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 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.