The secret of the Honda NC700

Under the skin of Honda's bike-scooter creation

HERE'S the first picture to show what Honda's NC700S, NC700X and Integra look like when their bodywork is stripped off – the all-purpose chassis and engine that is at the same time a street bike, an adventure bike and a scooter.

OK, so this is actually the 'X' model. It's suspension is slightly higher than the others. The Integra gets different bars and loses the footpegs, too. But the rest of it is common to all three bikes despite their very different external appearances.

This is the most extreme use yet of the 'platform-sharing' idea that's been commonplace in cars for decades but is only now – thanks largely to the declining bike market – being seriously taken on by the big bike firms. Other recent examples include the likes of the new Kawasaki Versys 1000 – a Z1000 under the skin – but none of the others manage to make such a disparate range of models from so many common parts as the three new Hondas.

Whether or not the auto gearbox and the NC700's other ideas take off, the concept of platform sharing is here to stay.