Southern California has the busiest, most congested freeways in the country. Upside is, motorcycles can access the High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane, and lane splitting—filtering between slower vehicles moving in the same direction—is legal. Few machines are better for this type of riding than our long-term NC700XD.
Staffers have raved about the ease with which the auto-shift NC makes short work of their daily grinds. So much time spent straight up and down, however, eventually led to irregular tire wear and poor handling. We’d intended to replace the original-equipment Metzeler RoadTec Z8s at the next scheduled service, but by 7300 miles, the center of the rear tire was well into its wear bars, with the front tire close behind.
We paid Huntington Beach Honda $117.23 to remove the worn RoadTec Z8s and mount and balance a new set of Michelin Pilot Power 3 2CTs ($186.95 front; $233.95 rear; michelinmotorcycle.com). Introduced earlier this year, the dual-compound Michelins have light-effort turn-in, great grip and excellent bump absorption. Freeway rain grooves and pavement seams disappear under the bike; you see them but don’t feel them.
After our last update (“Practically extravagant”), we installed four products that further improved the NC’s commuting capabilities. Twisted Throttle (twistedthrottle.com) supplied the MRA VarioTouring Screen ($149.99) and SW-Motech Universal Mirror Wideners ($69.99). The spoiler on the screen has seven manually adjustable positions, providing more protection and smoother airflow than Honda’s tall accessory windscreen. The 1.5-inch-long Mirror Wideners expand rearward field of vision.
Beautiful and functional, Rizoma’s machined aluminum RRC brake lever ($122; rizoma.com) is six-way adjustable for span to fit a range of hand sizes. Finally, Galfer’s sintered HH 1380 front brake pads ($44.73; galferusa.com) improved initial bite and stopping power—just what you need when an errant SUV lumbers across your bow.
|MAINTENANCE COSTS (INCLUDING TIRES)||$583.13|
|AVERAGE FUEL MILEAGE||52 mpg|
|PRICE AS TESTED (2012)||$11,633|
|RELATED CONTENT||Honda NC700XD ABS – Update #1|