No sooner do I dismiss the current crop of 2 wheeled offerings for lack of $$$ value, than Honda tries to prove me wrong. Few weeks back I noted an ad for the NC700X popping up when I surfed over at http://www.f800riders.org . Hmmm. Honda seemed to be  trolling for new riders, but the placement of the ad on a site catering to a direct competitor was curious. As for the “new rider” ad trolling, I’m used to it- despite having ridden since 1970, most of the motorcycle industry still automatically assumes any female is a new rider. So much for the fake “buzz”, then I notice the ever growing NC700X thread over at http://www.advrider.com . Finally, the buzz has even reached the isolated virtual campfire of the Guzzisti, with a growing thread of glowing reviews at http://www.wildguzzi.com . So I wander by my sorta friendly local Honda/Yamaha/mostly ATV, snowmobile, and marine dealer yesterday, expecting the dozen or so new bikes still in stock to be banished from the showroom to the back room for the winter, already. Yup, the bikes had already been banished, despite the temps in the 70s… ‘Cept for an NC700X right inside the front door!

Now a bit of background on the midweight twin market… Suzuki reinvented the class over a decade ago with the value per dollar SV650 twins, then added the dual sport weeStrom a couple years back. They were an instant hit, and it’s hard to find a rider unhappy with theirs. Kawasaki retaliated with their Versus parallel twin, and BMW moved just upmarket with their F800 series. All of these bikes populate a sweet spot in motorcycle engineering, powerful enough for just about any legal or illegal need, light enough for most any rider to easily manuever, and delivering outstanding fuel economy in the 60 MPG range. However, prices have risen of late, and at $8k or so the SVs, weeStroms, and Versus ain’t so great a value anymore. And BMW? Darn near $11k for the most basic F800R, and $15k for the GS or ST variants with options.

Then Honda comes along and blows the market wide open with the basic NC700X for $7k MSRP and $9k with ABS and automated manual tranny. Of course, I suspected dealers would only stock the more expensive model with the auto tranny and ABS, then load it up with options and well past $10k, If they even stocked it. Well, Honda’s sincere… From what I’ve heard, seems like Honda must have sent out an edict that every dealer must have the $7k basic model on the floor, even if it’s snowin’ outside. Pricing? Normally on a lower margin bike like this you don’t here of a lot of discounting, but I’ve heard of the NC700Xs selling for at low as $6300, a 10% discount off of list.

Kudos to Honda for trying to attract new riders, bring back some old ones, and build market share while their competitors are trying to build margins in their shrinking market.

 

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