Honda NT700V-ABS

Ringleader: Joe Neric
MSRP (2010): $10,999
Miles: 4499-5150
Average Fuel Mileage: 50 mpg
Accessories & Modifications: Honda accessory rear trunk, tank pad and wind deflector set

When Aaron Frank asked me if I feel like I've aged 40 years when I ride it, I knew I'd accomplished my goal. I chose Honda's unassuming NT700V because I wanted something completely different from my previous long-term bike, the CBR600RR. And let me tell you, mission accomplished!

Why the change, you ask? I've always wanted to try a touring bike for more than a few days. I've taken a few home from the office, but just when I was getting to know them, they've had to go back. Not this one.

Commuting on a sportbike definitely has its advantages, such as lightning-quick acceleration and the narrow width to squeeze through traffic. After a few rides on the larger, wider "Deauville" (as it's called in Europe), I knew I'd need to adapt a different way of riding. I have noticed one advantage the tourer has over a sportbike: I'm much more visible to distracted L.A. drivers, and in turn have had far fewer close calls. Maybe they think I'm a cop?

My "Dullville" (as it's called by some haters) came with 4500 miles on the odometer and a few useful additions from Honda's accessory catalog _( I highly recommend the rear trunk, even though it costs $650. The trunk doubles as a passenger backrest; just remember to pick up the trunk pad ($44.95) for added comfort. The bike also came with a protective tank pad ($64.95) and a wind deflector set ($149.95), which reduces buffeting.

So, what's the plan? Since it was delivered with all the best accessories, there's not much to do except pile on the miles. The V-twin's luggage space, cruising comfort and superb gas mileage are all pointing toward some two-up day trips. I'm really looking forward to heading up the coast to Santa Barbara with the wife. As far as modifications go, I have a few ideas in mind and am keeping a close eye on the NT owners' forum _( to see what sort of improvements others are making.

If you only pick one accessory from the catalog, go with the top trunk. It's large enough to stow two full face helmets, providing a copious amount of storage space.