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2014 Honda CTX700 Road Test

The 2014 Honda CTX700.

The 2014 CTX700 adds a fairing and short windscreen to the CTX package that provide pretty good coverage for your upper body and legs. Passenger grabrails are standard, too.

Photo Credit: Kevin Wing

Mark Tuttle
September 3, 2013
Filed under Cruiser + Touring Motorcycle Reviews, Honda Motorcycle Road Tests: Reviews on Honda Motorcycles, Road Tests

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If you’re an experienced motorcycle enthusiast, you’ve probably pigeonholed these new Honda CTXs as just beginner’s bikes and are about turn the page. Not so fast. That’s what any number of us old-timers thought when the NC700X/DCT was introduced, too. After testing it thoroughly (Rider, November 2012), we found the NC to be a surprisingly versatile mid-sized adventure bike at a bargain price. Now we have its street-only counterparts in the naked CTX700N and fairing-equipped CTX700, the first of what Honda says will be a series of CTX machines, and calling them just entry-level bikes is an oversimplification as well. They share the NC700X’s efficient liquid-cooled, 670cc parallel twin-cylinder engine, chassis and running gear and also start at $6,999. Like the NC, if you want an automatic dual-clutch transmission (DCT) and ABS, just find 10 more Benjamins.

The naked Honda CTX700N.

The naked CTX700N is probably the nicer-looking of what are two controversially-styled
motorcycles. They do work very well, though.

The idea behind the CTXs is to introduce new riders to motorcycling and bring back former ones, who these days care more about comfort, fuel efficiency and fun than maximum power. They’re also meant to appeal to experienced riders who are seeking some practical everyday transportation for themselves or a mate. At just 28.3 inches, their seats are accessibly low and their cruiserish forward-mounted footpegs and high, wide beach-style handlebars have a relaxed feel. Canting the engine forward 62 degrees helps give them a low center of gravity for better handling, and the available DCT eliminates the potential showstopper of having to shift gears for a new rider, who may never have even done so in a car. Toss in nimble handling, great brakes and low weight, and you have a blend of cruiser and sporty handling that’s all about Comfort, Technology and the riding eXperience—CTX.

For this test, we rode all four models of the CTX at the intro—faired and nekkid, with and without DCT/ABS—but chose to take a CTX700 sans DCT/ABS back to Rider HQ for further flogging. What the added fairing on the CTX700 lacks in looks it makes up in function since, in combination with the shorty windscreen, it creates a large still pocket of air from your waist up to your chin for more comfort on long rides. No DCT/ABS meant we could put the bike on the Jett Tuning rear-wheel dyno (the DCT requires the front wheel to be spinning before it will shift out of second gear), where it made the expected ho-hum 43.6 horsepower peak at 6,100 rpm (redline is at just 6,500 rpm), but impressed us all by churning out 41.9 lb-ft of torque, and a healthy spread of at least 40 lb-ft between 3,000 and 5,600.

Honda CTX 700 accessories

Accessories include a taller windscreen and good-sized locking saddlebags with
color-matched panels. Relaxed cruiserish seating belies the bike’s nimble handling.

Rolling from stoplight-to-stoplight or down the highway, the staggered, counterbalanced power pulses of the engine give it a nice loping feel without excessive vibration, and it makes more-than-adequate power for a solo rider. Add a heavy load or two good-sized riders and brisk passes do require some forethought and a downshift or two. Overall, if you’re not in a huge hurry, for touring solo or slicing through city traffic the CTX is certainly up to the task. And our test bike with manual transmission delivered 61.5 mpg average, very close to Honda’s claim of 64 mpg.

I liked the simplicity and 22-pound weight savings of the CTXs with manual gearboxes, which shift smoothly and cleanly with little effort at the clutch lever. The latest version of Honda’s paddle-shift automatic DCT transmission works really well too, though, especially since you can override it up or down when desired, and it has a “learning function” that can “adapt the automatic shifting actions to variations in operational patterns over time.” Not that I noticed it doing this, but it does sound cool. Not having to shift can be appealing at times, especially when the bike is primarily used for commuting, and you have to get the DCT tranny to get the added safety of anti-lock brakes on this bike.

Staggered 270-degree crankshaft on the Honda CTX700

Staggered 270-degree crankshaft gives the 43.6-horsepower twin a pleasant rumble.

Though it has a cruiser-like seating position, the CTX offers more cornering clearance than most cruisers, so you can ride it pretty briskly in the corners and canyons before things start to drag. It comes with good Metzeler Roadtec Z8 radials front and rear, which stick well in corners and hard stops. Suspension is firm but compliant on most surfaces, though the short travel in the rear and having all of your weight on the seat means that sharp bumps can deliver a wallop. Fortunately the wide, well-padded seat soaks up some of the jolt and is also great for long rides. Passengers get a large, comfortable seat as well, and on the CTX700 there’s a pair of grabrails for them, too.

All of the bike’s basic features such as the mirrors, headlight, LCD instrumentation and such work just fine (though the horn button is in a weird spot). There’s a small glovebox in the faux gas tank—the smallish 3.3-gallon fuel cell is partially under the seat—and handy bungee hooks for securing a seatbag or gear on the accessory luggage rack. Other functional accessories include locking saddlebags, heated grips and a taller windscreen.

Naked or faired, the first bikes in the CTX series will clearly satisfy the price and performance goals of a lot of riders. The wild card is their styling, which Honda seems to be gambling will appeal to more new riders more than a traditional look. If you like their style, though, these bikes are a safe bet.

Honda CTX700 in red

Chain adjustment and lubrication are complicated by the lack of a centerstand. Luggage rack and backrest are also accessories.

2014 Honda CTX700/N

Base Price: $6,999
Price as Tested: $7,799 (CTX700)
Warranty: 1 yr., unltd. miles
Website: powersports.honda.com

Engine
Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse parallel twin
Displacement: 670cc
Bore x Stroke: 73.0 x 80.0mm
Compression Ratio: 10.7:1
Valve Train: SOHC, 4 valves per cyl.
Valve Insp. Interval: 8,000 mi.
Fuel Delivery: PGM-FI, 36mm throttle body
Lubrication System: Wet sump, 3.6-qt. cap.
Transmission: 6-speed, cable-actuated wet clutch
Final Drive: O-ring Chain

Electrical
Ignition: Digital transistorized w/ electronic advance
Charging Output: 420 watts @ 5,000 rpm
Battery: 12V 12AH

Chassis
Frame: Tubular-steel diamond w/ engine as stressed member, box-section steel swingarm
Wheelbase: 60.2 in.
Rake/Trail: 27.7 degrees/4.4 in.
Seat Height: 28.3 in.
Suspension, Front: 41mm stanchions, no adj., 4.2-in. travel
Rear: Single linked shock, adj. for spring preload, 4.3-in. travel
Brakes, Front: Single 320mm disc w/ 2-piston pin-slide caliper
Rear: Single 240mm disc w/ 1-piston pin-slide caliper
Wheels, Front: Cast, 3.50 x 17 in.
Rear: Cast, 4.50 x 17 in.
Tires, Front: 120/70-ZR17
Rear: 160/60-ZR17
Wet Weight: 493 lbs. (as tested)
Load Capacity: 391 lbs. (as tested)
GVWR: 884 lbs.

Performance
Fuel Capacity: 3.3 gals., last 0.8 gal. warning light on
MPG: 87 PON min. (avg) 61.5
Estimated Range: 203 miles
Indicated RPM at 60 MPH: 3,000

(This article Urban Roadster was published in the September 2013 issue of Rider magazine.)

Honda CTX700 glovebox

A small glovebox is concealed under the fuel filler cover. Our bike averaged 61.5 mpg.

The CTX’s NC700X-based frame.

The CTX’s NC700X-based frame gets a revised subframe to lower the CTX’s seat height.

Comments

17 Responses to “2014 Honda CTX700 Road Test”

  1. gregsfc on September 27th, 2013 6:58 pm

    I own a CTX700, red, with fairing (standard windshield), and no Honda accessories. I’ve added a matching top case that I picked up from Amazon for $65 (Bestem Model 2012 matches almost perfectly); strapped it to the passenger’s seat with lashing straps, and I’ve got 42 liters of storage for $72.

    I use it almost exclusively for long, highway, rural, daily commutes at moderate speeds (45-65). I’m a light weight at only 150 lbs, and I’ve been running pure gas. I’ve run through four tanks. I can go over 200 miles with no worries, and my mpg has ranged between 76 and 81, although the 81 tank included a road trip. I’m even figuring conservatively by assuming a 2% trip meter error.

    You guys must have been really having fun on the test run, because I’ve not even come within 14 mpg of your figures.

    [Reply]

    gregsfc Reply:

    Just to follow up on my own mpg experiences with this bike that I posted earlier. I’ve got good winter gear and battery-powered, heated gloves. I’m still commuting to work on the days my spouse doesn’t go with me, even down to 15 degree mornings and I’ve added a 12″ Madstad windscreen to the fairing version with the standard transmission. My mpg has plummeted. During the summer, my lowest tank was around 76. My last tank was an all-time low at 66.1, which is still good but a 15% drop. All other vehicles I’ve owned; including cars, pickups, and scooters have all lost around 4% during the period of cold temperatures. On my previous scooter, the tall screen lost me about 2 mpg. But on this bike, the combination of the tall screen (which is not that big), and the cold weather has cost me 10 mpg. Still great fuel economy but nothing like I originally reported for the summer time. I don’t know if this is a phenomena related to chain-driven bikes or something specific to this bike, but I’m used to a 1.5-4 mpg drop that is contributable to cold temps and 2 mpg for a tall screen. Don’t know what’s going on with this bike, but it’s still good mpg. I hope the upper 70s will come back in the summer.

    [Reply]

    gregsfc Reply:

    To follow up on my follow up. I was losing 2 mpg due to cold weather and 3 mpg due to the tall screen. This loss was expected. The other 7 mpg loss was not expected and unexplained until recently. It was due to a loose chain. It’s my first chain-driven bike. Make sure you know how to measure chain slack and how to adjust it. When my chain became too loose, I was checking it, but it was contacting the chain guide above when I pushed upward on the chain. I mistook this as tension. Chains are very efficient but only when maintained perfectly. Wish the industry would go to belts. I’d trade 2% efficiency of a hassle-free belt compared to a perfect chain.

    [Reply]

  2. Jerry on December 10th, 2013 11:29 pm

    I test rode a CTX700n DCT today. I am a very experienced rider with 51 years on bikes. This is a terrific ride, and very enjoyable. Most recently I have risen a Shadow 1100 for 11 years, thereafter a Softtail Deluxe, and a 250 VStar for jump and go. Here you get pure pleasure, plenty of performance and spot on handling. By the way, I am 78″ tall, and 230 pounds. You will enjoy this bike.

    [Reply]

  3. Carmalyn Dec 29,2013 on December 29th, 2013 6:49 am

    I just purchased the ctx700d. Took my first ride yesterday. My husband has nc700 . I had much pleasure on my first ride around town. I just started riding this year I had a pcx150. This is a major jump up and I must say that it was comfortable. I had no issues controlling it felt total control of bike. This is one I would refer for those whom I think would enjoy an automatic.

    [Reply]

  4. Maurice Jensen on January 27th, 2014 5:09 am

    I am 69 and have ridden mainly British bikes for pleasure. I have owned Japanese machines, the last a Suzuki Bandit. My last non-historic bike was a K100 RT which gave me back ache.
    I was looking for a lighter but grunty machine and thought a Hornet 900 was the business until I heard about the NC750X-DCT.
    This seems to have all I want and when the Czech Republic gets them I’ll be in the queue!
    My wife has just sold her Jazz auto after ten completely trouble free years -despite non-dealer servicing. If the bike has the same transmission/motor
    it will be bullet-proof. Brilliant! Well done, Honda!

    [Reply]

  5. Mike Cabrera on February 9th, 2014 5:41 pm

    I just purchased a ctx700t and would like to mount a rear top box. i’ve read your comment and liked your bestem 2012 setup. would you kindly post or email me the mounting procedure or materials you used to mount the tbox on the passenger grab rails.

    [Reply]

  6. gregsfc on February 12th, 2014 5:00 am

    Hi Mike. Mounting the Bestem 2012 is simple. Bestem 2012 comes in matching red or matching white for either CTX700; available for about $90 at Amazon or other online retailers. 2 pk of lashing straps is about $7 but is available only in blue @ mass retailers. You can find black straps on line or use black marker after mounting for better look. Ratchet straps are too bulky, because the latches must reside under the seat for mounting. The Bestem latch/lock is a little aggravating, and the height of the case is limiting, but it is a great case for the price and looks good. I switched to a Dewalt ToughSystem 08204 tool box for 55 liters and more height. I blacked out the Dewalt label and chrome latches to get an all black case. Hauls many bulky items, has an easier and better latch for daily use but is uglier. A longer box like the Dewalt requires a pad as a spacer at the rear of the bike and a strong, thin cord cinching the rear of the box down. I used the Bestem back pad as a spacer for my new set up. The Bestem requires only the lashing straps. Remove the seat. Experiment with where you want the backrest to be on the seat and where the mount should be strapped to put it where you want it. Run the straps around the seat and Bestem mount with the strap buckles under the seat. Get the straps as tight as you can with the seat upside down on a padded work bench. Then push the front strap under the document holder hooks; Tie the front and rear strap together. These steps will tighten the straps even more and keep the rear one from sliding off the rear of the seat. Blacken the blue straps with marker and mount the seat. Your done. It’s very sturdy for this size box. For details and pic go to Honda CTX700 Forum and search my posts (gregsfc).

    [Reply]

  7. Mike Cabrera on February 12th, 2014 10:39 pm

    thanks gregsfc for the reply. I couldn’t see the pictures you posted at ctx700 forums. would you be able to email me the images as this would help greatly in my understanding your instructions. im sorry im not that good following instructions without images.
    mike

    [Reply]

    gregsfc Reply:

    I totally understand Mike, your need for pictures, but I don’t know how to communicate with you directly via email. I’m not very apt at some of this social networking stuff. If I click on your name, I don’t get your email. Don’t know what else to try.

    This site states that I can show a pic on gravatar. I’ll check in to what that’s all about.

    Did you sign up at the forum? If you do that, I can send you a PM or get your email address via a PM over there.

    [Reply]

    Mike Cabrera Reply:

    greg I found your pictures re bestem install at the forum. thanks it wss very clear and nicely done. I now have a better idea how to install and the way it looks.

    [Reply]

  8. d.colangelo on February 15th, 2014 4:42 pm

    purchased CTX 700n ABS/ DCT in late summer. previously rode everything from 2 stroke Kaw to 1200 pan head w/ couple of limey scoots thrown in. this thing is a rocker. can shift if I want ,but don’t have to. there is a sport mode that will enable higher R’s before upshifting. enjoy showing bigger, faster bikes my tail lights, as speed shifting w/ paddles on handlebar eliminates backing off to change gears. VG handling/ braking for stock suspension. going to up grade skins to Avons, and alter tail section. it looks damn good doing everything I want. might powder coat chrome muffler to achieve “blacked out” look.

    [Reply]

  9. TomT on March 12th, 2014 5:14 pm

    I’m 70 and wanting a smaller bike. I was thrilled when the CTX700 came out, until I found out it was chain drive. Sadly, that’s a deal breaker. Not going back to constantly adjusting and oil that slings over everything.

    [Reply]

    d.colangelo Reply:

    hey tom, glad you are still riding at 70, gives this 61 year old hope for the future. have about 2500mi on my CTX700n ABS/DCT. honestly the chain is not a problem. stays in adjustment better than the CB750′s and limey scoots I’ve had. use chain wax and nothing spatters. able to mount/ dismount rear tire very easily. heard stories about difficulties w/ shaft drive. yeah, belt drive would be nice, but I keep up on chain maintenance and so far no issues. The DCT is great, had to get it because I wanted ABS. you can shift if you want to, and my urban riding is much easier w/o clutch shifting. Sport Mode makes it take off really quick. all in all, I recommend it.

    [Reply]

  10. TomT on March 13th, 2014 3:54 pm

    d.
    Thanks for the reply. Makes me feel better about the CTX700. Just curious, does today’s chains make a noise like they used to? Were annoying. Also, does it cruise at 70-75 without sounding like its straining?

    [Reply]

    d.colangelo Reply:

    oh yeah. has 6 speed gear box. think you are just about 3.5 grand at 75mph. redline at 7500 R’s, so no strain. if I’m going 70 mph, can snap the throttle and it jumps ahead. wear full face helmet (w/ ear plugs) and no audible chain whine. when I hit 5K miles I will start seeing how fast she can go. had a CB750F that was stable @ 130+. don’t think I will try that again. I am 5’9″ w/ 31″ inseam, and this thing fits me perfectly. dig my scoot…

    [Reply]

  11. dale on April 15th, 2014 8:43 am

    Does anyone know of a aftermarket slip on muffler for the ctx 700.

    [Reply]

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and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!





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