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2021 Honda NC750X DCT MC Commute Review

In this episode of <i>MC Commute</i>, we swing a leg over the 2021 Honda NC750X and rip to the <i>Motorcyclist</i> HQ.

In this episode of <i>MC Commute</i>, we swing a leg over the 2021 Honda NC750X and rip to the <i>Motorcyclist</i> HQ. (Jeff Allen/)

The Honda NC750X platform flies under the radar as an unassuming, yet extremely versatile machine in Big Red’s adventure lineup, but is worthy of big attention. Spec sheet spies will likely disagree, but the combination of its tractable 745cc parallel-twin engine, an optional Dual-Clutch Transmission (DCT), and practical features make the NC a remarkable value and easy choice for urban dwellers and those looking for a single do-it-all motorcycle.

Powering the NC750X is a 745cc SOHC eight-valve parallel-twin engine, which was last updated in 2018 with an increase in displacement by 75cc (via a 4mm bore increase). This undersquare powerplant offers a torque-rich ride, providing a tractor-like off-idle acceleration that chugs through its midrange toward its 7,500-rpm rev limit. Power delivery is exactly sporty, but it is smooth with relatively little vibration. Settling into 75 mph, the NC spins around 4,500 rpm in top gear, which lends itself to superb fuel economy. The NC750X recorded an average of 53.3 mpg during testing.

The Honda NC750X is powered by a torque-rich 745cc SOHC parallel-twin engine. The cylinders are set at a 55-degree angle, which allows for large-capacity storage.

The Honda NC750X is powered by a torque-rich 745cc SOHC parallel-twin engine. The cylinders are set at a 55-degree angle, which allows for large-capacity storage. (Jeff Allen/)

Speaking of gears, our NC750X test unit is the DCT variant ($9,299), a $600 upcharge over the manual-shifting six-speed model ($8,699). Utilizing Honda’s automatic transmission rids the NC of clutch and gear shift levers, allowing the system full control of the gearbox. Thumbing the starter button and drive-mode selector puts the motorcycle in drive, then it’s ready to rock. The system provides a direct-drive feel as it accelerates away from a stop. Honda’s DCT system has proved favorable on other models like the Gold Wing, but is especially practical on the NC750X. The lack of shifting effort required to meander the tight confines of city riding lends itself to an easier riding experience, and even more so in dense traffic conditions.

A single two-piston caliper and 320mm disc bring the NC750X to a halt. Considering its hefty 493-pound curb weight, it’s questionable why a second caliper isn’t utilized.

A single two-piston caliper and 320mm disc bring the NC750X to a halt. Considering its hefty 493-pound curb weight, it’s questionable why a second caliper isn’t utilized. (Jeff Allen/)

The DCT system can also be operated in a manual mode, selected via a switch on the right handlebar. This leaves total control of the gearbox to the rider, utilizing paddle-shifter-like switches on the left handlebar for gear selection. The option adds sportiness to the NC750′s riding experience, but we spent the majority of testing time in the automatic setting, appreciating the luxury of the system.

Pair the simplicity of the NC750X’s riding experience with the practicality of its creature comforts and it becomes a superversatile machine. In place of a traditional fuel tank, a 23-liter internal storage compartment offers safe carrying capacity big enough for most full-face helmets, groceries, and everything in between.

Sleek fairings add a sporty appearance to the NC750X, but the low-height windscreen slacks at providing adequate protection against turbulent air.

Sleek fairings add a sporty appearance to the NC750X, but the low-height windscreen slacks at providing adequate protection against turbulent air. (Jeff Allen/)

A comfortable, in-command position of the one-piece handlebar pairs well with the NC750X’s approachable ergonomic setup. The relatively low 31.6-inch seat height lends itself to easy contact, even for this 5-foot-7 tester, in slow-speed scenarios, despite the saddle-to-footpeg measurement feeling tight during the long haul. That and the overly cushy seat foam can grow uncomfortable after an hour of riding. Still, the ergonomics make for easy control of the NC’s claimed 493-pound weight with its 3.8-gallon fuel tank topped off.

This 28-liter internal storage compartment takes up the traditional location of the fuel tank. Honda claims it will fit most full-face helmets, which we confirmed with an Arai Signet-X.

This 28-liter internal storage compartment takes up the traditional location of the fuel tank. Honda claims it will fit most full-face helmets, which we confirmed with an Arai Signet-X. (Jeff Allen/)

The NC750X’s chassis is extremely stable, thanks to its longish 60.1-inch wheelbase, but corners with agility and confidence. A Showa fork with Dual Bending Valve technology and a single shock are equipped to handle damping demands. The pair does an adequate job of soaking up the tarmac’s imperfections, but struggles to cope with unexpected G-out bumps as it blows through its stroke.

The 2021 Honda NC750X represents a remarkable in-class value that packs a punch of versatility that can be appreciated by all. It would be fair to question the Honda’s lack of cruise control or TFT display, but considering the relatively low cost of entry and already impressive performance and practicality, it’s hard to justify the need for any more. Engaging and smooth engine performance, impressive fuel economy, and a welcoming ergonomic package and chassis make the NC a worthy machine.

A telescopic Showa Dual Bending Valve fork handles front-end damping needs.

A telescopic Showa Dual Bending Valve fork handles front-end damping needs. (Jeff Allen/)

Gearbox

Helmet: Shoei RF-SR

Jacket: Alpinestars Newman Overshirt

Pants: Alpinestars Victory Denim

Boots: Alpinestars Faster-3 Rideknit

The 2021 Honda NC750X DCT is available for $9,299, proving as a remarkable in-class value.

The 2021 Honda NC750X DCT is available for $9,299, proving as a remarkable in-class value. (Jeff Allen/)

2021 Honda NC750X DCT Specs

Price: $9,299
Engine: 745cc, SOHC, liquid-cooled parallel twin; 4 valves/cyl.
Bore x Stroke: 77.0 x 80.0mm
Compression Ratio: 10.7:1
Fuel System: PGM-FI w/ throttle-by-wire
Clutch: Wet, multiplate
Transmission/Final Drive: 6-speed/chain; Dual-Clutch Transmission (DCT)
Frame: Steel
Front Suspension: 41mm telescopic fork, nonadjustable; 4.7 in. travel
Rear Suspension: Pro-Link HMAS shock; 4.7 in. travel
Front Brake: Hydraulic caliper, 320mm disc w/ ABS
Rear Brake: hydraulic caliper, 240mm disc w/ ABS
Wheels, Front/Rear: Cast aluminum; 17 in.
Tires, Front/Rear: Metzeler Tourance; 120/70-17 / 160/60-17
Rake/Trail: 27.0°/4.3 in.
Wheelbase: 60.1 in.
Seat Height: 31.6 in.
Fuel Capacity: 3.8 gal.
Claimed Wet Weight: 493 lb.
Warranty: Transferable 1-year, unlimited mileage
Availability: Now
Contact: powersports.honda.com

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