£7799 | 54bhp | 50lb-ft | 745cc In-line twin-cylinder
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Sharing the engine and much of its chassis with the NC750X and NC750S, the new Integra is an update to Honda’s 670cc 700D, released in 2011. More of a motorcycle / scooter crossover than a maxi-scooter, it’s got the performance and handling to make you want to take the long way home…
The motor is exactly the same as that used in the NC750X, reviewed on the previous page. Unlike the NC though, the Integra is only available with the Dual Clutch Transmission. This makes absolute sense in a scooter, and the use of an automatic gearbox (with a manual setting), as opposed to the Continuously Variable Transmission used in many other twist-and-gos makes it feel more like a bike in performance.
What’s the chassis like?
The basic chassis is the same as the NC750X, and while the forks have the same internals, they have a shorter stroke (120mm; the same as the NC750S) and stiffer settings. The swingarm is aluminium on this scooter, saving 2kg over the previous part, and helping towards the 1kg weight saving of the overall machine compared to last year’s model.
Wheels and brakes are identical to the NC, and are complete with ABS, which helps to make this one of the best-handling large scooters available. It’s no VFR in fast corners, and it can feel a little confused at speed if you hit a bump mid-bend, but the Integra still maintains the accessible riding style of the NC.
The bodywork has been tweaked slightly, giving the Honda a more sleek profile, and slightly better weather protection, along with larger foot-boards. Like the NC, there’s no way to leave the scooter in gear when parked on a slope, so a handbrake is set into the fairing.
Despite being so similar in build to the NC750, the Integra is bound to appeal to a different audience. The advantage of the large fairing shouldn’t be underestimated for wet-weather commuting, but that comes at a £900 premium. You also pay for it with storage space, as the Integra actually has a smaller bin than the NC, being unable to fit a full-face lid. A pair of 29 litre hard panniers are available as an optional extra, as is a 45 litre top-box, and at £1000 less than the cavernous Suzuki Burgman, and £1300 less than an ABS Yamaha T-Max, it’d be unfair to criticize it too much for this.
The exceptional economy and great handling, combined with a keen price in its category make the Integra a good choice, but as a countryside commuter, I’d probably opt for the cheaper NC750, and make sure I had decent waterproof trousers. Opinion amongst the journalists on the launch was, however, divided, with others (some of whom live in London), preferring the Integra as a city commuting tool.
Differences in handling when compared to the NC750X are purely down to ergonomics. With the feet-forward riding position of these machines, control is influenced much more by the handlebars, with less weight being transferred to your feet and the footpegs as on a bike. It’s an odd feeling to jump from one to the other, and at first I found myself running a little wider in fast corners after the NC, but this is still one rapid scoot.
The DCT works perfectly, as you’d expect, making for smooth gear-changes and excellent low-speed control. It’s also great that you can run it in automatic mode, still with the option to override briefly, or even take full manual control of a transmission that gives all the rider-feedback of a ‘normal’ motorbike.
As scooters go, this one is a lot of fun to ride, and haring around Athens and the surrounding countryside showed its handling prowess. By the end of the day, the usual journalistic playfulness saw the ride back to the hotel get faster and faster, but there were no mishaps, and no mention of any heart-stopping moments. Considering some of the twisty coastline we rode, the excellent ground-clearance was proven by an unusual lack of scuffed lower-fairings.
As something more than a simple city tool, this motorcycle in scooter’s clothing is a brilliant piece of engineering, but budget for some extra luggage if you need the storage space of other maxi-scooters.
Tested by: John Milbank
Price: From £7799
Engine: 745cc Liquid-cooled transverse in-line twin-cylinder
Power: 54bhp (40.3kW) @ 6250rpm
Torque: 50lb-ft (68Nm) @ 4750rpm
Kerb weight: 237kg
Seat height: 790mm
Tank size: 14.1litres