My ride for today: NC750X with automatic gear shift and twin clutch, Honda’s DCT system. Really an overgrown scooter, fuel under the seat and stowage at the front. But much less tiring to ride than my sportsbike, it also returns staggering fuel economy (I used less than 5 litres for 200 km in Sport mode), both of which extend the bike and the rider’s range. As a 750 twin there’s more than enough power. Put simply, you’ll get further on the NC750X than an RR but it might not be as much fun.
I rode on from Manosque to the Grand Canyon du Verdon while my RR was being serviced. Another fine early spring day in Provence with a wonderful absence of camping cars, mountain bikes and tourist cars out on the roads. After the Col d’Ayen (1031 m.), I took my picnic lunch at the belvédères on the Route des Crêtes at 1105 m., overlooking the river far below in the limestone canyon.
The NC750X is a complete contrast to my CBR600RR, they’re in different worlds. The 750 is a twin and it grundles along delivering lots of power as the clutch slides through the gear changes whereas the 600RR in-line four revs high and sounds sweet as the rider has to work to match the gears to the road to get the best from the engine. There’s no mistaking the exhaust notes.
You gain ease of riding and less rider fatigue with the big scooter but you loose the feel for the road and precision placement, especially on the curves where there’s a tendency to cruise the road and cut the corners.
I tended to cruise the white line rather than working out my own apexes and line, so taking the “touring line” rather than the “racing line”. I found braking perilous on the NC750X, there’s much less engine braking than I would expect for a twin with a manual gearbox; anyhow, the RR’s brakes are in a different class of stopping power. Forget about “late braking” on the NC750X.
Normal road riding is fine, time to enjoy the scenery maybe but hairpins are not easy. The DCT automatics can’t see what’s ahead and so have a horrible tendency to shift gears when you’re committed to a hairpin, especially a downhill hairpin. You really don’t want that otherwise you’ll get a snatch and risk a power skid.
But I got a long way today and my clutch hand had a day off.
So that was an experience and a day out whilst my own bike was getting new tyres and having a routine service. There’s nothing like a CBR600RR on the market at the moment: I was really pleased to get the key back to mine after several offers to buy it off me.
Theoretically, as the NC750X is less physical to ride than a sportsbike and so it would be an evolution requiring less time in the gym. Unfortunately, the baby goes out with the bath water, as many of the things which make riding a sportsbike so rewarding get lost in the compromise. But the NC750X is a comfortable big-scooter for commuting and weekends with a pillion.
Thanks to Phillipe for the service on my RR and Fabien for arranging the test ride.