Honda Integra NC 700 ABS DCT (2012-current): The 21st century general use motorcycle, for the Western world.

     Engine: The parallel twin 670 c.c. engine delivers 51 bhp/6250 rpm and 6.3 Kgm/4750 rpm (45.73 lbs ft), claimed figures.
     The DCT (Dual clutch transmission) system is equipped at the transmission, which was introduced at the VFR1200F.
 
     Actually the gearbox is semi-automatic or automatic. The selection or the alternation between the two modes will be done using the AT- MT switch at the right grip, even on the move. There is no clutch lever.
     Selecting the semi-automatic (named manual by Honda), upshifts are performed by the + button located at the left grip, while downshifts are performed by the – button at the same grip. In any case, whenever the bike is stopped the first out of six gears is engaged.
     In case of the automatic transmission there are two modes available, drive and sport. Changeover or the selection between the two of them is performed by the S D N (Sport Drive Neutral) switch at the right grip. The drive mode is smoother and more frugal in terms of riding, sport mode makes the Integra engine more vivid.
     Like on semi-automatic transmission operation, rider will hear gear shifts, there is an instant “click” sound produced. Gear shifts are smooth, the operation of the gearbox is really good. Actually auto mode is so good that rider will probably use that mode, especially at the drive program, increasing fuel economy. This is the default mode despite any selection chosen by the rider at the previous ride.
     The operation of the gearbox differs from the scootersĘ Constant Variable Transmission, due to that noise and the respectively instant power interruptions.
 
     At the drive mode, acceleration provided is smooth. The speed of 100 Km/h (62mph) is obtained fast, the speed of 150 Km/h (93 mph) is achieved relatively easy. Acceleration is weak from that figure upwards, the speed of 180 Km/h (112 mph) is obtained slowly. At the fast pace the drive mode is very smooth, it doesnĘt feel exciting to the rider.
     At the sport mode, gear shifts are performed at higher engine revs, engine sounds meaner, performance is more exciting to fast riders. The speed of 100 Km/h (62mph) is obtained quite fast, the speed of 150 Km/h (93 mph) is achieved easily. Once again acceleration is weak from that figure upwards, the top speed of nearly 190 Km/h (118 mph) is obtained very slowly. On slippery roads at the sport mode, the Integra may spin the rear wheel under full throttle acceleration.
    Whenever that will be useful, rider may downshift using the – button, e.g. for an overtake, no need to switch to the manual mode first.
 
     Conclusively engine operation at auto mode resembles, yet its not the same with scootersĘ engine operation. Whenever the engine is stopped the neutral is automatically selected, hence there is a hand brake at the right of the leg shield. A chain final transmission is equipped.
     The engine of the Integra is derived from the car sector, actually its nearly half a Honda Jazz one.
     ItĘs a smart perception since the bike engines give priority to sheer performance, while their fuel consumption figures are recently worse than the equivalent car figures. The Integra engine gives priority to the fuel consumption, thatĘs quite clear and loud.
     The fuel tank lies underneath the saddle. Although itĘs a parallel twin engine, it imitates the sound and operation of a V-twin one. One thing that could be improved is the insertion of a fuel reserve light or a more obvious fuel reserve indication. Any trip computer in the future? An indicative average fuel consumption for the drive mode is 4.4 l/100 Km (64 mpg Imperial).
 
     Riding position: The height of the saddle is relatively high, 790 mm (31.1 in.), the width of the saddle is steady yet increased. Thus it will be adequate to taller than average riders. Really tall riders will feel their knees really close to the fairing.
     Pillion is seated marginally higher than the rider, the space on the pillion saddle is average.
 
     The dimensions of the Integra are normal for a 700 c.c. bike. The widest area of the bike is the feet rest. The Integra is exactly the same with the scooters at that point, the central tunnel and the really wide feet floor.
     The weight of the Integra is great, 238 nominal Kgs, (524 lbs), kerb. It will be obvious in case that rider will have to push the bike. Female riders will find it difficult to hold the bike upright in case that it leans to either side. Probably they will not be strong enough for such a challenge.
     Rider is placed in and over the bike, riding position is neutral, upright and relaxed.
 
     On the road: Suspensions are soft. A 41 mm fork is equipped at the front, a single shock with a Pro-Link (linkage) at the rear.
     The O.E. tyres are Metzeler Interact Z8 with dimensions 120/70-17 at the front and 160/60-17 at the rear. They are considered to be a good choice regarding the smooth IntegraĘs character. In case that a rider would try to simulate motoGP riding on the Integra, these tyres do not feel really appropriate for such a use. Aluminium rims are equipped.
 
     In town the Integra is greatly neutral. With the auto mode selected, engine operation does not distract the rider, too much like a scooter would do. Except from the transmission, itĘs the as-much-as-necessary performance from the engine which relaxes the rider. Handling is neutral.
     The dimensions and the weight of the Integra belong to the normal bikes category or that of mega-scooters, its actually the same. It is a very user friendly bike. The Integra could be used solely on urban rides, without asking for major compromises to the rider.
 
     On downtown rides steering lock belongs to the motorcycle category. It could be better, its not a great issue though.
     Filtering is good. The height of the handlebar is greater than the height of car mirrors, the mirrors of the bike are at about the same height with SUV mirrors.
 
     Street imperfections damping is really good, much better than any scooter. The Integra is a comfortable bike. On really low speed, the weight and the slow steering geometry are evident. The familiar feeling of inertia is there for the rider, the agility provided is equivalent to that of a big bike.
     Conclusively in urban areas the Integra will ask the same compromises with a mega-scooter.
 
     On B-roads the Integra is once more greatly neutral. It could be used for this kind of rides only, without any compromises asked. Stability is favored by the bike providing confident and neutral rides.
 
     At the fast pace, rider has to switch to the sport mode, things will get more interesting then. Stability is again the key riding feature, due to the 1525 mm (60 in.) wheelbase, the 27į caster and the 110 mm, (4.33 in) trail. Feedback to the rider is diminished though at such a pace.
     The feet floor is not the optimal mean for the rider to apply force. In case of a proper bike, the external footpeg would be just that during the bend. The upright riding position is not the most convenient one at such a pace.
     The Integra is not a discouraging bike then, its obvious though that its not designed for such a use. It will simply require high quality – friction factor roads in order to deliver the best riding result. At such a pace, the Integra is better than any scooter, handling is within the 600 c.c.  street bike category standards.
                             
    On the highway travelling speed will be limited to 160 Km/h (100mph). Tall riders will have to incline to the front in order to get protected from the air flow which is evident on the helmet and the shoulders. Cruising is confident, its better than any scooterĘs. The same applies to absorbing road imperfections during the journey.
                           
    On dirt roads the Integra is user friendly, comfortable and smooth. The road tyres are not really suitable then, rider has to be careful in case that the scooter leans to either side, because the weight is considerable. At a faster pace ground clearance is not adequate. Soon the Integra will touch down. Thus the riding of the Integra on dirt roads is closer to that of a bike once more, not to a scooter.
 
    Brakes are C-ABS. Single petal rotors are equipped front (320mm) and rear (240mm). A three piston caliper is equipped at the front, a single piston caliper at the rear.
     Brakes are powerful, linear. Feedback to the rider is average whenever the ABS is activated. However braking performance is very compatible with IntegraĘs character, reminding average C-ABS motorcycle brakes or good C-ABS scooter brakes.
 
     Reliablility/ quality build/ other versions: The under stressed engine is probably capable of very high mileage.
     The quality build and the finish (white metallic paint) are superb. The Integra is the first of three versions sharing the same frame, suspensions and wheels.
     The Integra is the touring member of the family, the NC 700 S is the naked version and the NC 700 X is the on-off version.
 
     Comments: The grey parts at either side of the central tunnel make a hint for a twin spar frame, which is not the case here of course. The cavity just in front of the rider is not usable for carrying things.
     At the left of the leg shield there is a gloves compartment which will be adequate for small objects, indicatively a mobile phone and a packet of cigarettes. Under the seat a small jet helmet may be stored or a rain coat.
     Lights are superb. A three panniers set is a factory optional as well as heated grips, which enhance substantially the touring potential of the Integra.
              
     The design is forward biased. Especially at the front of the bike, due to the V-shaped headlamp and the big plastic surfaces, it reminds of the VFR1200, which is the case also for the petit PCX 125 and the CBR 250.
 
     The feet rest area is derived from the scootersĘ world, the engine and fuel consumption resemble to those of a scooter. However in terms of riding the Integra is closer to the motorcycle standards, on any terrain it will be used, except from town where it resembles more to a mega-scooter. This sounds like a major advantage over the mega-scooters.
     Probably describing the Integra the name scootercycle sounds better, although its rather a motoscooter, that is more a bike than a scooter. Maybe the name Integra derives from the word Integra(tion) of these two worlds, bikes and scooters. Additionally, because IntegraĘs engine is half a car Honda Jazz engine, the word integration gets more meaningful.
     Hence inventing the word motoscootercar, could be describing the Integra concerning a motorcycle mainly, with some scooter elements and just a few car elements.
  
     Thus the Integra is an internal factory rival for the Honda Silver Wing 600 ѬS SW-T (FJS) and a challenger for the other mega-scooters of the market which slowly are reaching an impasse: They have become too big and heavy, so they are not as user-friendly as scooters are, while their riding capabilities are not extending much further from the scooter world.
     Integra takes the lead then which conclusively provides: The potential and usability of a motorcycle, the price tag and user-friendliness of a mega-scooter and the fuel consumption of a 300 c.c. scooter from a cut in half car engine. If a reader got confused, he is kindly requested to read again the article!
 
     Because IntegraĘs design is not really macho, it was a risk by Honda to produce a bike which fulfils the riding needs of an average bike rider without promising of hardcore riding. Of course this is not the first time for Honda. In the 60s there was the “You meet the nicest people on a Honda” campaign in the U.S..
     Even in 90Ęs introducing the Pacific Coast, Honda was targetting to a white-collar audience with a user friendly bike, which should also be very practical.
 
     From the other hand whenever Honda bikes were executing rivals on  the road, they were shaved, wearing shirt and gloves, while their competitors were haired, sweated, naked and ferocious!
 
     However, the present requires even better adaptability. Maybe, one day, smaller, cheaper and lighter Integras will be available for the masses. 
    For the time being, until the hybrid technology becomes cheap and light, the Integra is the opening and convincing motorcycle proposal to the low fuel consumption issue.
 
Price: 9390 §

+ Fuel consumption

+ User friendly

+ Increased potential compared to maxi-scooters

- Weight - bulk

- Riding position does not favor very tall and very short riders
  
     Thanks to the motorcycle shop Baxevanis - Honda, tel.+302109237000, Kalirois 12, Athens, Greece, http://www.baxevanismoto.com/ for the test ride.

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