British site Visordown reports Honda will release an updated version of its NC700 series with a larger engine for 2014. The larger versions will reportedly carry an extra 50cc, pushing its displacement to 720cc from the current 670cc used on the NC700X, NC700S and Integra scooter.
But why would Honda introduce a larger engine so soon after introducing its NC line in the 2012 model year? At the moment, the NC700 models have a claimed power output of 35 kW (46.9 hp) which qualifies them for the A2 level in Europe’s motorcycle licensing system. With the introduction of the new 500 series, Honda now has a second line of models for the A2 license holder. The CBR500R, CB500F and CB500X target the same A2-licensed customers as the NC series, essentially giving Honda six different models that compete against each other.
By increasing the engine displacement, the NC models will get a power boost, helping further differentiate the line from the 500 models. The change should also pushing them into the A license bracket open to riders 20 and older (21 in the U.K.) with two or more years of riding experience.
Siting an unnamed source, Visordown reports the new engine will be 720cc but may either keep its NC700X/NC700S designation or rename them as the NC750X and NC750S. The NC700 moniker is already a bit misleading as the engine displaces 670cc. If the 720cc figure is correct, then that would actually be closer to 700.
Another possibility is an increase to 745cc. Honda already uses a 745cc version of the NC700S in Japan specifically for riding schools as the NC750L (pictured below). The NC750L engine has a 77 mm bore compared to 73mm for the NC700S for a larger displacement. Despite the larger engine however, the NC750L has been (de-)tuned to make it more accessible for new riders, claiming 36.5 hp. The NC750L also has just a five-speed transmission (compared to six on the manual transmission NC models) and at 770mm, a lower seat height than the 790mm saddle on the NC700S.
At this stage, a larger NC family is merely a rumor, and there are compelling arguments against it coming true, at least for this year. A 50cc upgrade would be a significant change to products that have only been available for two years.
Honda also recently announced the CTX700 and CTX700N models which also use the NC family’s 670cc parallel-Twin engine. Introducing new models with a similar but slightly larger engine may hurt the sales for the CTX models as customers expect a similar displacement upgrade.
We’ll guess we’ll find out what Honda has planned in November at the 2013 EICMA show where Visordown reports the larger NC models will be revealed.