2011 Honda NT700VA Varadero ABS
Adventure touring is an interesting if difficult to define term. As Honda traditionally applies it in its marketing approaches, adventure touring combines elements of on road with occasional jaunts on easy off road trails to further explore the back country. That definition very handily covers the 2009 Honda Varadero ABS XL1000V which although a rather large handful off the road with its one litre v-twin engine, still is set up to have some level of limited off road capability. With the introduction of the 2011 Honda NT700VA Varadero ABS the company had muddied the waters: Yes, it's a Varadero, and yes, it's being promoted as an adventure tourer, but where are the off road abilities?
The NT700VA Varadero ABS is an extremely capable middleweight sport tourer, as it is equipped with all the regular accoutrements which are seen to be specific to the sport tourer class. The NT700VA Varadero ABS features a fairly small set of hardsided saddlebags, an even smaller top box and a cut down touring fairing (or is it a larger sport fairing?) The shaft drive and the very slightly hunched over rider ergonomic stance are clearly in the sport touring arena. But again, where is the off road factor?
There may be a clue in the frontal aspect of the fairing. Yes… it's there if you look hard… the double stack with the strange groove under the headlight… Ducati Multistrada! OK, so it has a Multistrada pseudo-hyper-motard fairing. But just because you cloned the fairing does that provide it with the off road capabilities of the Italian original? You can fly a model airplane with a 12 inch wingspan between the 2011 Multistrada 1200's rear wheel and the rear fender, but the NT700VA Varadero ABS has none of that clearance. One good sized off road pothole and the 4.5 inches travel on the 41mm telescopic front fork and the 4.8 inches travel on the rear single shock of the NT700VA Varadero ABS are going to bottom out worse than the value of the Euro.
The NT700VA Varadero ABS is by no means an inadequate overall street motorcycle or even specific sport tourer. The 680cc liquid-cooled 52 degree V-twin is more than adequate for two up sport touring, the triple discs with CBS three-piston calipers and ABS will screech you to a halt in one heck of a hurry, and the overall package is generally pleasing in a Junior Kawasaki Concours sort of way. But… where's the off road?
The 2011 Honda NT700VA Varadero ABS is somewhat like buying a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and not getting any jelly. For eleven grand for a 680 cc at least you should get the jelly! So, come on, Honda, where's the jelly?
2011 Honda NT700VA Varadero ABS At A Glance
Base MSRP: $9,999
Engine Displacement: 680 cc
Engine Type: liquid-cooled 52° V-twin
Bore & Stroke: 81 mm x 66 mm
Induction Type: PGM-FI
Ignition Type: Digital transistorized with electronic advance
Compression Ratio: 10.0:1
Valve Train Type: SOHC; four valves per cylinder
Transmission Type: Five-speed
Final Drive Type:
Front Tire: 120/70 ZR17 radial
Rear Tire: 150/70 ZR17 radial
Wheelbase: 58.1 inches
Saddle Height: 31.7 inches
Curb Dry Weight: 566 pounds
Fuel Capacity (US): 5.2 gallons
* Specs/pix apply to 2010 model, updates as released