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Honda XL700V Transalp ABS Hot

Honda XL700V Transalp ABS
Honda XL700V Transalp ABS
Honda XL700V Transalp ABS
Honda XL700V Transalp ABS
Honda XL700V Transalp ABS
Honda XL700V Transalp ABS
Honda XL700V Transalp ABS
Honda XL700V Transalp ABS

Listing Information Motorcycles

Manufacturer Honda
Model XL700V Transalp ABS
Price 5,503
Top Speed 130
Insurance Group 11
Engine Size 680
Engine Type Liquid cooled V Twin
Compression Ratio 4 stroke 8 valve 52 degree Vtwin
BH Power 59
Torque 44ftlb
Gears 5
Seat Hight 841mm
Ground Clearance 177mm
Fuel Capacity 17.5L
Average MPG 48
Tank Range 150
Dry Weight 218kg
Front Suspension 177mm of travel no adjustment
Rear Suspension Adjustable compression damping, 173mm travel
Front Tyre Size 100/90 19
Rear Tyre Size 130/80 17
Brakes Front 2 * 256 discs ABS
Brakes Rear 240 disc ABS

A reliable, good looking all rounder that'll lack a little power for some and would benefit from a 6th gear. One of the easiest to ride, rider friendly bikes on the road.

Editor review

It'll have you riding like Ted

Overall rating: 
 
8.5
As a Long Distance Tourer:
 
8.0
Off Road Capability:
 
7.0
Around Town:
 
9.0
Additional Equipment Availability:
 
8.0
Reliability:
 
10.0
Handling:
 
8.0
Engine:
 
9.0
Value for Money:
 
9.0
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46 of 46 people found the following review helpful
In one of Ted Simon's books, I think it was Dreaming of Jupiter, the later of his around the world novels, he extolled the virtues of motorcycle touring at 50mph. Ted reckoned that by travelling at half a ton the ride was stress free, he had time to take in his surroundings and, at the end of the day, he would always end up at the same destination were he to have blitzed along at 80 or 90mph. Ted makes a very valid point here. Travelling and touring is about enjoying the journey and not so much about arriving, and I reckon he'd have been in his element aboard a Honda XL700V Transalp.

The latest version of Honda's big trail legend is far more than capable of travelling at speeds in excess of 100mph but after 6 months of living with this bike I can categorically say, that's definitely not what this Honda is about. Up to the legal UK speed limit the Alp is as stress free as motorcycling is ever going to get. The riding position, smooth motor and all round slickness of this machine combined with a higher screen makes for a peaceful riding experience.

This bike is the motorcycle touring equivalent of lying by the pool with your favourite book, drink and factor 30 sun cream as opposed to launching from the high board, frying your skin and hitting the fleshpots for a binge drinking meltdown. Exciting may not be the best word to describe the Honda though steady (Eddy) would do fine, it's also one of the easiest bikes to ride you'll ever come across

Okay let's run through a few things about this motorcycle which could be better before moving on to the things which won me over. First off, and this is a big one, this bike comes with 5 gears and even after months of riding the machine I was still instinctively looking for a 6th. Of all the bikes I've ridden I don't think I've come across such an obvious omission as the 6th gear on the Transalp – come on Honda, sort this one and you make a great bike fantastic. That said, once I'd mentally adjust to 'I'm in top' and got on with riding, all was well.

Next up, I'd advise fitting the optional taller screen for protection from the elements. With the higher screen in place it was like sitting in a bubble which the wind and most of the rain could not penetrate, and visor up riding at 80mph is tear free. Great stuff.

As the Transalp does not come with a centre stand as standard it's a good idea to have one fitted. However, the position of the centre stand is dictated by the catalytic converter which looks as if it's been bolted on to the underside of this bike as an afterthought. Even without the centre stand the Cat, reduces the ground clearance but with it fitted I was bottoming out the Transalp on the mildest of off road ruts and bumps. This is definitely something to take into account if you're planning a tour involving anything off the tarmac. In fact, I've come across a few Transalp owners who've dispensed with the Cat after purchasing the bike. Sticking with off road touring, the plastic bash plate really needs to be replaced with a beefed up aftermarket model and fortunately Touratech have that covered.

Other Honda supplied options fitted to the Alp included;
Heated grips – three stage adjustment and absolutely bloody brilliant for those cold, wet days.
Top Box – big enough for two lids but not of the sort of robust quality I'd want if taking a spill on a desert piste
Panniers – big enough for touring but don't have the sturdy feel I'd look for if buying in the aftermarket.
GPS – Honda brand the Garmin Zumo and I've no complaints.

All my riding on the Transalp has been with the top box and panniers in place – as you would when touring – and overall I've just got to say, this bike is so easy to ride I was thinking of fitting a picnic table to the tank for snacking on the move.

Performance
The 680cc V twin is perky enough to have some fun but it's not what you'd call quick and two up fully loaded is best described as underpowered. But then that's all relative. If you ride like Ted and have the same needs, you'll love this bike. If you want a bike capable of think and pass blasts on twisty A and B roads you'll be looking for more power. The claimed top speed is 130mph though I can't see how you'd get near that unless you launched off a very big cliff. As an example; 7000rpm had the speedo showing 98mph and the GPS 90mph, so where the other 32mph (or 40 if you believe the GPS) was going to come from, I've no idea.

In use the engine was smooth, smooth, smooth and comes with an indestructible Honda reputation. Nice and nippy around town, acceptable mid range grunt and, as stated previous, I always felt that it needed a 6th gear at around 70 to 80mph.

Handling
Stick to legal speeds on motorways and even fully loaded the Transalp will provide you with stress free bliss that'll have you taking in the delights of the surrounding countryside and singing your favourite tunes with a contented smile on your face. On A and B roads the suspension was perfect for having a little fun and soaking up the worst of the underfunded UK road conditions. It was so good, at times, I even went looking for potholes. However, push this bike above 80mph and the front end feels light and takes too much concentration for my liking. And when you want to stop; you'll stop. The ABS linked breaking system is superb.

Comfort
The riding position was perfect, but then I'm 6ft 2in. The seat produced a few hot spots after a couple of hours, so I'd have probably been looking for a more comfortable aftermarket product for two week tour. The pillion was so impressed she'd have it as a fixture in our TV lounge. Overall, and I keep coming back to this, ride like Ted and you'll love the performance, handling and comfort of this bike.

Off Road
Apart from the reservations mentioned above I'd have no issues taking the Alp out of the showroom and onto hard packed desert pistes or forest roads. I've also muddied it up on more technical forest trails (with panniers and top box attached) and can confirm that it's top heavy and needs a change of tyres for mud plugging. However, it's more capable than you'd imagine for a bike that's obviously been designed with civilisation in mind rather than the uncharted wilderness. If you plan to cross Africa on one of these there are enough aftermarket products to battle proof this bike and the only thing stopping you would be the thing between your ears.

The Verdict
After six months of living with the Transalp there was little doubt that I'd changed my riding style. I was content to be patient when looking to pass cars on A and B roads, I was now driving happily at legal motorway speeds and I was enjoying all weather motorcycle touring in a way I never thought possible – with a stress free smile on my face. The Honda XL700V Transalp is not the perfect round the world bike, nor is it a great road tourer (a bigger tank would be nice) but if you're into touring like Ted, and looking for a bike that'll outlive you, then you may not find anything better.


Review Information Motorcycles

Time owned 6 months
I liked Comfortable stress free riding
I Disliked Needs 6th gear, Cat position,
Would you buy again Yes
In one line Reliable steady (Eddy) all rounder that'll
 
 


User reviews

Average user rating from: 4 user(s)

Overall rating: 
 
7.6
As a Long Distance Tourer:
 
7.8   (4)
Off Road Capability:
 
5.5   (4)
Around Town:
 
8.3   (4)
Additional Equipment Availability:
 
8.8   (4)
Reliability:
 
8.8   (4)
Handling:
 
6.0   (4)
Engine:
 
8.8   (4)
Value for Money:
 
7.3   (4)
 
Ratings (the higher the better)
As a Long Distance Tourer*
Off Road Capability*
Around Town*
Additional Equipment Availability*
Reliability*
Handling*
Engine*
Value for Money*
Comments*
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Good option for novices

Overall rating: 
 
8.0
As a Long Distance Tourer:
 
10.0
Off Road Capability:
 
6.0
Around Town:
 
7.0
Additional Equipment Availability:
 
9.0
Reliability:
 
8.0
Handling:
 
7.0
Engine:
 
10.0
Value for Money:
 
7.0
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Reviewed by Mark
March 01, 2013
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful

This is my first "full size" bike, so I speak as a relatively inexperienced rider. I think it is a good option for people in my position. It is plenty quick enough if you aren't used to sportsbikes, reliable, fun and comfortable. The ride position is high, gives great vis' and you can swing it side to side in the corners and roundabouts which is great fun once you get used to it. But that height is also the biggest issue in my book. I'm over 180cm and I feel I am only just tall enough, in terms of getting a foot down when you stop etc. You have to plan carefully and try not to stop facing across a slope otherwise the 200+kg are v hard to hold up. The small tank range is also slightly frustrating, but then maybe everything was going to seem like that after a 125!
I actually don't have a problem with the 5 gears. My learner 500cc bike had 6, but they were lower, so the rev's at speed feel about the same on this, I just had to get used to changing up later. And the 680 V twin engine on the TA is definitely more powerful. ABS brakes are incredible. Seems perfectly happy with a bit of luggage on it, and I plan to do more serious touring soon.
I changed the stock tyres (trailmax) for some more road-oriented rubber, as I found them scarily unpredictable. Much prefer the new set.

 

Blissful Transalp

Overall rating: 
 
8.3
As a Long Distance Tourer:
 
7.0
Off Road Capability:
 
6.0
Around Town:
 
9.0
Additional Equipment Availability:
 
10.0
Reliability:
 
10.0
Handling:
 
8.0
Engine:
 
9.0
Value for Money:
 
7.0
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Reviewed by Graham Gottard
April 08, 2012
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful

Three years and 20,000 km of happy riding. I bought the Alp having spent 2 years on a 140bhp FZ1. Unable to use that kind of power on the road, with 12,000 red line I seldom ever went beyond 7,000 revs - that equated to 100 bhp on the dyno graph. I grew bored of being able to pull out just about of any corner in any gear and sought more engagement with my bike - in a deliberate move - 59 bhp is more than enough for my solo riding needs. For 2 up touring you may be looking for more. My 750 Commando had 58 bhp back in 1976, and I figure that was enough then and is enough now. I don't need to cruise at 160 kph in a 100 kph zone any more. The Alp has enough in the engine dept. to cruise at 110 - 120 kph with absolute ease, then has 20 more kph easily accesible for overtaking. Sure, it runs out of grunt beyond 140 ks, if you want to live in that zone, look elsewhere. That's not what the Alp is all about. On gravel roads it is in its element, on tight back roads it's a delight. The 5 speed box was a problem, a bigger front cog sorted that out for about $20. Now 1st is a really useful road gear and if I ever need to go slower on gravel I just slip the clutch, happens very rarely. I am even considering fropping the back cog by one or even 2 teeth as well.Gearchange-silky; brakes-strong and progressive; engine-smooth and linear response; handling-rock solid, and improves with speed, at 130 kph it feels rock solid; fuel consumption- acceptable, tank could be a bit bigger; comfort- good now with a sheepskin cover and forward mounted pegs on my aluminium bash plate; weather protection- good now with a higher screen; Oxford hot grips - sublime; good range of after market products - check out Givi, cw motech. By the way, steady Eddy doesn't equate to boring. If you want hyperspeed sports bikes - don't look at the Alp. If you want to enjoy gravel and tar seal, the Alp is a good compromise. Expensive though.

 

Sorry folks this is NOT a good bike......

Overall rating: 
 
5.6
As a Long Distance Tourer:
 
5.0
Off Road Capability:
 
3.0
Around Town:
 
8.0
Additional Equipment Availability:
 
7.0
Reliability:
 
8.0
Handling:
 
1.0
Engine:
 
7.0
Value for Money:
 
6.0
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3 of 19 people found the following review helpful

I am sorry to have to post this review but here we go. I bought a brand new XL700V Transalp in September 2010 and did 4200mile before chopping it in 7 months later. The most serious problem is the fundamental instability of the bike. Searching the forums about half the bikes have this, the rest don’t' - BAR WOBBLE.

On ALL the bikes I have ever owned, you can be riding along at say 40 mph and take your hands off the bars - nothing happens, you put your hands back on the bars and away you go. With my XL700 Transalp, if you take your hands of the bars, you would get 2 seconds of wobble say 20 degrees of wobble then instant full on tank-slapper, the faster you were going the more violent and the quicker the reaction would be. Just riding along with both hands on the bars you could feel the front of the bike getting unstable and "light".... Anyway Honda UK said it was normal and you should not be riding along with your hands off the bars. They failed to do anything about it so I chopped it in before it had me off (as you could feel this was going to happen sooner or later). This bike was the most unstable bike I have ever owned.... and I am not alone in this, read the XL700V forums! It's a design issue with the bike and cannot be "fixed" with new rubber or dropping forks etc. Trust me I could not fix it and its been the same for others.

Pros: Nice stopping power and good seating/riding position, good for new riders.

Cons: The seroius tank-slapper steering issues as mentioned above. The wheels are terrible; spokes are not stainless and corrode/turn black after every ride regardless of how often you cover them with ACF-50. The rims are as soft a cheese, so you won’t be going off-road with this bike very long before you dent the rims. Only 5 gears as has already been mentioned. Heated grips are poor quality and prone to failure. Very low ground clearance due to Cat. Honda warrantee is next to useless. Not a great tank range.

Overall: Don’t buy one unless you ride it and see if it is one with the bar wobble – not all do but if you end up with one it is shockingly bad and in my opinion dangerous.

Review Information Motorcycles

Time owned 7 months
I liked riding position
I Disliked bar wobble, lack of ground clearance & cheap wheels
Would you buy again No
In one line Check for the death-bar-wobble before parting with your cash
Grin Factor (0=crap 10=I loved it) 0
 

Easy Rider

Overall rating: 
 
7.7
As a Long Distance Tourer:
 
9.0
Off Road Capability:
 
7.0
Around Town:
 
9.0
Additional Equipment Availability:
 
9.0
Reliability:
 
9.0
Handling:
 
8.0
Engine:
 
9.0
Value for Money:
 
9.0
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nevsey Reviewed by nevsey
October 21, 2010
Top 50 Reviewer
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Last updated: October 21, 2010
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful

Pretty much agree with what Alun has said. I need to get the higher screen, as I do get a bit blasted with the standard one. Heated grips are great. Touring was no problem, although I was only 1 up and luggage also it averaged around 55-60mpg, not that much around town but doestn't drop too much. Cruises easily at 80 mph but I keep looking for that sixth gear. Being 6'-3" the height is great for me but do get a slight 'numb bum' after a couple of hours, but maybe thats my body telling me to rest a while, getting old now. I've not really had a problem with the tank range, I was filling up around 130 miles as the fuel gauge was down to its last bar then found it was only taking around 10 or 11 litres of go juice. Bike is still pretty much standard. Came with Avon Distanzia tyres, which I was a bit dubious about but I have to say they have been excellent, good grip even in the wet and seem to be wearing very well.

Review Information Motorcycles

Time owned 6 months
I liked height, economy, comfortable
I Disliked no sixth gear
Would you buy again Yes
In one line Relaible
Grin Factor (0=crap 10=I loved it) 8
 
 
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Comments (7)

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...
Breva
A very good and in my opinion a very accurate review on this much underated bike, I owned my 700 for two years and the best mod I did was to change the trailwing tyres to Battlax and they transformed the bike immensely
Ian.
Breva , October 04, 2010
...
Twickers
Likewise, another one agreeing with the comments above. Mods to mine have been an MRA Vario screen - the standard Honda tall screen is meant to be very effective, but to my eyes looks atrocious, so I opted for the Vario screen instead, which has still proved pretty effective for motorway travel, even with a peaked helmet. I've also added full wrap-around Barbusters, which although a bit of a pain to fit have proved their worth the odd times I've taken it off-roading, together with a set of crash bars, which were one of the first things I fitted.

I've also added a set of Givi panniers, and a foldable gear lever. The original tyres were swapped for a knobblier pair recently.

It could definitely do with a sixth gear (quite what Honda were thinking of is beyond me), and a smidge more power would be nice, and easily 'manageable' without affecting the character of the bike.

The only slight disappointment for me is the fuel economy, which is only acceptable rather than great in my view, and when coupled with the slightly smaller tank than the previous model means that I'm looking for fuel after 160 miles.

Otherwise I think it's a fantastic bike, and definitely a keeper. For reference I've had mine two years now, and remain happy.
Twickers , April 14, 2011
...
JamesB
Love my Transalp - had it 3.5 years now and used in all weathers and trips from commutes to touring the French Pyrenees - agree with Alun's review - for the real world this is a great bike. I have added a few goodies including SW motech centre stand which was less than half the price of the Honda one but looks OEM and fits easily. One mod I would strongly recommend is switching from Trailwings to Metzeler Tourance tyres - this transformed the steering and gives much more confident handling.

Tank range - I have run up to 180 miles a few times before refilling (admittedly getting a little worried) and then found there was still 3 litres capacity left - but agree a bigger tank would be nice.
JamesB , May 13, 2012
...
economix
The XL700 is my fourth bike, have owned CB500, DL1000 V-Strom, GS650F(Single). Only been riding 2 years and am 53.I have had the Transalp for about 8 months and just done a 2 day Bikesafe course where the Plod instructor encouraged us to take it to the red line in 3RD, 4th and 5th, a first for me on this bike and found it goes a lot quicker than I thought it did. As a result I think it would be fair to say I have explored most of what it has to offer.

To start with the bike is a Honda and therefore solid, heavy, well built and feels indestructible. The engine might only have 59bhp but it pulls well if given a bit of throttle. I agree with the reviewer in that it's top speed is approx 110/115, I'm 15.5st and 6'1". It might do 130mph but only with the smaller of the Crankies riding it. However it will cruise nicely at 80mph at just under 5.5,000revs and revs nicely right up to the top speed with very little effort. The engine is very flexible and loves to be revved. I have the touring screen on mine and it makes things very comfortable at 80mph for someone of my height. Together with the handguards,heated grips and good protection from the tank fairing it makes it a very comfortable back roads tourer with a few motorway miles thrown in. The suspension is pretty good and it can be thrown around quite easily. I also have the Avon Distanzia tyres on mine and I bloody hate them. I can't wait for them to wear out so I can get some Metzeler Tourances on there, had them on my GS650 and loved them. I also find the seat uncomfortable after a couple of hundred miles or 5-6 hours in the saddle and if I was going to keep it long term would consider a gel insert.

Bottom line is I think it's a great bike and does the job it's designed for, love the Honda build quality and the V twin engine and would highly recommend it. I will be changing it for something with a bit more poke come the summer but that's because I fancy something quicker not because it's a bad bike.
Cheers
Rich
economix , October 29, 2012
...
Stabiliser
Bought mine with 600 miles on the clock in July 2012 but will add about 30,000 to that this year. I'm lucky enough to be able to use it as a 'company bike' in a job that sees me riding from Aberdeen down to Plymouth ( via some cheeky roads of course!). I love the bike but the main shortcoming for me is the lack of stability when fully fuelled. It's workable but a bit disconcerting. SW Motech crash bars were a nightmare to fit and require me to strip down the headlamp cowl assembly to remove the side panels - a significant design flaw. Other mods are Motech bash plate - fiddly but solid - fork gaiters, Touratech screen adjuster; Honda heated grips (decadent); Givi top box and panniers ( never use the panniers else can't filter in London traffic) etc etc. fuel consumption is c.55 mpg @ indicated 80 mph. Uses no oil but I change oil and filter at 4k. Tyres - still using Trailwing. 7k rear; 12k front. A bit skittish but I also ride off road bikes so no dramas. In summary- it does what it says on the tin. I bought it because my KTM 625 SXC couldn't hack the mileage. I've kept that for long distance off road tours but the Transalp is great for long distance road mile munching. Caveat emptor (hope that's right!).
Stabiliser , January 03, 2013
...
les9509
My third new Alp, having owned 2 x 600's and covered many thousands of happy miles on them; Bol d' Or, North Cape etc etc. I fitted Bridgestone BT 45's after first (Non-free) service, as I use the bike mostly for on road use (I'm 70 in a couple of weeks). Snow on the roof, fire in the boiler. Fitted the usual "Farkles" for comfort/convenience. Later this year I am heading for Southeast Poland to visit a friend. The bike is everything I want or need. If the testers want more overtaking gruntlnthey should be looking elsewhere- but the comments about a sixth gear are valid. Shame on you, Honda... That's my ha'pworth.
les9509 , January 18, 2013
...
Coops
I need a bike that I can use all year round, will commute and tour both easily and in equal measure. It has to be slim (I have a narrow access to the back yard where it is stored) and easily manoeuvrable, not excessively heavy or too tall (I'm vertically challenged at 29 inch inside leg). To meet these and other specific requirements I have recently bought my first XL700 and boy am I loving it.

Honda touring screen was fitted on purchase but I've replaced it with a MRA Vario Touring screen (with spoiler). Full luggage, heated grips, crash protection bars and centre stand all included at purchase. It has done just over 9000 miles since being first registered. Plans include fitting a chain oiler and power socket, followed by lots and lots of miles. So far though I have to say that I pretty much agree with Alun's review and don't understand where Dr.Jekyll is coming from with his comment 'Sorry folks this is NOT a good bike......' because actually it is pretty close to brilliant.
Coops , February 14, 2013 | url

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