2012 Honda NC700S – The Return of the Standard

11/09/2011 @ 7:31 pm, by Jensen Beeler36 COMMENTS

Honda says it wanted to create a fun and user-friendly motorcycle when it set out to build the 2012 Honda NC700S — a simple, practical, two-cylinder get around town motorcycle. At 47hp and 44 lbs•ft of torque, the Honda NC700S isn’t exactly blowing the doors off with its performance figures, but of course that is not really the purpose of Honda’s new motor, which the NC700S features. Designed to be a compact, rideable, and efficient power supply for Honda’s new commuter entries, the Japanese company hopes that the 670cc motor, with its broad torque curve, will power a new generation and category of machinery.

Fairly unassuming in its outward design, the Honda NC700S shows its lifestyle practicality with features like a helmet-sized storage compartment under the faux-fuel tank, a low-slung seat, and low-cost maintenance structure. Available with Honda’s second-generation dual-clutch transmission (DCT), as well as Honda’s combined anti-locking brakes (C-ABS), the NC700S should be a fairly easy motorcycle for new riders to learn, especially with the DTC’s automatic-shifting feature.

Despite all the marketing jargon the winged-company has thrown around the 2012 Honda NC700S, the reality about the bike is this: it’s the return of the street-standard. A genre lost with time, Honda hopes that the NC700S will return a desire for the all-round go anywhere do anything motorcycle (they’ve even helped this purpose further with the NC700X, which boasts longer suspension and a more off-road focused look to the otherwise vanilla machine). Don’t take our words as a detriment though, as there is something to be said about what is largely considered to be the last honest motorcycle genre.

True to form, Honda has put a tremendous amount of time and energy into its new 670cc twin-cylinder motor, which has been designed to be mounted as low as possible in the NC700S’s steel frame chassis. With many components on the motor doing double-duty, like for instance the the camshaft also powers the cooling pump, these technical efficiencies amount to an estimated 78+ mpg. Sipping from the Honda NC700S’s 3.7 gallon fuel tank, owners can expect a theoretical 288 mile range, which should be more than enough for the 474 lbs (without DCT) daily commuter to use as it slips through the morning gridlock. We expect pricing on the 2012 Honda NC700S to be aggressively cheap.

Source: Honda

  • Sentinel

    “The Return of the Standard”

    This headline is pretty insulting to the term…

    This bike blows for anything beyond scooter duty…

  • bemer2six

    Yea I’m sure my grandma would love this bike!! Lol

  • Jake Fox

    Actually, this might be just what the Doctor ordered! (My wife is a doctor) Anyway, this looks like a good first bike for her. My nuts can’t take much more of her riding pillion with me.

  • Sloan

    This looks like a great commuter motorcycle, although I would want a little more wind protection for the upper torso. Having owned a 04 599 I can say that riding at freeway speeds around other vehicles, sometimes the wind can hit you in the chest and head like a hammer and you better hope you have a good grip on the tank.

    And let’s remember that “standard” is a riding position, and not like “the standard” that all motorcycles should follow, so in that case, I think the headline fits well. Looking at the photos, the rider is sitting upright, feet under the hips, and with comfortably bent arms. Looks like a standard configuration to me.

    But then again, this is the mighty USA where for the majority of riders, a motorcycle is a hobby or status symbol where it has to be big, fast, or both and not basic transportation, so it likely won’t sell well. However, add a bit more windscreen, put on a topcase to supplement the tank storage, and I’d be tempted to get one for the mileage on my daily commute and leave my VFR800 with all it’s touring gear at home with its measly 38 mpg in town.

  • 2ndclass

    Ah, so this why the Integra is chain-drive. You’d imagine with its “low-cost maintenance structure” they’d chuck a belt on it.

  • fazer6

    I’m trying really hard not to like it, but…It looks…good.

  • This bike will be hyper-competitive with the Kawasaki Versys, assuming that both bikes are in the same price range.

  • R-Dog

    Not a bad effort. Are Honda finally beginning to realise that slower bikes don’t have to look hideous?

  • Westward

    I have a feeling that this is Honda’s answer to the wave of electrics, with its low maintenance, low cost, and high gas mileage, the price of ownership would probably equal three to five years for a break even point comparatively. For a heavy commuter, it would be less than three…

  • Westward

    It’s certainly not bad looking, and compare to the Versys, it could have been worse…

  • Kevin White

    78 MPG! Is that with E10 or E15. I’m a little skeptical…

    Does DCT offer an auto-shifting mode?

    Around 40 peak torque at the wheel for a .67 liter sounds a little timid, and a peak HP figure only marginally higher than the peak torque figure sounds a little rev-resistant, but I’d like to hear how the fueling is and what the torque curve actually looks like.

    Wind protection and belt drive would have sweetened the pot.

    All comes down to pricing, but I like a lot of things about it really.

  • I think Honda does need to bring back the “fun” of riding. The public has been telling Honda that for years and its about time they started to listen! Translation- your bikes need some damn character to them. They need to lose some of that Honda blandness/sterility that their lineup has had for a long time now. Motoryclists really are not interested in the two wheel equivalent of an Accord.

    There is a reason why people are paying more to ride Ducati, BMW and Triumph these days…their bikes have some damn character to them (very unique in many ways) and are alot of fun to ride! Talk to someone that owns one and you usually can’t shut them up about how much fun they have riding it.

    Triumph is selling thousands of Bonnies, Scramblers and Thruxtons every year to people that don’t need to have DCT, traction control, 200 hp and go 180 mph. Honda should take a page from Triumph’s playbook and bring their CB1100 retro to the US. Do it now while alot of those guys that had CBs in their youth ( or wanted to own them but couldnt afford it!) can buy them. I never owned an old CB, in fact I have never owned a Honda period, but that bike looks like it is just plain fun to ride at normal (non superbike) speeds. Like the Bonneville, it is a timeless looking bike and just what Honda needs in the US to recapture some of their mojo.

  • bill s


  • Kevin White

    “Motorcyclists really are not interested in the two wheel equivalent of an Accord.”

    Some maybe. But I for one bought my Yam FZ6R precisely because I thought it matched my 2007 Civic Si Coupe for daily use. That is, it’sa great combination of doing nearly everything sort of well while having high practicality, low maintenance, a mild temperament, and a dollop of excitement and performance when traffic and road conditions allow (which around here is certainly not often).

    They’re both commuters. One’s for when it’s 105+ or 40- or there’s precipitation, the other is for when it’s between 40 and 105 and mostly dry. They’re even both painted black. For this role, I didn’t need or want something overly expensive, overly powerful, overly fussy or needy or complicated or quirky or showing excessive “character,” etc., on two wheels or four. I was looking for value, not a toy.

    The FZ6R fills the role admirably, but 78 MPG, auto-shifting mode, the ability to swallow the helmet, etc. may make this Honda even more keen for the role. I really like what Honda’s doing. But again, some wind protection and a belt instead of a chain would have checked off even more boxes.

  • chris

    there’s no reason to buy this over a used sv650.

  • Shaitan

    Ummm… standards never left; they just got renamed as nakeds and some of the more moderate streetfighters.

  • Keith

    Seems easy to tell the differnce between the younger/newer riders and those of us who have ridden for a long LONG time.

    This motorcycle is perfect, because it isn’t a speciealist. I looks and judging by the stats on it and the NC700x to be capable of doing what you want when you feel like it. No need to go home and get the sport bike, cruiser, tourer…just keep riding. So what’s the problem? sheesh, my motorcycle was NEW when most respondants were not even a wet dream! It was new in 1979 ONLY makes 70hp from 1L motor weighs over 600lb and quiet frankly is a standard, though when it first came out was considered a “roadster”. It’s quick enough, torque is enough for most any occasion wether it’s twisty mountain roads, traffic etc.

    So what is the problem some people have with it? Not loud enough? Not “racey” enough? Not “Posure” enough? sheesh….it’s better looking than the Nuda.

  • Neil

    So, a naked NT700 without the bags but add DCT and ABS, I guess it will come with a $10K price tag also…..Japanese manufacturers please hear me, you are losing touch….this bike will not sell in the U.S……. This is as exciting as the new Kawasaki Versys 1000….dumb…

  • David

    Looks familiar, very familiar!
    Yep, it’s the Honda version for the Kawasaki twins = ER6 + Versys

  • Greg

    I think Honda’s on the right track with this idea, but I agree with many of the previous criticisms. If this bike is going to be marketed toward new or first time buyers, I think that it ought to have a curb weight lower than ~475 lbs and have a belt drive for less maintenance. Having a bit more oomph out of the motor would be nice too, but I think that Honda’s looking at keeping the MPG high as well as long-term durability. I think that enthusiasts will still choose a Versys over this though (I recently owned a Versys until a run-in with Bambi ended our relationship) as it has more power and better frame design for adding luggage and accessories.

  • MikeD

    Honda NC700S: CHINESSE SCOOTER LOOKS & FEATURES (sans the DCT) at DUCATI Panigale Prices.

    Go on Honda, slap me on the face… but i doubt it. Nothing from them is cheap.


    Sorry, is hard for me not to HATE on “Our shit smell like Roses” Honda…(^_^ ).

  • mxs

    47hp, 44 lbs•ft and 474lbs …. what’s up with the 4s????

    BTW, these are hardly numbers to be excited about. I guess they wanted to create a comfortable commuter with a trunk. I understand the engine is a gem from many technological angles, it’s just hard to get excited for.

    it will be great for people who commute for an hour, possibly hwy and in totally inspirited way having to carry bunch of stuff in the trunk instead of their back pack. For anyone else, I just don’t see a point.

  • MikeD

    On a positive lite:

    I bet it’ll be a terrific economic commuter utilitarian daily rider, get your DCT On & slap those side cases and top box and go for a little touring too (like others said, a BELT would have been the cat’s meow on this application).
    I hope they sell a ship load of these, maybe i’ll be able to pick a used one for a few dollars 2 years from now instead of a Maxi Scooter.

  • Damo

    I think the bike is great for what it is. I am a gimmick lover so the mini trunk/tank rocks my world.

    You guys are right though it is a semi-scooter duty commuter/city bike. If it comes in at a sub $5,000 USD price that would be awesome.

  • Random

    Despite what many of you may think, it seems the bike will really sell in countries people actually commutes on bikes. Fuel economy has become some kind of paranoia recently in many places (no reason to subside in the future) and both newbies and veterans are fond of auto trannies for real commuting (especially in the middle of traffic), once they abandon the previous beliefs and try one.

    Yes, it seems to be aimed as some kind of kawa twin killer. As the CBR 250R it has the advantages of probably being a global product and as such produced at a huge scale which may help with the price.

  • chrome

    I’m a huge fan. I would counter the “useless” comment with “extremely useful.” What a great practical bike, especially for a beginner. I got my start on an ’84 Sabre 700, and it was great for about 10 years for me. The tank storage is the best idea. I ride an 03 FZ1 right now, and its just laking the storage space. I have fantasies about hub-center steering with forward storage compartments.

    If i had a kid, and he wanted to ride, this is the bike I would get him.

  • tavcam

    I want one. The engine is like a mellow version of the old TRX850 I had (both are a 270 degree parallel twin); with the convenience of the tank storage, which I had on my even older Suzuki Across (I’m in Australia BTW). With ABS, this is a bike I would buy new, which would be a first for me.

  • Beary


  • Filip

    Some useless haters comments on here. DCT and helmet storage really rock my boat. A very practical beginners bike. Belt drive would have been nice, but if you ‘ll be using it to drive around town, maintenance costs are likely to be very low anyway.

  • Lars

    7 years ago you could buy a Nighthawk 750, which had 75hp.

  • Neil

    I keep hearing beginner bike in all these posts, who the hell is gonna pay $10K for a beginner bike…
    Even if this bike comes in at $8999 that’s still too much….The Kawasaki ER6N and Suzuki Gladius lasted how long before they pulled them, c’mon people, get real….

  • BikePilot

    I really the idea of the bike. I’ll have to withold judgment on execution until I can ride one. I’d particularly like to sample the long-travel version as I find a bit of extra travel really useful on bumpy city roads. It seems to me that its 100lbs overweight and that’s not going to help mpg, performance or noob appeal.

    My wife’s Monster 620 does a consistent 60mpg with me flogging it in the city (less if cold) on my short commute. I’m not sure if ~10mpg is worth a 100lbs and 20hp penalty.

  • Bill L

    Low insurance, high mpg, Honda reliability, comfort. Perfect for beginners and commuters. Hopefully it will handle well and be under $10k..

  • Grant Madden

    Wont be long before the “boys” slap a noisy pipe and an after market screen on it.Will make a great commuter like Hondas used to be in the 70s and 80s with their parralel twins.Remember the old CBs?They were good at day to day ridding with out being great at any thing really.Question is do people want to go there again?With learner bikes being controlled by power standards and not capacity this would be a good alternative to riding an 883 or a depowered monster.Best of luck Honda

  • Dave Bardell

    78 mpg plus, I might be persuaded to have this as my daily commute!!
    Belt drive would be nice though and shouldn’t be a problem at 47 hp.

  • Doug Danz

    Agreed, the bike is perfect for those who want, or need a practical daily commuter. I think the fake take that will swallow a helmet is pretty cool, and would eliminate the need for a backpack for many, or the need for luggage for most commutes. I am impressed with projected mileage, if real world testing backs it up. I have a sporty or ripping and tearing around, but this would keep this aging guy out of the realm of the scooter.
    Curious to see what the US pricing will be first. Hope they get it below the price of the new DL650 Vstorm, $8299 US dollars. We shall see…..