HONDA XL700V TRANSALP (2008-2012) Review

Published: 19 November 2007

"Much improved over the last model, but to be honest that was never going to be difficult"

Honda Transalp review action

"Much improved over the last model, but to be honest that was never going to be difficult"

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

This latest version of the Honda Transalp is much improved over the last model, but to be honest that was never going to be difficult. The motor is just quick enough, should last forever, and offers a smile when the mood takes you. The new Honda Transalp’s handling isn’t bad, either, considering the market the motorcycle is aimed at. Looks-wise it’s funky, versatile, practical, user-friendly, easy to ride and should prove a top seller for Honda, although it would benefit from a larger tank, bit more power and a sixth gear. 

 

Watch Honda's Transalp riding across the Alps

 

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

Like most Hondas, the Transalp is a doddle to ride, quick or slow, and ideal for learners or more experienced riders wanting something different. Around town or down a lovely switch back road the new Honda Transalp turns easily and is very flickable, the smaller front wheel helps, down from 21 inch to 19.

Engine 4 out of 5

The new Honda Transalp’s V-twin 700cc engine isn’t going to impress your mates with breathtaking performance – 59bhp is far from impressive – but it does the job intended, just. It’s punchy low down around town and will happily tour along at 70-80mph all day, just don’t expect too much. It’s just a shame it doesn’t come with six gears.

Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5

The new Honda Transalp’s engine (derived from that of the Deauville) will still be going strong when you’re six feet under, their reliability is that legendary. The motorcycle feels robust and well put together (although it’s actually made in Spain not Japan). The motorcycle has a nice finish and looks good, however there are one or two bits of cosmetic chrome parts which look questionable, it will be interesting to see how they last a few harsh British winters.

Insurance, running costs & value 5 out of 5

For just over £5000 you’ve got a versatile bike that just as happy around town one minute then taking on some serious touring the next, it will even take on some light off-road riding. Reliability should be unquestionable, it should hold its money in the market being a Honda and running costs should be low. Find a Honda XL700 Transalp for sale.

Insurance group: 11 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 4 out of 5

Considering the Honda Transalp’s price tag, it’s not bad. ABS is now standard. Fuel gauge, clock and speedo are digital, with an analogue rev counter. Hand guards are a nice touch, so is the small rack on the back for carrying luggage.  There’s also a huge list of accessories to personalise the motorcycle for touring or what ever your desired requirements.

Owners' Reviews

18 owners have reviewed their HONDA XL700V TRANSALP (2008-2012) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your HONDA XL700V TRANSALP (2008-2012)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.2 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.2 out of 5
Engine 4.2 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.3 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.2 out of 5
Equipment 3.8 out of 5
2 out of 5

One of the worst bikes I've owned.

07 June 2016 by Peter Gurney

Looking for a replacement for my very old BMW F650, I bought this bike on impulse from a dealer and it was reliable, though I only owned it for 2 months and 800 miles. There were many negatives. It was very top heavy, thirsty and positively dangerous... Read more in cross winds on major roads. You have to wrestle with the front wheel and the handling is ponderous and imprecise. The cheap plastic headlight cowl made a very annoying whining noise at 3,000 revs that I couldn't stop, though tried. The engine was flat - my old thumper had more guts. The build quality is pretty poor also - cheap spokes, flimsy plastic, terrible chrome - the motorbike equivalent to a Spanish-made Bosch washing machine. A Transalp might be adequate if you want to potter along but if you still enjoy riding a motorbike I'd steer well clear. In the end I traded it in for a F700GS, which is a decent bike.

Ride Quality & Brakes
2 out of 5
The seat is very uncomfortable after about an hour - too hard like a lot of bikes.
Engine
3 out of 5
I liked the noise, and the engine is very tractable though it lacks power. It needs an extra gear too.
Build Quality & Reliability
2 out of 5
Spokes are cheap, rust already showing on chrome. The build quality is generally poor - not a patch on the BMW.
Value & Running Costs
2 out of 5
I didn't own it long enough to comment properly but fuel consumption is very poor, less than 45mph. Probably due to its weight, certainly not its speed.
Equipment
3 out of 5
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Buying experience

Bought from a dealer, very pleasant, no pressure. My mistake - didn't test ride it for long enough. Should have known better.

5 out of 5

04 March 2016 by eris

it awesome dp super bike Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
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Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
4 out of 5

Fun, unpretentious, reliable

20 February 2016 by Alwyn

Nice, friendly bike. Well mannered, doesn't offend in any way. A bit heavy and funny looking headlamp. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Very comfy (mine came with an ohlins rear shock). Brakes work fine.
Engine
5 out of 5
I love the engine. Has real character but is totally reliable. I'd like extra performance from it being a bit lighter.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Faultless. Thin paint on exhaust but that's Nitpicking
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
I do all my own servicing. Standard consumables are all I've needed to buy. A little thirsty on petrol for the power you get.
Equipment
5 out of 5
Everything you need. Oh! Standard screen is shockingly bad. I quickly got a tall one.
Buying experience

Private purchase

4 out of 5

Honda Transalp XL700V 2010 Review

17 February 2016 by Slash23

Bought the bike with 8500 miles on the clock. Now, 3000 miles later I feel I can give a fair, realistic view of what the bike is like to live with day in day out... Best Features: - Although with the best will in the world it has a second hand... Read more engine from the Deauville I have not found the XL700V Transalp to be at all down on power. I don't really ride at break neck speeds but then I wouldn't say I dawdle either. It will happily cruise at 80mph all day long (or until the tank runs out, more on that later). - This is my first bike after passing my test (coming up from a Varadero) and it's incredibly forgiving for someone not used to the large jump in power. Plus when you do then get used to that power, it doesn't feel sluggish or slow (I've had mine for the best part of a year now). - I tested several bikes when choosing what to move up to and although I'm not a giant, because of the Varadero I am used to a taller, bigger framed bike. I would say the Transalp is a perfect middle range bike for those looking for a taller bike. - The standard seat is very comfy. - Even with a full top box and panniers, it is still very easy to control and manoeuvre at low speeds. - Although heavy, it is easy to put up onto its centre stand and when riding you don't feel the weight of the bike at all. - When a brand new rear tyre picked up a Stanley knife blade from the road (I know - crap luck), only once did the bike try to kill me. Yet because it is well balanced, it was easy to save and so crucially not to drop, even with a ruined back tyre. Worst Features: - This is me being picky, but with hand guards attached it is quite wide compared to smaller bikes. To begin with, filtering can be an issue even on duel carriageways. - The tank only has 150 miles of range, which is annoying but fine, yet the petrol gauge isn't regular. What I mean by that is, the first three bars can stretch to 100 miles but the second three bars will do half that at best before it starts screaming at you to fill up. - The temperature gauge is also annoying as when stuck in traffic as you just watch it rising higher and higher. - The battery is unreliable (see below).

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
The Transalp is extremely comfortable to ride. Even with the standard screen, in the wind you get plenty of protection. It is a good all round bike. I use it for commuting but also for longer, more exciting rides on the weekends and thus far it has handled everything I have thrown at it very well. The bike responds well to both accelerating and decelerating. Both front and back brakes are excellent. The longest I have ridden it without a break is 3 hours but even then it didn't become uncomfortable and so long as I have fitted a top box for back support, my pillions have not grumbled yet either.
Engine
5 out of 5
As this is my first bike after passing my test, I am very happy with both the power the engine has and the delivery of that power. The throttle response is immediate and it both accelerates and decelerates quickly. Also, compared to my previous bike, it makes a lovely noise - Even with the standard exhaust. Which is nice.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
- After (nearly) a year of ownership and fairly meticulous cleaning, I have noticed a small patch of corrosion appear on the underside of the exhaust. That being said, this is the only area I have noticed any wear and tear of this variety thus far, regardless of all weather use. - Two weeks after I bought it second hand from a Honda dealership (at the beginning of summer), after riding for an hour, when stopped at traffic lights in the city the engine got so hot that it cut out several times. I took it to the dealer and they found the cooling fan to be faulty. Repaired it for free under warranty and since the problem has not returned, even when doing the identical journey again. - As mentioned above, the battery has been somewhat unreliable. A couple of months after I bought it, over a weekend of non-use, it refused to start on Monday as the battery had gone flat. This problem has occurred several times now, however it is infrequent. - Other than the above, everything else on the bike has performed absolutely faultlessly in all weathers as one would expect with a Honda. Hence the 4 out of 5 rating.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
This is only so high because I had to buy two rear tyres. I have also had to buy a chain and sprocket set as the originals were badly worn. Everything else on the bike has been Honda's standard bulletproof awesomeness. Apart from changing the oil every 1000 miles, it's needed nothing but a good cleaning and a thorough protecting with ACF-50 before winter.
Equipment
5 out of 5
The reason I bought the bike is because (as well as liking the way it rides) it had every extra other than a centre stand. I would definitely recommend fitting a centre stand though as it makes working on the bike so much easier. I have additional spotlights to make it more visible/to help me see better and I would definitely recommend these. Also, heated grips and hand guards are needed in winter. The tyres I use are Battlewings. I rate these tyres very highly. I ride in all weathers and only twice has the rear wheel slipped, once was when I hit an icy drain but it gripped again immediately and the second time was when it got punctured by a Stanley knife blade.
Buying experience

Bought from a dealer, paid just under 4300. I feel that second hand at five years old with everything other than a centre stand (at the time) was worth that at the time and I have definitely got my moneys worth in riding it.

4 out of 5

Underrated

20 November 2015 by harshbutfair51

My third review....sorry! I have had this bike for 18 months now and have covered 35k miles in that time. Obviously, I use it for commuting and other than a broken clutch cable last week, it has performed faultlessly. Since replacing the air... Read more filter on a regular basis and fitting iridium-tipped plus, I never get less than 55mpg and can (if I ride very sensibly) get 60mpg. I fill up every 180 miles and only rarely get more than 15 litres in. The bike is comfortable, agile enough but ultimately a little dull. I have just fitted my third set of Anakee 3s, having fitted the first set when I first got the bike at 4k. The last set lasted 16,800 miles but the rear had squared off at around 10k. I do most of my own servcing (except chain and sprockets) and once you get the hang of removing the rather flimsy panels, it's a doddle to do. All in all, I think this is a great commuter bike and probably a half-decent tourer one-up.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
this allows for 22k miles per year and includes a set of tyres, one set of brakes, oil and filter change every 5k miles, plugs and air filter every 10k plus allowance for a chain and sprocket set (which last more than a year)
Equipment
3 out of 5
I have fitted: top box, additional led lights, centre-stand, side-stand foot, 12v socket, outside temperature gauge, touring screen
Buying experience

Private purchase with 4k miles on the clock in May 2014. Paid £4k

3 out of 5

disappointed

08 August 2015 by tony

poor finish non-mating bodywork panels tank range far too short for serious touring. however easy handling especially around town many special extras available. seems to run very hot all the time Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
i can ride until it needs filling up ,which is not very far
Engine
3 out of 5
it doesnt sound like a vtwin more like a small parallel twin power is adequate
Build Quality & Reliability
3 out of 5
this is not honda japan quality
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
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Equipment
3 out of 5
honda official locking panniers are worth it. metzeler tourance tyres are best, also get yourself a remote controlled anti theft alarm
Buying experience

local honda dealers had a good sale going on and gave a good trade in (honda tel aviv)

4 out of 5

an honest bike, never disapoints me

24 July 2015 by Graham

Good stuff: solid, reliable, comfortable, handles tarmac and gravel well - Karoo 3 tyres have transformed it on the gravel into a very competent machine to take off road. Bad stuff: not much, it was geared too low but an extra tooth on the front... Read more sprocket sorted that out. It's not especially economical, but then its a old design motor, not very fast, but that's why I got it after my previous machine an FZ1. loads of extras available aftermarket: centre stand, aluminium engine protector, raised the bars, added crash bars all at reasonable cost

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Very good all-round bike. Commutes, tours well. no track work though! I doubt it would compete well with Gixxers and R1s Brakes good, front suspension good, rear suspension could do with more travel and an aftermarket shock. That's my next spend
Engine
4 out of 5
Tireless motor, runs all day at 100-120 kph. If you want more, buy a bike with a more powerful motor.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Typical Honda. Nothing goes wrong. no rust, nothing falls off.
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
I do the servicing myself. so pay only for parts
Equipment
4 out of 5
Centre stand, engine protectors are a must
Buying experience

Dealer. Gave me a very good deal

4 out of 5

A futher review after 6000 miles

11 July 2014 by harshbutfair51

I left a review of my impressions after having ridden 600 miles but thought I'd add further comments having clocked up nearly 6000 miles. Okay, it's not an exciting bike but it's just so easy to ride. I commute to London daily, a round trip of a... Read more 100 miles or so. It's a great commuter bike. I have fitted an aftermarket (£38) topbox and a Loobman (320) chain oiler both of which perform their tasks admirably. The bike took a weekend trip to the Lake District in it's stride and will cruise (if the law allowed!) at 15mph or so above the legal limit with no signs of stress. So, it's also a good touring bike, especially if you have the Honda luggage which I don't :( Because I use this bike solely on tarmac, I have fitted Michelin Anakee 3 tyres and they have certainly sharpened up the handling. I still don't like the sound of the engine but I can live with it. I average around 55 mpg but rarely lower than 51 so how people manage to get less than 150 miles out of tankful is mystifying to me. All in all, apart from that engine noise, I think this is a great unpretentious bike.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
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Engine
3 out of 5
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Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
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Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
3 out of 5
-
4 out of 5

A bit early to tell but first impressions are good

11 May 2014 by harshbutfair51

I have had the this bike just over a week and have put about 600 miles on it. Firstly, it handles so well, even on the Bridgestone Trail Wing tyres and I feel more confident leaning this bike into corners than I do on my Triumph 1050 Sport. The... Read more real concern is the engine noise which, at low speeds has a sort of pop-pop sound not unlike a Suzuki Burgman maxi-scooter. I suppose I'll get used to it but I do find it a little embarrassing at the moment. I am really impressed with how maneuverable and light it is. I think I'm going to really like this bike as a commuter. I can get 60 mpg out of it, if I go easy on the throttle but I thihk low-mid fifties is more realistic. [The Triumph has now gone! To be honest, I had a few issues with it and dealer was completely disinterested in getting them sorted under warranty.]

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
3 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

Stickers on my panniers, a smile on my face.

10 May 2014 by Anonymous

I've been riding for about 13 years. I have owned a fair few bikes, hornets bandits, cbr600's, ninja 600's but this is by far my most favourite two wheeled beauty. I love the relaxed feel you get when you swing a leg over the saddle, the gentle thud... Read more of the v twin inviting you to explore the horizons (or indeed just to escape London for for an hour or two after work) It's not fast, its not a knee scrapper buts its torquey enough and handles perfectly. Just let the sports bikes go and enjoy the journey, then catch them up on the corners...probably. Abs makes me feel confident when my girlfriend and I are two up and fully loaded. I really like the way the bike looks, I love the headlight I love the dark red paint and that kinda metal silver on the luggage is cool. I'm not missing 6 gears, just use the torque of the engine and keep the pace cruisey, in my opinion I have more fun on this 98% of the time than I ever did on my ninja. Sure could have a bigger tank but just stop for petrol more often.. only cost £18 to fill right up. So I'll leave you with the words of my girlfriends first trip on the back "just feels more oldskool"

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
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Engine
5 out of 5
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Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
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Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
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Equipment
4 out of 5
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Read all 18 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2008
Year discontinued 2012
Original price £6,775
Used price £2,700 to £5,000
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 11 of 17
Annual road tax £82
Annual service cost £420
Performance
Max power 59 bhp
Max torque 44 ft-lb
Top speed 130 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 11.75 secs
Average fuel consumption 45 mpg
Tank range 150 miles
Specification
Engine size 680cc
Engine type 8v V-twin, 5 gears
Frame type Steel double cradle
Fuel capacity 17.5 litres
Seat height 841mm
Bike weight 214kg
Front suspension None
Rear suspension Preload and compression
Front brake 2x 256mm disc
Rear brake 240mm disc
Front tyre size 100/90 x 19
Rear tyre size 130/80 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

2007: New model launched.
2011: Renamed XL700VA Transalp

Other versions

None.

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