Bikes we love

What I want: Honda NC750X

Honda NC750X
I try not to look at the stats for this blog too much. I’ve been blogging in one form or another for a decade now and experience tells me that wandering too deep into the dark woods of blog stats can be detrimental to one’s mental health. You start to feel that the incalculable whims of the internets are somehow a reflection on you, your ability to write, etc. If lots of people are reading you feel good, and you become miserable when the opposite is true.
Soon, like the Southern preacher who gets money pressed into his hand at the end of sermons, you find yourself trying to chase after the topics that you think interest people, rather than what necessarily interests you. And thereafter your blog starts to suck.
That said, I want in this post to return to something I’ve written about before and which has turned out to be one of the more popular topics that brings people to this blog. According to my stats, here are the top three search terms that lead people to this site:
1) boss hoss
2) honda nc700x
3) nc700x
That first one, of course, is inexplicable. And inexcusable. You people should be ashamed of yourselves. Like Orange County Choppers, Boss Hoss are representative of much that is wrong with motorcycling. These are the Bright Young Things painting themselves gold and swimming in Champagne whilst great lines of unemployed workers starve to death (a). That is to say they are fascinating, excessive and ultimately detrimental –– almost entirely lacking in quality. Or, as I previously described them: abominable hunks of prematurely ejaculated patriotism.
No, forget that noise. What I’m interested in is the NC700X. I wrote a post about that motorcycle roughly seven months ago, and still there are people showing up now and again to comment on it. Indeed, it’s become something of a tiny forum, with many people showing up to report their experiences with the bike. And I can’t help but notice that the feedback is almost entirely positive.
I still have yet to ride an NC700X, in part because I’m afraid I’ll find myself signing a purchase agreement as a result of it. Having read extensively about the machine, and having sat upon it at Thunder Road I know that it possesses all the features I like about my beloved Aliona with a number of added perks: considerably better gas mileage, a lower centre of gravity, and a whole lot of storage space. 
Admittedly, Aliona’s engine delivers 21 bhp more than the 51-bhp NC700X (Aliona has 76 bhp in total), but the NC700X has (just) slightly more torque and I’ve come to realise that my riding style may not demand all that much power. Whereas other people see an empty road as an opportunity to push a bike to its limits, if no one else is around I gleefully slow down to about 25mph and weave.
But now there is at least one thing (apart from the obvious thing, i.e., lack of money) keeping me from buying an NC700X: Honda has announced it is soon to upgrade the bike and it will become the NC750X. An extra 75cc will deliver a whopping 4 bhp more, but more interestingly, the gearing has been adjusted to make it even more handy at highway speeds.
I use the What I Want tag to yammer on about all types of motorcycles, but in my mind the list splits into two categories: bikes I wish I had, and bikes that I am very legitimately considering within the confines of existing circumstances (i.e., bikes that I don’t need to win the lottery to own). I can honestly see the NC750X becoming my next bike. Well, unless Triumph produce a Speedmaster with ABS tout de suite
Maybe they will; I don’t really see myself being able to get another motorcycle until late 2015 (b). But those two machines –– the NC750X and the Speedmaster (assuming it has ABS [c]) –– are at the very top of my Legitimately Considering list.

They are certainly different machines, and that gives you a clue as to my main issue with the NC750X: it doesn’t look terribly cool. I have, as I say, seen the NC700X in the flesh and although I am totally in love with its features and practicality, I’m not at all that jazzed about its plasticy plasticness.

The NC750X is not a bike that’s necessarily going to get you laid. Sure, it will efficiently, reliably and comfortably transport yourself and your hookup to a hotel room. But the act of convincing said pareja de amor to get on the bike in the first place is going to be solely down to your individual charm; the bike is not going to help out.
Everything on the NC750X is plastic. That makes it lightweight and durable, and means scratches are less cause for concern (when you scratch plastic it doesn’t result in rust as with metal), but, you know, it’s plastic. 
Plastic doesn’t gleam in the sun, nor is it the sort of thing that ages well. Or, rather, the look of plastic –– its aura. Plastic belongs on a new thing. Name me one plastic-laden item from 1993 that still looks cool. Although technically timeless and inclined to last roughly 100,000 years, plastic doesn’t have a timeless feel. Within a decade or so, it makes an item look cheap.
And certainly that was my impression of the big storage cover on the NC700X. Its plastic looked a little too easy to break into. Easier to access than the tank bags and dry bags that I use otherwise? Not so much, but you get my point.

Overall, I like the NC750X a lot. A whole lot. Enough to pay money for it. But I’m not sure I could ever really love it.

(a) EF Morgan was of similar circles. He famously tormented Aldous Huxley by releasing a baboon into his room. Crikey, the inter-war period was fascinating.
(b) But hey, hope springs eternal. A year ago, it was pretty damn unlikely that I’d have Aliona by now.
(c) ABS will be required on all motorcycles sold in Europe from 2016. So, assuming Triumph doesn’t ditch the Speedmaster, it will eventually have ABS. The question is whether I’d be willing to wait that long.