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2012 Honda NC700SA and NC700XA Preview


by Pascal Bastien ,

Honda Canada introduced the new NC700, a plain yet functional and rider-friendly standard-type bike that can handle everyday duties and weekend getaways. Designed to appeal to a wide range of users, it actually comes in two different models: the sportier NC700SA and the more adventurous NC700XA.

All-new engine
According to Honda, 90% of standard sport bike riders never go beyond 140 km/h and 6,000 rpm. A long-stroke, twin-cylinder engine (73mm bore x 80mm stroke) therefore seemed ideal to power the new NC700.

Canted forward by 62 degrees to help create a low overall centre of gravity and make room for a storage area where the cylinders and fuel tank would typically be, the ultra-compact SOHC mill uses a single exhaust and a single throttle body for the electronic fuel injection system. What's more, this new 670cc engine relies on a camshaft-driven water pump and a counterbalance shaft-driven oil pump as seen on Honda's R models.

2012 Honda NC700XA right side view
Honda Canada introduced the new NC700, a plain yet functional and rider-friendly standard-type bike. (Photo: Honda)

Another technology – this one coming from Honda cars – aims to make the engine more flexible and increase torque in the useful part of the rev range while reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. The intake port configuration was meticulously calibrated to create an intentional interference between adjacent ports. Also, the timing for the opening and closing of the intake valves was set separately for each cylinder. The net result is a significant amount of torque being accessible from 2,000 to 6,000 rpm.

Single transmission choice – for now
The 2012 Honda NC700 models use a 6-speed manual transmission that was specifically designed to make the most of the flexible yet spirited engine at medium revs. The company also opted for a chain final drive (simple and cheap to build) instead of a universal joint shaft, which would have eliminated a few more horsepower. Plus, we all know that Honda isn't fond of belt-driven transmissions. To wit, all of its ATVs feature an electronically controlled automatic transmission with oil bath instead of a basic CVT gearbox like the competition.

The sizable cases look more than ready to house a future dual-clutch transmission, though. Thusly equipped, the NC700 would likely prove even more fuel-efficient than the manual variant. The latter boasts an impressive 3.8L/100km rating, which already is 1-2L/100km better than most direct rivals.

Inspired from scooters
The new frame consists of diamond-shaped steel tubes. However, the two main tubes that link the steering to the centre mount are reminiscent of a scooter's and designed to free up space for occupants and cargo.
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