EICMA: Honda NC750X evolves

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Honda’s ultimate commuting motorcycle gets more adventurous with a tough new look and LED lighting, revised front fork damping, expanded storage compartment plus LCD instruments with personalised colour options. The Dual Clutch Transmission machine receives 3-level S mode, plus further software upgrades in both MT and AT riding modes. The frugal 750cc parallel twin gains EURO4 compliance and a revised exhaust muffler adds a deeper tone.

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HONDA NC750X

The 2016 evolution of the NC750X updates the styling, giving the bike a more adventure-oriented edge while improving comfort for rider and pillion.

 

A larger windscreen gives greater wind protection and there’s more room in the storage compartment, which now has a utility rail built onto its lid. The LED headlight and taillight add class and new instruments – with variable colour display – can be personalised and present a premium image to the rider.

 

DCT is matured even further, with software upgrades for a more natural ‘feathered’ clutch feel around an on/off throttle. For even sportier riding, there are now 3 levels of S mode for gear changes in AT mode, and raised rpm upper limit for downshifts in MT mode. Further software upgrades also improve DCT’s performance in a variety of situations.

 

A spring preload adjustment system is added to the rear shock absorber while new Showa Dual Bending Valves (SDBV) front forks are fitted up front. A new exhaust muffler saves weight and generates a pleasing exhaust ‘pulse’ and the manual six-speed gearbox option has a lighter clutch.

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 Styling & Equipment

 

A lot of the experience of riding a motorcycle comes down to feeling, and guiding the NC750X’s redesign is the phrase ‘Sensual Performance.’ From the front the machine has a bolder, more adventurous identity with an LED headlight and running lights forming a unique impression.

 

The screen is 70mm taller, improving airflow around the rider’s upper body and a central duct equalises pressure. Slits on the upper left and right side reduce wind noise.

 

The side cowls have filled out and the side covers reduced in size, creating muscular lines. A svelte seat unit and clear-smoke LED taillight are underlined by the new exhaust muffler and create a minimal look, further emphasizing the mass-forward stance.

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The storage area has increased in size by 1L to 22L and the lid exterior now features rugged external rails – useful for mounting a tank bag. The lid’s interior has four hooks to allow rubber straps to assist in organising luggage and make best use of all of the space.

 

Brand new instruments use a negative LCD display. Information includes odometer, trip meter, gear position, fuel efficiency and consumption gauges, (optional) heated grip temperature plus 3-stage S mode for the DCT model.

 

The colour of the rev-counter bar display can also be changed by the rider; a total of 9 options are available. It is also possible to have colours change according to gear selected, rpm range or (for the DCT version) riding mode.

 

ECOand SHIFT mode are further options when riding with the display set to a single colour or (on the DCT machine) the mode-dependent setting. ECO mode turns the display to light blue if riding with good fuel efficiency, and green if riding even more economically. SHIFT mode sees the colour change to orange if engine rpm exceeds a level pre-set by the rider.

 

A new ‘wave’ key features the Honda Ignition Security System (HISS). If the ID chip embedded in the key and the ID in the Engine Control Unit (ECU) do not match, the engine will not start.

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Dual Clutch Transmission

 

Honda’s DCT technology is now in its sixth year of production and gaining popularity year on year on all of the machines that feature it as an option. DCT uses two clutches: one for start-up and 1st, 3rd and 5th gears: the other for 2nd, 4th and 6th, with the mainshaft for each clutch located inside the other for compact packaging. Each clutch is independently controlled by its own electro-hydraulic circuit.

 

The DCT system features two automatic plus the MT mode for manual gear changes. The standard automatic D mode is for general or highway riding and maximum fuel economy. S mode – which shifts up and down at higher rpm than D mode for a sportier ride – has now been expanded to give three levels of sports performance. Some riders prefer to ride higher gears, some lower and the three modes make it possible to tailor gearbox response to riding style. The selected level is stored, and acts as the default S Mode for subsequent rides. It is also displayed on the dash.

 

The DCT used by the NC750X now features “Adaptive Clutch Capability Control” that manages the amount of clutch torque transmitted. This adds a natural ‘feathered’ clutch feel when opening or shutting off the throttlefor a smoother ride. Further refinements include faster operation of the N-D switch on turning on the ignition and a control system in AT mode for gauging the angle of ascent or descent and adapting shift pattern accordingly.

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 Chassis

 

The NC750X’s rugged steel diamond frame delivers the high levels of rigidity required for agile, responsive handling in a variety of conditions. It’s also ideal where space is at a premium, since it takes up very little volume but offers superb riding dynamics.

 

Rake is set at 27° with trail of 110mm, wheelbase of 1,535mm and front/rear weight distribution of 48/52. Kerb weight is 220kg (230kg DCT). Seat height is 830mm

 

The riding position is upright and neutral, with a higher viewpoint for enhanced hazard perception. Another advantage of this adventure-style riding position is great low-speed control – combined with the low centre of gravity and generous steering lock the result is exceptional low-speed handling and balance.

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41mm telescopic forks feature 153.5mm travel and for 2016 use Showa dual-bending valves, with ratios optimised for both compression and rebound damping. This allows the generation of damping force in precise proportion to piston speed – from the low speed range – improving ride quality and comfort. Increased compression damping  provides more progressive firmer suspension response and helps reduce dive under heavy braking. Grey Alumite caps add a finishing touch.

 

The rear monoshock gains a spring preload adjuster system and has 150mm travel. It operates through Pro-Link that offers an optimised balance of a soft initial stroke, for dealing with low-speed bumps, together with excellent control.

 

Up front the 320mm wavy disc and revised two-piston brake caliper deliver plenty of easy-to-modulate stopping power, complemented by the rear 240mm wavy disc and single-piston caliper.Lightweight two-channel ABS provides powerful and confident braking even on slippery or wet road surfaces.

 

Cast aluminium front and rear wheels – sizes 17 x 3.50-inch and 17 x 4.50-inch – wear 120/70 ZR17 and 160/60 ZR17 tyres. New forged aluminium L-shaped rim valves make checking and adjusting air pressure easier.

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Engine

 

The design of the NC750X’s liquid-cooled, SOHC 8-valve parallel twin-cylinder engine ensures punchy performance in the low-to-mid range. Its relatively long-stroke architecture and specially shaped combustion chambers combine with the high-inertial mass crankshaft to produce large amounts of effortless torque from very low rpm. Peak power is 40.3kW @ 6,250rpm with maximum torque of 68Nm @ 4,750rpm.

 

PGM-FI always injects the exact fuel/air ratio required for a complete and clean burn at all rpm in any riding situation. The engine is EURO4 compliant with CO2 emissions of 81g/km and fuel consumption of 28.6km/l (WMTC mode)provides a 400km plus range from the 14.1-litre underseat fuel tank.

 

Twin balancers counteract vibration from higher rpm inertia, refining the engine yet still allowing the distinct ‘throb’ delivered by its 270° firing order. Bore and stroke is set at 80 x 77mm. By keeping the number of parts to a minimum, the engine is kept light, efficient and reliable. For 2016 the manual transmission engine receives revised clutch lever ratio – and new dogleg lever – make easier work of frequent gear changes.

 

There is just one 36mm throttle body and where possible components are made to do more than one job; the camshaft drives the water pump, while one of the balancer shafts drives the oil pump.

A new lightweight pentagon-shaped muffler is smaller than the previous design and uses two chambers joined by a hole-punched link pipe, which works with a final resonator chamber to create a deeper, more distinctive sound and exhaust pulse. The built-in catalyser has a two-layer structure for cleaner emissions.

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