Quality naked thrills is what Honda’s NTV650 delivered in the 80s. Here’s what it might look like today.
In the USA it was known as the NT650 Hawk GT, in Japan it was the Bros, and in the UK we got an over-dressed shaft-drive version called the Revere.
Despite being the dowdy one, the 1988 Revere turned out as a decent dispatch rider’s tool with the most reliable motor in the Honda line-up but it was the grey import Bros 650 version we all lusted after. Featuring the lighter chain drive, a slinkier fuel tank and less bodywork the Bros was the cool one to have and the one we’ve chosen to reboot. Created from genuine HRC pixels, meet our virtual NTV900.What do you think? Should Honda do a decent reboot of the NTV/Bros V-twin? Let us know at the usual address.
While the original 650cc, three-valve per head motors made just 37bhp on the dyno, they also churned out a respectable 31lb-ft of torque which made them supremely usable on the road. Okay, so they were from the humble Transalp and the basis of the bigger Africa Twin motor, but it was punchy enough. On the track they could be tuned to double the horsepower with an extra 100cc, though longevity wasn’t a priority.
Here though, we’ve gone the easy route and upped the capacity to 900cc which when coupled with lighter internals and modern fuelling should make an easy 110bhp .
Arguably, the best characteristic of the original NTV was the handling. Easy to flick around, the chassis outperformed the engine by a fair margin and blessed the rider with characteristics that made everything from commuting to backlane scratching predictably enjoyable. We’ve stuck with the alloy beam frame but strengthened the bracing around the front cylinder. It gets the wheels, brakes and suspension from the latest 2018 CB1000R along with the single-sided swingarm.
Part of the appeal of the Bros over the Revere was the aesthetics – it managed to merge its minimalism with a sense of perfect proportions which we’ve closely followed. No excess bodywork, no sticky-out air scoops, no over-angular lines for the sake of it, just the simplistic purity of two cylinders, two wheels, and one really good time.Enjoy more Classic Motorcycle Mechanics reading in the monthly magazine. Click here to subscribe.