Honda recently launched their new mid range dual purpose motorcycle – the XL700V TransAlp – and once again they did not disappoint.
Honda has a proud history of combining styling, performance and comfort in a smart touring package. From the CBR1100xx Blackbird which combined the performance of a Super Bike and and the comfort to take it touring, to the VFR800, the XL1000V Varaderro and even the luxurious Pan European. Whatever type of riding / touring you want to do, Honda has a bike for you.
And what better place to own one of these new dual purpose TransAlp motorcycles than the Garden Route? We have a myriad of scenic routes and passes just waiting to be explored.
On the twisty roads of the garden route it is clear that the XL700V TransAlp continuous Honda’s proud heritage, but it is when you leave tar behind that you see all of what the garden route, and the XL700V TranAlp, has to offer. The TransAlp is just as at home on the gravel as it is on tar. The low down torque and spoked wheels makes this motorcycle a pleasure to ride on the gravel roads of the Southern Cape.
This is probably it’s biggest advantage. Within a few hundred hundred kilometers from George you can explore Kloofs, Passes, forests and beaches. No need to turn around when the going gets tough, on the TransAlp you simply carry on. What a pleasure to be able to ride over Outeniqua Pass and return via the historic Montagu Pass, or ride the magnificent Meirings Poort and visit Gamkaskloof before returning over the equally impressive Swartberg Pass. What a pleasure to be able to this on the very same bike that will deliver you to the office on Monday morning.
From the moment you swing your leg over the seat you feel at home on the bike. It has a very comfortable seat and a nice upright seating position. The instrument cluster is informative and clearly visible, the styling is modern and eye catching, the build quality is excellent and the bike is simply a pleasure to ride. The XL700V TransAlp is as much at home on the mountain passes as it is on the daily commute. The new 700cc boasts four valves per cylinder and fuel injection which gives the motorcycle nice linear power right through the rev range with lots of usable torque from low revs and ample power on tap. User friendly is one of the first things that comes to mind when you ride the bike. It’s just so easy to ride. It’s very confidence inspiring and lets you zip through the daily commute with a smile.
I have to admit I was nervous to take it on gravel, but this was probably it’s biggest surprise. The bike feels no different on gravel than it does on tar and it certainly is very capable. The TransAlp has great suspension and takes what you throw at it in it’s stride. Even on the sandy patches the bike felt sure footed. Do not be fooled by the good looks – it’s a very capable Dual Purpose motorcycle.
Comparing it to the previous XL650V TransAlp it feels lighter, handles easier and definitely packs more punch. It is just as comfortable as the previous model for both the rider and pillion and definitely a worthy successor. As is evident from this review I was very impressed. At R69 999 for this fuel injected V-twin it certainly is an excellent buy.
It’s not just a motorcycle, it’s a new found freedom.
Article written for the George Herold - Apr 2008
Bike supplied by Honda Wing George