HONDA XL750 TRANSALP (2023 - on) Review


  • Potent 91bhp, 755cc parallel-twin
  • Superb handling
  • Excellent value for money
Adventure Bike of the Year 2023 (Sub 1000cc)

At a glance

Power: 91 bhp
Seat height: Tall (33.5 in / 850 mm)
Weight: Medium (459 lbs / 208 kg)


New £9,499
Used £7,900 - £9,500

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
5 out of 5 (5/5)

Honda’s new Transalp XL750 adventure bike is a classy, affordable all-rounder with the easy manners of the original but with added fire in its belly, thanks to its wonderous new motor and pin sharp handling.

Honda have worked hard to keep the Transalp’s weight down. The tubular steel diamond frame weighs 18.3kg. That’s 18% lighter than the Honda NC750X’s and 10% lighter than the Honda CB500X’s.

All that work paid off and the Transalp weighs just 208kg, fully-fuelled so it’s easy to manoeuvre at low speed. The Transalp may look like a physically tall, domineering off-roader, but it’s actually low, soft and manageable once aboard.

In the same way the ‘CP’ engines in the Yamaha MT-07 and MT-09 roadsters revitalised Yamaha’s fortunes 10 years ago, Honda’s new motor is all set to do the same.

It’s already helped the surprisingly potent little CB750 Hornet steal the mighty MT-07’s crown and now it’s created a superb all-rounder, in the Transalp. A CBR750 next maybe? Here’s hoping.

Watch our Honda Transalp video review here:

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
4 out of 5 (4/5)

In typical new bike launch fashion, our day-long riding route fires corners at you in relentless succession. They’re the kinds of dream roads you’ll rarely encounter in the UK, but they’re a useful test the Honda’s mettle.

And the Transalp handles it all superbly, especially for a bike with a 21in wheel up front. It uses the same frame as the CB750 Hornet roadster, albeit strengthened with longer travel suspension and twin rather than four-pot Nissin brakes.

The Transalp is one of those bikes that isn’t anything special on paper, like Honda’s own CB500X or the Triumph Tiger Sport 660, but everything from the chassis to the suspension, brakes and sticky, tubed Metzeler Karoo Street tyres fitted to our test bike, (it also comes on Dunlop Mixtour) work beautifully together.

2023 Honda Transalp XL750 riding shot showing handling

It’s grippy, stable, effortless and accurate to turn. Front and rear brakes are full of feel and power and ground clearance is never an issue. The ride is controlled and its big wheels and lanky suspension glide over the kind of bumps in the road that would get a conventional road bike in a tizz.

The down tubes, engine mounts and subframe (which is 125mm longer and 48mm wider) have all been strengthened to handle life off-road. Suspension is preload adjustable with a set of Showa forks at the front and a new Africa Twin-style aluminium swingarm with shock mounted vertically directly to the frame at the rear. There’s 200mm of wheel travel at the front, 190mm at the rear.

Here at its world launch in Portugal the shorter riders among us don’t have a problem planting an adventure boot flat on the floor at a standstill. For taller riders the riding position is spacious (although the bars are set too low for a standing up riding position for me at 6 foot) and the pillion perch is nice and big, but after five or six hours in the relatively thinly padded saddle, buttocks start to get sore.

2023 Honda Transalp XL750 ridden off road with Neevsey standing on the pegs

Some of our guide riders are on Honda Africa Twins. We jump on one when they’re not looking to try for size and although it’s a physically bigger machine the riding position is very similar to the Transalp’s.

What about its off-road potential? I’m no Billy Bolt and not qualified to speak about how far you can push the Transalp in the mud, but it’s as friendly on light trails as a largish-capacity, 200kg road bike can be. If you really want to disappear off in the dirt, buy an enduro bike.

A new ‘Gravel’ riding mode minimises traction control and ABS intervention, but the electronics are too intrusive. Happily, you can turn the rider aids off in ‘User’ mode to let the Honda slip and slide a little, which is actually more useful than not off-road.


Next up: Reliability
5 out of 5 (5/5)

Honda have struck gold with this new generation parallel-twin engine. The 755cc short-stroke, 270˚, 8v, parallel twin motor was first used in the new CB750 Hornet and now powers this new Transalp (although its larger diameter back wheel means the Transalp is effectively longer geared than the Hornet).

The engine uses just one camshaft, which Honda say allows the cylinder head to be light, compact and gives room to fit more upright valves. Fewer spinning parts also means less inertia and, therefore, lighter handling.

Weights fitted to the balance shaft (a Honda first), minimise engine vibes and like a Honda Fireblade’s the cylinders use the same slippery nickel-carbon coating, and the 46mm throttle bodies use high pressure injectors, also the same as a Blade’s.

2023 Honda Transalp XL750 engine

A lot of work has been done to boost low and midrange power. ‘Vortex Flow Ducts’ leading into the sides of airbox, spin the air entering the airbox sides (and a third intake boosts top end) and to give the Transalp extra grunt and a smoother throttle it has longer air intake tubes and revised engine mapping.

So, what does all that mean when you ride it? It ticks the sensible box with a friendly spread of power, a smooth throttle and oceans of low-down grunt, but it has a wild side, too. It hits hard when you poke it and has the deep, raucous airbox bellow of a big-bore motocrosser, like a walrus in a cave.

2023 Honda Transalp XL750 exhaust sounds like a walrus in a cave

Just like Hornet, the Transalp’s parallel twin is always urgent and willing. There’s enough grunt to launch you out of corners low in the revs, but you can also keep the engine on the boil for maximum thrust and aural excitement.

This new engine sticks two fingers up at all those who say a parallel twin can’t be exciting but it’s also as friendly as they come and everything from the throttle to the slip-and-assist clutch and gearbox is light and precise.

And since it makes 91bhp, it slips under the threshold to be restricted for A2 licence holders, too.

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
5 out of 5 (5/5)

It’s too early for Honda’s new parallel twin motor to earn its stripes, but you could bet your house on it being completely reliable. Elsewhere the Transalp is built down to a price, but it’s tidily put together and well finished.

2023 Honda Transalp XL750 feels well finished

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
5 out of 5 (5/5)

The middleweight adventure category is teeming. Its main remit is as a road bike, and you can read our road-going middleweight adventure bike group test to see how it fares against the Suzuki V-Strom 800RE and the Triumph Tiger 850 Sport.

The Transalp’s closest more rugged competitors are the Suzuki V-Strom 800 DE and Yamaha Ténéré 700, but there are a gaggle of others to spoil your choice.

There’s everything from KTM’s 790 and 890 Adventure, the BMW F850GS, Aprilia Tuareg 660, CF Moto 800MT, or Triumph Tiger 850 Sport and Tiger 900 Rally. The Transalp undercuts them all.

The Transalp also competes with its own parallel twin-pot Honda stablemates. It’s a more powerful and playful CB500X and with accessory luggage fitted it’s a lighter, more entertaining NT1100.

2023 Honda Transalp XL750 has some impressive rivals, and undercuts them all

And then there’s the 1084cc Africa Twin, which costs another three and half grand. It’s 18kg heavier and only makes 9bhp more, which matches the Transalp’s power-to-weight ratio.

For carrying pillions and heavy duty luggage the Africa Twin’s extra cubes and spaciousness make sense, but for the rest of the time the Transalp is the more usable.


4 out of 5 (4/5)

The new Transalp looks the part with its chunky styling, gold spoked wheels and classy white, red and blue paintjob. There are also a more subdued black or grey colours.

Build quality and equipment levels belie its sub-10-grand price tag, too. Standard equipment includes a multi-function Bluetooth colour dash, a full array of electronic rider aids, wavy brake discs, LED lights and stick on tank grips. It’s a shame it doesn’t have cruise control for such a capable tourer and while the non-adjustable screen is rigid and does a decent job of deflecting the wind, it’s noisy at motorway speeds.

2023 Honda Transalp XL750 screen

There’s a huge array of comfort, performance and cosmetic accessories available in packs or individually, too, from a 100-litre hard luggage set (with a top box that’ll take two full face lids) to a centre stand, bull bars to spotlights, hand guard, bash plate, heated grips and quickshifter.


Engine size 755cc
Engine type Liquid-cooled 8v parallel twin
Frame type Tubular steel diamond
Fuel capacity 16.9 litres
Seat height 850mm
Bike weight 208kg
Front suspension Showa 41mm upside down forks, non-adjustable
Rear suspension Single shock, preload adjustable
Front brake 2 x 310mm discs with two-piston calipers. ABS
Rear brake 256mm disc with single piston caliper. ABS
Front tyre size 90/90 x 21
Rear tyre size 150/70 x 18

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 67 mpg
Annual road tax £117
Annual service cost -
New price £9,499
Used price £7,900 - £9,500
Insurance group -
How much to insure?
Warranty term -

Top speed & performance

Max power 91 bhp
Max torque 55 ft-lb
Top speed 135 mph
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range 249 miles

Model history & versions

Model history

  • 1987: Honda’s Transalp XL600V goes on sale. Off-road styling, 21in wheel, 583cc V-twin, single front disc, 18-litre tank.
  • 1994: Revised with new fairing and improved instruments.
  • 2000: XL650V Transalp. 647cc V-twin, new shock, twin front discs, HISS ignition-based immobiliser. 19.6-litre tank.
  • 2006: Sleeker design, black wheel rims, brighter headlight.
  • 2008: XL700V Transalp. 680cc V-twin, fuel injection, front wheel reduced to 19in. 17.6-litre tank. Discontinued in 2012.
  • 2023: Hornet-based XL750 Transalp released. 755cc parallel twin, 21in front wheel, electronic rider aids, 16.9-litre tank.

Other versions

None, but closely related to Honda Hornet CB750.

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