Euro Quickie: Honda Transalp
Euro Motorcycling's Halfway House
BARCELONA, Spain, May, 1998 -- The Honda Transalp was born on the trails, but through the years the XLV600 has evolved into a street-tourer. The comfortable riding position, the friendly power spread, its durability and low maintenance have made the Transalp one of the most versatile bikes sold in Europe. Her cousin, the 750 Africa Twin, is built with the same philosophy but but leans decidedly more toward off-road riding.
The success of the Transalp lies with its engine. The water cooled 583cc, 52° V-twin, with twin spark plugs and three valves per cylinder, makes 50 bhp at 8,000 rpm. It is fed by a pair of 34mm carburetors. The power spread is accessible by any kind of rider.
Touring two-up is comfortable. The only drawback is that with only 50 bhp, power is sacrificed.
Forget high speeds, lightning acceleration and sport riding, this is a comfortable, calm bike. Since 1988, the Transalp has seen primarily cosmetic changes. Basically, the original engine and the frame design have remained intact.
The seat, the fairing and the instrument panel have changed, but not so much as to render earlier Transalp silhouettes unrecognizable.
"The Honda XLV600 Transalp is a very good purchase."
The brakes are strong enough to stop this bike with authority. Originally, the XLV600 was equipped with only two rotors -- one front and one rear -- but in 1997 Honda added another rotor on the front. The front brakes consist of a pair of 256mm rotors with two-piston calipers.
At the rear, ithe Transalp is equipped with a 240mm rotor with a one-piston caliper. With this new configuration the Transalp has become a rally-touring bike and few of its original off-road characteristics are left. Only the 21-inch front wheel remains to remind you of its earlier, off-road roots.
With a comfortable seat, good ergonomics, indestructible engine and excellent hertiage, the Honda Transalp is a great rally-touring bike, good for perhaps 85% street and 15% off-road riding.
Our only gripe is its power: 50 bhp is little low if you want to take a trip two-up and carry bags. Even so, the Honda XLV600 Transalp is still a very good purchase.
Manufacturer: Honda Model: 1998 XLV600 Transalp. Price: $7,900.00 (Spain) Engine: Water-cooled, 3-valve, 52 degree V-twin, 4-stroke Bore x stroke: 75 x 66 mm Displacement: 583 cc Carburation: 2 VD 34 mm Transmission: 5-speed Claimed power: 50 bhp at 8000 rpm Claimed torque: 38.3 ft-lbs @ 6000 rpm (5.3 kgm @ 6000 rpm) Wheelbase: 59.3 in. (1505 mm) Rear tire: 120/90 - 17 Tubeless Radial Front tire: 90/90 - 21 Tubeless Radial Fuel capacity: 4.7 gal (18 L) Claimed dry weight: 432 lbs (196 kg) Max. Speed: 116 mph (187 km/h)