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Honda NTV 650 (1988-1993). Old or Classic?

Honda NTV 650
ER Classics Desktop 2022

Like a Triumph Bonneville from 1969 you envision as a classic? Then a motorcycle, a Honda NTV 650, from the eighties or nineties is of course just a new thing. So classic? Or just old? Oh, yes: it has shaft drive. The Honda NTV is an excellent all-rounder with its very own identity and the absolutely indestructible technology with which Honda has built its empire. The 647 cc V-twin with three valves per cylinder and 59 hp delivers pleasant performance without the need for sky-high revs. In the US, this model was released in a slightly different form under the name NT650 Hawk. This model has chain drive. You will also find the Hondas in Europe in that version.

The big picture

As befits a Honda, such a Honda NTV 650 is easy to handle and has just good handling characteristics, with the caveat that it works in short squares which tends to fall into the corner. For people with a broad frame of mind, this can be written off under the heading of 'character'. You got used to it quickly. The rear suspension was a bit weak until 1989, but it got firmer muscles in that year. As a result, the NTV suddenly appeared to be able to steer a lot better. That update also included a more comfortable, thicker buddy. That buddy seat also gave a possible passenger m/f pleasant space. That comfort had its price for the short-legged. The seat height went up about 30 mm, but fortunately did not reach a BMW GS-like value.


The technique

The V-twin under the Honda NTV 650 also has 500 cc brothers and is a fraternal twin of the Transalp blocks, which are also known as indestructible. The V-twin is extremely reliable and can also be good with higher mileages (50.000 up to a ton). Pay particular attention to the overall condition of the engine. Service booklets stamped up to the date of sale are not very common in this segment. The wiring – especially under the tank – is somewhat sensitive to pinching and wear damage. The tank itself is more than averagely sensitive to rust. In places that are not immediately light or polishable, the paint can be quite damaged. Look in the tank opening for rust and tap some on the lowest point of the tank when the bike is on its jiffy (from 1993 the centerstand was no longer standard). You could just poke through it. Perhaps it is not the most exciting motorcycle of its time. But things were so good that London motorcycle couriers loved it.

It is undervalued and inexpensive

In the meantime, these Honda NVTs are falling between two stools in the market. They are masterfully good, ride great, they are dated enough to be classic. But according to 'De Markt' they are not very exciting old motorcycles. Think of amounts well under 1.000 euros for neat, good copies. At the moment, these Hondas are often messed up with spring roll saddles, sturdy handlebars, quasi off-road tires and wrong exhausts. Leave those copies or bid very low on neat original parts that may still be present.

The NTV is a good choice

All in all, the NTV is a nice classic that provides a lot of driving pleasure for very little money. Add to that the fact that it is also economical and maintenance-friendly.

 

17 Comments

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  1. I've been driving Honda since 1977, first CB400 four super sport then a CB 400N, also had a Benelli 500 quattro (Italian copy of a Honda CB500), but because I can't tinker well this (nice engine) I sold it quickly. In 2007 an NTV 650 yrs. Purchased in 1995, trouble-free engine, drives fine for me! It has been ridden for 12 years, only (outside the normal turns) once replaced a brake light switch (I could do this myself). In 2019 I exchanged the NTV for a ……. Honda Deauville 650 year. 2003, but more usable with cases and fairing, drives, steers and brakes fine!

  2. Somewhere Honda has lost touch with the market, because where in the range can you find a mid-range engine with cardan shaft for a nice price? We once had the CX500/650 and they have since become cult bikes. The NTV and Deauville are well on their way to that because they pretend in everything they don't want to be (just do what they have to do without disappointing you while driving) and because of that or despite the fact that they manage to attract enough interested people. Well, we now have the NC, but it has a chain and that range is already horribly stripped. I wasn't the only one who asked at the motorcycle show why the NC didn't have a shaft drive, if you're putting an easy-going engine (quite low revs, wide torque, ideal for commuting) on ​​the market, why don't you offer the option cardan on? And when the NC was introduced, the brand in the Netherlands had already been overtaken by other brands left and right, while they belonged to the top for years (with Yamaha).
    It's a nice brand, Honda, but the company seems to be run a bit like Philips in the 80s in recent years. Technically interesting, but they have lost the feeling with the market, with cars for much longer. Let's make things better, Philips once said. Let's make things people wanna buy!

  3. I have only positive experiences with the dressed version of this bike: the Deauville 650 from 2003. Turning and back and forth in the garage with the heavier Kawasaki GTR1000 became too difficult for me after surgery on the knee. Everything runs much smoother with this one and I think it's a great all-rounder that can go anywhere. I started with a Yamaha XS650, then a Suzuki GS850, then a BMW 100/7 then a Honda Shadow 600 followed by a Kawasaki GTR1000 and now back to a 650. For me the ideal bike and I hope to enjoy it for many years to come.
    I get your magazine in the newsstand every month because those people are also allowed to stay in the streets, and I always enjoy reading and rereading some articles before it moves to my friends.
    Regards,
    Eric

  4. Blessed Dolf and absolutely correct, thanks
    I now do it with his tall-legged sister, ie My Transalpje…
    youngtimer regards,
    Bart

  5. In this day and age when riding motorcycles should also be 'an experience' – in addition to appealing to 'life-stylers' – I (67) apparently noticed when I said that I drive more km on two wheels than on four wheels per year. Well, I am one of those people who primarily sees and uses a motorcycle as a means of transport.
    This is mainly because I live in the Randstad. Going somewhere to 'just' go for a drive? Worse, in a group? It hasn't captivated me in nearly 50 years. I did make several trips in my choice of transport, from a fantastically nice SZR660 (ballets on the road – to work, that is) to an XJ900 that gave me the insight that a chain is an expensive thing. Because I could appreciate both extremes, but the 1-pitter moped gave me neck problems and I found the 4-pitter too cumbersome and heavy to keep wriggling in my shed, I took the example of (English) couriers and for the first time acquired a Honda motorcycle. Ugly, and also rusty, which the previous owner wanted to correct somewhat with a brush of worker's chrome, the NTV650 is the bike I want to grow old with. Extremely reliable, close to 100K and no oil consumption, runs hard, steers and brakes well enough, and a nice average for city traffic but also highway. The appearance is such that I don't have to carry an extra lock: with age and some insight, life becomes a lot easier.
    In fact, I bought a second one, which also this time did not exceed 500 euros.
    Just to compare, but there is no difference, even the same weird noises that I can now dismiss as 'standard'. The only theoretical flaw is the fuel pump, which is needed to allow the last half of fuel to flow to the carburettors. But who has ever had to replace such a pump in their car? Oh yes, you just have to select that neutral when you're still rolling.
    I don't think it will ever become a classic, because it was undervalued from the beginning until today. I like it that way.

    Honda NTV650 line

    • As in a previous comment: Damn: I must have something like this too! And whether something is recognized classic with pedigree or just old? Does not matter. As long as it's not full of useless power and tons of electronics

  6. nice engine, had the pleasure to buy the Police version of the importer in full uniform, so with fairing and striping, but without the blue flashlights, I was once stopped by the police in Uithoorn, but only out of interest, switched in 2004 on the first CBF600SA4 of the European press intro in Valencia with fairing and ABS where I still enjoy the round stove.

    Police NTV650

  7. At the time (1993) I drove such an NTV for a while and I thought it was indeed a nice motorcycle. It also went well with my girlfriend on the back (type of lightweight).

  8. Have ridden a 10 NTV for 1997 years. Been from Norway, Spain, Italy, Romania to England. Just maintenance, but not exactly economical. Also ridden on the Assen circuit. Much faster than you think, also because the sound isn't exciting. Great bike, had a lot of fun with it, and good and cheap.

  9. In appearance not the most successful motorcycle but as a workhorse an absolutely great motorcycle. Driven many thousands of kilometers with the aim of preserving it until the moment of 'worn', but it did not wear out. Very reliable also at a later age. In my circle of acquaintances there are still several, now and then undervalued as a ladies motorcycle. Some of them are equipped with a Schurgerskuip (which the police also drove for a long time) for comfort in the rain (which is handy in this humid country). A single overhaul of the block has proved necessary only after about 85 thousand km. An engine that, with loving maintenance, including the treatment of some rust spots caused by damage to the tank, among other things, can still be ridden well and fine.
    Have had two including in the motorcycle school, which under all circumstances did great.

  10. My brother recently had such a bicycle; Finding a free stand was a bit of a drama with that device.
    Seems to be a 'malfunction' with the NTV..
    Runs fine, a worthy successor to the CX500 (Maggot) as a courier favourite.

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