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Online Sonny

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NC700X DCT outta my system?
« on: March 29, 2018, 10:41:52 PM »
I took a test ride on a 2014 model with 4500 miles on it. Curiosity about DCT has been eating at me.

Well, it was interesting, though the bike I rode left enough to be desired that I politely declined to make an offer on it. It looked like it had lived outdoors -- oxidation on the headlamp plastic and the black plastic parts etc.. There is an overall cheapness to the look and finish on this black one.

I had no trouble adjusting to the clutchless operation. You can't really hear the engine when riding, it just keeps itself in the rev range. At lower speeds there is a perceptible little jerk when it shifts, less noticeable at speed. The "sport" mode causes it to behave more like a normal motorcycle while the basic "drive" or "dynamic" mode short shifts like a serious gas miser and keeps the tach below 3k. I do believe that it would allow complete attention on the turning and braking which would be useful in congested commuting and probably on sweepers as well where you'd enjoy an uninterrupted focus on your line and the road ahead.

It has a nice engine with a lot going for it. It pulls about half as hard as the V1K of course, but it is all low end torque. It gets up to speed well enough and doesn't break a sweat at 70mph. A bunch of people on the NC forum have gone 100K miles with nothing but tires and fluid changes and it's not hard to see why -- the DCT makes it impossible to abuse the engine and drive line.

Handling is rather stodgy... it requires a good push to drop into a lean but once there it tracks very well. It is neutral like the V but it wants to go in a straight line until you insist.

The CG is so low it feels like a bike half its weight. The ergos are similar to the V but with every dimension shrunk down 10% or so. Seat height is maybe an inch and a half lower. It is extremely manageable at low speeds and just feels like a good utility motorcycle.

The NC750 is coming to the US this summer with a bit more power and a smoothed shifting behavior compared to the older models of the NC. Maybe I will check that out, though from what I experienced today I won't want to spend the money for a new one.

I will say, though, that if I get where the V is a bit much to handle, the NC would be a step down in performance and a step up in manageability.

Unfortunately, I am so horribly spoiled by the big Versys that the test ride didn't excite me at all. And really that was no surprise. It felt great getting back on the Orange Sunshine and humming along the 50 miles home. What a bike, what a bike. She's my baby.

This is the bike I tried out.

G2Ergo throttle tube, Givi Airflow screen, Dan Moto carbon fiber exhaust, Grip Puppies, Moto Werk bar risers, Kaw rad guard

Offline PhilDHY

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Re: NC700X DCT outta my system?
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2018, 09:44:56 AM »
Sonny, from what I've read (and remember😰) of your posts, you play guitar, fly, and seem to have a reasonable grip on life. I reckon the computer in your head, whilst not being the latest quantum model, is still more than capable of processing a few tasks at once. Hence no need for the bike to think for you. I'll admit to considering a deauville for commuting, but there's no need to ride a bathchair just yet!😁

Online 100milesaway

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Re: NC700X DCT outta my system?
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2018, 10:36:21 AM »
*Originally Posted by PhilDHY [+]
Sonny, from what I've read (and remember😰) of your posts, you play guitar, fly, and seem to have a reasonable grip on life. I reckon the computer in your head, whilst not being the latest quantum model, is still more than capable of processing a few tasks at once. Hence no need for the bike to think for you. I'll admit to considering a deauville for commuting, but there's no need to ride a bathchair just yet!😁
. I agree with Phil. If things continue, rather than enhance the experience of riding a bike, technology will ensure that we will be left sat atop the things like a sack of spuds, and our only input will be to steer the things.  :125:
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Offline Bart

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Re: NC700X DCT outta my system?
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2018, 12:17:11 PM »
I rode both manual and DCT Africa Twins before getting the V1k, the DCT is very impressive and if I commuted or had any condition that made gear changing difficult it would be a great option. It did most things very well but occasionally did not, but I guess one would adapt.
One of the great things about our hobby is the sense of freedom and control and it seems technology is gradually chipping away at this, that is one reason I still like my old CBR900, no electronics bar the ignition.   

Offline TYKE

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Re: NC700X DCT outta my system?
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2018, 02:18:29 PM »
Superb report Sonny, and it's true that if you have an itch then it may just need scratching, at least you have now tried the NC and can relate how it rides in comparison to your Versys.

There are many different demands and requirements from motorcyclists and I guess if ones riding habits involve lots of city riding in heavy traffic then something like the NC might be just what the doctor ordered.

FWIW I don't like the bike in that Black colour  :151:   
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Roger (Rog)

Online Sonny

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Re: NC700X DCT outta my system?
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2018, 04:33:39 PM »
I think it's noteworthy that purt near every review of DCT and CVT takes time to address the "why", and it is usually either about riding despite an infirmity that makes manual shifting no longer possible, or about the ability to sell MCs to new generations which don't know how to manual shift and don't want to learn. Writers point out that anxiety about use of a hand clutch intimidates potential riders and holds back MC sales when fewer and fewer manual trans autos are sold and more and more people grow up and never learn how to shift a manual.

Those two ideas both have merit, because the new generations have less interest in motorbikes, and a lot of the existing market for them is "aging out" of the game and both things are clouding the future of the industry.

On the mature rider side, we've seen our mate Dogslow make a move into CVT scooter land and boom, he's off touring Europe and having a great time.

The salesman I dealt with yesterday, a kid in his early 20s, asked me, "What is your interest in DCT?", and I answered that it was not the above reasons. My reason is, I love new technologies and the way they change our lives, and I like to keep up with them. I found DCT interesting from an engineering standpoint, as a new way of putting power to a wheel. That is my interest in it and maybe having a machine with it.

Heck no, I love shifting motorcycles, it has been a part of the experience from day one. It is an art in itself, going on while the rest of the ride takes place. Doing it well is important to me. It is fun and rewarding, a lot like playing a musical instrument. When I got the Versys and had to rethink some things about shifting compared to previous bikes I've had, it was something I really wanted to bear down upon and master it.

I also observe that thinking of a bike like our V's as "traditional" is a real stretch in any case. This bike sits atop a pyramid of technological advances that were once unheard of and things we never even knew to miss... from ABS, to fuel injection with flexible mapping, engine metallurgy and valve porting / combustion chamber design, giant strides in tire compounds and tread design, evolved steering geometry and ergonomics. Even our "traditional" clutches lack a "traditional" 40lb pull and have their slipper mechanism to smooth hard downshifts and preserve traction. We enjoy modern foams in the seats, aerodynamically designed windscreens, LED lighting... I could go on and on.

The point is, a fellow riding an HD or BSA or Matchless in 1950 would look at us and say whatever the hell that thing we're riding is, it's not a "real" motorcycle. Oh, but it is.

I don't know when I first went over to the dark side regarding automatic transmission in cars, but it was decades ago, when I was perfectly familiar with foot clutches and three on the tree and four on the floor. But I much prefer auto in cars because it changes the driving experience in a way that opens up more mental processing power for situational awareness, steering accelerating and braking. The more congested and fast and unpredictable our roads get, the more I appreciate it. Applying acceleration sense through an auto trans is freeing to me and gives me a safe, calm, smooth driving style.

The 20 minutes or so I spent yesterday on a DCT only gave a glimpse of how that might change the riding experience. The manual shifting part of my mind was not freed up -- I was busy reaching for a clutch and toeing a shifter that wasn't there. But by half way through the ride I was feeling the use of my brain and senses shifting to a different balance of activity. I found it interesting. I am not "done with it" by any means.

The NC was not a toy, it was in every way a motorcycle, with all the handling dynamics still in play. I could imagine getting very good at riding it, extremely safe and capable under challenging conditions.

That's just a little more insight into what I was thinking and looking into there. I wasn't satisfied with the implementation on that specific bike but it may have been that it was a little ragged out, maybe the clutches were worn, or that in 2014 the system had not been worked out as well as it may be now. Honda claims it has made steady improvements year-to-year in the operation of its DCT in response to rider input.

But it was also true it didn't hold a candle to the Versys...  :7:

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Online Oldplodder

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Re: NC700X DCT outta my system?
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2018, 09:58:37 PM »
Very interesting report Sonny.
I took out a new NC750X  DCT last year when the dealer had my Wing in for a recall. I had the bike for a whole morning and it was the model with 3 sports modes available.
I loved it especially with the choice of sports modes as there was a mode for all the circumstances I could find. I thought the ride was actually more involving as I was able to really concentrate on lines etc on a tour round North Wales. The only time I thought the bike was lacking was in acceleration but that was due to having the V1k to pull my arms off for most of my riding.
I had previously taken a NC750X DCT, but the model with only 1 sports mode, and that was lacking in more areas, and managed to put me off very easily.
I think the DCT gearbox of the later models ( and probably the Africa Twin) is a much better proposition than many riders would care to admit. I would be happy to have one when I come to change my V1k.

Dave T
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Online Sonny

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Re: NC700X DCT outta my system?
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2018, 11:35:43 PM »
Thanks for that, Dave. The question has been asked on the NC forum, Is there a difference in the newer bikes with a 4-mode system? You get the usual answer you will see on a forum: owners of the older 2-mode bike said no, there's no big difference, it's the same bike etc., owners of the new ones said oh yes, they really use the modes and see a big difference. Some of them had owned both bikes. It was the usual display of cognitive bias for the bike you own. You see the same bias about whether the 750 is a marked improvement over the 700.

That's the Achilles heel of trying to make decisions based on forum opinions, isn't it?

Alls I can say is, as a V1K rider, I was not impressed with the 2014 model I tested anywhere close to wanting to have it. It lacked power, the shifting was not quite right, the handling felt trustworthy but rather stiff. In too many ways it was a step backwards from my current bike. If it was in the garage next to the V, which one would I ride on any given day? Nah...  :027:

We can say broadly that Honda's approach to things is unique. Their target audience is different. They make a well engineered, durable vehicle but compared to the competition they're a little dull. I have never owned one, but maybe I'm not one of the "nicest people" they aim for.  :015:

I do know how you guys love your Wings though.
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Offline saddlebag

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Re: NC700X DCT outta my system?
« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2018, 12:15:19 AM »
*Originally Posted by Sonny [+]

The salesman I dealt with yesterday, a kid in his early 20s, asked me, "What is your interest in DCT?", and I answered that it was not the above reasons. My reason is, I love new technologies and the way they change our lives, and I like to keep up with them. I found DCT interesting from an engineering standpoint, as a new way of putting power to a wheel. That is my interest in it and maybe having a machine with it.


I find what most people consider "tech" isn't very techy at all. "Texting?" Seriously? Sending text between computers is about the easiest program that can be written for a computer. Twitter made billions by limiting it to 140 characters. I just scratch my head.
I do think your initial reasons have some merit. I'd throw in city riding as well. I can see how low speeds and plenty of other things to occupy one's senses make it useful for guys vying for space on a Mumbai avenue at rush hour.
As with most tech, it wouldn't add much to my ride. I even question whether these clutchless shifters can do any better than my toe and a V1k gear box. It does a smarvelous job of banging thru quick clutchless upshifts sans electronic assistance.
People like toys though. I saw a guy taking home his new KTM 390 yesterday. Even that little bike had a big screen strapped to the handlebars.
Times change and people want something new for their hard earned dough...even if it's not better than what it replaced.

Offline Keener

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Re: NC700X DCT outta my system?
« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2018, 05:55:10 AM »

And then there is the fun factor..I am lucky enough to have the opportunity to ride motorcycles of different vintages most have no tech or very little , the V1 currently being the most advanced .
A ride on my old 1974 Z1 put things in perspective , the Z is is great shape probably a bit better than as new , i had not ridden her in a while so there was a learning curve, i found that the suspension , brakes , feel were all pretty primitive.. engine performance was acceptable and actually somewhat surprising ,  for a motorcycle that is forty three years old i did not expect much as compared to the V1 . After about an hour i adapted to the Zees shortcomings and began to enjoy the ride ,  no rider aids what so ever just pure mechanical interaction ..
It was fun and entertaining  , better motorcycle than the V1 ..no of course not, but to me it proves that the ride is the best thing about motorcycles and that for the fun of it is the most important .
« Last Edit: March 31, 2018, 06:03:40 AM by Keener »

 



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