Is it a rival to the established big-bore sports touring bikes like BMW's S1000R. Terry McCarthy swung a leg over to find out. Photographs Roderick Eime
The NT1100 is available in two versions. Manual 6-speed transmission and Dual Clutch 6 speed transmission (DCT). The gunmetal black version I rode was the manual transmission version. The standard transmission model is also available in iridium grey. Those opting for the DCT will be limited to gunmetal black and their bike will weigh slightly more. 238kg for the standard, 248kg for the DCT.
For those familiar with Honda, you will recognise the 1084cc parallel twin engine as the same as used in the Africa Twin. This bike was very low in kilometres so it was a little tight and will free up as more kilometres are covered.
Electronics-wise, Honda has not been sparing. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, cruise control, Honda Selectable Torque Control, multiple riding modes including 2 which are user configurable.
Hook up your smartphone and Bluetooth headset and you will have everything at your disposal.
Touring wise the bike is fitted with heated grips and an adjustable screen and the fairing is set with upper deflectors and lower leg deflectors, coupled with cruise control this bike could do it comfortably. There are multiple options for panniers and top boxes which are designed to suit your budget and give you the ability to comfortably carry your stuff.
Ergonomics were excellent with everything falling into place comfortably. A seat height of 820mm means it is easy to get a foot, or if you must, both feet to the ground (test rider height is 178cm). You really get the impression that you are sitting in the bike rather than on it. The adjustable screen allows you to pick a set-up that suits you. The bike felt light and easily managed.
There are optional comfort seats available.
Engine wise it sounds enjoyable and the transmission was typical Honda ‘snicking’ through the gears. I found low-speed revs to be a little disconcerting. A bit of hunting seemed to occur at low revs but this disappeared once revs were over 3,000. The engine lets you know it is there but real motorcycle engines should anyway. Never would it get uncomfortable. The engine has an excellent mid-range which is where it will spend most of its life. There is more than adequate top end if you need to use it.
Suspension is preload adjustable both ends, I rode it as factory configured, finding it nearly ideal but tweaking the preload is a simple exercise and may make it close to perfect.
Handling wise at low speeds it is easy to control. At touring speeds it was fine.
Honda back up their product with a 2-year warranty. Like all manufacturers make sure you understand how the warranty works. I am surprised that motorcycles have not followed cars in warranty terms but who knows, that may yet come. One manufacturer is now supporting their product for 5 years.
Without options, the standard transmission bike is under $24k and the DCT under $25k. I suspect that not too many will be sold without some options though.
Terry McCarthy's test bike from Horizon Motorcycles. Rod's photo bike from Honda Australia