2014/15 Honda CTX 700 DCT ABS Test Ride

?2014 / 2015 Honda CTX 700 DCT ABS?
A Smaller More Advanced Alternative to the CTX 1300

I recently reviewed Honda?s CTX1300, which along with the CTX1300 Deluxe were not officially a part of Honda?s 2015 model line-up but were in such an ample supply in dealer?s showrooms as 2014 models to support 2015 sales. Under such circumstances, motorcycle manufacturers often occasionally skip a model year with no changes on specific bikes. The same holds true for a smaller displacement model, the Honda CTX 700 DCT ABS.

Back in 2009, Honda introduced an innovative model called the DN-01, powered by a 680cc, SOHC, 8-valve, liquid-cooled V-Twin, that delivered the driving force to the rear wheel via what they called san HFT ?Human Friendly Transmission? ? a continuously variable hydromechanical, two-mode automatic that featured a six-speed manual mode to the final shaft drive. It tipped the scales at 595 pounds, and was considered to be more of a scooter ? at least it sounded like one, despite its sport bike-like appearance. The DN-01 designation came from ?Dream New Concept 1?. It was essentially a ?Crossover? sport cruiser and seemed to answer a question that nobody was asking at the time. It was also very pricey, costing just a tad under $15,000 and it didn?t sell particularly well. Not a company to give up on technological development however, the prolific Japanese manufacturer followed up with the 2014 Honda CTX700 and 2014 Honda CTX700D. Now, the Honda CTX 700 DCT ABS is yet another member and represents the evolution of the CTX family, and It is part of Honda?s Comfort Technology eXperience (hence CTX).
The power source for the CTX 700 DCT ABS is a smaller 670 cc SOHC, 8-valve, liquid-cooled parallel twin with PGM-FI with 36mm throttle body and digital transistorized ignition with electronic advance. The 1261cc motor of the CTX 1300 came from Honda?s discontinued ST models and mated to a five-speed sequential manual transmission, but lacked the dual clutch gearbox that is provided with the CTX 700 DCT ABS model. The CTX 700?s DCT or Dual Clutch transmission is a six-speed automatic with two automatic modes and a manual mode, which gears the motor?s motive force to the rear wheel via a chain final drive rather than through a shaft drive as with the CTX 1300 models.

The Dual Clutch Transmission uses two hydraulically controlled clutches for quick and smooth gear changes in the rider?s choice of three modes: Manual (MT), with button shifting (there?s no clutch lever). The switch for selecting AT/MT modes is located on the leading edge of the right grip. The switch for the two automatic modes ? S for more aggressive sport riding, and D for everyday cruising, and Neutral. The left grip houses two toggles for shifting gears ? the minus (-) button appears on the trailing side of the grip and is for downshifts, while the plus (+) button is positioned on the leading edge of the grip housing, and is for upshifts. The AT or automatic mode may be over-ridden by the + and ? switches temporarily when needed, but default to automatic. The D auto mode and manual mode allows for a 6th gear, while the S sport mode only allows for five gears.
Whoa power for the CTX 700 DCT ABS is accomplished through a single 320mm disc with 2-piston caliper up front and a single 240mm disc with single-piston caliper in the rear. There?s also a park brake located just inside the left grip.
The suspension setup consists of 41mm forks with 4.2-inches of travel up front, and a Pro-Link single shock with 4.3-inches of travel in the rear. Rolling stock features a Battlax BT028 Sport Touring 120/70-17 tire forward and a160/60-17 rear tire. Both are mounted on 6-?Y?-spoke black-painted alloy wheels.
The seat height is a low 28.3-inches, and the bike features a very low center of gravity thanks to the new Honda parallel-twin engine design, giving the CTX heightened agility, for a fun-to-ride quality. The fuel tank holds 3.17 gallons and the impressive fuel efficiency gives the CTX 700 DCT ABS a comfortable range for longer cruises.

The rigid steel frame is compact, and is executed in a diamond-shape, which contributes to the low center of gravity and allows for a plush suspension setup, making the bike responsive and enjoyable to ride.
The riding position is comfortable, with open, roomy ergonomics placing the rider in a well-balanced posture for all-day comfort. Handlebars are set for optimum reach and control, and the rider foot pegs are mounted mid-bike, with passenger pegs provided along with grab rails or handles flanking the passenger pillion portion of the one-piece, sculpted seat. A full ?Bat-wing? fairing with a shorty windscreen affixed, add to rider comfort (depending upon the rider?s height).
Gauges include: a speedometer, an odometer, a bar fuel level graph, a clock and a gear indicator, as well as an indication of the mode that the transmission is in, all in a single digital panel, with the usual warning lights.

My Honda CTX 700 DCT ABS sported a finish of Blue Gray metallic. The base price of my test bike was set at $7,599. While the estimated final total amounted to $7,849 after adding for dealer prep and handling, which can vary from dealer to dealer.

SUMMARY: Riding the Honda CTX 700 DCT ABS seems a little strange at first, due to the lack of a clutch lever, which eliminates accessing a friction zone, and requires a modest adjustment to one?s riding style. A little practice brings the whole experience into a comfortable perspective.

The transmission shifts smoothly enough and acceleration is readily available on demand, and is more than adequate, while the bike?s light 516 pound weight and its geometry allows for a balanced ride, making The CTX 700 DCT ABS extremely agile and easily controllable regardless of speed.
The Honda CTX 700 DCT ABS bike does not come with bags. Its styling is sleekly futuristic and emotionally appealing. The handlebars are swept back and wide, providing an easy leverage. Steering response and maneuverability is spot on making directional stability a breeze.

The 670 cc parallel twin motor is smooth, with a broad torque range, and the Dual Clutch transmission shifts as smoothly.

Owners can add equipment to suit their individual preferences for expanding their adventurous nature through a combination of optional accessories, which include a one year warranty that begins on the day accessories are purchased by the customer.

Once acclimated to the bike?s uniqueness, it?s really an enjoyable ride, with less to do, and it?s also more affordable than many scooters, while presenting itself as a sportbike. A self-canceling turn signal would be a nice addition, and a left grip brake lever where the clutch lever would normally be, would be more scooter like since the bike is essentially an automatic with manual shift capability. In any case, it?s a cool, easily managed bike that?s both fun and economical to ride.

An adjustable windscreen would serve as an improvement for taller riders, but the short existing screen is acceptable, with minimal buffeting. Another feature that would be appreciated would be a gear indicator for forgetful riders. The deep-dish seat is quite comfortable, though perhaps a tad short for longer ?legged riders. Passengers are provided with foot pegs, a seat strap handle as well as grips molded into the bodywork.

The Honda CTX 700 DCT ABS is a totally enjoyable multi-functional bike that?s ideal for a less experienced rider, while being enjoyable for a veteran rider as well. A revised edition is likely for the next model year.

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?[wptabtitle] SPECIFICATIONS: Honda CTX 700 DCT ABS [/wptabtitle]
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Base Price: $7,599.
Price as Tested: $7,849. *Price can vary by dealer
Engine Type and Size: 670 cc SOHC, 8-valve, liquid-cooled parallel twin with PGM-FI with 36mm throttle body and digital transistorized ignition with electronic advance.
Horsepower (bhp): Honda does not publish horsepower ratings.
Torque (ft./ lbs.): Honda does not publish torque ratings.
Transmission: Automatic six-speed with two modes and a manual mode.
Drive Train: Final drive ? Chain.
Suspension: Front – 41mm forks with 4.2 inches of travel.
Rear – Pro-Link single shock, with 4.3 inches of travel.

Brakes: Front – Single 320mm disc with two-piston caliper; Honda ABS.
Rear – Single 240mm disc with single-piston caliper; Honda ABS.
Tires: Battlax ? 120/70-17 up front / 160/60-17 aft mounted on 6-?Y?-spoke black-painted alloy wheels.
Wheelbase: 60.2 inches
Length Overall: 89.1 inches
Curb Weight: 516 (dry)
Fuel Capacity: 3.17 gallons / mpg = 61
Seat Height: 28.3 inches
0 – 60 mph: Not tested.

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Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles and unusual wheeled vehicles as well.

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