First Drive: 2012 Honda NC700X

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Honda Builds The Crossover Of Bikes

2012 Honda NC700X

Here in the land of Harleys and highways that stretch to infinity, Americans don’t care much for sensible motorcycles. Unlike the majority of global bike buyers, North Americans tend to choose escape over utility, performance over practicality – that’s simply how it’s been done in the land of the free, at least until a funny thing happened on the way to the global recession.

As bank balances thinned and fuel prices crept skyward, sales of puffed up sportbikes and cartoonishly endowed cruisers plummeted. Americans rediscovered that motorcycles could be used for tasks like workaday commutes and trips to the grocery store, not just for riding into a Marlboro Man-approved sunset, fringe in tow. As consumers matured, manufacturers slowly responded with bikes better suited for purposeful priorities.

The American Honda Motor Company rode the wave of frivolity while it lasted, experimenting with stunts like stuffing a mammoth 1,795cc v-twin into their VTX series of cruisers, until the humbler (but still hulking) 1,312cc mill took over. But Honda eventually got sensible and beefed up its scooter lineup, launched the beginner-friendly CBR250R, and – lo and behold – took a cue from the European market by introducing the NC700X stateside. But here’s the rub: As much as the alphanumerically cumbersome model visually resembles a rugged BMW at a glance, the NC packs enough practical equipment to suggest there’s a sea change in the way motorcycles are being marketed and sold in the US.

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2012 Honda NC700X originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 28 Dec 2012 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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