Back in 1988 Honda introduced the Hawk GT in America. For its day it was a pretty trick little motorcycle. It's 52-degree, single overhead cam V-twin engine only had three valves per cyclinder and bore and stroke measurements of 79.0 x 66.0mm, respectively, making for a total displacement of 647cc. It was housed in a twin-spar aluminum frame, which doubled as a stressed member. Aside from its spartan exterior, a single-sided swingarm drew attention to the bike as a naked standard that could rip up the local twisties. As neat as it was, unfortunately it didn't sell too well, with 1991 being the final year of production. But the Hawk quickly gained a cult following, with loyal owners transforming these bikes into wicked customs or dedicated club racing machines with custom bodywork, transplanted front ends from other models and power upgrades to wring out the most from the engine.
Picking up on how the little Hawk developed an underground following, Honda decided to bring back the almost 650cc V-twin for a revival. In 1998 it introduced the NT650V Revere to the European market. Disguised with a mini-touring fairing and integrated saddlebags, the Revere sported a steel frame, reworked internals for better mid-range performance and shaft-drive. Instead of being a quasi-sportbike, the little twin found itself as the basis for a mini sport-tourer. Eight years later Honda eventually decided the Revere needed more punch and gave it a more oversquare 81 x 66mm bore and stroke for a 680cc displacement. Compression was also raised to 10:1 (compared to 9.4:1) for just a touch more power. Meanwhile, the name was also changed to "Deauville." The popularity of the Revere and Deauville among average riders never caught on the same way as it did with the Hawk, but it was a popular choice among municipalities that decided to use them as emergency medical vehicles, among other things.
And that brings us to 2010 and the U.S. introduction of what the Euros call Deauville, but what will be branded here as the NT700V. Largely unchanged from the Deauville, the NT700V was a simple motorcycle to alter towards the U.S. market as the 2006 redesign already incorporated changes to meet the stringent Euro 3 emission standards. Billed as the little brother to the ST1300 sport-tourer, the NT700V's overall smaller package should appeal to those looking for a less committed sport-tourer that can pull commuting duties as well as the occasional week-long getaway with most of the amenities of its bigger brother.
What The People Want
According to Honda, over 47,000 units have been sold in Europe since 2000 and when it was decided to bring the bike stateside, market research was conducted to see what U.S. buyers would want. The rather simple requests include: saddlebags, an adjustable windscreen, fuel economy and nimble handling, especially two-up. Those requests weren't very difficult to accommodate as the NT700V features saddlebags that are integrated into the design of the tail section, making for bags that don't add any extra width to the motorcycle. A neat feature of this integrated design is the "pass through" area between the bags that allows larger items to be placed in between. To keep costs down electronics were kept to a minimum, hence the mechanical adjustable windscreen. Choose between five adjustments by physically lifting or pushing the screen up or down along the guides. Granted, it's not as simple as pressing a button, but how many times do you adjust the screen while riding anyway?
Honda chose a two-pronged approach in regards to fuel economy. First, the NT is equipped with a 5.2 gallon tank, meaning you won't have to worry about keeping track of where the gas stations are. All of this fuel is sipped by the capable 680cc 52-degree V-twin that powers the NT700V. Sharing much of the same architecture from the original Hawk, the new engine's oversquare 81mm x 66mm bore and stroke numbers account for the bump in displacement, as mentioned earlier. Single overhead camshafts actuate the valves on the NT-that now have four valves (as opposed to three on the Hawk). Fuel is fed via 40mm throttle bodies with single, 12-hole injectors metering the fuel. Honda claims fuel mileage hovering around 50 mpg and is now going to state EPA fuel mileage figures for all models starting in 2010.