Over the last year, I have to admit that I have lost some of my passion for the sport side of motorcycles. I still love to ride but what I have discovered is that as I got back to my roots on two wheels, my bicycles, that it is less about the vehicle, and almost entirely about the experience of being out in the air. That recognition led to the other side, and the eureka moment. Bicycles are two wheels too, and I really wanted to cover them too. Unfortunately, I didn't get too much of that writing done, and I wasn't entirely certain how I wanted to address those changes here.
Needless to say, things stalled out here, and nothing really happened.
Along the way, I started another project, and decided to race a full distance Ironman Triathlon. Training, working, and well life all meant things here just didn't happen. Over the last few months I have started to hit the reset button on a few things in my life. This is one of them. For a while I considered just putting it away and moving on. The thing is, I enjoy writing. It provides and outlet that I enjoy, and when it comes to getting around on two wheels, I have a lot to say.
So I have restarted things a bit. We will see if I can stick with it a little better this time, but also build out the infrastructure that I have in mind. Time will tell. But I know it will be a few weeks before I am fully back into the swing of things, as the big race is at the end of this month.
With the weather warming up, it is time for the annual reminder to riders that have taken a few months off.
Your skills are not where they were at the end of last season. Take it easy, enjoy the spring. Drivers are not used to looking for bikes this time of year. Give them space, assume they don't see you and behave accordingly.
Let us get through the spring unharmed so we can enjoy the season. Rubber side down everyone!
As is evident by the slow pace of updates and few changes in the website during the past year, things have been a little stagnant. While there are probably a hundred little reasons, they all boil down to one or two real reasons. First, the primary author and editor got busy and distracted with other things in life, and second, the budget for doing many of the reviews that we wanted to do simply went away. This has never been a website that generated much in the way of money so that budget was out of pocket. Without reviews, what was the point? So things got neglected.
Those factors really have not changed much. Time is still tight. The budget is still limited. Interests are still mixed with other things. So with that said, we are consolidating a couple of things into a single space.
In the past we kept our other two wheeled passions separate. Bicycles and motorcycles should probably share the space, since we use them for the same purposes; transportation and entertainment. So it will become. The first step is simply this, letting all 3 regular readers know about the changes. The second step is consolidating and eliminating some redundancies, and third is returning to active posting here.
There will be other changes. We are working on putting a forum up that will allow for a community to grow, albeit, slowly. There will be some dynamic stuff to be added in the future, but right here, right now, there is just this. A(nother) beginning.
Back in February, Honda Powersports announced a pair of new motorcycles built around the 670cc liquid cooled, inline two cylinder drivetrain that first appeared in 2012 NC700 (S, X & D "Integra" ) series of bikes. This is a drivetrain that was engineered for a low center of gravity, high torque and high efficiency. While only the dual-sport oriented NC700X came to the United States, all three of these bikes have gotten strong reviews in the markets where they have been available. The newly announced CTX700's look to follow in the same footsteps, and build on the foundation that the NC's built in the last year.
The newly announced CTX700 comes in two variations of two flavors. The 'Naked' CTX700N and the 'Faired' CTX700. They are essentially the same bike, differing only around the headlight where the N drops the windscreen and small fairing. Honda describes the styling as inherited from it's "horizontal motive design", so visually it borrows heavily from the venerable Goldwing, but also carries an nod to the short lived DN-01. The end result is a more comfortable upright seating position while retaining a slightly sporty look. In addition, the low center of gravity makes both bikes, on paper at least, to be easily handled and forgiving on the road.
Honda has chosen to take the easily handled and forgiving assets and really push these bikes into the easy to ride market by also adding a variation of both that comes with the added features of ABS and an updated implementation of Hondas DCT ( Dual Clutch Technology ) that provides an almost scooter like twist and go throttle, without giving up the ability to shift gears as you want. Add to that, a low seat height, and newly redesigned frame details, and you end with a bike that proposes to be one of the most pleasant to ride commuters with the oomph to go touring available at any price.
Interestingly, price is another spot of redesign too. Unlike the Honda DN-01, this is a bike priced to sell, with a $6999 starting price on the N, and a $7799 price for the 700 with the fairing, these are not out of the budget for a commuter bike. As of now, pricing is not available for the associated hard cases, but it looks as if a max options CTX700 will leave the shop very close to the magic under $10k mark.
The real question is if the styling will work on the road with the American market. This is not a cruiser. It is not a tourer either. Nor is this a sport bike. It has roots in all three markets, but does not really fit into any one of them. So the question of who it really targets is certainly a valid question, and one that we may not have a good answer for until we start seeing them in showrooms later this year. If the reactions in the various communities hold up after in person viewing, the answer may well be none of the current demographics. Reactions in the sport bike communities have been fairly harsh, while the cruiser communities that seem to feel that a 670cc engine will not have sufficient punch to make it viable.
Our initial take really is this. If the CTX700 can get a little traction in the market place, it could well be that commuter + weekender that so many riders want but are currently using other tools and making them work, much like many of the current dual sports that are on road vehicles, ill suited to off road usage.
Two Wheel Junction is, to use the current terminology, "Rebooting". Over the last few years, we have been through a few iterations, none of which really met the goals we wanted. The long term goal has always been to become a community, a social media for the non-cage road users. Things changed, but that desire never really went away. A disturbing lack of time certainly caused most of the issues.
While the founders weblog stays, the rest of the site is beginning an evolution.