2010 Honda NT700VUPDATE:  Read the full review of the 2010 Honda NT700V now on Motorcycle.com

It should be obvious, but one of the perks of being in the business of evaluating motorcycles is the opportunity to see and ride a huge variety of bikes.

Recently, while returning a CRF230M to American Honda’s main offices I spotted the new-to-the-U.S. NT700V sitting amongst the gaggle of bikes set aside for the moto media.

Since the bike has yet to be formally introduced to all media, I certainly wasn’t able to ride, but I did saddle up to it and fiddle around, so I thought I’d pass on a few firsthand quick-take notes.

Straightaway, it was slimmer than what I expected based on my impression from photos. Lifting it off the sidestand took less effort that what I anticipated for a middleweight sport-tourer, so it seems relatively light despite a claimed fueled-up weight of 562 lbs on the ABS model.

I was struck next by how low the saddle was. Were the seat a tad narrower, or I had a little more than a 30-inch inseam, I could’ve easily and firmly planted both boots. As it was, I was nearly flat-footing it anyway.

2010 Honda NT700VThe adjustable windscreen size seems to strike a good balance between being big enough to deflect most of the wind someone standing 5-foot 8-inches might experience, yet it’s not nearly as large as the screen on the ST1300.

The handlebar is a simple steel one-piece chrome job providing an easy reach for the rider. The dash seemed functional and straightforward, with an analog speedo and tach as the primary info givers. And there’s at least one locking compartment in the dash-area fairing, similar that on the ST1300. Additionally, the remote preload adjuster knob for the shock is easily accessed behind the rider’s left leg, just like on the ST1300.

All this stuff was good news in my opinion; however, nothing caught my attention as much as the integrated hard saddlebags. You can’t really get a sense from photos just how integrated the boxes really are.

They blend so well with the rest of the bodywork they seem like a mildly bulbous protrusion rather than built in luggage. In fact, looking at them from the exterior at first leads you to think they won’t hold more than a T-shirt.

Of course they’ll hold far more than that, but I wasn’t convinced there’s enough room for a full-face helmet like the ST1300’s bags are capable of stowing. Also, as noted in the recent announcement on of the NT, there’s a space between the inner rear portion of the bags that allows long items, like, say a rolled-up poster of your favorite roadracer, to fit between the bags. Lastly, the opening latch for the bags is more of a push-button operation as opposed to unlocking and lifting a latch like on the ST1300.

Picture 1I didn’t get the chance to fire up the Twin that powers the NT, but when the engine’s running, it’ll pump out burnt fuel mixture through a single exhaust can that looks identical to the cans on the ST1300.

After playing around on the new NT700V for a few minutes the first thing that came to mind was what an excellent commuter this bike will make, not to mention another great addition to the sport-touring market.

The introduction of the NT700V to the U.S. market should nicely fill the hole left by the absence of the Honda Pacific Coast (PC800), not seen here as part Honda’s line-up in over 10 years.

Related Reading: 2010 Honda’s Revealed

  • Kenneth

    Honda has seemingly “standardized” on their styling here of late; this bike looks very much like the DN-1 and the VFR 1200. They remind me of Wave Runners, especially the “handlebars.”

  • HowFast

    I got to sit on one yesterday at a dealer. Sharper looking than the ’04 NT650 I road in Scotland last August. Solid feel, relatively compact, sporty riding position for a 5’10” male. Firm, wide seat, good storage. The integrated bags are very scooter-ish, which was a deal breaker for my 20-yr old son. Not me though. I like this bike. A 10% reduction in price and weight would make it unbeatable. As it is, until there is an F800RT (BMW says never!), the NT700V is alone in the market. Versys and WeeStrom are lighter and cheaper, but do not compare for weather protection and factory storage options.

  • Mark

    I bought one of these yesterday. I’ve ridden it about 100 miles. My last bike was a 2002 1100 Saber. I was getting tired of the Saber as it is just too busy at 80 mph and with 52000 miles, it was going to need maintenance, aka $$$.

    The NT I ended up buying had an ST1300 sitting next to it on the showroom floor, but I couldn’t see paying an extra $5k (discounted) price when the NT700V seemed so similar.

    The NT has a nice ride, very maneuverable and for me, it hits about 4500 RPM at 80 in 5th gear. It seems to work well there. I have a 50 mile a day commute and since I ride rain or shine, I like having the extra protection on my legs and hands. While the NT700V doesn’t completely cover your hands, it does push the air away and on a cold day, it’s nice having the cold air diverted.

    While it is slow off the starting blocks compared to the Saber, it is VERY quick once you have revved up the RPMs. I was pleasantly surprised at the acceleration. While it may be 680cc, it performs very well and it is surprisingly quick.

    Compared to the Saber, the smoothness of the NT ride is very nice. My wife has a 2004 750 Aero. I am going to say the NT seems more stable than that bike, and has a smoother ride at higher speeds. Maybe it’s the aerodynamics of the NT that give it an advantage. The Aero is lower to the ground and probably easier for a woman to handle (unless the woman is fairly tall/long legged).

    At slower speeds the NT really shines. I am shocked at how maneuverable it is — wow is it a joy to ride around city streets. I don’t think you can find a better choice there. The word that comes to mind in city traffic and residential streets is ‘Sweet’. It is astonishingly agile. Maybe I’m spoiled because the Saber was so heavy that you felt the need to jump off and push it around corners, but I can turn tight circles on the NT at 3 mph. It’s almost weird.

    On the down side … (You have to give up something for that $5k):

    I think the bags are just a tad cheesy, but they seem to be working better as they get used more. There is not enough room for a helmet 🙁 Bummer. I might buy a trunk anyway since I don’t want the wife falling off the back. although she SHOULD ride her OWN bike. The helmet “thingie” is nothing but a shameful joke — what was Honda thinking? Just think of it this way, carry your helmet or get a lock. I don’t know who the retard bozo was that came up with the “Cable Surrounded by Plastic to Lock Your Helmet Under The Seat” was, but they were obviously TARDED. It’s too stupid to even explain. Ask the salesperson to show you, so you can laugh at them and slap your knee.

    Another lost legacy will be an inability to drive off my frustration. When I’m pissed off, the Saber is great. I loved being able to go 90 mph by the time I got to the other end of the intersection. You won’t be doing that with the NT, sorry. On the other hand, I suppose I won’t be blowing oil out the tailpipes on this one either and I probably won’t be taking so many chances (who want’s to look silly).

    If you’re going to do 4000 mile trips, you should really consider the ST. If you’re going to make day trips to the beach, you can buy a lot of hotel rooms for the difference in price.

    Obviously if I bought the bike, I like it. If you don’t need the full size of the ST and especially if you’re going to be driving city streets, then I think this is a great choice (a better value than the ST).

    Now that I have actually been able to ride the bike, I’m happy with the purchase. Whew, that had me worried as I signed the paperwork. Usually I make rotten decisions, but who can go wrong with a Honda? 🙂

  • Stan

    In regards to the bags not holding a full face helmet. True, but you can order wider lids for the bags from Honda UK. If you go to their website you will see that Honda America really sucks. Thye don’t have squat for options for this bike. The Honda UK site has fog lamps that are intated into a different radiator grill, wider bag lids, RADIOS, etc…

    To me, this bike’s a scooter with a manual transmission. Sorry, I think if this is your ideal, then you really should just buy a Burgman. It has the same horsepower…lol

  • Stan

    The fog lamps are INTEGRATED into a different radiator grill.

    I just can’t justify $10k for this euro-trash import. Rumor has it that an ST1200 is coming. IMHO, they never should have axed the ST1100… dipshits.

  • I like this new Honda look. In this model there are many attractive features like it’s new dynamic design, back tire dish break, attached side box, attractive head light and the height is normal.

  • Dave

    I have had my NT since May first.The bags not big enough to hold a full face helmet bothers me also so I bought a GIVI rear trunk that is about $200.00 cheaper than the Honda trunk by the time you buy the mountings for it.I also put bar risers on and a taller windshield.I use it for commuting in town and shorter trips and its excellent for this type of riding and I am getting 50 to 54 MPG.