Back in 2012, Honda decided to change their approach to their motorcycle offering. With a brand-new factory in Thailand Honda made the decision to actively try and encourage new riders into the motorcycle world with lower pricing and more models on offer by creating several models off a single platform. The Honda CTX700 range was one of these models to spring from this innovation.
The Honda CTX was introduced at the 2013 Chicago bike show. There were 2 models on show, the CTX700N which was a naked bike option and the CTX700 which was a tourer motorcycle.
Both models were available as standard or with an automatic transmission. The automatic options were called the CTX700ND and the CTX700 DCT, making 4 models available in total.
The D and DCT stands for Dual Clutch Transmission which was another way the company were trying to entice new riders into the fold.
With good handling, great brakes and low weight wrapped up in a sporty-cruiser package and you have a bike that’s all about Comfort, Technology, and the riding eXperience—the Honda CTX.
Honda CTX700 Introduction
The Honda CTX700 line was developed with the goal of introducing new riders to motorcycles and re-engaging seasoned riders who are more interested in comfort, fuel efficiency and enjoyment rather than power and 0-60 times.
They’re also meant to appeal to those riders who are seeking some practical everyday transportation, especially city commuters. Their 719 mm seat height makes the Honda CTX700 accessible for smaller riders, especially female riders, and their cruiser styled forward-mounted foot pegs and high, wide beach-style handlebars are positioned for a relaxing feel.
The optional DCT eliminates the need to shift gears for a new rider who may have never done so in a car and the bikes very low center of gravity really gives the bikes better handling.
Overall, the Honda CTX comes off as a great bike built from the ground up for riders who are new to motorcycling and for whom the phrase “deep end” should only remain a swimming term.
Honda CTX700 Review
Honda made use of its existing NC700 platform and developed a cruiser body over it to create the new CTX700 series to keep development costs down. The rear subframe has been lowered to fit the lower profile of the CTX, which is the main distinction between the bike models.
Honda’s tried-and-tested 670 cc liquid cooled parallel-twin engine with its electronic advance compression ratio from the NC series powers the CTX700. Mounted into the CTX frame at a 62-degree forward slant gives the bike a low center of gravity and increase the bike’s responsiveness and agility, especially at low speeds.
Power delivery from the engine is achieved to the back wheel through a six-speed manual transmission and chain drive.
The Honda CTX700 makes 51 bhp and the torque curve is quite flat and peaks at 62 Nm. That may not feel like enough power when you consider the CTX700N, the lightest of the models, weighs 231 kg, but it’s more than adequate for a novice rider or everyday use around town.
Stopping is handled via a more than adequate brake setup consisting of single discs front and back assisted by ABS.
Honda’s own ABS system works well in this setup without any drama, even when you slam on the brakes from high speed, all you get is a little dive in the front end and small judders from the anti-lock brakes as it keeps everything under control to a smooth stop. This is a very confidence inspiring brake set-up.
The front suspension itself consists of a set of nonadjustable 41 mm forks with 106 mm of travel, while the rear suspension is a nonadjustable Pro-Link single shock suspension with 109 mm of travel.
The suspension arrangement is neither revolutionary or spectacular, but it does the job as long as you don’t test it to the point where the foot pegs are scraping along the road or drive on roads littered with potholes.
With all your weight on the seat and the limited travel in the rear, sharp bumps won’t get absorbed that well and your rear end will feel each one. This is also due to the feet-first seating position that shifts weight to the rider’s tailbone.
Thankfully, the wide cushioned seat helps to absorb some of the shock and is excellent for those journeys, a significant improvement over the NC700 seat offering. In addition to a roomy, comfy seat, passengers also have access to a set of grabrails, this is exclusive to the Honda CTX700 variant with fairings, the CTX700N does without them.
Although the Honda CTX700 uses the same steel tube frame as the NC700, Honda have managed to significantly redesign it enough to change the riding position and offer a low seat height of 719 mm compared to the 830 mm of the NC.
The Honda CTX700 keeps all its fuel in the tank in the more traditional setup, in contrast to the NC700, which stores the majority of it under the seat. This reduces the fuel capacity from 16.8 litres to merely 12, which is not ideal, but it still maintains a workable range of 200 miles.
The dash setup is clear and simple with a straightforward digital display that is easy to see even in direct sunlight. There is a small storage compartment on the top of the tank under a pop-up lid that will fit your phone, wallet, and keys but that’s all you’ll squeeze in.
However, if you decide to do some really long-distance journeys, it’d be a great place to store things for border crossings or tole roads without having to hunt through jacket pockets.
The faired CTX700’s style, which Honda refers to as “urban roadster” has a strong resemblance to the F6B and is certainly not what you’d call “traditional” for a cruiser.
With their modern interpretation on the cruiser, Honda is once again attempting to break the mould, but whether it succeeds will depend on individual tastes. They have clearly considered this, and the decision to introduce it with a more subdued naked version was the right one.
All variants of the Honda CTX700 were available in Candy Red, Black, and Pearl White, with a matt black engine and gearbox. There are colour-matched locking saddlebags, a taller windscreen, backrest and heated grips as accessory options as well.
The optional Dual Clutch Transmission was Honda’s big gamble for the CTX and NC series. They invested a substantial amount of time and money into creating their own Automatic Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) specifically for motorcycles, and both the naked and faired CTX were offered with or without DCT.
A pair of clutches are used by Honda’s DCT: one for first, third, and fifth gears and another for second, fourth, and sixth. The technology enables smooth, seamless shifting both up and down by pre-selecting the next gear.
In “Normal” mode, you can deactivate your brain and just sit back and ride the bike like a scooter. If you want higher revs simply change to “Sport” mode for more aggressive shifting. Or, if you want complete control, you can use the paddle shifters on the left side of the handlebars.
The system takes the rider’s commands seriously; for example, in manual mode, the engine will bounce at the rev limiter if you fail to upshift, demonstrating Honda’s willingness to give back some of the control to the rider.
Honda CTX700 Performance
Starting off with the conventional model with a clutch lever and manual transmission, the Honda CTX700 is simple to ride, and it took just a matter of minutes to get to grips with it.
To accuse the CTX of being underpowered would be a little unfair. Honda have designed it to ensure it’s not intimidating for those who have just started riding and it’s parallel-twin engine will happily sit at highway speeds and beyond if required, it will just feel a little lacking to an experienced rider to get there.
The Honda CTX700 conveys a sense of stability and security at all speeds. Although its performance won’t make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck, you can still lean it over on the twisty roads and just enjoy the ride.
Honda’s DCT option is by far the most interesting thing on offer with the CTX700D. Its second-generation system makes riding the CTX even easier and faster than the conventional clutch model.
It certainly takes a bit of time to understand what DCT is capable of and for experienced riders it will still feel like it’s not going to be that involving, and there is a grain of truth there. With both your left hand and leg now effectively redundant, it almost feels like there is a loss of control and connection somewhere.
However, from the perspective of a new rider looking for a motorcycle with automatic transmission, Honda’s DCT makes perfect sense. No more fumbling around to change gears, and once you figure out how it works, it’s really not that hard. If the CTX is your first bike, it’s an asset that makes things hassle-free.
Having used the DCT a few times now, I can hand-on-heart say that it’s actually perfect for the stop-start riding in big cities as well.
It’s thus not unexpected that most couriers looking for a larger capacity bike have switched to a Honda with the DCT system for the ease of use and great mileage the system helps the bike achieve.
Honda CTX700 Specs list
Engine: Liquid-cooled, 8 valve, SOHC, Parallel-twin
Capacity: 670 cc
Max Power: 51.1 bhp / 38.1 kW @ 6,250 rpm
Max Torque: 62 Nm / 46 lb ft @ 4,750 rpm
Gearbox: 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission
Top speed: 109 mph / 175 kph
Fuel capacity: 12 L / 3.17 US Gal
Seat height: 719 mm / 28.3 inches
Wet weight: CTX700N 231 kg / 509 lb – CTX700 245 kg / 540 lbs
Buying a Used Honda CTX700
Unfortunately, the UK never had the Honda CTX700 in any of its forms, however if you really wanted one and was willing to go down the route of doing all the paperwork to import one, there are many good models available on the other side of the channel.
This is a fantastic 2014 Honda CTX700 D with a host of extras included the colour matching panniers and rear box, tall windscreen, around 15,000 miles on the clock with a complete service history for around £5,000. It’d certainly be worth travelling for.
In the States, there are a lot on offer currently. However this 2015 model caught my eye as great value for very low mileage. At $5,950 for a Honda CTX700 D, it might not have all the extras but has only done 3,100 miles!
I’m not the biggest fan of the grey colour scheme but at that price I’d be able to look past it.
With the Honda CTX700, in its various forms, the Japanese giant sought to appeal to both new and veteran riders by creating a cruiser with unmatched ease of use owing to incredibly light steering, easily accessible power, low seat height, and of course the Dual Clutch Transmission.
It’s everything you could want for on a novice-friendly, comfortable bike. You could also throw on the additional locking saddlebags and high windshield on the faired Honda CTX700 creating a lightweight touring machine.
It sounded like a great bike and quite promising, unfortunately, the Honda CTX700 didn’t really catch on with Honda eventually discontinuing the line in 2018.
Whether the unconventional styling wasn’t really to buyers tastes or that the CTX was just too much like the NC700, Honda ultimately fell short of what it was trying to achieve.
Being UK based, I never had the opportunity to try the Honda CTX700. However I spent a good amount of time riding a Honda NC700S and X, both DCT and standard and like them both except the seat but that’s another tale.
With that experience I think I can safety imagine how the CTX would ride and feel as in essence it’s a NC700 with a lower rear end which I think may have been the problem.
Honda took a street bike and tweaked it to be a cruiser. Lowering the rear, tweaking the foot pegs to a feet forward riding position, and throwing a radical fairing design into the mix doesn’t quite cut it and the cruiser crowd saw through this.
Maybe if Honda had launched it as a variant of the NC with “cruiser-like styling” the Honda CTX700 might have just worked.