24 June 2008
Today my new bike was born.
After what felt like an eternity of indecisiveness I decided on a 2nd bike. And I had the honour of opening the box myself!
This is the start of a whole new chapter.
This bike does not and can not replace the CTX or do what it does. The TA is a radical change, a different bike that does different things to the trail bike. It broadens the potential and compliments the "fleet" in the garage. The TA can do more mileage in less time and take a pillion. It won't go everywhere the CTX can but I will take it as far as it can go.
Both bikes will still get lots of riding time. Trail riding remains my first love.
25 June 2008
I got my bike today
After jumping through all the bank's hoops I got it just before 5pm.
Once again the service from Honda Wing George was absolutely superb!
I took ownership of a polished bike, with a FULL tank and a bottle of Champagne to boot!
I rolled it off the showroom floor myself:
It had 0km. Not 5km, not 1km, ZERO km!
What a feeling!
We had to be somewhere tonight, but I rode it some before and after. It is now sound asleep in my garage with 18km on the clock.
26 June 2008
Sheez. Night two and the bike only has 49km on the clock. Work, work, work. The weather forecast says it's raining cats and dog the next two days too. I just cannot catch a break.
I did make time to fiddle with the bike a bit this evening though.
I got some goodies today.
Extra tubes, tyre levers, bigger foot pegs and handle bar raisers:
The bike has lots of space underneath the seat, so I put the smaller levers in the back compartment...
...along with a tube. The toolkit, puncture kit, cloth, other tube and longer tyre lever went in the compartment in the front:
Next the handle bars had to be raised.
I used the lowest setting of the raisers first (there are 3 settings) and it made a hell of a difference. I love it!
What I don't like is the metal finish. I will have the raisers powder coated black to make it blend in better (yeah, I'm a perfectionist).
Looks good from the cockpit side though.
Next up - foot pegs.
View from the top:
Old and new:
The pegs are slightly higher so I had to adjust the gear lever a bit. Also, now I think the handles needs to be raised a bit more as well.
Hopefully I will be able to get a good ride in soon!
What next? Well, in time, better hand guards, crash bars, bash plate, knobblies.
This is a dual purpose bike, but mine will be as off-road ready as is possible. This bike will morph into a knobbly shod exploring machine. Watch this space!
08 July 2008
Today, while my bike got it's 1000km service, the new hand guards and tyres were added. The handle bars were also raised a little higher.
I really like the new look!
The new hand guards are steel enforced and "wrap around". No way I'll break a clutch leaver in a fall now.
1 September 2008
Some more additions added to the bike.
This weekend in Cape Town I visited my friend Topbox in his new store in Cape Town. Man he's got some nice stuff. I ended up leaving with Crash Bars, Soft luggage panniers, Soft luggage pannier brackets and a waterproof topbox & bracket with pillion backrest. Thanks Topbox! Great service and great products at a great price.
When I got home they were installed without delay.
Soft Luggage pannier brackets:
They fit nicely and work well. The panniers are the Kappa TK714 panniers. On first impression they look strong and durable. We'll be sure to test them soon!
Kappa Crash bars. They fasten to the frame - same as the Givi Crash Bars.
The Kappa K49 Topbox. This topbox is waterproof with a backrest for the pillion. Now Mrs. TR can ride in style.
The finished product with all the luggage fitted:
The bike is really taking shape now. Next priority is a bash plate and a different exhaust without a catalitic converter. The "CAT" is too low and needs to go.
Mrs. TR and I can't wait to test the new stuff on a trip. Maybe a quick one-nighter soon.
18 February 2009
The TKC tyres performed admirably and the rear tyre lasted 7000km. I've replaced the rear with another TKC. The front tyre is still fine could probably go for another 7000km (they were used on gravel and tar - aprox. 50/50). These tyres are good on tar and excellent on dirt, but the biggest advantage in my opinion is the increase in braking performance on dirt.
12 March 2009
Next update - Kappa hard luggage added and CAT removed!
Without the CAT the bike is (thankfully) not louder but the sound is deeper or "throatier". It also feels like it pulls better right through the rev range. The difference:
Old photo - see CAT under the bike just in front of the back wheel.
Now I can't wait for the Touratech bashplate to arrive!
The hard luggage brackets are also much better than the old ones. The old ones were functional in keeping the soft luggage away from the exhaust and wheel, but that was it.
The new brackets are very sturdy and will act as crash bars as well.
When I visited the Honda Riding Academy I was impressed that the TA's crashed so well (the two that did go down). The one thing that were exposed and did break easily were the indicators.
These brackets offer good protection for the indicators.
And of course they can be used for both the soft and the hard luggage.
Hard luggage fitted:
I am very satisfied. The bike looks real good in real life. Next farkle to be added: bash plate!
28 May 2009
So finally my bash plate arrived from Germany and got fitted today!
This is serious hardware and a long overdue replacement for that plastic cowl fairing.
The bash plate fits perfectly with the crash bars and like the crash bars it's mounted to the frame of the bike. Bottom protection goes all the way back and protects the whole engine.
The bike now is very close to the final product I want.
9 September 2009
I took the Tourances that was temporarily fitted off again today. They really are not ideal for off road riding.
I fitted a Continental TKC front again. I doubt if I'll ever use any other tyre in front as this proved to be perfect for the type of riding I do.
For the rear I decided to try a Heidenau. It not much cheaper than the TKC but I am told it will last twice as long. I hope so as the TKC rear tyres only lasted 6000km!
The bike looks great!
At last I have my off road Tourer.
Next I'll be looking at fork boots and radiator protectors.
23 December 2009
New Tool Tube fitted!
The new Tool Tube takes: Spare Tube, Patch kit, 3 x tyre levers, 2 x spanners, 2 x gas bombs and a regulator (not in pic).
It fits nice and secure behind my pannier bracket on the side opposite to the exhaust. It's fastened with 6 x cable ties so its easy to remove and refastened if need be.
It blends in with the bike nicely and is hardly noticeable.
31 January 2010
Today my new TransAlp arrived!
After careful consideration on which new bike to buy and even some test rides it was once again apparant that if you want a Midsized Pillion Adventure Tourer there is nothing on the market in South Africa that can rival the TransAlp, especially on price.
Due to some delays with the courier the bike only arrived today (on the Sunday). Honda Wing George opened up especially for me and the Dealer Principle himself and a mechanic came in to transfer all the farkles off my old bike onto my new bike.
I arrived at Honda George at 10:30 and left at 15:15. What other dealer do you know that would be willing to do that? And it didn't cost me a cent! The transfer of the farkles was part of the deal.
New bike - 0km. Not 10km, not 5km, not 1.5km, 0KM! New bike!
It's a great feeling getting a new bike whatever it is. I am so grateful for this blessing that's come my way!
She sleeps in my garage tonight with 4km on the clock.
Tomorrow we get rid of the sissy tyres and fit brand new TKC's as well as fork boots and we get rid of the CAT.
1 February 2010
TKC's and Fork Boots fitted!
I am very happy with the result so far. She is one mean looking machine!
Tomorrow the CAT will be removed and I also had a meeting with a graphic designer to make me some decals for the side covers. On my recent EC trip I found that the pillion's boots scuffs the side panels, so I want so protection for those. In stead of just sticking some sticker there I decided to have a decal designed that will match the decals on the fairing and blend in with the bike.
3 February 2010
3 July 2010
Sorted the squeaks in the head unit - one of the known issues on some TA's. My first bike didn't have have this problem, this one did. Easily sorted though:
First I took apart my bike's head unit:
Next I got patch (yes, good old puncture fix patch) and cut them to size:
Now I used the patch as "washers" between the places where the head unit screwed together:
Problem solved! Not a squeak to be heard! Everything screwed back together nice and tight.
I have also had the decals I wanted designed and will have them on the bike as soon as I can find a professional who can do it well.
10 July 2010
I have fitted a 140 Mitas E 09 tyre to my TransAlp. This tyre is much wider than other 140 tyres it seems.
I love this tyre. Nice ride on both gravel and tar. Most of all I love the aggressive look!
I hope it lasts longer than the TKC.
4 January 2011
Update: The tyre finally came to the end of it's life. It lasted almost 11 000km but to be fair I should have replaced it after 10 000km already. 10 000km!
I did not baby this tyre, in fact, it was abused somewhat. It did 50% of it's life on tar, a lot of that 2-up and heavily loaded.
It did 160km/h regularly and did 180km/h a couple of times, including a 10km stint trying to chase down Smidty's V-Strom when the tyre was only a 1000km old. I really expected to find some knobs missing after that but this tyre never missed a beat.
I will be getting another one. It comes highly recommended!
8 January 2011
Kappa High Screen fitted:
I never wanted to fit a higher screen as I did not like the look. The Honda high screen especially spoiled the whole look of the TransAlp for me. Then I came across this High Screen from Kappa. It's not too high, blends in with the lines of the bike nicely and it's "smoked black" look really compliments the black bike.
I never realized what a big difference a high screen would make! It's a HUGE improvement on the road.
I will be running my Tourance tyres until my new set of tyres get here. I will be getting a TKC (front) and Mitas E09 (rear) combo. Real aggressive knobblies that will give me 10 000km of serfvice.
16 March 2011
Look what I came across today...
It's my first bike! Yes, the red one. The owner had a "disagreement" with a truck. Luckily he is OK. The bike had to have some work done though and he decided to go with the silver plastics.
Looks totally different from when I had it. The new owner is very happy with it and apart from the "off" he hasn't had a single problem the bike.
12 September 2014
Well, it's been a while since this post has been updated. I'm happy to report that the TransAlp is still ticking over without a problem. It is now four and a half years old and it's had a hard life. Lot's of gravel travel and living right next to the ocean takes it's toll. Luckily it's a Honda so everything keeps going right.
It needed some maintenance and TLC so when my fork seal popped recently I decided to give it a makeover. It's a work in progress, but here is what I have done so far:
It started with the mirrors that showed signs of rust erosion. Note that these are not the original Honda mirrors, but an aftermarket set I fitted after one of my original mirrors broke.
I decided not to go with round mirrors again and chose a more rectangular shape. I thinks it fits the bike well.
Next I had a look at the cockpit area.
Some work to be done here also. Firstly I noticed some rust on the handles below the mirror stalks. This could have been caused by the cheap mirrors, I'm not sure:
I also found some rust on the clamps:
And I REALLY got a scare from the bottom:
Lastly I had some stone chips on the forks itself:
Since all of this had to be taken apart to fit the new fork seals anyway I decided to fix all of it and powder-coat the forks and clamps.
New handles and grips:
The stone-chipped forks were powder-coated black. I really looked forward to see how this would look on the bike! I also decided to replace the forkboots I cut off the bike on it's Ride-in Ride.
The old rusted handles weren't rusted as much as I thought. These promptly found their way onto my friend's KLE.
As it turns out the clamps looked much worse than it was also. These are castings so will never rust through. The rust I saw was surface rust only (inevitable when you live next to the ocean I guess) and it cleaned up easily and nicely. No need to powder-coat them in the end.
New grips fitted:
The new cockpit area:
And the new look with black forks and boots:
Not bad for a bike that's almost five years old.
Tyre combo at the moment is a Metzeler Karoo in front and a Michelin T63 rear. Happy with the combo so far. Will see what mileage I get.
Future plans for the bike is to re-coat the crashbars and maybe black out the spokes. I also plan to fit some spotlights, LED indicators and maybe an on-board camera. Will keep you posted!
1 October 2014
Black spokes done!
It's an idea I've played with for a while, but seemed such a mission to re-spoke a wheel. Then, purely by chance I happened on Designer Spokes, a South African company with a cheap and easy way to transform your spokes!
I bought a set from my mate Piston Pete at Outriders in Cape Town and I am very happy with the result!
I also started to replace various nuts and bolts with stainless steel. Next is the re-coating of the crashbars - already booked for next week.
"Because this is the Bike I Like!"
More updates to follow...
In the market for a new XL700V TransAlp? My thoughts on ABS, or not to ABS...
Also see my post on known TA700 niggles and issues here.
Share of Facebook