honda would be happy if I drilled holes in their bike.

What’s next for the NT? I’ve already logged 10,000 miles on it, so it’s about time to wrap things up. But first I have a few more commuter-related parts to install, like an ear-bursting horn and a brake light for the top case. Now that they can see me coming, I want them to see me going too!

You have got to be kidding me! All that just to get to the headlight? It's scary how much a $65 part could cost to install at your local shop if you didn't do it yourself.
The new PIAA headlight bulb and Denali auxilliary driving lights made a massive improvement in nighttime conspicuity. The lights illuminate all the right places.
Dollar for dollar, the best way to improve the NT is to upgrade its tires. The Battlax BT-023s grip much better than the stock BT-020s, especially in the wet.