Many of today's riders – whether experienced, new to bikes or returning to two wheels – have broad expectations of motorcycling and look to expand their horizons on a machine that fits their lifestyle – not the other way round. They're looking for something that enables and enhances their life. The CTX700 – based on the popular NC750S platform – is a new motorcycle designed to dovetail perfectly with just such desires.
'C' is for Comfort – this equates to driveability and easy cornering, low noise at speed, low seat height, stability and accessible ground reach.
'T' stands for Technology – a high-torque, low-friction engine with excellent fuel economy, Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) gearbox, low centre of gravity and standard-fit ABS.
The 'X' is eXperience; smooth all-round performance – including acceleration and stopping – with a relaxed, cruiser-style riding position.
All three are key CTX ingredients for a fulfilling and enjoyable ride, whether simply for coffee, a day out or across an entire country.
Masanori Aoki, Large Project Leader, CTX series:
"The CTX700's twin-cylinder engine, with its low centre of gravity, delivers a high quality, easy-to-handle ride with an emphasis on low to medium speed torque. The bike combines ease of use with freedom of design, and because it sports our lightweight and compact Dual Clutch Transmission, it delivers a ride that is fun, comfortable and exhilarating – just what CTX700 is all about. Looking forward to a new era, we have taken up the challenge of developing bikes for the CTX Concept Series, bikes that will share the following distinctive characteristics: honest handling and feel, controllable performance and a powerful, horizontal design."
'CTX: Comfort, Technology, EXperience'
Styling & Chassis
For Honda's development team styling inspiration was drawn from a number of areas, including the 'Horizontal Dynamic' of Honda's GL1800 Gold Wing. 'Front Massive' mass centralization gives the CTX700 muscular and powerful lines with each part's functionality boldly emphasised.
The large fairing not only provides excellent wind protection – it's also a major styling element, flowing elegantly into the fuel tank cover, the line continuing on to the tapering tail unit. It houses the dash which features air vents either side to equalise pressure. A short screen takes styling cues from the Gold Wing F6B and helps envelope the rider in a pocket of still air.
The diamond steel frame is both compact and strong. A new rear subframe design delivers the 720mm seat height – 70mm lower than the NC750S – and together with the engine's forward-canted cylinders ensures a low centre of gravity. Rake is set at a 27° 40' (a little more relaxed than the 27° of the NC750S) with trail of 114mm and 1,530mm wheelbase; front/rear weight distribution is 50/50.
The low seat height, low centre of gravity plus forward-set footpegs and steering geometry create a nimble-handling motorcycle with good ground clearance that's also relaxing to ride thanks to its cruiser-style ergonomics.
The 12.4litre steel fuel tank, in the standard position, is covered by bodywork that includes a small storage compartment for a wallet or phone. Both speedometer and tachometer are digital, with an LCD bar graph for fuel and digital clock. A passenger grabrail aids long-ride comfort for the pillion.
Plush and well damped. the 41mm front forks, ProLink rear linkage and Honda Multi-Action System (HMAS) shock iron out road imperfections but also give a solid sense of connection to the road. The rear 240mm wavy disc and large-diameter 2piston caliper complements the front 320mm wavy disc and 2piston caliper: 2channel ABS guarantees safe and consistent stopping in adverse weather conditions. High-pressure die-cast aluminium wheels – 17inch x 3.5inch front and 17 x 4.5inch rear – feature a 'Y' shaped spoke pattern and wear 120/70 ZR17 and 160/60 ZR17 tyres.
The CTX700 features the Honda Ignition Security System (HISS), an effective anti-theft setup. If the ID chip embedded in the motorcycle's key and the ID in the Engine Control Unit (ECU) do not match, the engine will not start.
With this electronic interlock system, the engine will only fire when one of the keys with the correct ID chip is used (each bike has a master key and 2 subordinate original keys). Also, even if attempts are made to hotwire the engine, or substitute the ignition switch module because it's the ECU that's in control the engine will not start.
The 670cc liquid-cooled 8valve SOHC parallel twin-cylinder engine powering the CTX700 was designed from the outset to deliver outstanding bottom-end and midrange torque – the rpm area many riders use the most on the road – with superb fuel efficiency.
It's a compact unit, weighing 67.3kg with cylinders canted 61°20' forward helping to lower the centre of gravity. Bore and stroke is 73mm x 80mm, compression ratio 10.7:1 and power output of 35kW arrives at 6,250rpm, with very healthy peak torque of 60Nm delivered at just 4,750rpm. The engine's power and torque curves are strong right off the bottom and through the middle rpm ranges – just what's needed for cruiser duty.
A 270° crank phase gives an uneven firing order and characterful engine feel, while a uniaxial primary balancer allows a satisfying 'throb' to reach the rider. Separate intake ports inside the cylinder head allow internal combustion timing variations, and differing valve timings from different cam profiles on each cylinder, allow a satisfying 'throb' to reach the rider.
Lightweight aluminium roller rocker arms are used in the valve train and a special resin coating on the pistons reduces frictional losses. The PGM-FI electronic fuel injection system employs a single 36mm throttle body-feeding a branched intake. The engine returns fuel economy of 27.9km/l (WMTC mode).
Creating a compact cooling system drive for the water pump is taken off the camshaft and the balancer shaft drives the oil pump. The exhaust ports are consolidated within the engine so only one exhaust pipe and one catalytic converter are needed. The three-way catalytic converter is close-coupled for efficient processing of exhaust emissions – this design lets combustion gases pass through the catalyst while still very hot, improving efficiency and making it possible to use a smaller, lighter catalytic converter.
Dual Clutch Transmission
Honda's second-generation DCT gearbox offers a real-world riding advantage and convenience. A world first for motorcycles when launched on the VFR1200F in 2010, DCT provides a unique combination of direct riding feel and ease of use, making it a natural fit for the CTX700.
The system uses two clutches: one for startup and 1st, 3rd and 5th gears: the other for 2nd, 4th and 6th, with the mainshaft for each clutch located inside the other for compact packaging. Each clutch is independently controlled by its own electro-hydraulic circuit. When a gear change occurs, the system pre-selects the target gear using the clutch not currently in use. The first clutch is then electronically disengaged as, simultaneously, the second clutch engages.
The result is a consistent, fast and seamless gear change. Furthermore, as the twin clutches transfer drive from one gear to the next with minimal interruption of the drive to the rear wheel, any gear change shock and pitching of the machine is minimised, making the change feel direct as well as smooth.
Three modes of operation are available. MT mode gives full manual control, allowing the rider to shift with the handlebar trigger control buttons. Automatic D mode is ideal for city and highway riding, and achieves optimum fuel efficiency. Automatic S mode is sportier and the ECU lets the engine rev a little higher before shifting up, giving greater performance. It also shifts down sooner when decelerating for extra engine braking.
In either D or S mode DCT offers immediate manual intervention if required – the rider simply selects the required gear using the up and down shift triggers. At an appropriate time DCT seamlessly reverts back to automatic mode, depending on throttle angle, vehicle speed and gear position.
Furthermore, in "D" mode, the DCT system detects variations in rider input typical to certain environments, from busy urban streets to mountain switchbacks, and adapts its gear change schedule accordingly to create an extra level of riding compatibility.
With extra benefits such as durability (as the gears cannot be damaged by missing a gear), impossibility of stalling, low stress urban riding, and reduced rider fatigue, DCT has seen increasing acceptance in the market (sales stat to be added).