Table of contents
- Honda NC 750 X, Suzuki V-Strom 650, Kawasaki Versys 650 and BMW F 700 GS Mid-range crossover bikes put to the test
- 44 percent buy with dual clutch transmissions
- It rattles in the handlebar ends and footrests
- Honda NC 750 X seals at 6500 rpm
- Measured values reflect the subjective impression
- Great throttle response, silky smooth running, buttery smooth transmission
- Agile, lively and handy
- Sublime feeling on the Suzuki V-Strom 650
- MOTORCYCLE scoring
- MOTORCYCLE test result
- Throttle to 48 hp
- Technical data BMW and Honda
- Technical data Kawasaki and Suzuki
- Middle class crossover motorcycles in price comparison
Pepped up: The Honda NC 750 X was the only bike in the test field to be revised for this year…
…with slimmer fairing, higher shield, new fork and improved electronics of the DCT transmission.
With the brake applied: The DCT version of the NC 750 X needs a handbrake when parking on a slope. Do not forget to release before departure.
Switching with a switch: three switching modes (manual, drive, sport). New for 2016 are three additional levels for the S mode.
In the compartment with a roof: The storage compartment in the dummy tank holds a full-face helmet. Even more practical than you might think.
All-rounder: The chassis and engine are also in service with the Integra scooter. That’s why the Twin is 62 degrees flat.
Honda NC 750 X.
Biedermann as arsonist: The appearance of the Suzuki V-Strom can be argued…
…Especially in plain black. But the middle class long-running shines with its inner values.
Get the hang of it: Adjusting the spring base by handwheel is standard on all four test bikes. Practical and good.
Proud as a Vau: V2 engines are rare in the middle class. The 650er of the V-Strom is a splendid specimen of its kind.
Remaining stock: The original case racks add to the optics of the V-Strom. If you want to be beautiful, you have to screw it off.
On the longer lever: A reversing lever usually ensures comfort and plenty of reserves. It does it in the Suzuki.
Suzuki V-Strom 650.
Kawasaki Versys 650, BMW F 700 GS, Suzuki V-Strom 650 and Honda NC 750 X in the comparison test.
Clothes make the man: The cladding, which was redrawn last year, makes the Versys look great…
…That alone won her a lot of fans.
Turned up: The height of the disc can be changed by six centimeters using knurled screws. The wind protection is good.
A matter of attitude: adjustable damping is not a matter of course in the middle class. Especially not anodized fork plugs.
Pack mer’s: Anyone traveling without luggage will be happy about the inconspicuous case mounts on the rear frame.
On course for integration: the stainless steel silencer nestles elegantly under the aluminum banana swing arm – nicely solved.
Kawasaki Versys 650.
The little sister: A smaller front wheel, cast wheels, simpler equipment and lower performance distinguish the F 700 GS from its sister F 800 GS…
…and a 2200 euro cheaper price.
Peace of mind: What is the most comfortable way to read it? On round clocks. Maybe not modern, but good.
Tradition: GS used to stand for terrain and road. The removable footrest rubbers are still reminiscent of the origins.
Flap: fill up to the brim even with a side stand – the side-mounted nozzle of the rear tank is pleasing.
The name is deceptive: the displacement of the twin is 798 cc in the 700 GS. Only the power was cut by 10 hp.
BMW F 700 GS.
Kawasaki Versys 650, BMW F 700 GS, Suzuki V-Strom 650 and Honda NC 750 X in the comparison test.
Is everything in flux? The transitions between travel enduro bikes, all-rounders and the crossover segment are fluid. What ultimately counts is the extremely wide range of uses of the four.
We compared these crossover machines from Honda, Kawasaki, BMW and Suzuki.
Mid-range crossover bikes in a comparison test
Honda NC 750 X, Suzuki V-Strom 650, Kawasaki Versys 650 and BMW F 700 GS
Mid-range crossover bikes put to the test
Crossover bikes such as the Honda NC 750 X, Suzuki V-Strom 650, Kawasaki Versys 650 and BMW F 700 GS are intended to bridge the gap between all-rounders, travel enduros and tourers. Which one comes closest to the trend?
Peter Mayer, Thomas Schmieder
Not so long ago, this test would have been called a travel enduro comparison. But times change. Every gap, no matter how small, is filled – or reinvented right away – by the manufacturers. The latest trend is called crossover. The nomenclature already signals the building of bridges, the connection of several segments. Crossover bikes are more touristy than the mostly sparsely disguised all-rounders, more sporty than the bulky tourers and more asphalt-oriented than travel enduros. They throw off superfluous tourist ballast as well as the promises of mostly unattainable off-road ambitions. Maybe crossover bikes are a little more consistent with that. Probably more honest.
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Honda NC 750 X, Suzuki V-Strom 650, Kawasaki Versys 650 and BMW F 700 GS
Mid-range crossover bikes put to the test
14 pages) as PDF
The four have long been known as honest skins. The BMW F 700 GS also as the little sister of the long-running travel enduro F 800 GS. With 19 instead of 21 inch front wheel, cast instead of spoked wheels, more conventional instead of upside-down fork, a little less power (75 instead of 85 hp rated power) and a little less of everything. Less plastic, less suspension travel, less off-road ambitions and adventures anyway. But you can also get them for less money. With a base price of 9,000 euros, the Economy GS is at least 2,200 euros cheaper than the 800 GS. However, the F 700 GS does not have a smaller displacement. Despite its model name, the 798 cm³ twin from the 800 GS is stuck between the frame tubes of the Munich-based woman.
44 percent buy with dual clutch transmissions
The Honda NC 750 X doesn’t care too much either. She never has. Not as a new release in 2012, not after the Honda technicians refilled their 75 cc displacement two years ago and still not now. The NC sees the new, slimmer paneling with a 70 millimeter higher pane, the LED light and the new silencer as a reward rather than an upgrade. After all, it is the best-selling Honda in this country in the past two years and only had to let the new Africa Twin pass by this season. She doesn’t owe this to her dumping tariff of 7070 euros alone. In the meantime, 44 percent of customers order the NC with dual clutch transmission (DCT), adding another 1000 euros to the base price.
Modesty has become Kawasaki Versys 650 probably taught in their model history themselves. While sister ER-6 is storming the sales charts year after year, the Versys is sitting at the table when it comes to sales figures. It’s a shame, because since the facelift in 2015, the Versys has offered higher-quality suspension elements and five liters more tank capacity than the ER-6 siblings. Still too little to justify a surcharge of 1000 euros (8120 euros). Especially not when the identical two-cylinder in the opulent Versys only develops 69 hp instead of 72 hp in the ER-6. Certainly hardly noticeable in practice, but a cardinal error in terms of market strategy. Nevertheless: With aluminum banana swingarm, nicely hidden stainless steel exhaust and new, sleekly styled cladding, it still makes a difference.
It rattles in the handlebar ends and footrests
The Suzuki V-Strom 650 dealt with its external impact when it was last updated in 2011. The formerly angular 650 series has actually become a bit more pleasing at the time, even if – regardless of taste – it conceals it as best as possible in the plain black of the test machine. The V-Strom 650, on the other hand, has always impressed with its intrinsic values. MOTORRAD Alpen Masters winner of 2005, lots of test wins, praise for its good price-performance ratio – where it counted, the Suzuki scored. And: In the field of row wins that can be produced comparatively cheaply, the 90-degree V2 can count itself to the technical upper class. The venerable Nobel-Vauzwo still refuses to play the fat Max. In the down-to-earth middle-class environment, showing off is simply not the thing to do. Not even acoustically. The two-cylinders babble cautiously to themselves. Departure.
How was that reluctance? The BMW F 700 GS no longer seems to remember this when the gas is applied for the first time. The runner-up sounds like a boxer. Both pistons slide through the liners in parallel flight, but ignite at a 360-degree interval. The twin responds just above the rev range, hangs directly on the gas and pushes powerfully through the rev range. The fact that the drive produced by Loncin in China on the test bench with 71 HP is four HP less than promised can hardly be perceived subjectively. Only a virtual comparison with the MOTORCYCLE measurements from the F 800 GS corrects the emotional state. In the sprint from 0 to 100 km / h, the 800 series outpaces its more civilian sister by 0.3 seconds in 4.0 seconds and by 1.1 seconds up to 140 km / h. No broken leg, because in this environment the sprinter medal still goes to the BMW F 700 GS. However: As sporty as the twin appears with its appearance, it also appears shirt-sleeved after 5,000 tours. From this mark on it rattles noticeably in the handlebar ends and footrests. No problem on country roads, but certainly on motorway stages at constant speed.
Honda NC 750 X seals at 6500 rpm
Rotational speed. The Honda drive interprets this term in a very individual way. The twin of the Honda NC 750 X seals off at 6500 tours. Unusual for a mid-range motorcycle engine. And yet a concept clearly pursued by the Honda product planners. Low speed, low wear, low fuel consumption – this equation works. This was proven by the immaculate result of the MOTORRAD endurance test of the predecessor model of the NC 750, the NC 700 S (MOTORRAD 21/2014), two years ago, as well as the current test consumption.
With 3.6 liters per 100 kilometers, the Honda NC 750 X is almost half a liter less than the rest of the quartet. And one might say: despite the power-absorbing double clutch transmission (DCT) in the test machine. The Japanese have revised that for this season and have given the sporty S-mode another three individually adjustable gear changes. Ultimately, it is about the speed at which the DCT computer snaps into the next higher gear. So far there has been a gap between the deliberately low-speed gear change in D-mode, in which the twin still hums like a ship’s diesel, and the speed-oriented S-mode. Level 1 of the S mode is now exactly in between, and is also suitable for the more restrained country road tour. Level 2 or 3 is chosen by those who appreciate using the motor brake in pushing mode during brisk cornering or occasionally driving a higher speed level manually – with a simple tap of the finger. Good this way.
Measured values reflect the subjective impression
Whereby: The Honda NC 750 X does not have the dashing appearance. The mountain of torque, which the NC builds up from scratch, so that up to 5000 rpm is just below the level of the BMW engine, promises more on the test bench than it can hold in practice. Even in the lower rev range, the Honda starts comparatively cautiously, only to not let it go any further afterwards – with 57 hp peak power and the low rev limit. Even if the last tenth certainly doesn’t matter, especially in the middle class, the measured values reflect the subjective impression. The sprint to 140 km / h takes 50 percent longer than with the BMW F 700 GS, and it takes almost twice as long to pull through to this speed.
Even more numbers games for orientation: With a conventional transmission, the Honda NC 750 X sprints 0.3 seconds faster to 100 km / h and 0.7 seconds faster to 140 km / h. But now the bean counting is over. Mainly because the Honda propellant is otherwise so polished. Sound? Thanks to a 90 degree crank pin offset and 270 degree ignition offset, the twin technically and acoustically mimics a V2. Nursery? Little speed, few vibrations – this equation is also true for the NC. And ultimately reconciles the Honda propellant at least with those who put their personal focus on a well-bred character.
Great throttle response, silky smooth running, buttery smooth transmission
The engine of the is more experience-oriented Kawasaki Versys 650. Although the two-cylinder is now clamped in two of three engine mountings in silent blocks, the counter-runner still conveys this pithy appearance so typical of the Kawasaki drives. Never annoying, but always present. And although the Kurzhuber knows how to behave deep down in the speed limit, he likes to be turned in the wild. If it is enough at a moderate speed when the tachometer needle swings around the 5000 mark, the twin demands 7000 tours upwards in the ambitious Eckenwetz and harmonizes perfectly with its handy chassis with this lively temperament. But more about that later.
Because on the engine side, the Suzuki V-Strom 650 timidly lifts its finger. First-class throttle response, a mechanically silky smooth run, a gears that can be shifted as smooth as butter – it is hard to believe that this engine originates from the naked bike SV 650 presented in 1999. Because even today the V2 is as universal as ever, can stroll at low revs or cheer in the highest tones. If you are not careful, you will hardly notice how formidable this engine is, mastering every situation playfully and thus still duping all colleagues 17 years after its launch. Impressive. It almost seems as if the Suzuki technicians had already anticipated the universal claim of the crossover concept with this engine almost two decades ago.
Agile, lively and handy
Honda is taking the multifunctional path anyway with the NC series. In addition to the uncovered S version, the Integra scooter is also based on the same chassis and engine. The tubular steel frame nestles deeply over the cylinder bank, which is tilted 62 degrees. In the saddle, however, there is hardly anything reminiscent of the unorthodox basis. On the contrary. As pleasant as on a full-blown travel enduro, it sits behind the newly styled, slimmer fairing, and the seven centimeter higher windshield protects noticeably better and less turbulence from the airstream. In general, the Honda conveys the quiet way of traveling and is confident – at least as long as the ground is smooth and the arches are long. The tide turns only in the twisting corners on pitted country road asphalt, when the Honda NC 750 X echoes stubbornly through the radii. With a reason: the wooden-looking and imprecise steering series tires, the Dunlop Trailmax D 609. What a shame. Because even without adjustment options for the damping, the spring elements can cope with bumpy slopes, the easy-to-dose single-disc brake and the stability-oriented chassis geometry ensure driving pleasure that is easy on the nerves. So the Honda flatters with other values. With the practical storage compartment in the dummy tank, the longest inspection intervals of 12,000 kilometers, the lowest seat height (820 mm) or the lowest consumption. In short, with common sense.
Reason – the Kawasaki can address this issue Versys 650 not fully open despite all civilizing measures. The Versys places the pilot close to the handlebars, with a good feel for the front wheel. In addition, the shortest wheelbase and the steepest steering head in the test field also formulate the watchword: attack. Agile, lively and handy, the domesticated Versys scurries lively through the alternating curves, feels light and nimble in the steering. The travel vest, such as the 21-liter largest tank of the four, is hardly of any consequence during the agile curve dance. Especially since the upside-down fork, which can be adjusted over a large area, and the shock absorber, which can only be adjusted in the spring base, skilfully alleviate the bumps on provincial roads. But the Kawasaki Versys 650 has also been upgraded for the tour, with the towering and adjustable windshield offering a successful windshield, sufficient suspension reserves and, on top of that, the most sensitive brake. A successful appearance that serious drivers could only blame for the overall compact ergonomics or the funbike-oriented character of the Versys.
Sublime feeling on the Suzuki V-Strom 650
And that’s why you might squint at the BMW F 700 GS. Because despite its considerably more moderate orientation compared to the F 800 GS, the 700 feels hardly less adventurous than its sister. As before, the GS is off-road, the straight handlebar pulls the pilot towards him. You build trust immediately, you can feel every movement of the little GS. With this clear feedback, the Bavarian scores again and again. Probably not least because of the narrow 19-inch front wheel – the Kawasaki Versys 650 and Honda NC 750 X rely on 17-inch models – the Bavarian razor-sharp in every curve and in an inclined position with the narrow 140 cm rear tire doesn’t let any bump off the track throw. Very well. In general, the BMW F 700 GS blossoms when things get tight and bumpy. She skilfully combines the longest suspension travel (170 mm), the lowest weight (218 kg) and the shortest caster (95 mm) of the quartet, and always inspires with its confidence-inspiring steering precision. She is forgiven for holding back on tour with so much enthusiasm for the intricate. The poor wind protection and the moderate comfort on the sporty, firm seat can be easily improved, only the rough engine running mentioned remains annoying on the trip.
Travel – this is where the Suzuki V-Strom 650 has focused. The spacious seating position alone ensures a sublime driving experience. And so the V-Strom swings calmly and confidently from curve to curve, steers precisely with its 19-inch front wheel and draws its line, almost decoupled from the ground. This curve swing may not be tingling, but it is effective, effortless – and usually much faster than you feel. Despite the conventional fork, which can only be adjusted in the spring base, and an equally adjustable spring strut, the V-Strom soaks up asphalted hardships and proves that it is long. On bumpy slopes and especially on the train. With the silky smooth running engine, the formidable wind protection and also a heart for the passenger, the V-Strom looks simply mature and grown-up. Actually the definition of a successful crossover bike.
It remains to be seen whether Suzuki V-Strom 650 and Co. ever consciously pursued the crossover issue when planning the model. Because of all things the Honda NC 750 X, which is based on a cross-concept technology, has to give in compared to its more clearly oriented colleagues. While the Kawasaki Versys 650 feels like a fun bike and the BMW F 700 GS still has its off-road genes in it, the V-Strom with its travel-tourism orientation ultimately prevails. Perhaps because it implements the universal character that is so important in this concept – and ultimately takes up exactly the idea of the crossover concept. Consistent and honest.
F 700 GS Honda
NC 750 X Kawasaki
Versys 650 Suzuki
V-Strom 650 Engine 250 138 119 130 136 Driving behavior 250 164 154 160 173 Everyday life 250 163 152 159 171 Safety 150 98 94 96 99 Costs 100 75 67 66 67 Overall rating 1000 638 586 611 646 Placement 2nd 4th 3rd 1st price-performance grade 1.0 (top grade) 1.9 2.0 1.6
winner engine: BMW F 700 GS
The BMW F 700 GS uses the power of the largest displacement in the test field for powerful acceleration and pulling power. However: from 5000 rpm the BMW drive runs rough despite the vibration-damping auxiliary connecting rod. With a velvety run and a homogeneous performance range, the Suzuki-V2 only has to admit defeat. The uncomplicated character of the Kawa-Twin does not cause a sensation, but in the sum of its characteristics it remains close to the leadership duo. Honda’s comparatively weak engine has to lag far behind. The smooth running of the engine and the smooth shifting processes of the DCT transmission cannot compensate for the sluggish characteristics.
winner landing gear: Suzuki V-Strom 650
With emphatically neutral steering behavior, stoic straight-line stability, comfortable suspension and a comfortable passenger seat, the Suzuki V-Strom 650 emphasizes its tourist qualities – and thus clearly wins the chassis ranking. The BMW F 700 GS moves up to second place rather inconspicuously. Your strengths: the driving behavior that inspires confidence and the homogeneously coordinated suspension. With the shortest wheelbase and the steepest steering angle, the Kawasaki Versys 650 sets the bar high in terms of handiness and otherwise stays on the ball. Stiff handling and diffuse steering behavior cost the Honda NC 750 X a lot of sympathy and points – which it doesn’t even with a calming straight line can make up for more.
winner everyday: Suzuki V-Strom 650
The Suzuki V-Strom 650 speaks with the voice of reason. 20-liter tank, great passenger comfort and good wind protection add up to stage win number two. The BMW F 700 GS positions its rider in a sporty and active way, is very well equipped, but loses a few meters with the small standard disc and the 16-liter tank. Once again, the Kawasaki Versys 650 remains inconspicuous, but remains close to the top group in all criteria. After all: With a range of 500 kilometers, the Versys sets the record. The Honda NC 750 X also appears unspectacular here, pleasing with its acceptable wind protection and the luggage compartment in the dummy tank.
winner security: Suzuki V-Strom 650
A close race. Without setting accents, the Suzuki V-Strom 650 creams off with a solid overall appearance without weaknesses. The brakes of the BMW F 700 GS shine with full power, and those of the Kawasaki Versys 650 with excellent controllability. The Honda NC 750 X suffers from the momentum of its tires and from unsteady oscillation when braking with the passenger.
winner costs: BMW F 700 GS
The BMW F 700 GS wins with the lowest inspection costs. The lowest consumption (3.6 l / 100 km) goes to the Honda NC 750 X. Kawasaki Versys 650 and Suzuki V-Strom 650 have to pay for the short inspection intervals (6000 km).
winner Price-performance: Suzuki 650 V-Strom
Price-performance – traditionally the strength of Suzuki. The V-Strom is no exception. A straight one.
MOTORCYCLE test result
1. Suzuki V-Strom 650
An extremely homogeneous overall impression ensures the V-Strom victory. Above all, the smooth running and sovereign engine lays the foundation for this. It’s hard to believe that the base of the V2 is almost two decades old.
2. BMW F 700 GS
With precise handling, well-coordinated suspension and a powerful engine, the F 700 GS is first class. The simpler equipment compared to the F 800 GS hardly slows down the little sister.
3. Kawasaki Versys 650
Even with a larger fairing and a more voluminous tank, the Versys basically remains a fun bike. With agile handling, comfortable suspension and easy turning
Motor driving fun is right at the top of the Kawa agenda.
4. Honda NC 750 X
Reason is the dominant trait of the Honda. But low consumption, low price and the user-friendly DCT gearbox are not everything. With a low-speed engine concept, moderate performance and the woody series tires, the kick is missing.
Throttle to 48 hp
Current Euro 4 machines have to be electronically throttled to 48 HP, which is compliant with the A2 driver’s license. This technology is more complex and a little more expensive than before. New machines may first have to be approved and then throttled.
As an extremely manageable motorcycle, the Honda NC 750 X is a good recommendation for novice drivers with an A2 level driving license. However, Honda itself does not offer a reduction from 55 HP to 48 HP (35 kW), which complies with the rules. Alpha Technik from Stephanskirchen jumps into this breach. It offers the electronic module “MCR” for various motorcycle models at a price of 175 euros without installation. It is switched between the throttle grip and the control unit and influences the signals from the electronically operating throttle grip (ride-by-wire).
This means that the full angle of rotation is retained, but the electronic translation of the throttle grip is changed: a maximum of 48 hp is only available when the twist grip is fully open. Older motorcycles, on the other hand, can only use a simple mechanical stop for 109 euros to limit the performance – the throttle valve no longer opens completely, and the throttle grip is limited. Such technically simple throttling is no longer permitted for motorcycles that are homologated according to the new Euro 4 standard.
Instead, the currently valid homologation framework directive 168/2013 / EC excludes throttles that limit the opening angle of the throttle valve purely mechanically. Throttled vehicles must now meet the same requirements as the more powerful basic motorcycle: The values are determined in complex exhaust gas and noise measurements and confirmed by accredited technical services as part of a parts certificate.
Alpha Technik currently offers electronic MCR throttle kits for the Yamaha models XSR 700 and 900, for the Triumph Street Twin and for the Honda NC 750 S / X and Integra machines. The installation should be carried out by a specialist workshop. Technical services such as TuV, Dekra, etc. issue change approvals for approval bodies. Some registration offices in Germany have so far refused to recognize a throttling to 48 hp in Euro 4 machines that was carried out before the initial registration. Instead, the vehicle first had to be “open”, i.e. registered with full power, and then subsequently throttled. The authority then enters the completed installation on the basis of a change acceptance. A motorcycle that has been throttled for A2 can later be easily upgraded to full power at any time.
Technical data BMW and Honda
Here you can see an extract of the technical data. If you would like the complete measured values determined by us, including all consumption, torque and acceleration values, you can buy the article as a PDF for download.
Technical data Kawasaki and Suzuki
Middle class crossover motorcycles in price comparison
1000PS marketplace app
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