Sunday, June 3, 2012

Honda CRF250L XR650L NC700SA comparo

OK, lots packed into this somewhat misleading title, so bear with me.

Unlike the Canadian Honda site, where crickets abound, the US site offers an interesting comparison between the soon-to-be-released 250 and the venerable 650 dualsports. (You know you're desperate for any kind of insight on the new offering when you have to resort to the factory web site!)

Here I was thinking the 250 would offer significant weight savings. But 26 lbs fully wet seems hardly worth the sacrifice of power that the 650 offers. Plus, you can put the 650 on a diet and match the 250's heft without breaking a sweat (or bank account).

So what else do you get for the extra clams of the 650? Well, adjustable forks and shocks and a few inches more of ground clearance are tempting. A larger stock tank and aftermarket options for even larger tanks are also a bonus. Frankly, I'm finding it hard to justify the smaller bike when the larger one offers about the same range and more customizability. If the 250 had more range it may be a harder decision. 

One of these days I'm going to spring for the 650--as affordable as the 250 is. Too bad there wasn't a sweet 400 or 450 in the line-up, with a larger tank. That would be the perfect trail weapon for backcountry Ontario rides. 

In other news, Honda has also just released (depending on where you are--it seem to be in London but not Ottawa) a rather interesting naked street bike, the NC700SA. Other than nice styling, it offers the remarkable feature of a fake gas tank which is really a storage bin. The real gas tank is under the seat which implies a desirable low centre of mass. Too bad about the cast wheels, because otherwise the platform seems to have the right ingredients to become an interesting alternative to BMW's F800GS. Honda, if you're listening, please offer this bike in a dualsport version.  

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