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The Honda XL700V Transalp - Superbly confortable and not shy to put it out in the dirt

A perfect bike for new comers to dual sport adventure touring.
The Honda XL700V Transalp
This beautiful dualsport machine was superbly comfortable to ride and even after 6 hours of touring, I had very little desire to stop. The Transalp is a fantastic tourer, it won't win the Dakar next year, but must be one of the smoothest 700cc bikes available and still has the capability to hit the dirt trails.
Craig Marshall - Rider
Test Ride Location
With clear blue skies and hardly a breath of wind, we headed over Sir Lowries Pass and through Grabouw to the Majestic Theewaterskloof region.

Of course we couldn't resist the temptation of quickly popping up the Franschhoek Pass for a few twisties on the tarmac.

From Theewaterskloof Dam we weaved our way back through the gravel roads of Van Der Stel's Pass towards Botriver and along the tarmac again towards kleinmond.

A few hundred meters just after the Kleinmond Turn off is a nice gravel road called Highlands Road, which takes you through the farm lands via a series of winding forest roads and joins up with the Viljoenshoop Winelands area.

If you do get the chance to do this route, its definitely worth stopping at the famous Peregrine Farm Stall for a wholesome lunch.
Design and Market Appeal
Although at first glance the Honda Transalp may be more road bias in looks, once fully kitted with touring Panniers, Bash plate, perhaps a set of knobbles, the bike transforms into a formidable Dual Sport Machine.
Honda XL700V Transalp - Specifications 2011 *ABS Model Available
Engine type 4-stroke 8-valve SOHC 52° V-twin
Displacement 680.2cm3
Bore x stroke 81 x 66mm
Performance 44.1kW/7,750min-1 (95/1/EC)
Max. torque 60Nm/5,500min-1 (95/1/EC)
Compression ratio 10: 1
Starter/Battery Digital transistorized with electronic advance / 12V/11.2AH
Fuel System PGM-FI electronic fuel injection
Lubrication Forced pressure with wet sump
Primary drive O-ring sealed Chain
Cooling Liquid-cooled
Clutch Mechanical; cable-actuated Wet, multiplate with coil springs
Gearbox 5-speed
Frame Semi-double-cradle; box-section steel tube
Front suspension 41mm leading-axle telescopic fork
Rear suspension Pro-Link with adjustable compression damping
Suspension travel front/rear 177mm / 173mm
Front brake 256 x 4mm dual hydraulic disc with dual-piston (Combined three-piston) calipers (ABS) and sintered metal pads
Rear brake 240 x 6mm hydraulic disc with (Combined) single-piston caliper (ABS) and resin mould pads
Tyres, front/rear 100/90-R19M/C (57H) / 130/80-R17M/C (65H)
Top speed 173.0 km/h
Wheel base 1,515mm
Seat height 841mm
Tank capacity 17.5 litres (including 3-litre reserve)
Fuel Consumption 19.2 km/lit
Dry Weight (No fuel) 214kg
General Opinion:
The overall impression I had of the Honda XL700V Transalp was that it is extremely well suited to riders who travel regularly on tarmac and limit their off road riding to hard pack gravel roads that are regularly maintained. It won't handle the rough terrain, soft sand and mud very well with out doing some modification to the front suspension. If you add a set of off road tyres you may notice a world of difference and certainly improve the off road capability of this legendary touring bike.
A rider should always purchase a bike for the purpose it has been designed and ride it accordingly.
Don't buy a road orientated touring bike and expect it to keep up with bikes based on Enduro design, with superior off road suspension and high ground clarence.

The Honda XL700V Transalp is a really great bike and will suit a wide selection of dual sport riders. A perfect bike for new comers to dual sport adventure touring.
Fuel Economy:
The specs claim you can do over 300km on a single tank of unleaded 95. With fully loaded Panniers and a heavy hand on the throttle one can expect at least 250km before the 3 liter reserve initiates.

Seat Comfort:
This is most probably the thing that impressed me the most, even after 6 hours of continuous riding on a mix of gravel and tarmac, i seldom if never felt the urge to stand up and allow blood to flow to my butt. A truly comfortable ride indeed. hard to Match !


If it must be said as one of the very few negative attributes of the XL700V Transalp - is that it does feel slightly on the heavy side. It more than makes up for it as an allround fantastic touring bike.

The rider position is very deep on the transalp, so you sit well behind the standard fearing. With a small extension you are guaranteed to have almost zero helmet buffeting.

Very little as can be expected from most twins.

Power to Weight:
The XL700V Transalp delivers 44kw and it has no problem getting up to 170km +. It may feel slightly sluggish if you are used to bigger displacement sport bikes. But in dual sport type of riding its not always necessary, and with bikes that deliver instant power it can be too much in the loose gravel.

Off Road Handling:
The XL700V is definately better suited to the Tarmac and hard pack gravel roads. It can handle the dirt, but you may want to redo the front suspension to handle the knocks better. The bike is agile, but would do much better with a set of off road tyers and perhaps more ground clearence.

Road Handling:

Once again the comfort factor makes the Transalp a pleasure to tour with. The bike is very stable in corners and the ABS model is available if you prefer. In tight bends the bike can be thrown around and responds well to input. One has to be careful if riding with a pillion, the lack of ground clarence can be a problem when leaning very low in a tight bend, you may hear the center stand touching the tar. don't panic, just be aware of it.

44° 19' 24.53"N, 6° 48' 22.33"E
Col de la Bonette, click to view
Col de la Bonette is considered the highest mountain pass in in Europe at 2802m. Situated in the French Alps, near the border with Italy. It is situated within the Mercantour National Park on the border of the departments of Alpes-Maritimes and Alpes-de-Haute-Provence.


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