Friday, September 12, 2014

XL700V TransAlp

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 Grin

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.

CAT gone!

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.

The old:

The new:

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

CAT removed!

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. Cool

16 March 2011

Look what I came across today...

Recognise it?

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.

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Anonymous said...

The bike is looking good. I also have a XL700V transalp and have just fitted the Givi crash bars. Great quality, easy to fit and really look the part. What make are your hand protectors??? I really like the look of them and can see a set making their way to my bike. Regards, Darren

TR said...

Those are EMCO universal hand guards. My crash bars and belly plate is on order. Can't wait!

Anonymous said...

Hallo ,like you i have the same Kappa crashbar. I also would like to install een bashplate. Do you now if Kappa has one that can be installed in combination with their crashbar.SW Motech (germany) has one but i don't think you can use it with the Kappa crashbar.
What brand/size are you new tyres and are they any good on tarmac?

Greetings from Europe

TR said...


The Tyres are Continental TKC's and they are good on tar. They have a speed rating of 160km/h and above 30km/h you almost don't feel the knobblies at all.

I also don't think the SW Motech bashplate will work with the Kappa/Givi crash bars. Kappa will develop one, but it will be a few months untill it becomes available unfortunately.

Gary said...

Hey Trailrider,
moved to SA 2 years ago and got my Transalp beginning of august. Dropped her on dirt on sunday but only scratches. Gonna get my crashbars and panniers from Givi tomorrow but gonna make a nice bashplate in stainless steel by myself since i couldn't find anything decent on the market. Where in Cape Town is your friend's new shop?
I'm planning to ride baviaanskloof from 24.09. to 28.09. and would like an local expert to join!
If you are interested contact me under

Chears Gary

TR said...

Hi Gary

The shop's address is as follows:

Unit 7
Highway Park
Northgate Estate
Section street
Cape Town

Tel: 021 511 1007

Check your inbox for my mail.


Anonymous said...

Great blog TR, so useful to me as a recent Brit immigrant to SA.
Bought my Transalp and started to customise it for off road use. I bought the Emgo handguards as I thought they looked good and were much more substantial than the Honda fly swatters. Got the left side on ok. On the left side I screwed a 6mm screw into the end plug and just pulled it out, but cannot get the Honda end plug out of the throttle side. I've cut the end off the throttle twist grip tube and rolled the grip rubber back, fed the 6mm screw in but the whole end plug turns but will not pull out. Is there some trick to this?
Would appreciate your comments.
Many Thanks

November 2, 2008 10:33 PM

TR said...

Yes, the plug is only "braced" on the end of the handle bar. You can loosen it by tapping it or sawing about 1mm of the handle bar. Or take it to your local Honda dealer and let them worry about it :-)

Anonymous said...

Thanks TR,
Got the handlebar plug out through sheer determination, the spring steel ring is now in little pieces, bit like my patience. Any way Emgo handlebar protectors are now fitted. I cut the original Honda ones down and refitted them over the lever pivots inside the Emgos and they look fine. Fitted SW Motech engine crash bars, they seem good also. Love the bike, feels so natural and willing. Just got to get out there more and learn how to ride the SA gravel, bit different to the UK mud and grass I'm used to!
Thanks again

ROV Offshore Life said...

That bike really looks good man nice done. From RovRat

Anonymous said...

I'm an Italian biker and I already have a TRANSALP similar to your, I post here a pictures:

I have some question to you, because I'm going to buy some new stuff and i would like to have tips from you:
1. How is the comfort in street riding with new tires ( i guess they are tkc by continental) compared to standard ones?
2.If I mount risers, I need to change some oil cables or other cables (you know, if I move 3 cm the bar, probably cables won't arrive anymore...)
3.Hand protectors are easy to install?

thanks a lot for everything you will say to me



quentus said...

Great bike!

I have the same bike. Bought new in March. I am looking for a good aftermarket exhuast. Any sugestions and pricing?

Anonymous said...

Hi Trailrider,

I'm a Transalp owner aswell, from Belgium :)

It's my first 'new' bike, being only 21, and i want to make it as good for offroad as possible. I did basically the same mods that you did. BUT!
I'm wondering if it would be useful to put a different rear spring and front forks, so I get more ground-clearance. That way i dont hit the bottom of my forks and rear-spring that often ( tend to bash my bike hard :) ).

Do you know any manufacturer, or even know if it's possible on the XL700V 2008?

Kind Regards!

PS: Got the same color bike as you ;)

whiteboss said...


Your TA looks very cool:)
I have one, and now I am working on some upgrades. It is gooing to be "full of Touratech" soon. I can´t wait to get it complete.

If You want, i can post some pics on how it is going to be real adventure tourer.

Write me man on

Peace from Europe (Slovakia).


Anonymous said...

WOW!!! Should there be a day that I have to part with my beloved CTX, then this will definately be the bike with all the mods that I would want!!! Well done!!

Unknown said...

I'm really interested in getting rid of my CAT too. How did you link the tail pipe to the rest of the exhaust without the cat in place?

Lourens said...

I like your bike plenty! Some nice mods you've got there.

I'm leaning more toward the TA than the Tenere. The Tenere's power disappointed me allot. I'm taking the TA for a spin this week still.

William Van Loggerenberg said...

Hi Trailrider, love your posts!

If I may ask, where did you buy get the Tool Tube you fitted behind your pannier?


Commando said...

First of all, congratulations!
The bike is amazing, in fact I will by XL700v next week or so.
Just a minor comment, I will buy a pair of saddle bags at Wolfman Luggage, and I wonder if any of you had previous experience with this brand.
Also wonder if the side rack installed in the bike has any quick lock system or it takes a long time to be removed.

Thank you very much for your support

TR said...

Hi Tom

The TKC's are great on road as well. Obviously being knobblies not as smooth as the Tourances and they also wear a lot faster on tar. Luckily I spend most of my time on gravel.

I did not need to lengthen my cables with the risers but if you go a lot higher I believe you might have to. And yes, the hand protectors are easy enough to install. :-)

TR said...

Quentus: I have seen quite a few Leo Vance pipes on TA700's. Looks and sounds very nice.

Lars: Touratech has progressive spring sets for the TransAlp. I am told they make a big difference and it's something I'll be looking into myself at some stage.

Rob: Basically they cut the CAT out and add a link pipe. Quite a simple job really. Takes about 2 hours.

TR said...

Hi William. There is a person on the Wild Dog forum (Goose) who imported a few boxes from the US. I got mine from him.

Commando no, I don't have any experience with Wolfman luggage. My panniers have a quick release yes, but the luggage racks themselves are bolted onto the bike. Would take about 10 minutes to remove I would guess.

Giuseppe said...

Hi, I'm reading with a lot of interest your blog. I'm writing from Italy and I have a Transalp '03. I'm interested in the box that you said "...There is a person on the Wild Dog forum (Goose) who imported a few boxes from the US. I got mine from him...".

Could you check the name or the firm producing it, so I can order on internet from Italy? Thank you for your help.

Anonymous said...

Hi Trailrider,

I follow your articles with great interest - they are very informative. I have put the wider steel footpegs and 25mm risers on -they definately make a big difference!
I have also fitted a Kappa 36L topbox directly onto the Honda rack. When I ride with my wife we find that it takes up a lot of passenger space. Does the correct Kappa Transalp rack move and / or tilt the box back giving more space? I would appreciate any feedback!

Anonymous said...

Great Blog, really liked your idea about the puncture fix patch.

Guy from Israel

TR said...

Hi Anonymous

Sorry, I only saw this question re the topbox now. Yes, I guess it does because my topbox is not over the seat at all.

Anonymous said...

Can you confirm exact make and type of pannier rack that you fitted. Reason is that most I have seen involve having to relocate the indicators but yours does not seem to. Great bike.

TR said...

Those are the Kappa pannier brackets made specifically for the 700 TA.

Looky here:

Anonymous said...

thanks for this tips

Anonymous said...

Hi TR,

Thanks for your comments about the top box bracket. I have fitted it and it gives a lot more space for the pillion. I have also just fitted the Kappa 21L panniers -they are the right size for the bike - most panniers look far too big on the Transalp!

børvis said...

what was done to link up the exhaust pipe withouth the cat in place?


TR said...


The CAT was cut on both sides and removed. The exhaust was simply reconnected with a link pipe. Easy fix.

Anonymous said...

Which Touratech bash plate did you use? Do you have serial number or something? Touratech wbsite don't show any parts for Honda Transalp. Did you change anything with plate?

TR said...

Nope I found this bashplate on the Touratech website and imported it. It is available now in South Africa as well.

Anonymous said...

Hello! Is this plate, you used?!prettyPhoto

Tnx ;)

ngosha said...

Great information on mods, esp removing the CAT it gives such a sweet roar. can't wait for the 700 from the UK, currently I'm happy with the 2002 TA 650. Theyre very rare here in Tanzania

Anonymous said...

Hi there, glad to see you've gotten back to your Transalp :-) Your blog was one of the reasons I jumped at a 2010 XLV700. I love the smooth power and Honda quality (except the stupid fuel level sensor) but find the bike extremely heavy to pick up once it's fallen over. And ground clearance is terrible - centerstand... But the twin is just so smooth on open roads. But damn, I wish it was a KLR's 21" front wheel, ground clearance and fuel capacity...

Unknown said...

Hello from Ireland
Having looked at all the extras you have added to your bike, it would seem you know how to take off the side cowls :). I am having difficulty in removing both left and right front cowls, I have the instruction manual but the knack! I was wondering if you have any picture / tips on how to remove?

Anonymous said...

Recently bought TA. Pls tell me what i need to remove the cat and refit stock muffler?

Unknown said...

I have a feeling that I may well have your old Transalp. Clive from Ballito

Anonymous said...

Hi from the UK

Good work, have just picked up a 2012 model with only 2700m on the clock, am desperate to get out there but the weather isn't so good over here, ridiculously windy and lots of rain :(

One day soon tho.

Thanks for all the info on the mods, great stuff, I now have plenty of ideas, better start saving ;)

All the best

Unknown said...

TR, after 5 years with my 2009 TA700, i read your post and got new ideas for my bike too.
You wrote that the bottom protector is from Germany. Can you tell who is it from and if it is doing it's job ?

Ofer, from Israel.

Sam van der Zanden said...

Hi, one check, I read that you have removed your innerweights (stearing). Did you noticed any difference when driving?


Unknown said...

Hi there. I stay in Cape Town and also have a Transalp. I would love to contact you.

Unknown said...

Hi! Great looking bike! I was thinking.. i can see you fitted bigger tires then stock, how did that work for you? Was it for the looks, or is it for handling?