Motorcycle Daily has a new ride review of the “Baby ST”, Honda’s NT700V. This twin-cylinder light tourer–called the Deauville in Europe–is really less of a tourer than a mid-sized all-rounder with nice luggage capacity.
Comparing the NT to other motorcycles is a bit hard to do, since it really is a unique bike. It’s not as good looking or as fast as BMW’s F 800 ST, but it is less expensive considering the extras that are included in the NT’s base price, and would serve as a better all-around bike out of the lot. Compared to Suzuki’s V-Strom or Kawasaki’s Versys it’s a bit expensive, but then again it has superior creature comforts, shaft drive, and bags. This new import from Honda may just fill a niche that those bikes don’t; great for the more rational riders among us who are turned off by the idea of a 700+ pound touring bike or cruiser, and excellent for the novice or thrifty commuter looking for a usable, maintenance-free workhorse. Whether these riders come out of the woodwork to buy up NT’s by the boatload remains to be seen, but I can’t deny the bike is a pleasure to ride.
It seems like it might be a good choice for the beginning rider, or even the experienced rider who doesn’t put a premium on sport performance.
Honda has announced four motorcycles–two of them completely new for the US market–for the 2010 model year. The other two are the 2010 updates for the Fireblade and CBR600. But it’s the new bikes that should grab some attention.
First up is the Shadow Phantom. Just as the Fury gives Honda a factory chopper, the new Phantom is a factory “dark custom” bobber. Powered by a 754cc V-Twin with Honda’s new sophisticated Programmed Fuel Injection under the hood, the exterior is all old-school, down to the black wire wheels, and fat front tire.
Most of the engine and body work is blacked out, leaving some chrome on the forks, pipes and rear brackets for a nice accent. I’ve always thought the Honda air cleaner looked like a chrome tumor on their bikes, but this blacked out version is far more acceptable.
I’m not generally a big fan of Honda cruisers, but this new dark custom is not a bad-looking bike at all. I guess with Harley-Davidson making a mint on the whole dark custom look, Honda decided to get in on the act, too. They’ve done a great job with this bike in doing it.
Oh, I guess I’d quibble a bit about doing it on a 750cc bike instead of one of the big twins, but other than that, I give this one a thumbs up.
The next bike is another sub-1000cc bike aimed for the commuter and light-tourer. The NT700V is the little brother of the big ST1300 touring bike. Everything on the NT700V is cut down in size from it’s big brother..but it still has the tip-over wings that the ST guys love so much.
Unlike the ST, the NT has an interesting feature to its saddlebags: There’s a pass-through space between them, which allows you to put some fairly large items inside the luggage area. That’s kind of a neat idea.
This is not, by the way, actually a new motorcycle, it’s just new to the US market. European riders have had access to the NT for a decade now, but Honda has decided to bring the bike to this side of the pond.
It’s powered by a 680cc V-Twin, so it might be a little anemic for two-up riding, but it would probably make a great light tourer for a single rider. And, coming in at just under$ 10k for the base model, the price is pretty good, too. ABS brakes are available for another grand.
The remaining two bikes are updates of Honda’s CBR-series sportbikes. New for 2010 is a black and orange paint scheme for the Fireblade. It’s also got the Honda Electronic Steering Damper that increases damping as speed and acceleration increases. It’s also available with Honda’s racing ABS braking system as well.
The CBR100RR is a top-flight sport-bike, and Honda is carrying on the Fireblade’s venerable tradition in the 2010 model year.
The CBR600RR also gets a bit of a facelift for 2010, with some of the Fireblade’s color schemes also available for the 600cc model.
Like the CBR1000RR, the 600 also has an available option for Honda’s racing ABS system.
The pricing and availability for the two CBR models has not yet been announced by Honda.