Stu, our new roving reporter had the keys to a NC750 last week, this is his humorous take on the super sensible Honda…
It’s funny how things in life circle back to you…8 years ago I was sat in a Honda dealers with my freshly signed Mod 2 pass cert (no going home to the wife and kids to celebrate my new found skill…straight to the dealers like any sane person!) trying to organise a test ride. Disappointingly but not unsurprisingly, they don’t let newbies out on demo bikes and by the time the date of the arranged escorted test ride had come round I’d already had a pillion ride on a Triumph Tiger, order was made, deposit placed and bike on its way, so I never got to ride one.
So, when a mid-schedule preventative oil change plan was made for the KTM the only loan bike the dealer could offer was a NC750 from their sister Honda franchise. This gave me my first opportunity to ride one and to see whether I made the right choice all those years ago.
Beware the Peruvian Killer Zombie Guinea Pig
Now, I had to manage my expectations of this bike..its half the price of the KTM, its designed for commuting, being sensible and practical…the polar opposite to the KTM. The KTM is like riding a ferocious tiger..whilst twisting his balls..you know its going to be a hell of a ride but as long as you keep a tight hold you “should” be ok, loosen your grip and you know that you’re going to be flung off and mauled savagely. The Honda…well, its like riding a guinea pig…even if its a Peruvian Killer Zombie Guinea Pig…its still a guinea pig. So, I am standing there looking down on the restrained burgundy fuel tank, massive key and the tiny LCD screen, I thumb the starter and awaiting the roar of my Peruvian friend. I am greeted by a quiet thrum and as I push it back from its parking spot notice its smooth running and light weight. I hop on (its low, but the saddle is a sensible shape), kick up the stand, stamp it into gear and I’m off across the car-park. Now snicking second takes some effort, turns out I cant get my adventure style boot between the peg and the lever (well , either the boot or my ankle isn’t flexible enough) so I move the lever with the inside edge of the toe of my boot and I waft along on a wave of torque (only a small wave…think of one that laps at your ankles) out into the traffic of Coventry “City of Culture” (no…I still cant get over that statement!). The next obstacle is a busy roundabout, turns out there isn’t much grip as the front end washes out as I try to keep the power on and then I’m off down the dual carriage way back to work. Progress is acceptable, we’re doing the NSL without any bother chugging along in 6th. LCD screen is clear, as is the view from the mirrors, seat’s comfy, brakes work too when required…its all very uneventful. Back at work, I park-up, engage the steering lock (its a £500 excess on the dealers insurance) and walk to my desk without looking back…I think that says enough !
The run back to the dealers in spring afternoon sunshine is similar event, I notice that LCD screen is actually colour and its got a mpg read out as default. I did take the opportunity to open it up on the dual carriage way…it reached a heady 77mph with a bit of pushing (the KTM was going much quicker on the way to the dealers in the morning o the same stretch…without any effort)…..60 seems to be its natural speed.
At this speed, I had time to ponder on the market this bike is aimed for….obviously commuters with its great mpg and the tank that is actually a storage compartment but its all a little characterless…. I think I would sacrifice a bit of mpg for some soul/style…I suppose there is the challenge of trying to make a slow bike ride fast or you could indulge your masochistic tendencies and see how you could continually improve the mpg but that’s not for me ! Perhaps, its for those guys who need their daily bike fix but have a garage full of exciting bikes for their adrenaline fix or to keep as garage queens…again not for me….I’ll stick with my angry tiger.
In summary, I am sure that this is a very competent machine for a very specific market/user, that will give many years of faultless service…it’s just not for me. I’ll stick with my over-priced, low mpg, slightly fragile european products that raise a smile every time I ride it.