Honda Global | X-ADV


What makes the X-ADV especially exciting are its wire-spoked wheels and long-travel suspension travel, which give the impression that it’s been built to tear up the dirt. In true off-road style, its exhaust system has an upward pointing silencer, a functional multi-position windscreen, a rectangular instrument panel and more…

As soon as I could, I jumped right on to check out this nicely designed ‘wild one’ and to find answers to my initial question, “What on earth is this new X-ADV?”

Before getting into the review, let’s take another look at the DCT system. The letters DCT stand for Dual Clutch Transmission, which is a system that combines an almost conventional gearbox with an electronically controlled automatic gear-change system that further broadens the appeal of riding by not requiring manual clutch operation. Although DCT systems have already become well-known devices on cars, to install a DCT system on a motorcycle, with its limited available space, and to devise a shifting program that can appeal to riders who are used to manual transmissions, could only be made possible by Honda’s highly advanced technology.

With the DCT system physically performing all the clutch work and shifting, you’re relieved of any worries about stalling the engine when letting out the clutch, or possibly missing a shift. Starting on slopes is also problem-free, and when riding two-up, normal up and down shifts are often smoother than the manual shifts of many expert riders. The first time I rode a DCT model I was shocked to realize how distracted I’d been by the constant operation of the clutch and gears when using a manual gearbox. I’ve been riding for more than 30 years now, and have always strived to be a better rider, but the DCT seriously hurt my pride.

By surrendering control to the DCT and freeing myself from the tasks of clutch work and gear-shifting, I experienced a peculiar feeling. I suddenly found I was better able to focus on throttle control and precise braking, which resulted in a more relaxed state of mind that allowed me to be more aware of other traffic and pedestrians. Also, when riding beyond the crush of city traffic I was able to enjoy the scenery a lot more than I could on a manual transmission bike. The DCT filled my ride with a richness and pleasure that I’d never appreciated before.

Although the DCT system offers a stress-free ride, it’s still a 6-speed gearbox, and I was delighted to find that shifting up and down resulted in the same exhaust note and feel of engine vibration that you get with a manual transmission. Another thing I noticed was that because I didn’ have to constantly position myself to operate the clutch or gear shift pedal, cornering became a lot easier.

Some journalist once described the DCT as an ‘aggressive’ system, and now I understand what he meant. I would further describe it as a mechanism that makes riding a motorcycle more enjoyable.

Incorporating the latest update of this DCT system, the X-ADV is now standing right in front of me. What is this new riding machine going to be like? Throwing a leg over feels effortless, a sensation that has a lot in common with conventional scooters. But when sitting down on the seat and reaching forward to grab the handlebars, that scooter sensation quickly disappears, instead giving the impression of a totally new type of motorcycle.

Equipped with a smart key, starting the X-ADV requires only turning the ignition switch and pushing the starter button while gripping the front brake lever. This up-to-date starting procedure and the strong pulse of the engine that followed filled me with a feeling that I was about to experience something totally new and powerful.

After choosing ‘D’ (Drive) mode via the selector switch on the right-side handlebar and then kicking up the sidestand, just a twist of the throttle got things moving. As the engine poured out its pulsating exhaust note, the clutch hooked up smoothly and the take-off was impressive. Much like the NC750 series, there’s plenty of low-rev torque, propelling the X-ADV to a quick start off the line with only the slightest twist of the throttle, and feeling a lot more like a motorcycle than a scooter.

With the CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) systems commonly used on scooters, engine revs tend rise to a certain point and stay there while the scooter accelerates. The feeling that the clutch is slipping for a long period gives the impression that machine’s actual speed is continually trying to catch up.



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