Honda NC 700 X and BMW G 650 GS – entry-level motorcycles put to the test

Entry-level bikes from Honda and BMW put to the test

Honda NC 700 X against BMW G 650 GS

The new 48 hp driver’s license class for beginners is already casting its shadow: BMW and Honda are already providing suitable bikes with good-natured engines and uncomplicated handling at a fair price. Which motorcycle has more to offer??

Is every beginning difficult? It doesn’t have to be like that. Especially not when it comes to motorbikes suitable for beginners. The catchphrase here is easy. The requirements: low vehicle weight and ease of use as well as uncomplicated driving behavior. All of this will certainly be appreciated especially by novice drivers, who obviously have both manufacturers in their sights primarily as a target group. However, the two comparatively inexpensive bikes should also appeal to cost-conscious customers who, as a returnee or relaxed everyday rider, have had their horsepower-spoiled, wild times behind them and feel sufficiently motorized with the 48 hp. Which brings the subject of weight back into play. At the Honda, the 48 horses have to do with a hefty 218 kilograms plus the driver, which is difficult compared to the Bavarian: the BMW at least undercuts the 200 kilogram mark with 198.

HHere and there, frames and rockers made of plain steel are used – the cost pressure sends its regards. Practice shows, however, that cheap solutions can also work well. The NC 700 X, which is based on a modular system of frame, motor and wheels that is used in three models (the NC 700 X, the Naked sister NC 700 S that is 500 euros cheaper, and the Integra scooter), works with unusual Constructive solutions: The lattice composite frame, which is pulled down low, the tank placed under the seat bench and the engine tilted forward by 62 degrees move the center of gravity closer to the center of the vehicle, key word centralization of the masses, and create a balanced balance. This has a positive effect on the handling properties, as the pilot is pleased to see after just a few meters. The Honda is pleasantly neutral from the start, no trace of wobbly or nervousness, a familiarity quickly sets in, as if one had been moving the 700 for years.

Entry-level bikes from Honda and BMW put to the test

Honda NC 700 X against BMW G 650 GS

Honda NC 700 X and BMW G 650 GS – the two dissimilar sisters only look similar at first glance.

The Honda Twin runs into the limiter at around 6800 rpm, which often forces unexpectedly early shifting maneuvers. Conversely, downshifting into second or third gear requires a rough step and is not as smooth and silent as desired. But the BMW gearbox is not a role model either – long shift travel and occasional unclean engagement spoil a better impression here too. So drive lazily and often leave the last of the six (BMW: five) gears in? Try out. Showdown on the autobahn: Both bikes ride side by side at 80 km / h, the drivers give full throttle on command. Sobering for the Honda driver – he doesn’t see any country and the BMW only from behind. The GS is clearly pulling away, the only consolation for the twin rider is the fact that the sixth gear, which is designed as an overdrive, contributes to low fuel consumption, especially on long stretches of the motorway.

The sixth gear is rarely used when determining the consumption on country roads, but the Honda twin with its fabulous 3.5 liters can almost keep pace with the well-known economical BMW single-cylinder (3.4 liters).

Speaking of country roads: Can the BMW, which forces its driver into the much more active seating position close to the handlebars and enables better knee closure on the slim tank, convert its lower weight and narrower tires into livelier handling? She can. Falls more easily on an incline, steers more easily and requires less effort in narrow ground with frequent changes of incline. However, this comes at the expense of the stoic stability that the Honda has to offer. The GS always seems a bit nervous, wants to be guided in a concentrated manner and sometimes requires a small readjustment in the case of a jagged lean angle. Despite the large 19-inch front wheel, which should actually be more neutral than the Honda’s 17-inch wheel. Here the enduro genes of BMW become clear, even if they now roll on cast wheels that are not suitable for off-road use and make a fun bike suitable for everyday use. The ultimate corner robber stands, or rather, hangs the side stand in the way. Its boom paddles loudly over the asphalt early – right-hand bends are a lot more fun with the BMW.


BMW G 650 GS and Honda NC 750 X in the test

48 hp motorcycles in comparison

read more

Naked bike

Honda NC 750 X in the driving report (2014)

A shot glass more displacement

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MOTORCYCLE market: Buy Honda NC 700 S.

The quiet-running twin of the Honda pulls through powerfully, but locks up early.

The Honda always remains calm and shines with a decent lean angle and stoic stability in corners. With a little more effort, the NC 700 wants to be thrown into curves, but this is gladly accepted because the Honda turns in so wonderfully neutral and stays precisely on the chosen line. The chassis offers hardly any options: only the preload of the shock absorber can be adjusted, with the BMW the rebound damping can also be adjusted. In both cases, the basic set-up was successful, the fork responds properly and the spring elements offer sufficient damping reserves. Whereby the Honda, unlike the BMW, is completely unimpressed when driving with a pillion and loses nothing of its confident handling. This also applies to the braking performance of the Honda single disc, which was initially viewed with suspicion. You quickly forget the desire for a second disc once you have experienced the gripping, easy-to-dose CBS composite brake (when you step on the pedal of the rear brake, one of the three pistons at the front is involved) and its stability is benevolently registered. The ABS regulates reliably in short intervals, but communicates the regulation processes quite clearly. The BMW ABS works even more noticeably, with its double-piston caliper looking somewhat toothless. The GS pilot misses a real bite and a clear pressure point, the front brake seems blunt, the rear brake does not provide much help. A laudable relic from the GS off-road past: the ABS can be switched off at the push of a button. Without spoked wheels and with only mediocre suspension travel (170 mm at the front, 165 mm at the rear), the off-road capability is still limited, and with a payload of only 182 kilograms, unfortunately, it is also suitable for travel. With 209 kilos, the Honda would offer the necessary proper payload, but the fuel filler neck under the pillion seat forces you to unbuckle any luggage rolls that may have been lashed to it, and a strapped tank bag takes the fold-out storage compartment to absurdity.

Viewed in this way, the two 48-hp runabouts are particularly recommended as versatile, manoeuvrable, almost all-rounders that are suitable for everyday use, with economical engines and very low purchase prices not only giving beginners the opportunity to acquire a good and at the same time affordable bike. Because especially the beginning shouldn’t be difficult and certainly not expensive.

MOTORCYCLE scoring / test result

The powerful single cylinder from BMW is easy to turn, but vibrates clearly.

Single or togetherness: The revving BMW single-cylinder requires revs, but then ensures good performance with low fuel consumption. Vibrations can become annoying from 5000 rpm. The smooth-running Honda twin doesn’t know them. The two-cylinder, which pushes powerfully from the very bottom, shies away from high revs and sips fuel as economically as the BMW. The very long geared sixth gear helps here, but it is also to blame for the mediocre torque.
Winner engine: BMW

landing gear
The Honda pulls its course precisely and steadfastly – regardless of whether it is in an inclined position through the curve or straight ahead at full throttle. Even with a passenger. The very handy Honda has to admit defeat to the BMW in terms of light-footedness, but the GS always seems more nervous, more susceptible to influences and, above all, hits the side stand annoyingly early. The basic set-up of both suspensions is okay, the BMW offers somewhat more extensive setting options.
Chassis winner: Honda

everyday life
Both BMW and Honda are comfortable everyday companions. You don’t give yourself a lot here – both offer poor wind protection and at most average light. The driver is more comfortable on the Honda, the passenger on the BMW. Anyone planning long trips with a pillion passenger should take a close look at the low payload of the BMW. Those who park frequently in the city will appreciate the Honda helmet’s storage compartment, which is also made a little more lovingly.
Winner everyday life: Honda

Whoever brakes wins: at least the driver’s confidence. Here the CBS combination brake of the Honda is clearly ahead – better effect, clearer pressure point, finer control and more confident, less intrusive control behavior of the ABS. Incidentally, the latter can be switched off at BMW.
Safety winner: Honda

It could hardly be cheaper: the costs are also low after the purchase. Both are extreme fuel skinners, the Honda has to be inspected even less often. 
Winner costs: BMW / Honda

The Honda not only wins on points (the purchase price is not included here), but also attracts with a low price – a great combination.
Price-performance winner: Honda

Max. score BMW G 650 GS Honda NC 700 X
Overall rating 1000 592 607 placement 2. 1. Price-performance note 1.0 1.8 1.2

In the end, the well-balanced Honda always has the edge.

Test result

1. Honda NC 700 X
Successful debut. The new Honda shines with a cultivated, powerful twin, foolproof driving behavior, reliable brakes and clean workmanship – and all of this at a bargain price of just over 6,000 euros. hats off.

2.BMW G 650 GS
The smallest GS can still convince with the strong, easy-turning and very economical single cylinder and its enormous handiness. The sluggish brakes of the GS, which is at 1500 euros more expensive, including ABS, and the stand that keys down early cost valuable points.

Technical specifications

Tank? Dummy. Groceries or a helmet fit into the storage compartment of the NC 700 X..

BMW G 650 GS Honda NC 700 X engine
type design Single cylinder four-stroke engine Two-cylinder four-stroke in-line engine
injection Ø 43 mm Ø 36 mm
coupling Multi-disc oil bath clutch  Multi-disc oil bath clutch
Boron x stroke 100.0 x 83.0 mm 73.0 x 80.0 mm
Displacement 652 cm3 670 cm3
compression 11.5: 1 10.7: 1
power 35.0 kW (48 hp) at 6500 rpm 35.0 kW (48 hp) at 6250 rpm
Torque 60 Nm at 5000 rpm 60 Nm at 4750 rpm
landing gear
frame Bridge frame made of steel Steel tubular frame
fork Telescopic fork, Ø 41 mm Telescopic fork, Ø 41 mm
Brakes v / h Ø 300/240 mm Ø 320/240 mm
Systems assistance (ABS optional) Compound brake, ABS
bikes 2.50 x 19; 3.50 x 17 3.5 x 17; 4.5 x 17
tires 110 / 80R 19; 140 / 80R 17 120/70 ZR 17; 160/60 ZR 17
Tires Metzeler Tourance EXP Bridgestone BT 023 "G"
Dimensions + weights
wheelbase 1477 mm  1540 mm 
Steering head angle 61.9 degrees 63.0 degrees
trailing 113 mm 110 mm
Suspension travel v / h 170/165 mm 154/150 mm
Seat height ** 790-820 mm 825 mm
Weight with full tank ** 198 kg 218 kg
Payload ** 182 kg 209 kg
Tank capacity 14.0 liters 14.1 liters
Service intervals  10,000 km 6000 km
price 6,900 euros 5990 euros
Price test motorcycle 7501 euros *** 5990 euros
Additional costs 264 euros 265 euros
Top speed * 170 km / h 160 km / h
0-100 km / h 5.1 sec 5.5 sec
0-140 km / h 11.3 sec 12.3 sec
60-100 km / h 5.7 sec 7.7 sec
100-140 km / h 7.5 sec 14.5 sec
Consumption highway 3.4 liters / normal 3.5 liters / super
Reach country road 412 km 403 km

* Manufacturer information; ** MOTORCYCLE measurements; *** Incl. ABS with hazard warning lights (404 euros), heated grips (197 euros); 3 Power on the crankshaft. Measurements on the Dynojet roller test stand 250, corrected according to 95/1 / EG, maximum possible deviation ± 5%

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