With the 2014 CTX700 and CTX700N, Honda introduces an advanced category of motorcycles that incorporates unique levels of comfort, advanced technology, and an exceptional riding experience—hence the name CTX: Comfort, Technology and eXperience.

These new 700s are just the first in a whole new family of CTX products that will be rolled out in the future. CTX models open up brand-new options and a distinctive riding experience for long-time riders, those re-entering the sport and entry-market buyers as well.

How can these CTX motorcycles deliver a riding experience that's new and unmatched in today's already-diverse market? Picture this: These bikes blend the best of both the cruiser realm and the world of sport bikes. More specifically, the CTX700 and CTX700N offer the relaxed cadence of a cruiser with open and roomy feet-forward ergonomics, plush comfort, a remarkably low seat and engine traits that emphasize a broad powerband, loads of torque and an engaging power pulse. In addition, like a sport bike, the CTXs place a priority on a lightweight feel, agile handling, plentiful cornering clearance and nimble low-speed handling. Moreover, toss in a set of optional bags on the faired CTX700 and you've added touring capabilities as well. Add to all this the option of a simple-to-operate Honda automatic Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT), and you have an especially easygoing ride that's fun for short hops around town, long trips and everything in between. Perhaps best of all, with a base price of $6999 for the CTX700N and $7799 for the faired CTX700, with $7999 for the CTX700N DCT-ABS and $8799 for the CTX700 DCT-ABS these bikes are highly affordable yet they come full of all the quality you expect from Honda.

The novel design of the CTX700 and CTX700N is readily recognized: horizontally oriented lines give these urban roadsters a distinctive appearance, one that is complemented by functional advantages. Sharing much of the same basic platform as the much-praised NC700X, the CTX models place a premium on lightweight handling and roomy ergonomics that translate into day-long comfort. One important element that sets them apart from the NC700X is a newly designed rear subframe—a change that helps bring seat height down to a reassuringly low 28.3 inches. This lowered seat works in concert with a signature forward-canted twin-cylinder engine to further reduce the bike's center of gravity (CG), which makes the CTX700 models especially maneuverable and nimble handling, with a remarkably responsive feel.

Subhead: New-think engine design

Originally introduced in the NC700X, this liquid-cooled parallel-twin-cylinder 670cc engine with four valves per cylinder was designed to be especially rider-friendly. Engine performance is especially accessible in typical street-riding conditions, which makes these CTX models an especially good match for new riders as well as those who enjoy riding at a relaxing pace at the bottom end of the tachometer.

Using relatively long-stroke SOHC architecture with a bore and stroke of 73mm by 80mm, plus specially shaped combustion chambers, this smooth-running, fuel-efficient and compact engine is also remarkably fun to use. To aid handling, the cylinders cant forward with a pronounced 62-degree lean angle to lower the CG, a move that contributes significantly to agility and responsive feel.

A compact PGM-FI electronic fuel injection system features just one 36mm throttle body that feeds a single, branched intake port to charge both cylinders within the cylinder head. To create a more compact cooling system, the water pump drive is taken off the camshaft. The balancer shaft drives the oil pump. The exhaust ports are consolidated within the engine so only one exhaust pipe and one catalytic converter are needed—another smart idea that helps create a more compact package—and the three-way catalytic converter is close-coupled for efficient processing of exhaust emissions. This design lets combustion gases pass through the catalyst while the gases are still very hot, which improves efficiency and makes it possible to use a smaller, lighter catalytic converter.

Other technical highlights include sophisticated and lightweight aluminum roller rocker arms in the valve train and a special low-friction resin coating on the pistons to reduce frictional losses and boost fuel efficiency. The engine produces its peak power output at 6250 rpm, but more importantly, the strong torque spread peaks at a readily accessible 4750 rpm, with a broad spread throughout the rev range.

Subhead: A chassis designed for relaxed riding

The rigid and compact diamond-shape steel frame carries over the same steering geometry dimensions as the NC700X (27.7 degrees of rake, 4.4 inches of trail), albeit with a pinch less wheelbase: 60.2 inches versus 60.6 inches. Also, the previously mentioned new rear subframe is not only positioned for reduced seat height, it's also lighter as well. Up front, the stout 41mm fork delivers a comfy 4.2 inches of travel, while the single-shock Pro-Link® rear suspension delivers 4.3 inches of travel. All in all, the overall chassis package does an excellent job of balancing agility and responsiveness along with a reassuringly solid feel. Whether you're navigating busy city streets or enjoying a twisty country road, both CTXs are easy-going riding partners. For longer trips, the fairing on the CTX700 adds to rider comfort by diverting the wind, creating a still-air pocket for the rider and reducing fatigue.

In addition, for only $1000 more riders can opt for Honda's cutting-edge second-generation automatic Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) with ABS included. With this newest Honda Automatic option, CTX owners can choose either easy manual shifts "paddle-shifter style" with the push of a button or two modes of fully automatic functionality—simple twist-and-go operation. These three modes of transmission operation give the CTX700's outstanding flexibility. MT mode gives full manual control, allowing the rider to select and change gears using two buttons on the left handlebar controls. Two fully automatic modes are also available, with D mode being ideal for city and highway riding. In sporty S mode the transmission lets the engine rev a little higher before shifting up, giving greater acceleration performance, and it also shifts down sooner when decelerating, offering additional engine braking.

In either automatic D or S mode this newest automatic DCT offers immediate manual override on demand. The rider simply selects the desired gear using the MT mode shift buttons; this is particularly useful, for example, when preparing to pass another vehicle or when approaching a tight corner on a twisty, hilly road. And when the rider is done using the push-button controls, the transmission seamlessly reverts to full automatic mode without any further rider input required.

This new-generation DCT also has a new level of sophistication: a "learning function" allows the ECU (engine control unit) to detect variations in operational patterns in different riding environments, from city streets to mountain passes and more. With continued riding under given circumstances, the DCT "learns" and adapts to these patterns by performing the most appropriate shift actions—automatically—to create a whole new level of riding compatibility.

When the DCT option is selected over the manual-shift six-speed transmission, the CTX also comes with Honda's Antilock Braking System (ABS). This system appeals to all riders, but particularly to new riders. Additionally, ABS has full anti-lock functionality; should the system detect either wheel is about to lock up, ABS momentarily reduces the hydraulic pressure being applied to the relevant brake, helping ensure secure braking.

Overall, the CTX700N and CTX700 offer an ideal blend of handling, versatility and performance for tackling whatever the day's agenda may hold. The unique styling adds a new level of diversity to the Honda lineup, and their easy-to-operate features—especially in the DCT version—could open the door to a whole new segment of riding enthusiasts.

Sidebar: Tech Analysis: Honda's New Second-Generation Automatic Dual Clutch Transmission

The optional Automatic Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) for the CTX700 and CTX700N represents smart technologies with broad appeal, particularly for riders new to motorcycling. Among the general driving population in the USA, the role of the manual transmission is vanishing. While clutch manipulation and manual shifting are second nature to experienced motorcycle riders, some potential new riders find that mastering these steps can be intimidating at first—enough to cause them to walk away from the sport before they've even begun. But Automatic DCT can solve that dilemma for such riders.

As dual-clutch terminology implies, Honda's Automatic DCT system indeed incorporates two clutches: one for start-up and 1st, 3rd and 5th gears, and another for 2nd, 4th and 6th. By preselecting the next gear using the clutch not currently driving the motorcycle, this system delivers swift, smooth and seamless gearshifts. And this smooth nature feels reassuring to the operator and aids passenger comfort while providing ease of operation.

Engineered specifically for the CTX, this new-generation Honda DCT is very light and compact, which helps to create an overall powerplant that's light and space-efficient. The clutch plates and shafts are scaled specifically to this engine's power output, the hydraulic circuit is more efficient in design and the overall layout has been repackaged to place the two clutches on either side of the primary gear, thereby reducing overall length. And even though it is an automatic transmission, this DCT delivers admirable fuel efficiency—as much as 61 mpg estimated fuel economy—as a result of its excellent transmission efficiency.

The Honda Automatic DCT can make motorcycling all the more accessible for new riders and enjoyable for all riders.