Honda NX 650 Dominator


Make Model

Honda NX 650 Dominator




Four-stroke, single cylinder, SOHC, 4 valve per cylinder


644 cc / 39.2 cu-in
Bore x Stroke 100 x 82 mm
Cooling System Air cooled
Compression Ratio 8.3:1


Single 40mm Keihin  VE-type carb


Digital CDI
Starting Electric
Spark Plug NGK, DPR 8EA-9
Engine Oil Semi-Synthetic, 10W/40

Max Power

45 hp / 33.5 kW @ 6000 rpm

Max Torque

53 Nm / 5.7 kgf-m @ 5000 rpm

Clutch Wet, multiple discs, cable operated


5 Speed 
Final Drive Chain
Frame Steel, Single cradle frame

Front Suspension

41mm leading-axle fork
Front Wheel Travel 220 mm / 8.6 in

Rear Suspension

Rear Wheel Travel 195 mm / 7.6 in

Front Brakes

Single 256mm disc 2 piston caliper

Rear Brakes

Single 220mm disc 1 piston caliper

Front Tyre


Rear Tyre

Fork Angle 62°
Trail 115 mm / 4.5 in
Wheelbase 1435 mm / 56.4 in
Seat Height 870 mm / 24.2 in
Ground Clearance  250 mm / 9.8 in
Dry Weight 163 kg / 359.3 lbs

Wet Weight

178 kg / 392.4 lbs

Fuel Capacity

16 Litres / 4.2 US gal

Consumption Average

17.8 km/lit

Braking 60 - 0 / 100 - 0

13.8 m / 40.4 m

Standing ¼ Mile  

13.9 sec / 147.8 km/h

Top Speed

160.8 km/h / 100 mph

Road Test

Motosprint 1992

AT THE BEGINNING of every stretch of tatty, twisty B-road should be a sign saying 'Beware of the Dom-inator'. Then at least the poor little racer-replicas straying from the smooth and curvy might have some inkling of what is going to happen to them. As it is, they are Dommie-fodder.

Before racey-boy has time to regret trying to scratch on a horrid bumpy lane, the lurking Dominator swoops past him in a flurry of flying chippings and boinging suspension. Resistance is useless; the Honda will not be caught by anything. Not by EXUPs (far too scary), not by DR350s (way too slow), not by Super Tens (tons too heavy). It turns twisty B-roads into Donington Park with hedgerows.

The Dominator really is that good. On the right road everything works in its favour - low weight, relaxed torque, fine handling — and you can see why Honda have only made minor alterations since it arrived in 1988. This year's model is a good example of Dommie evolution, getting a much needed extra three liters fuel capacity (raising tank range above the 100 mile mark), new fairing bodywork with integral indicators, a sidestand warning light, and a better designed cargo rack/ grabrail; Honda wisely deciding not to fix what ain't broke.

Even when compared with younger, more technologically advanced rivals like Yamaha's XTZ660, the Dommie still manages to impress. Firstly, there's that engine. An air-cooled, four-valve radial head motor with a dry sump may not have rival engineers marvelling at Honda's automotive genius, but you should see the wheelies. Never mind slipping the clutch, all you have to do is open the throttle as you're doddering along in first, and bingo, you're airborne, immature and grinning. A low first gear helps, but the engine's eagerness below 5000rpm is stunning, pulling keenly in all the gears.

Towns can be blitzed. Squeezing through traffic is simple thanks to the engine being so slim that on the left hand side there's room between the bash plate and motor for Honda to stash the toolkit, and the steering is light and accurate enough to make U-turns a laugh instead of a chore - the new upper fairing makes it look slightly top heavy, but the Dommie never feels it. And if you ever need to pull briskly away from traffic lights... whoops, just a little wheelie there.

Once out of town, take the first B-road available. The long travel suspension is at its best soaking up mid-hairpin potholes and bumps, but manages not to get overly wall-owy as you power out of faster bends. Bridgestone Trail Wings give ample grip and feedback, and only feel as though they might get naughty when the Dommie is banked over and accelerating hard out slow corners. In fact, the suspension set-up feels sophisticated and firm enough to cope with much faster corners, but by 70mph the engine is running out of puff and beginning to sound clattery.

Cruising at 80 is comfortable, with the aerodynamically improved fairing leaving just your head and shoulders in the wind and a balancer shaft getting rid of most of the tingles, but the lack of acceleration getting there from 70mph makes overtaking a swine. Motorways are not Dommie territory, and if Honda is thinking of doing a serious

revamp, a good start would be to give the SOHC motor some kick near the 7000rpm redline (without diminishing the low down power, or increasing the weight, of course).

While chuntering along your new found country lanes, it's amazing how many bridleway signs you'll notice. And no matter how often you repeat to yourself 'ignore the bash plate and disc protector, this is a road bike', you'll go down one. If it's dry, you and the Dominator stand a good chance of escaping undented, but otherwise, forget it. The bike's lightness lets you get away with plenty of silliness on hardpacked dirt (although the rear shock bottoms out at the mere hint of a jump), but the Bridgestone Trail Wings are rendered completely useless by damp mud — open the throttle to lift the front wheel over a small log and the last thing you hear before diving over the bars is the whirr of a spinning rear Bridgestone.

Another incentive to steer clear of the dirty stuff is that thanks to this year's changes, dropping the Dommie on anything solid could prove expensive. A low speed slide-

and-drop of the '91 model would have seen off an indicator, a bar-end and maybe a lever. One of the first drop victims is now the bulbous new fairing upper - unlikely to be the cheapest item on the new spares list.

Considering its age, the Dominator seems pricey at ,£4061 compared to Yamaha's more sophisticated Tenere at £3953. But look closely at the Dommie and you'll see where the money goes: gold anodi-sed wheels, rich paintwork, classy switchgear and clocks, and the general high class build (though one of the frame welds looked like a Friday afternoon job). Steer clear of motorways and sloppy mud and you're onto a winner. CD

Source Bike 1992