CAPABLE MOTORCYCLE

Honda’s new 2018 NC750S is an exceptionally user-friendly motorcycle: easy to ride and easy on the pocket in terms of both initial purchase and running costs. It attracts riders of all ages including both experienced riders looking for a capable motorcycle to tackle the city traffic, as well as new, younger riders stepping up from smaller machines looking equally for performance, practicality and pleasure from their first ‘big’ motorcycle.

Its parallel twin-cylinder engine packs the low-to-midrange with effortless torque; capacious storage space where the fuel tank normally sits and the option of Honda’s unique Dual Clutch Transmission set it apart from the crowd of mid-sized naked machines. When combined with a compact form, low seat height, confidence-inspiring chassis and exceptional fuel economy, the result is a uniquely accessible and practical motorcycle.

Like the NC750X and Integra, the NC750S is built around a 745cc twin cylinder engine which puts out strong low-to-mid range torque, delivering strong acceleration from very low rpm and returns 28.6km/l (WMTC mode). The engine’s forward-leaning position both lowers the center of gravity for stable handling, and creates space for a storage compartment where the fuel tank is normally positioned. The 790mm seat height and compact chassis create confidence-inspiring ground reach.

The NC750S’s DCT features a natural ‘feathered’ clutch feel around an on/off throttle. In addition to the most fuel efficient automatic D Mode, for sportier riding there are 3 levels of S mode. Also available for 2018 is a 35kW version, allowing A2 license holders to enjoy the NC750S. This new version can easily be converted to a full power version at the appropriate time at a Honda dealer.

Leading the NC750S design philosophy is the phrase ‘Sensual Performance’ and the riding experience is enhanced visually and aurally. The small headlight and clear-smoke lens taillight inject a distinct presence. A unique selling point of the NC750S remains hidden in plain sight – the 21L storage compartment (where the fuel tank would normally be found) that easily holds a full-face helmet.

The instruments use a negative LCD display; information includes odometer, trip meter, gear position, fuel efficiency and consumption gauges and optional heated grip temperature. A ‘wave’ style key gives a further premium feel. The color of the rev-counter bar display can be changed by the rider; a total of 9 options are available. It is also possible to have colors change according to gear selected, rpm range or (for the DCT version) riding mode.

ECO and SHIFT mode are further options when riding with the display set to a single color 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 color change to orange if engine rpm exceeds a level pre-set by the rider. The range of genuine Honda Accessories include a specifically-designed new rear rack, a 35L top box, 29L panniers, inner bags, center stand, 5-stage heated grips, U-lock and AC charging socket.

The design of the NC750S’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. For 2018, the rpm limit has been raised to 7,500rpm to allow natural use of the engine performance into a higher rpm range.

For A2 license holders a 35kW version is now available, which can be easily converted to the full power version by a Honda dealer at the appropriate time. Equally, it will be possible to restrict the full power version to 35kW by a Honda dealer replacing the standard throttle body and remapping the ECU. In most riding situations the restriction of peak power is not noticeable and the 0-100m acceleration time is identical to the full power version.

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 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 lightweight pentagon-shaped muffler uses two chambers joined by a hole-punched link pipe, which works with a final resonator chamber to create a deeply distinctive sound and exhaust pulse. The built-in catalyzer has a two-layer structure for cleaner emissions. The NC750S engine is EURO4 compliant with CO2 emissions of 81g/km and fuel consumption of 28.6km/l (WMTC mode) providing a 400km plus range from the 14.1-liter underseat fuel tank.

Honda’s DCT technology is now in its eighth 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 main shaft 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 – gives 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 NC750S 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 throttle for a smoother ride. Further refinements include fast 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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