All Comparisons – The Honda NC700S challenges the Kawasaki ER-6n and Suzuki Gladius – First laps of the wheels

Honda NC700S challenges Kawasaki ER-6n and Suzuki Gladius

All Comparisons - Honda NC700S challenges Kawasaki ER-6n and Suzuki Gladius - First laps of the wheels

In 2012, Honda intends to shake up the basic motorcycle segment with its economical roadster, the NC700S. Site opposed the novelty of the winged crest to its twin-cylinder compatriots: the acclaimed Kawasaki ER-6n and the Suzuki Gladius. Comparative test.

First turns of the wheels

The NC700S, the Er-6n and the Gladius are intended primarily for beginner bikers: still uncertain, these new riders above all expect their motorcycle to make them instantly comfortable and easy to use. controllable…

The Honda – one would expect it – does wonders in this area since its engine placed very low and its tank housed under the saddle make you forget its slight overweight: the NC700S C-ABS we have weighs 9 kg more than the ER-6n ABS and 13 kg more than Gladius without ABS (with ABS the difference drops to 10 kg).

Minimal when the engine is off, the weight difference becomes insensitive once the twin cylinders are started. The smoothness of the controls – clutch, brakes and gearbox – of the Honda make it even the most pleasant to handle. And the driving position, perfectly upright, contributes to this immediate feeling of control..

Getting started

The saddle of the Kawa may well be advertised higher on the technical sheet, it sags generously under the weight of the pilot and jointly improves the comfort of the buttocks and the access of both feet to the ground. The thinness of the new frame accentuates the impression of compactness of the ER-6n.

Likewise, once placed on their supports, the feet placed slightly behind the buttocks naturally incline the rider’s bust towards the front of the motorcycle. The position is more sporty – all things considered of course: the wrists do not suffer in the least. !

On the Suz ‘, the feeling is reversed: the legs a little less bent and the arms a little tighter by the thinner handlebars clearly straighten the driver. But what "strikes" the most about the Gladius is undoubtedly the hardness of the saddle: a 20 km test will suffice to consider the purchase of a less flashy version….

More tape-system this time, the selector of the ER-6n placed too high quickly tires the left ankle in the traffic jams. And that’s bad, because the 649 cc inline twin "made in Akashi" is the least flexible of the band, only reluctantly accepting to start again under 2500 rpm.

The 645 cc "made in Hamamatsu" V-twin is much rounder at the bottom, so that the Suzuki can come out of the slum in 6th without any problem – unlike the ER-6n and its less accommodating engine, as well as the Honda and its very long gear ratio.

In addition, the sound of the Suzuki engine is by far the most charming, especially at low revs. At idle, too many mechanical noises spoil the Kawasaki soundtrack. Fortunately, the slightly crackling sound of the pot and the low rumble escaping from its airbox take over when the ER-6 is dropped on the road. !

Decibel questions, whatever the conditions, the 669.6 cc inline twin "made in Tokyo" plays the card of discretion. The latter coincides with the technical choices made by Honda: single overhead camshaft – but 4 valves per cylinder, as on the VFR1200 – and long piston stroke, for a power limited to 47.6 hp. In other words, the 35 kW of the future A2 license !


But we will come back to the "maximum performance" of the frames a little later. Because as a reminder, the criteria that primarily interest a large part of buyers of this type of motorcycle are good behavior of the cycle part at a "legal" pace, a pleasant engine and reduced consumption..

When it comes to driving in an urban environment, small motorcycles will delight their owners. By comparing them directly, however, we see that the Suzuki has the lightest front end and that of the Honda seems a bit clumsy, that of the Kawasaki being ultimately the most neutral of the three..

The turning radii are extremely close and allow everyone to play with caps or limit maneuvering on the handlebars to park or make U-turns. After checking, the Honda turns all the same a hint shorter than the Kawasaki, the Suzuki widening a little more.

The Gladius tilts more clearly in terms of driving pleasure. Indeed, its clutch lacks progressiveness and, above all, its injection and transmission are not as smooth as those of its competitors. Honda takes first place again ahead of Kawasaki.

Similarly, the attack of the front brake of the Suz ‘is far too timid. The force exerted on the right lever may well be sustained, it does not seem to be fully transmitted to the four front pistons (twice two) and the motorcycle is only slightly slowed down … The rider must therefore tighten his grip in the event of need and loses precision.

The Kawasaki offers a much better feeling to the lever, thus allowing to measure to the millimeter each of its braking. The rear brake on the other hand is a bit too "soft" to allow the Er-6n to beat the NC700S….

On the Honda, the single 320 mm disc (300 double disc on the Kawa and 290 mm double disc on the Suz ‘) is effectively clamped by the three-piston caliper fitted to "our" C-ABS version. Thanks to this combined ABS system, a single press on the pedal activates the two brakes in a gentle way then more powerful: a treat, for beginners in particular.

In general, whether it is to wander along the avenues or to wind quietly on small roads, the NC is very comfortable … and very economical, as our mini fuel consumption test will prove. !

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