Ride home from dealer review

yticolev

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I picked up my manual NC700X from a dealer in Cincinnati with an 80 mile ride home. Conditions: 30 degrees, 35 mph gusts 1/2 interstate, 1/2 secondary roads. It has basically been 30 years since I gave up my BMW R100RS and other than a lot of bicycle riding (daily), no two wheeling for me since. But I think I remember clearly what it was like and I have perhaps 50,000 miles of prior riding.

Drove one block from the dealer to fill up with gas - want an accurate fuel record. Felt like a good bit of driveline lash. At home, I measured almost 2 inches of up and down chain movement at the middle. Anyone happen to know the specified amount?

Two blocks from the station I hit a read light and am stuck in gear. I have to feather the clutch to get it to shift through three gears (no, I didn't downshift prior to stopping - remember brand new bike, and I haven't ridden for decades). Might be a cold issue, I had some balkiness later, but not as bad.

As designed, but new to me for any prior bike, was trouble finding gears. All my prior bikes when in first or top gear have free movement - alerting you that you can't go any farther. The NC700X has a dead stop, you cannot move the shift lever in that direction any more. Thus, it is not clear without pulling in the clutch and making a shift attempt if there is another gear or if you are all the way up or down. I'm sure I will adapt, but that is weird for me.

On a related issue, it shifts fine without using the clutch. What is the current common wisdom out there on this practice? Harmful to the transmission or not?

Never hit the rev limiter, but I've never owned a high revving bike. Came close in first a couple of times, but it pulls so strongly in second that there is no point over doing a stay in first.

The bike does handle really well. I'm curious if that is the normal amount of steering lock, or turn circle. Very low speed maneuvers almost lost me when I hit the stop. I remember I wasn't happy with the BMW either, the steering damper set the limit, but I thought short radius turns were easier. I don't remember any issue with my 1967 Triumph.

I found it rather jouncy over pavement defects, not as compliant as I remember my BMW. After half an hour, the seat really started to hurt. I was a lot younger of course, but I've had 900 mile days going across the country on my BMW and never had an issue. Bikes from my era all had bench seats so you could move around and shift your weight. These modern contoured seats that pin you to one spot do not seem done with ergo in mind. More fashion than anything else perhaps, with a huge and unnecessary gap between the wheel and the seat, presumably off road styling. Lots of room there for a large comfy bench seat. I did sit up on the passenger bump for a few minutes to move the pressure spots, feeling faintly ridiculous.

The gusting wind did the expected, causing me to lean, but easy to hold the line. I will be getting a windshield so wind will probably affect handling more, but man, the wind really grabbed the visor on my borrowed helmet and jerked me around.

Antilock rear brakes? They don't do much. The front works fine, although I didn't practice a panic stop. Bit of buzzing when applied due to rotor design. Not an issue. I do have short fingers, but this is the first time I ever felt the need to have the lever engagement closer to me, both the brake and the clutch.

The motor was great. Pulled fine (except 6th gear roll ons were not fine at all - genteel would be the right word), not quite as fast as my beemer, but that is what I expected. Pretty darn good for a sub 700cc bike made for efficiency, not speed. Lots of engine tech improvements since my days. More subjective shaking than my old beemer, yet less actually transmitted to my hands and feet. No one even uses rubber pegs anymore - amazing.

My final thought riding home with the wind pushing on my arms (my BMW had a full fairing), is that the bars were wider than they needed to be. Perhaps that is an offroad styling thing again, but the low speed handling did not appear to need that much leverage on the road to me. Again, I'm a big bicycle rider so that weighs into this thought. However, the distance your arms are apart have a fairly large impact on aerodynamic efficiency. It might add another mile or so to the fuel economy to have shorter bars - and possibly some long distance comfort.

It was a lot of fun riding again after so many years, despite the rather cold blustery conditions.
 

treybrad

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Whoa -- be careful. If you have a manual version with a clutch, you DO NOT have ABS at all. Whoever told you that, lied. ABS is only available with the auto/DCT transmission in the States.

My suspension seemed to break in a bit after a while and some of the harshness went away, but it's never going to be plush....

Enjoy the new ride!

trey
 

yticolev

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The anti-lock rear brake comment was tongue in cheek. I know they are not "anti-lock" officially, just too weak to lock up or do anything other than slow for a stop sign under 10mph. If you have the room that is. At least four times I had to give up coming to a stop sign and grabbed the fronts.

I hope the suspension does "break-in". That didn't occur to me. It might be better when it is warm too with the shock oil.
 

treybrad

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The anti-lock rear brake comment was tongue in cheek.

I totally missed it! Good deal, I thought maybe the dealer tried to sneak one by you or something. Yeah... the rear brake isn't very powerful, but I like it that way personally. I've got too much going through my feeble brain in a panic situation -- if I don't have to worry about a super sensitive rear brake locking up on me prematurely, all the better. It is perfectly capable of locking up the rear if you're hard on the front brake and have the back end unloaded.

I think my suspension loosened up around 1k miles or so. But, it's still pretty harsh on sharp edged bumps. I think Beemerphile sent his off to Racetech and had emulators put in. He said it made the ride MUCH improved, especially on the sharp bumps.

trey
 

yticolev

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Yes, but no doubt the price tag for the suspension updates was over a grand. I'm not planning on very long distance trips Beemerphile style, more long commute type situations, so I can certainly live with it.

I'll probably have to do something about the seat though. I think I'm going to order the Madstad adjustable windshield today. More expensive than the other options, but perhaps not after I've tried and failed with a couple of them. I think that will make more difference in comfort than the suspension.
 

L.B.S.

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I was very happy about how much more steering lock was on my NCX from my F800ST, I can turn in an incredibly sharp radius, so possibly your "lack of" first impression, might be coloured by a comparison from over familiarity with your bicycle riding and their extremely generous abilities.

My suspension is pretty rough and choppy. I suspect it will soften given more miles.

Much better to have a "faux ABS" rear brake than a super touchy one, IMHO!

You'll have to get back in the habit of shifting down while still in motion, or evvvvver so slightly letting the clutch lever out between *kerchunks* as each gear pops in after you've stopped.

ie: You're stopped, but still in 3rd gear. You pull in the clutch and press down, but the foot shifter does not move. Let the clutch out a few millimetres, until the *kerchunk* of going in to 2nd is heard/felt. Pull lever back in, press down... still no movement. Let clutch out a wee bit again, until it now goes thunk down in to first.

Alternatively, gently rock the bike back and forth while clutch in, and pressing shifter down.

It should do this less and less as the parts wear in, but clutch cable freeplay and drive chain having too much slack/not enough slack, can also cause notchy or recalcitrant shifting.
 

bamamate

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The suspension smoothes out after 1k or so and the tranny also smoothes out bit over time. I do find the tranny to be a little stiff/balky on cold mornings but I’m a little stiff/balky on cold mornings too.
On the downshifting multiple gears, I wonder if you were letting the linkage reset fully between shifts. I ran into that a few times after coming back to riding from a long absence. I’ve had to retrain movements that use to be natural.
 

yticolev

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The suspension smoothes out after 1k or so and the tranny also smoothes out bit over time. I do find the tranny to be a little stiff/balky on cold mornings but I’m a little stiff/balky on cold mornings too.
On the downshifting multiple gears, I wonder if you were letting the linkage reset fully between shifts. I ran into that a few times after coming back to riding from a long absence. I’ve had to retrain movements that use to be natural.

No, it wasn't that. It refused to shift completely without feathering the clutch with almost no movement of the shifter with the clutch disengaged. I felt foolish at the light (a quick flash of fear about going back to the dealer only a block away), but it hadn't turned yet and it only took me a few seconds to figure it out. I have some memory of having to do that on occasion on other bikes, and even my current car, a PT Cruiser a couple of times.

I'm not too concerned. As you and L.B.S mentioned, it will probably loosen up, as it did during the ride.
 

johnakay

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It was a lot of fun riding again after so many years, despite the rather cold blustery [email protected] 30 degrees you call that cold??
getcha ass over here you'll soon find out if its cold or not.

enjoy ya new ride and keep the black side down!!
 

ziggie

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The more you ride the better it gets.i think the cold played alot. in the factor.congrats on new ride and welcome back on 2 wheels.
 
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yticolev

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Thanks guys.

I just ordered a Madstad adjustable windshield. I had a very nice conversation with Mark, the owner, veering off topic to what it must be like to own and run such a cool business. I had some concerns with the esthetics of the pictures posted for the NC and it turns out that their process is extremely flexible and even build to order (no up charge). So both the shape of the windshield and the base plate will be adjusted. The pictures posted were of a customer's bike and built for his preferences. I'll start a new thread with a review after installation and adjustment.
 

yticolev

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It was a lot of fun riding again after so many years, despite the rather cold blustery [email protected] 30 degrees you call that cold??
getcha ass over here you'll soon find out if its cold or not.

enjoy ya new ride and keep the black side down!!

I spent 8 months working in Blackpool and it was never warm! But I did miss winter completely that year so I don't know how cold it really gets. I've also ridden across this country mid-winter and I did get cold. Step off the bike and uncontrollable shivering ensued. Scary. Get back on and the focus required stops the shivering. It was probably dangerous hypothermia, but I was in my twenties and I just carried on. No heated grips! Riders today are soft. (and have it made).
 

DanWill

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Your comment about giving up and having to grab the front brakes is a little odd. You know that (when used correctly) your front brakes provide 70% of your stopping power, right? If not, there should be a motorcycle safety course in your near future. I've run into a lot of people that don't use the front brakes as a rule, and anytime any of them ride with me, they are in front. I'm not about to get run over because they can't stop as fast as I can.
Other than that, welcome and enjoy the bike. Hopefully the weather will get better for you soon.
 

yticolev

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Only 70%? If your front brakes are effective enough and you are maximally braking, using the rear does nothing and is even unsafe. I do use my front brakes as a rule, in fact my primary road bicycle only has a front. And you reminded me that the mag wheels I bought for my BMW had such a useless rear brake that I didn't use it ever. I wish I had kept the stock drum.

For the most part, on a motorcycle, I only use rear brakes for extremely slow stops, such as sub 10 mph stops coming up to a light. They should be good for that, right? No reason for balanced braking there. Well, this rear brake isn't good for that. The first time I tried it at a light, my total time on the bike was less than two minutes. Since it was clear that I wasn't going to be able to stop in time, I had to grab the front brakes. Which is also why I was distracted and ended up in the wrong gear.

After a few more tries, it was clear that the front brake would have to be used on every stop, even under the mild conditions I describe. The ability of the rear brake to stop or even slow is just pathetic and like my other two wheel vehicles, I may just not bother using the rear brake at all under most circumstances. On the other hand, the front brake bit sharply and controllably. I've read some negative comments here about slow response on the front, but my experience was much better than that.
 

L.B.S.

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Well, this rear brake isn't good for that. The first time I tried it at a light, my total time on the bike was less than two minutes.


I would advocate a lengthier amount of time to pass while both you and the bike get aquainted with each other :)

Also, like I said earlier, it's far better to have a less responsive rear brake than one that is too sensitive.

Let the pads and rotor wear in a bit with some more miles, or maybe take some emery cloth and brake cleaner or alcohol and give the disc a quick swipe over, take quick peak at the pads to make sure there isn't any residual grease/oil/wax etc., on the surfaces.

I'm so glad my NC takes a really healthy stomp on the pedal to initiate braking. My CBR, holy *%$*! If I dream about breathing on the rear brake in my sleep, the night before I ride, the damned thing locks up!
 

dog

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Thanks guys.

I just ordered a Madstad adjustable windshield. I had a very nice conversation with Mark, the owner, veering off topic to what it must be like to own and run such a cool business. I had some concerns with the esthetics of the pictures posted for the NC and it turns out that their process is extremely flexible and even build to order (no up charge). So both the shape of the windshield and the base plate will be adjusted. The pictures posted were of a customer's bike and built for his preferences. I'll start a new thread with a review after installation and adjustment.

Been looking for a windshield, but couldn't make up my mind because there were always too many compromises with the various options I found. I hadn't heard of Madstad, but can't find anything but positive reviews. So, unable to just wait for your review I ordered one too. I'm using the stock short screen now. The high position is better for me than the low, but it's not enough for long rides. Thanks for the heads-up on Madstad.
 

bigjeff

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If you get caught at a light in the wrong gear simply let the clutch out a little while dabbing down on the gearshift. It will release and down shift then.
 

Mike Cash

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Psssst!....It isn't a BMW.

I thought that on an owner's forum I wouldn't run into the common phenomenon on ADVriders of a $7,000 bike being criticized for not being a $10,000+ bike.

If you wanted a bike to be like your old BMW, maybe you should have gone to a BMW dealer.
 

GsVs

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MadStad

+1 on the customer service from Mark at MadStad ... I've had his adjustable brackets on quite a few bikes -- the adjustment in both height and tilt lets one fine tune the airflow

I don't have a NC yet - but when I do it will have the MadStad adjustable windscreen brackets -- and like yticolev said below -- he has plenty of windscreen choices in shapes, heights and tints to choose from ...

http://www.madstad.com/s.nl/sc.7/category.888/.f


Thanks guys.

I just ordered a Madstad adjustable windshield. I had a very nice conversation with Mark, the owner, veering off topic to what it must be like to own and run such a cool business. I had some concerns with the esthetics of the pictures posted for the NC and it turns out that their process is extremely flexible and even build to order (no up charge). So both the shape of the windshield and the base plate will be adjusted. The pictures posted were of a customer's bike and built for his preferences. I'll start a new thread with a review after installation and adjustment.
 
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