After spending a week with Honda’s CTX700T, my Honda corporate representative suggested I immediately ride its sister bike, the 2014 Honda CTX700N. I was initially skeptical based on the fact that since the two bikes were so similar, I may not have enough to say about the CTX700N. I was proven dead wrong. While being so similar, this new cruiser by Honda is so immensely different than its sibling that it creates a riding experience that I’ve never seen before.
Powered by the same 670-cc liquid-cooled parallel-twin as the CTX700T (and the NC700), the CTX-N is geared towards efficiency, comfort, and safety. Though other markets around the world get an optional double-clutch gearbox, I’m glad that the CTX-line in Canada only comes with a conventional six-speed gearbox. The engine’s 270-degree firing order along with other control measures make for an incredibly unique exhaust note that’s unlike anything I’ve ridden in recent years.
The CTX700N differs from the CTX700T in one major way; aesthetics. Where the CTX-T has huge fairings and my tester had a tall accessory windshield, the CTX700N is naked and raw. Though the additional size and mental bulk of the T-model add to its “big-boy-bike” appeal, I personally prefer the CTX700N. It’s literally the post-Jenny Craig version of its sibling, and the riding experience and overall feel reflect just that.
I personally prefer the naked, windshield-free version, and my reasoning for this is a bit different than your typical rider’s would be. I wear a full-face helmet and suit, and usually only ride during daylight hours on relatively deserted country roads. Highway comfort and wind-protection measures are factors that don’t really interest me. Sure, I may get a couple extra bugs splattered onto my visor or some debris on my jacket; but the raw feeling of riding a naked motorcycle through the countryside is unparalleled.
The CTX700 line is partially targeted to attract new riders. Its comfortable seating position, low seat height and particularly low center of gravity make these motorcycles very easy to maneuver at low speeds. Power delivery is linear and gradual while not being underpowered. Fuel efficiency is impeccable too; I observed a comfortable 3.9L/100km in mostly rural riding over my ride week. The fuel tank, much like the CTX700T, appears to be a lot bigger than it actually is. While fuel economy is spectacular, the 12L tank means that long trips need to be carefully planned around frequent refuel stops.
Since the day I started riding, I’ve had this agonizing fear of losing either my wallet or cell phone out of my pockets. Where other motorcycles have under-seat storage or side bags, both models of CTX700 have this neat little cubby beside the fuel tank lid. It’s not obtrusively large, but it has just enough space for my iPhone, wallet, and transponder for the 407-ETR (a true savior for rush-hour riders). It’s only covered by a couple thin layers of plastic, but kept my belongings nice and dry even after a torrential downpour.
I do love the ease of handling that the CTX700N provides. It’s just as easy to do a u-turn as it is to fly through the curvy hills of Campbellville, ON. The bike is so incredibly versatile it’s a shame that the foot pegs hold it back. While riding the CTX, I had full confidence in both my tires and my body to be able to lean further, but wasn’t able to because of the height of the foot pegs. That being said, their position doesn’t affect any usability in day-to-day riding. It’s only an issue when really pushing the motorcycle to its limits.
The 2014 Honda CTX700N just may be the closest thing to a cruiser I could see myself owning. I may be a sportbike purist, but even the most extreme purist can acknowledge a great cruiser for what it is. I know there will be a time in my life when I get tired of carving the corners at the track and just want to leisurely cruise on two wheels. Much like my general lack of interest in cars such as the Buick Regal and virtually anything Oldsmobile ever made, I don’t think I will ever truly be interested in Royal Stars or Suzuki Boulevards. This new class of motorcycle by Honda is essentially my generation’s gateway into adulthood and maturity, and I welcome it with open arms.
2014 Honda CTX700N Gallery