Honda Transalp 700 (2008-2012) review & used buying guide
- An excellent bike for covering bike miles
- Decent value on the used market
- Ripe for further customisation
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£340|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
This latest version of the Honda Transalp 700 is much improved over the last model, but to be honest that was never going to be difficult.
What is it? It’s a fairly basic four-valve V-twin engine with fuel injection (dual 40mm injector bodies), housed in a steel frame with the engine as a stressed member. Long-travel suspension, vaguely off-road styling and a big comfy seat complete the package, which was built at Honda’s factory in Spain.
The motor is just quick enough, should last forever, and offers a smile when the mood takes you. The 2008 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.
This version of the Transalp replaced the XL650V Transalp in 2008. It went off sale in 2012. However, in 2011 it was renamed the Honda XL700VA Transalp.
Will there be a new Honda Transalp?
There have been lots of rumours online of a new Honda Transalp for 2022, but to date MCN has no confirmation of this to date. As ever, we'll be the first to let you know should that change.
Useful Honda Transalp contacts
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
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.
What does the 2008-2012 Honda Transalp 700 ride like now?
The suspension is basic but surprisingly plush, at least when new. The forks are non-adjustable but set up reasonably well for solo use — you may want stronger springs if you ride two-up or fully loaded. The best thing you can do, though, is to make changing the fork oil a part of your regular servicing — it’s often neglected and old oil wears the fork internals rapidly as well as spoiling the forks’ response.
Opinion varies as to whether fork gaiters are a good idea — some swear by them, others reckon they cut air flow to the twin sidemounted radiators. At the rear, the shock is adjustable for preload and compression damping, and you might want to wind the rear preload up a bit to sharpen the steering and help with ground clearance, so long as your legs are long enough. A decent aftermarket shock makes a big difference though, especially if you can justify splashing for one with a remote preload adjuster. Swingarm pivots and suspension linkages will benefit from a strip and re-grease, even on low-mileage bikes.
EngineNext up: Reliability
The 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.
What's it like now?
The 52° V-twin’s heritage goes all the way back to the VT500 of the early 80s — the 700 is really just the same as the 650 but with a bigger bore and different heads — and it’s generally as tough as old boots. If it’s seriously thrashed though, it can develop camchain problems — especially the chain skipping a tooth on hard downshifts, wrecking the crankshaft... but that’s rare. Problems are more often due to neglect, especially on hardworked city bikes. Oil capacity is only 2.9 litres, so that oil gets a pretty hard time, especially in hot weather and/or hard use.
You don’t need to invest in posh full-synthetic oil — if you want to be really nice to your engine, just use a good mineral or semi-synth 10W30 oil and change it more often. Clutch slip, incidentally, may well be down to choosing an oil designed for cars rather than bikes — you need a bike-specific oil that’s designed to work with wet clutches.
The air filter’s due a change every 12,000 miles — don’t be tempted to skip this. It’s pretty restrictive and as it clogs, you’ll get a noticeable reduction in power. A washable K+N-type filter is a good investment, cleaned at every service. Take the time to balance the throttle bodies as often as possible too — it makes a big difference to throttle response and smoothness.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
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 was actually made in Spain, not Japan). It has a nice finish and looks good, however there are one or two bits of cosmetic chrome parts which look questionable.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
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.
Our Honda Transalp 700 owners' reviews show nothing more than the usual concerns from a bike of this age and pricepoint: some poor quality materials, a bit of corrosion and nothing major to give you a headache.
Honda Transalp service schedule
There’s nothing complicated about working on the Transalp but you do have to be very careful not to damage the bodywork when removing it for access — the mountings are fragile. Basic service intervals are 4000 miles but apart from a pointless spark-plug check, it’s all just simple visual checks and minor adjustments. Main services are every 8k, including oil and filter change, spark-plug replacement and valve clearance checks (don’t panic, they’re screw and locknut and easy to adjust, though access to rear cylinder is tight). The air filter’s replaced at 12k, along with the brake fluid and it’s wise to do the coolant at the same time, although the schedule doesn’t call for it until 24k.
New and used parts prices for Honda Transalp 700
New genuine service parts aren’t too bad, with brake discs at £146, pads at £35 a set, oil and air filters £12.50 and £35 respectively and a chain and sprocket kit at £147. It’s always worthy checking www.davidsilverspares.co.uk for odd parts — it can do a genuine master cylinder repair kit for £39, over 20 quid cheaper than Honda, for example.
On the aftermarket, Wemoto can supply a battery from £45, headrace bearings from £26, a tall touring screen from £41, EBC brake discs for £57 each, brake pads from under a tenner, a complete centrestand kit for £146, clutch plates from £36 and air and oil filters at £5.28 and £20.65 respectively. The majority of used parts come from the Continent, where the Transalp’s more popular. You can expect to find radiators from £60 each, front discs from £50 each and calipers from £80. Crash damage parts are at a premium — good forks from £350, plastics from £25–£100 depending on colour/condition, fuel tanks £100–£250 and headlights up to £200.
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.
Honda Transalp 700 modifications
Most modifications are practical, rather than performance, derived. A taller screen is top of most people’s lists, with the MRA Vario getting the most satisfied votes. Most people stick with the standard exhaust unless it rusts out but, for the rest, Fuel slip-on cans seem to be popular, starting at around £165. A posher rear shock is on most owners’ shopping list, with Hagon and YSS from around £200, and a fully-adjustable Öhlins at around £600.
A lot of Transalps were dealer-fitted with heated grips as a sales incentive but if not, it makes sense to fit some. The same for a centrestand — most bikes have them but not all. Some kind of chain-oiling device is essential for high-mileage owners — you should get 30,000 miles from an OE chain and sprocket set with an oiler. It’s no problem to mount a sat nav on the conventional handlebars but it can leave the unit a bit low, especially with a big tank bag.
Givi does a mounting bar that raises the unit for a better view. The big thing, though, is luggage. Honda’s own is good if pricey (though again, was often offered discounted by dealers). There was a recall in 2011 for topbox fittings so it’s worth checking updated parts have been fitted under warranty. Givi is the most popular aftermarket provider, mainly as its mounting system is so versatile. Fit mounting rails and rear rack, and then choose between conventional touring or off-road style boxes. One useful mod, especially for off-roading, is to swap the gear lever for a folding version from a dirt bike. The standard one either bends or snaps if the bike falls.
|Engine type||8v V-twin, 5 gears|
|Frame type||Steel double cradle|
|Fuel capacity||17.5 litres|
|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|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||45 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£101|
|Annual service cost||£340|
|Used price||£2,700 - £3,900|
11 of 17
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Two year unlimited mileage|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||59 bhp|
|Max torque||44 ft-lb|
|Top speed||130 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||11.75 secs|
|Tank range||150 miles|
Model history & versions
2007: New model launched.
2011: Renamed XL700VA Transalp
Owners' reviews for the HONDA XL700V TRANSALP (2008 - 2012)
28 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.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£340|
Almost 50,000 miles on rural and main roads, nothing off road as such.Some tough enough country roads still in Ireland. Very little mechanical trouble, ample power to keep up with “the big boys” on any journey. 58 mpg and range of 220 miles on full tank if ridden sensibly
AirhawkSeat helps but I regularly ride till tank is empty (200 miles) there is a good bit of vibration and you feel it in neck and arms. Secret is probably to stay loose.
Love it. The grunt at low gears might make you think you’re on a diesel tractor, but this bike can shift. Fantastic on corners.
Well built. I had a disagreement with a thick signpost in awful weather at 40 mph, only damage was slight warping on front wheel. No corrosion. People comment all the time “ no way that bikes 12 years old with 50k miles” Bike is cleaned thoroughly after each run and stored in garage. Had since new and serviced annually. Only Issues with throttle sticking ( recall under warranty) wire burnt out on fuel pump at 40k, OEM chains and sprockets only last about 6k, maybe to do with my style of riding. I WOULD HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS MODEL TO EVERYONE
GREAT ALL ROUND BIKE. LOSE THE KNOBBLY TYRES AND FIT MICHELIN ANAKEE 3’s, good for 8k ON REAR AND 12k PLUS ON FRONT
Essential additions, gear indicator, heated grips and full luggage
Buying experience: Honda Dealer. No problems
Annual servicing cost: £200
The engine is nice, if a bit vibey, and had decent torque. It felt nimble and secure when riding the bumpy back roads with good brakes. I started to rely on the linked brakes and got into the bad habit of using the foot brake unless I really needed to get the hammer down. On the minus side the tank was bit small and the fuel gauge didn't help by flashing with almost a gallon left, the seat was ok and lasted for 100 mile stints but it was too short when two up. I bought the bike to ride from Calais to Barcelona then onto Mallorca which it did without complaint, however I realised that when my partner was on the back I was on the back of the tank and it was obvious that it would not work as a two up tourer so I sold it after a year. I considered keeping it as my local bike as it worked well in town and on B-roads, but I still had the scooter which is so cheap to run even though it's appalling on bumpy roads.
Brakes were ABS with CABS and worked well for the kind of bike the Transalp is. I had the ABS kick in once and I almost didn't realise it had operated as its was very unobtrusive. The CABS led to me getting lazy and using the rear brake lever most of the time. The discs are a bit thin and can warp. Ride was soft and pretty compliant, at times the front felt a bit bouncy but the suspension quality reflects the value of the bike.
Good torque but not a lot of top end, only annoying thing was the PAIR valve which meant the bit tended to fart on the overrun, fun at first but just annoying after a while.
Nothing failed. It had some corrosion but nothing major from riding through the winter of 2017. One point to note, check the output shaft from the gearbox as the Spanish were not greasing them leading to wear of the splines.
It only had one service as I only kept it a year, the biggest cost was fuel as I was only getting 48mpg average. The buy price of these is exceptionally low so as a day to day bike it would make sense, especially if the ride included lots of minor roads.
What equipment? It did have optional heated handgrips, which I like but otherwise it's pretty bare.
Buying experience: I bought it from a mate, possibly paid a bit over the market value but It did the job I wanted.
Annual servicing cost: £250
Great all rounder. I've had over 25 bikes and this is in my top 3! Only beaten by my X1000SX and BMX R1200S. Look hard enough and a great bike could be found for under 3k. So easy to ride and always an enjoyable ride.
Super comfy. Brakes are good, even two up and fully loaded.
More than enough power for most situations. Sits at 85mph mile-after-mile.
Bulletproof. Nicely finished looks, top spec if looked after.
About £17 to fill up. On a run I get 140 miles on a full tank. A bigger tank and a 6th gear is the only thing that would make it better.
Perfect for work in all weathers rain or shine. Comfy seat can ouse a full tank without stopping. Did a 400-mile day when picking the bike up. Lots of extras available. I've heated grips, spotlights, full luggage, gear indicator.
Buying experience: Bargain purchase.
I was not looking to buy a Transalp but here I am. I wanted an adventure bike to do off-road riding although not many users mention its off road abilities. I'm impressed with its highway manners and its off road ability once fitted with off road suitable tyres.
Like a comfy big cruiser on the highway. Handles beautifully when fully loaded. Easy to ride in the city and manageable at slow speeds while filtering through traffic. Very surprised at how well it handles off road. I've taken it many places only smaller "skinny" offroad bikes go. I've had other riders of those well known adventure models compliment how well the bike handles the terrain. I've added a skid plate, engine guards, bark busters, and off road tyres. A little more ground clearance would be better but hasn't held it back.
Nice long gearing. Has plenty of power for its 680cc. It feels more powerful than its 59hp would suggest. Don't get too excited, it's no sports bike and it may need to change down a gear to over take those long road trains.
Super reliable and the usual Honda quality. Plastics on the tank are a bit flimsy with no functional need to be there.
Great fuel economy. 4.5L p/100km on the highway. 5L p/100km in the city or on tracks. Fuel light comes on too early. Says it's nearly empty and yet only 12L goes into the 17L tank.
The stock Torrance tyres we're great on roads but useless in the gravel. Heidenau K60 Scout tyres transformed the bike off road and are still great touring tyres on the highways. My 2008 has no abs and basic instrumentation. The fuel gauge is useless as with most motorcycles. It tells me it's nearly empty when it still has 5L in the tank. I use the trip metre as my fuel gauge.
Buying experience: Bought mine second hand from a dealer with only 8000km on the clock. It's not a popular model in Australia so it was relatively cheap. After market accessories are difficult to find locally. I had to buy my luggage racks from Italy.
Version: XL 700 VA
Annual servicing cost: £100
Needs a sixth gear.
It is a very decent all round bike. Is comfortable to ride even on long distance. I'm tall (190 cm) and after 200-300 km max. I need a brake.
Super sound, Good coupling, needs bit more power.
Spokes and mirrors (materials) are not top quality.
ABS Would recommend: - new metallic scout - centre stand - crash bars - chain auto lubricate system
Buying experience: Dealer. I paid 4500 EUR
I bought my Transalp in 2010 simply to ride the long and mighty Pan American Highway. I shipped her to Ushuaia at the tip of South America and rode her 19000miles in 9 weeks without a single problem
Ride quality on the Transalp is fantastic. Its an extremely comfy machine to ride. Yes, as it is a V-twin one does feel a bit vibration but nothing much. It does get a bit hot in summer riding with heat coming up from the rear cylinder but in winter it is like a heater below the tank.The brakes are not the best but one does not expect sport brakes on such a bike
The engine on this bike is one super solid reliable piece of equipment. In 65k miles I have never had a single problem with this engine. A few times it has stood in a shed for over 6 months and I simply connected up a battery and she started first time every time.
My Transalp now has over 65 000miles to her name and as I ride her all year round in all kinds of weather from Scottish snow roads to mighty freezing Russian winter roads she has been ultra reliable. After 65 000 miles her wheel spokes are looking a bit rusty and her swingarm was well and truly rusty. I replaced the swingarm and simply sanded down the spokes and all is back to normal. I have replaced the fork springs twice with heavier loaded springs. In all the 65k miles my bike has done I have never yet had to replace a single light bulb
Replacing the brake fluid always seems to be a very slow progress and I often find it a nightmare getting the brakes to work correctly after servicing. I generally let the bike stand overnight and any air bubbles seem to get out of the system
Only problem I had with my Alp was the fuel pump started screaming when I was way down in Croatia. It screamed all the way to Greece and back to Scotland but did not let me down. Back home I opened the tank and removed it and all looked ok. I re-fitted it back and the screaming was gone and its never screamed again
Buying experience: I bought mine brand new from a Honda dealer
Annual servicing cost: £400
Pros: reliable, sturdy, comfortable, not bad fuel consumption (avg. 60mpg), definitely recommend if you're looking for a no-frills, hard-wearing commuter. I do a mix of country & city riding, about 40 miles a day, and compared to my previous Hornet, the Transalp is much more practical - it's a bit like riding a fast-moving armchair! :) Cons: is definitely a bit heavy, the seat is quite high, and as with other comments, could benefit from a 6th gear.
It is so much more comfortable than any previous bike, I can get a good 2 hours in the saddle before my butt starts to fidget. I have a weakened left shoulder, so the more upright ride is both more comfy and easier to manage for me. A downside would be the seat height, 84cm can be stretch some days - I can plant my feet flat (just), and I'm an average 5'9 chap. The best thing about this bike is its cruisability, it sits really nicely at 50-70 mph and as a rider, so do I. The brakes are ok; it has ABS as standard, but there's been a couple of time when I've felt they could be a little tighter.
There's plenty of poke in that meaty-sounding engine (yes I agree with other Transalp fans, there is something really beautiful about the sound of this bike), I've never found myself lacking more throttle when its needed, even with the full luggage on. But that missing 6th gear is a real bugbear, it just needs that top gear to level it out.
It's a really solid bike; bought mine second-hand over a year ago, but so far it has performed brilliantly. The previous owner had clearly looked after it, and had changed the spokes to stainless steel, which by all previous comments seems to be a good thing. It's got plenty of miles under its wheels, but has had continual dealer servicing, which may be a bit pricier, but definitely seems to have done the job, as the bike does not look or feel 7/8 years old.
Well maintained, these bikes definitely hold their value well. Annual service & MOT with the dealer, plus the usual small maintenance through the year. I clock my mileage on Fuelly, and I get a steady average of 60 mpg - then again I'm not thrashing the cr*p out of it.
I bought the bike with full luggage, the high screen, stainless steel spokes, and a 12v socket; there's nothing want to add at the moment. As an all-year rider, the standard heated grips & hand guards are a dream, my hands have never been so comfortable on a bike. It also has a centre stand, but to be frank, you need to be a lot heavier than me to lever the bike up onto that thing, and I've considered removing it.
Buying experience: From a dealer, who has been better than previous one's I've dealt with - there was a mix up with the bikes spare keys, I didn't notice until well after the sales warranty was out of date, but they cut me a spare for free. I plan to continue using them for MOTs & servicing.
Pros - handling, rider comfort, engine. Cons - none I know of after 6000 miles
Brakes are quite shy. Could be the abs combined with the weight of the bike. But always managed to stop.
Something you just love. The sound, grunt. If you come from sport bike, as I did, it feels like a tractor. It feels like whatever gear you put in, whatever load you put on that bike - it just goes. Yes, I love it. The way it handles, it leans, when the engine puts in to get you out from a corner.
It's 2010 but been well looked after showing no wearness or corrosion. Maybe rear wheel spokes are slightly fading out but cleaning them regurarly keep them shiny as new.
55 miles per galon
I fitted it with USB socket, a sat nav, panniers. It came fitted with taler screen which does the job perfectly.
Buying experience: Used from a dealer
Annual servicing cost: £400
Probably merits a 4.5. I love it and there's not too much I'd change. It really does need a 6th gear (I'm currently doing a lot of motorway miles, what on earth were Honda thinking of), a wee bit more power wouldn't go amiss, and really I'd love it if it weighed about 40kg less. For the company who invented the Fireblade to produce a bike this heavy these days is a bit much. Mind you, they also invented the Goldwing... Bought new from a dealer in 2009, now 7 years old, and used pretty consistently for commuting. I've added an MRA Vario screen with the little deflector thingy - better than the original screen and IMO looks far better than the optional Honda 'Touring' screen. I've also added full-on wrap around Barkbusters handguards, SW motech crash bars, a folding gear lever from a CR85 after the original one bent howwibly during an actual off-roading session ( Barkbusters were a lifesaver !), it now sports a Fuel exhaust and also luggage. It came with heated grips, short-arse seat and a centre stand when I bought it. It's been pretty reliable overall, given I've used and abused it mercilessly. It does get dealer serviced (normally once a year), although there have been a couple of big ticket items and some pretty expensive services. Notably one of the radiators split (corrosion) and at the last service the fuel gauge has gone squiffy and is being sorted. If you read the forums while I wouldn't call it common, it not exactly unheard of either. It seems to be a fault with the fuel sender unit, which unfortunately is integral to the pump, hence very expensive ( £££big ! ). Fortunately the dealer had an unused second hand one. Fuel consumption varies depending on use - frequent town commuting gives about 155 - 160 miles to the tank, my current mostly motorway commute has seen me on a number of occasions get 185 miles to a tank, although not without a degree of panic / sweating / squeaky-bum on my part. Really too heavy to go too far off road though, without significantly more talent than I actually have. Did I mention it could do with being about 40kg lighter ? And it's perfectly fast enough on the motorways, really. Trust me, I'm 95% of the time running late in the mornings, and it'll happily do a constant 85 / 90 mph (on the Autobahns of course, officer) with some extra for overtakes. Mind you, maybe that's why some of the services have been expensive...
Had a couple of twitchy moments when downhill on the road and hit a bump AND a bit of gravel which confused the ABS and released the brakes (or seemed to), just when I really really didn't want it to.
Seems pretty bullet proof. Could do with a 6th gear, and in a future iteration a teensy bit more power. 60bhp out of 700cc hardly seems to be pushing the envelope these days. But constant thrashing means mine seems to have 'loosened up'. Did I mention it was heavy ?
Forks and spokes seem to be a bit iffy, a bit of corrosion / bubbling on the bottom of the fork stanchions which appeared quite early on TBH, spokes a bugger to keep clean.
Value good, especially when I bought it, gets abused and main dealer serviced, so combined servicing and MOT at a dealer is never cheap
Pretty good, although obviously I've added plenty of bits to mine over the years, so it's now how I like it.
Buying experience: Dealer, experience was good. Honda were doing a deal at the time with free heated grips and top box - I took the heated grips, and the dealer were flexible enough to give me the low seat and centre stand instead of top box.
Annual servicing cost: £400
i have owned my transalp for 6 years and only major expense was a new fuel pump after 25000km which was 800 euros ouch!
on a cruise i look for that missing 6th gear
for the age of the bike it had all you needed
Buying experience: bought the bike 6 years ago from a dealer and had the bike valued recently as a part ex and was quoted the same price that i bought it for 6 years ago not bad eh but decided to keep my bike
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 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.
The seat is very uncomfortable after about an hour - too hard like a lot of bikes.
I liked the noise, and the engine is very tractable though it lacks power. It needs an extra gear too.
Spokes are cheap, rust already showing on chrome. The build quality is generally poor - not a patch on the BMW.
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.
Buying experience: Bought from a dealer, very pleasant, no pressure. My mistake - didn't test ride it for long enough. Should have known better.
it awesome dp super bike
Annual servicing cost: £200
Nice, friendly bike. Well mannered, doesn't offend in any way. A bit heavy and funny looking headlamp.
Very comfy (mine came with an ohlins rear shock). Brakes work fine.
I love the engine. Has real character but is totally reliable. I'd like extra performance from it being a bit lighter.
Faultless. Thin paint on exhaust but that's Nitpicking
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.
Everything you need. Oh! Standard screen is shockingly bad. I quickly got a tall one.
Buying experience: Private purchase
Annual servicing cost: £500
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 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).
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
Annual servicing cost: £800
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 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.
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)
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
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
i can ride until it needs filling up ,which is not very far
it doesnt sound like a vtwin more like a small parallel twin power is adequate
this is not honda japan quality
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)
Annual servicing cost: £200
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 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
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
Tireless motor, runs all day at 100-120 kph. If you want more, buy a bike with a more powerful motor.
Typical Honda. Nothing goes wrong. no rust, nothing falls off.
I do the servicing myself. so pay only for parts
Centre stand, engine protectors are a must
Buying experience: Dealer. Gave me a very good deal
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 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.
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 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.]
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 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"
I keep wondering if it is as great a mind-boggling mystery to me as it is to other people why the idiots at Honda didn't think to give this otherwise great bike a slightly larger fuel tank, a six-speed gearbox and cut down on the humungous weight. That squashed-round headlamp is a farce which not only looks definitely odd but there's also very little perceptible difference between high and low beam.The bloody indicators stalks get bent so easily that even a person brushing past the bike can put them out of kilter. AND WHY CAN'T I GET THE DAMN HONDA SIDE-PANNIERS FROM ANYWHERE??!!!
Good points - always starts and runs well whatever the weather. Loads of poke and loves hills. High up riding position and comfy 2 up(without luggage) Bad points Really bad fuel economy - 150 miles on a tank? I get only 120 at best. Price is too high, nearly 7k for a bike! Twitchy front wheel Terrible fully loaded and 2 up, no room for pillion with luggage and front wheel skips all over the shop. Paint job not as good as you would think. Overall, the best bike I have owned, but with fuel economy being so rubbish and its not designed for two people - its time to trade in I think.
This 2011 bike has just clocked up 2800 miles in 2months or so, most of which have been accumulated on a tour from the Midlands to the North-West, up to Scotland through Glencoe, over to Skye, up to the most north-westerly point in the UK, then the most northerly, then back down through Northumbria including Holy Island and to home. She ran impeccably. She returned 62.4mpg in these 2800 miles and that has included heavyweight touring, some off-road and mountain passes, and not a little "around the national speed limit" stuff (given that human error and other factors might cause there to be some fluctuation above and below). Yes there's a shortage of a sixth gear but in a way that makes the 5 there are more flexible in terms of engine braking and so on. Yes i laid her down twice but that was down to the inexperience of the rider, not the bike, and the fact that I had two 45l panniers attached filled with lead or the equivalent. (How many pairs of socks do you really need i ask myself?). In any case the panniers and the front (added) bars took the sting out. This bike can take it, of that be assured! This is a true all-rounder and a definite keeper.
I have ridden a number of bikes and was immediately taken with how comfortable and easy to ride this bike is. It's probably not really a two-up touring bike and I also think that it would benefit from a 6th gear, but overall I really love the bike and would definitely recommend a test ride. There are faster bikes and cooler bikes, but I enjoy riding this bike every time I am out.
Reliable,smooth,agile.Engine has just enough power but it is never short of breath.Not for cruising at 120 mph on fast motorways with missus- but if you plan a trip to the moon, it will take you there and back. Original tall screen buzzes annoyingly but it provides good protection. This is a bike and a companion.
took for a test ride and came back with a big grin,bought demo with all extras, not fast but more than capable to have some fun on a-b roads, brakes good, not had chance to feel abs yet, gearbox very smooth ecconomy above 60mpg even riding fast, taller screen good, now feel I contol power rather than other way round, build and reliability usual honda,nice and light enjoying it
can't fault it! used for instructing, does 50cc cbt's or advanced equally well, plus i look forward to going out on it and i own a bmw gs 1200!
Great bike. Comfy, much more exciting than the last model, can handle any job and tours. Shame about the tank range and I hope the gearbox improves with age. Weird looks and needs accessorising to make it much more usable.