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.