Room for one Superhero
A new crowd of friends with non-traditional tastes is what Honda hopes for with its 2015 NM4.
Without referencing some version of the Batmobile, Honda’s 2015 NM4 is unlike any other motorcycle, scooter or conveyance on the road today—which is exactly its point. Most companies build motorcycles for motorcyclists, but sometimes Honda will take a flier on certain models, hoping they’ll sell to non-traditional buyers. Exhibits A and B are the Pacific Coast and the ill-fated DN01. In this context the NM4 might appeal to those who are into unusual, cutting edge products.
Those who are not might find the manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $12,499 a little off-putting.
At first glance the Honda NM4 with its layback windscreen, integral saddlebags and twin snorkel machine gun pods on either side of the headlight, looks like the Batcycle. But underneath the swoopy plastic it’s all motorcycle with 17-inch wheels and a rigid steel frame suspended by 43mm non-adjustable front forks and a single rear shock.
Its 745cc twin-cylinder engine that is also seen in the NC750 is mounted low and canted forward, allowing the entire motorcycle to be long, low and lean. It feeds power through Honda’s dual clutch transmission, which was first installed in the VFR1200. Shifts from the DCT are quick, smooth and barely perceptible to the rider—much better than the first gen-VFR’s. There are two automatic modes—sport and normal—as well as a manual mode. Manual shifts are made through two paddles on the left handlebar pod.
The long 1645mm wheelbase, laid back riding position and meaty 200-section rear tire contribute to slow but stable handling while the brake system features a 320mm front disc with ABS.
Climb into the NM4 and the 650mm seat height positions you low to the ground, while the sculpted seat locks you in place. The pillion seat flips upright to double as a comfortable backrest though it gnawed away at my lower back when in the down attitude.
Six-footers will find the Honda NM4 cramped but those shorter of stature will be fine.
Floorboards place your feet well forward in pure cruiser position, as the bike motors effortlessly toward freeway speeds—where the windblast over the low screen is vigorous. The serious NM4 owner might want to look into the OEM optional tall windscreen.
The tiny 11.6-litre tank means frequent stops but the progress of the fuel supply is monitored on a digital dash that changes colour depending on the drive mode selected. There are hue and tonal changes that range between grey when the bike is in neutral to vibrant pink when in ‘sport.’ There are 25 individual colours to personalize the dash.
What appear to be relatively spacious hardbags are actually small 7.5-litre units that barely contain a one-litre oil bottle but supplementary storage spaces are concealed in the front bodywork. The left-side compartment offers one litre of storage space and a 12V DC adaptor to recharge personal electronics, while the right side is more generous with three litres of storage.
These are amusing features of course and Honda does deserve credit for breaking new ground with the Honda NM4 and at least attempting to draw new customers from varying lifestyles and with different interests into motorcycling.
-Steve Bond, Issue 3309, March 2015