2010 Honda NT700V

Practically All Fun

Honda’s Sensible Solution

By Steve Lita

I’ve heard it said before, and even uttered it a few times myself: why does Europe get all the cool bikes, and we don’t get them here? Formerly available in Europe as the Deauville, the new 2010 Honda NT700V makes great sense for those who are on a budget (who isn’t these days?), yet want a cool commuter bike they can also use for getaway trips. The Deauville was introduced in Europe in 1999 and 47,000 units have been sold since 2000. Over there the NT is daily transportation for many and is widely used by couriers logging high miles.

Honda claims the Deauville nameplate didn’t score well in focus groups on our shores; I say it needs to find new riders to focus on. Sorry Honda, I’m gonna call it the Deauville. And I would venture to say there are throngs of NT followers who are sure to start forum boards, online clubs, and chat rooms dedicated to this model. There are already several based in Europe, where this bike is also called the Mini-Pan, as in mini-Pan-European (ST1300). Time will tell which nickname sticks here in the US. No matter what you call it, it’s a lightweight touring machine that’s fun, easy to ride, and ready to carry you to work and play, day-in and day-out. With an effective fairing; integrated, interlinked saddlebags; and a strong 680cc V-twin engine, the NT700V is well equipped.

This isn’t a naked standard with some travel accessories screwed on; take a look at the bodywork. Those hard bags are attractive, integral, and not removable. The interlinked saddlebags feature a pass-through port between the left and right bag to facilitate packing of longer items and provide additional carrying capacity. It’s an ingenious little feature that will undoubtedly serve the owner well. One Honda rep claimed he went camping on an NT and the pass through was a great place for his bed roll pad. The pass-through opening is 8″ high by 6″ wide, and the overall width inside the saddlebags bags (inside of left cover to inside of right cover) is approximately 24″. The left bag capacity is 27.4 liters, and the right bag is is rated at 26.7 liters due to the muffler taking up space.

Up front, the five-position windscreen can be manually adjusted to rider preference; you just grab the windscreen and slide it to the next notch. I found I could lower the screen while riding with just a tap on the top, but raising it had to be done while parked, as it requires two hands to rise. Generous front storage compartments are located in the left and right fairing cowl; one is lockable with the ignition key. Instrumentation includes a speedometer, tachometer, odometer with two tripmeters, clock, fuel gauge, and nifty average fuel consumption meter. I like having the fuel economy gauge readout right in front of me; It’s a useful tool in minding one’s budget while riding. And Honda used EPA testing standards to obtain its rating of 50 mpg. That won’t hurt in this economy either. A healthy capacity of 5.2 gallons in the fuel tank means fewer stops on the road.

The cockpit side of the front fairing contains a pair of mystery grilles on the dashboard, for speakers or airflow ventilation, perhaps. And the placement of the fairing-mounted, rearview mirrors has to be the finest of any bike I’ve ever ridden. The mirrors provided a view around my elbows and rode rock steady.

Powering the NT is a smooth-running, compact, liquid-cooled SOHC 52-degree V-twin with four valves per cylinder. In motion the engine offers a V-twin cadence that adds a pulse, not a vibe, to the riding experience and perhaps is the reason for those steady mirrors. After all, this is a 700, not a huge, thumping 1500cc compressor. While some may scoff at this size and say “only” a 700, I look upon it as a valid and proper displacement. To put it mildly, I’m a big fan of this middle-ground cc area; you’re talking about a guy that has a Honda CB700SC Nighthawk S in his garage. And the similarities to the NY700V are uncanny: both are 700cc, shaft drive, have an upright riding position, and are pure fun to ride.

There are differences however; the NT waistline is narrower thanks to the V engine design, the slim riding profile adds to rider comfort. Internally the cams are chain-driven, and valve lash is adjusted via screw-type adjusters prescribed at 8,000 miles intervals. And fuel induction is via Honda’s programmed fuel injection system with twin 40mm throttle bodies. A broad torque band moves the NT rider, passenger, and cargo along swiftly. Mated to a five-speed gearbox I find the bike’s powerband more than sufficient, and the silent shaft final drive makes for virtually maintenance-free convenience. For gadget-minded riders out there, you’ll want to know that alternator output is 0.438kW at 5000 rpm.

Weighing in at a svelte-for-touring-bikes 562 pounds (wet), the NT rolls on a taught 58.1″ wheelbase, making it remarkably nimble for a touring bike. Maintain some midrange torque and flick the Deauville at will; you’ll never miss the bulk of a big tourer or the shoulder cramps of a sportbike.

The NT700V utilizes a light and strong twin-spar steel frame. Suspension chores are handled up front by a 41mm fork and in back there’s a single heavy-duty rear shock providing all-day touring comfort. To help tune for a trip the rear suspension features an easy to access remote shock spring preload adjuster that offers 40 click steps of adjustment. Adding a passenger and cargo? No problem; just turn the knob to add preload. Want a softer setting for freeway comfort? Just dial it back down. Unfortunately that’s the only adjustment available; there’s not even rebound on either end. The overall feel is plush and compliant.

The slash-cut exhaust looks like it was formed for added ground clearance. And the NT700V is equipped with a centerstand from the factory. Great for parking and maintenance; it’s something you don’t see on new bikes too often these days.

There’s a little bit of additional storage space available under the seat and there appears to be an impression on the inner fender for a U-lock; however, it doesn’t come equipped with one (I’ll bet those lucky Europeans get one, though). The one-piece seat is broad and all-day comfy for rider and passenger. Thanks to some lead-follow riding in a pack of NT700’s, I found the taillamp and rear signals are large and ample for communicating your intentions.

When you intend to stop, the NT700V employs Honda’s combined braking system in a triple-disc arrangement. The CBS system features two non floating 296mm front rotors gripped by three-piston calipers and a single 276mm rear rotor with a dual-piston brake caliper. When the rear brake is applied, a combination of the rear brake caliper plus one piston of the left front brake caliper are pressed into service, thus maintaining a balanced, strong braking action. The ABS option adds better stopping control, yet adds only $1,000 to the base price of the NT700V. After riding both versions of the light tourer, I’d have no problem spending time on the CBS-equipped bike — but if you can afford the extra coin, the ABS is nice to have. Tires are small sportbike spec radials in sizes 120/70 ZR17 on front and 150/70 ZR17 out back. Who needs a 180 rear tire when the 150 equipped Deauville is so flickable?

So, why bring the Deauville (NT700V) to the US now? Honda’s market research showed the target market male and female riders, 30-plus years of age are looking for a fun, affordable, lightweight getaway machine. The NT700V is agile around town or on twisty roads, and comes well outfitted for travel. It can make small work of your daily commute, run errands like a courier, or take you away from the daily grind for a weekend of fun. The NT700V can capably do it all. Am I a fan? Yes! With typical excellent Honda fit and finish, and the plenty of amenities (even before you accessorize), the functional and fun NT700V makes good sense.

Honda Genuine Accessories

How do you make a good thing even better? Swing by the parts department when you purchase your NT700V at the dealer and pick up some purpose-built accessories to make your Deauville even more practical.

For more info about the Honda NT700V click here.

-45-liter Top Box available in red or silver     $393

-Trunk Inner Bag   $93

-Lower Top Box Pad      $45

-Fairing Wind Deflector Set       $150

-Knee Pad Set       $100

-Heated Grips        $190

-DC Socket $89

-Tank Pad    $65

Spec Sheet

Model: NT700V / NT700VA ABS

List Price     $9,999/$10,999 (ABS)

Engine         Liquid-cooled 52-degree V-twin

Valvetrain    SOHC; four valves per cylinder

Displacement         680cc

Bore x Stroke        81mm x 66mm

Compression Ratio         10:     1

Fuel System          PGM-FI, 40mm throttle bodies

Mfr Horsepower    N/A

Mfr Torque Rating N/A

Transmission         Five-speed

Final Drive   Shaft

Overall Length       87.4″

Wheelbase   58.1″

Rake/Trail    28.5degrees/4.5″

Seat height   31.7″

Fuel Capacity        5.2 gallons

Curb Weight          562 pounds/569 pounds (ABS)

Warranty     12 months

2010 Colors Red, silver, (ABS): silver

Comments

  1. Okay. I do not pretend to know what is available in Europe but, it seems to me that we are the ones getting “the cool bikes”. During my short stint in England and in any films and pictures from Europe, all I see is one crotch rocket clone after the other. I do not care what anyone rides but, to say that there is any styling originality there baffles me.

  2. David Knowles says:

    Without doubt,you guys in the States do and since the late 70′s always had the better/cooler bikes.I agree with ‘Gunman’,Most of the bikes you see here in the UK are ‘crotch rocket clones and the UK motorcycle mags are full of them.One article about Cruiser/Custom bikes per issue,if you’re lucky ,in one of them!Thats why I order ‘RoadBike’ imported from the States!

  3. Chris Ford says:

    This bike sounds like a great idea. I currently have a vintage goldwing and am looking for a replacement. The problem with most sport-touring bikes is their weight. I’m not looking forward to hauling around a bike that weighs over 700 lbs! The Deauville, oops, I mean the NT700V, sounds good on paper, BUT what if you want to go travelling with your wife and enough luggage for a week or more? It seems like this bike is designed more for solo touring. I can’t see where a 700 cc machine can carry two people plus gear, and still safely keep up with traffic. Anyone experienced this situation before?

    • Kim Horton says:

      I’d say get your wife an NT to give you the flexibility you need to carry all your stuff. I know how my wife packs and adding her to my load on my ST forced us into a trailer. My wife won’t ride her own bike but if you want one of these tasty things at home I’d think that would be a good option.

  4. This bike is great! I only have a few hundred miles on it but love it. However, does anyone know of a passenger backrest. I do not want a trunk, just a backrest like the ones they make for the ST1300.

  5. Dale Ordes says:

    I have my NT 700V with 3500 miles on it. How is it going? Pretty good! Great handling, peppy acceleration through all gears and it manages considerable lean. The bags eat up baggage, especially soft sided stuff. Downside? At speeds above 70 mph or over 5000 RPM, you will hear some noise coming from the pipes, from the motor and out of the air space between the windscreen and handlebars. Not nice noise — more like screeching. I adapt by wearing earplugs when I take the bike on highways.

    Let me introduce some crass commercialism into this discussion. The NT 700 V is not a popular item in this country. (Yet.) Resale opportunities are slow because of low demand. So if you buy and trade a lot, this may not be the bike. If you plan to keep it a fair amount of time — as I do — this will serve you well. Its major competitor is the 800 BMW, but this one beats the Beemer price.

    Upstate Traveler

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