MY HONDA TRANSALP
Frame no: 5707161
Engine no: 2706997
Colour: Green/blue metallic
Reg no: M769 HUH (GB)
General: I bought my Transalp some time ago on the recommendation of a friend, who owns an older (bronze bush) model. The other reason I bought it is that my wife wouldn't let me buy a Fireblade. I us
e my Transalp mainly for pleasure, although it is very useful for business trips - It's great for avoiding the heavy traffic and roadworks that seem to be a way of life here in the UK!
My wife and I have toured Scotland, most of Wales and parts of Northern England. Most weekends I
explore the Welsh hills, using both roads and some of the more accessible bridleways. I really enjoy ge
tting out and finding new places, and have developed my bike in certain ways to my own specifications.
I read your Homepage features with interest and hope that you find my observations useful, and that you will get some idea of what we get up to in the UK on our Transalps.
Luggage: I bought a rather expensive set of GIVI luggage with a 'Wingrack' and all the necessary hardware. The indicator lights are not as good as the genuine Honda fitments, one of them lets water in
and has started to corrode. The castings used for the rack seem to be oxidising under the powder coat finish. I am mystified by this because I keep the bike garaged. Sooner or later they will start t
o look unsightly - they could be better quality. I also use a 'Clover' strap-on tank bag which is excellent.
Tyres: The original Yokohama tyres lasted 6100 miles, eventually the rear wore mainly down the centre band. I replaced both front (which was virtually unworn) and rear with Michelin T66's which are mo
re of a road tyre. I chose them because they are the standard fitment on the Aprilia Pegaso, which I was considering buying instead of the Transalp and was quite impressed with. Also, at the time I wa
s riding exclusively on the road and was a bit scared to take my beloved machine on rough tracks! How things have changed!
T66's are extremely good road tyres in my opinion. They are very grippy on tarmac, but not much use off road. The first rear lasted 8000 miles and I changed it for another, despite them being difficul
t to obtain. I finally changed them both again after a fair mileage for some Bridgestone Trailwings, as my riding habits had changed and I needed a more 'gnarly' tyre to keep me out of trouble. When t
he T66's were being taken off, the mechanic exclaimed that he had never seen such wear on the sides of tyres from a 'dual' bike "cor, you get this thing over don't you mate!" he said - I took this as
The Trailwings seem to be a softer compound and will not last as long. Other than that I've got no complaints.
Brakes: I replaced the pads all round with Ferodo 'Kevlar' - they were a big disappointment, and I'm now back on genuine Honda fitments.
Electrics: I have fitted the obligatory cycle computer to the handlebars - so it's just like an Africa Twin! Actually it is very useful because if you keep an eye on distance travelled you can stop an
d rest before the 100 mile 'numb bum break' that my wife and I have developed into a little ritual.
When off-road, I use a Silva GPS compass satellite navigator
in a special bracket mounted to the left-hand mirror mounting clamp. This instrument runs from the bike electrics via a special accessory s
ocket, and is extremely useful when in unfamiliar territory. I can also plug a radar detector into the socket when I feel like being naughty - it locates GATSO speed cameras very well. I also fitted h
eated grips to enable me to ride on those beautiful clear frosty mornings that we get in the winter without getting frostbite. As a finishing touch I managed to buy a tiny genuine Honda stick-on clock
, which resides on the bottom right hand side of my tacho.
Engine: Other than do the checks and maintenance procedures detailed in the manual, I haven't done anything to it other than replace spark plugs, filters and change oil. I use a full synthetic and ch
ange it regularly.
Problems: I have had 3 speedometer cables replaced under warranty. The front brake rotor seems to be fractionally warped, Honda won't replace this though and it's not really noticeable unless I am tra
velling slowly enough to hear it. The rear wheel is a bit pitted. The Transalp sticker on the right hand side fairing has bleached in the sun, but otherwise the bodywork is pristine. The Prolink has a
bit of corrosion where a stone has cracked the paint off, and the plastic 'sump guard' is as always in pretty shit state. I have fitted paint protectors on the tank sides and other likely places.
Chain: The drive is just about to be replaced, as the sprockets are becoming 'hooked', I have been using a 'Scott-Oiler'
which is an engine vacuum controlled gravity oil dispenser. It comes as a self-
fit kit and is really excellent. It keeps the chain nicely lubed, but makes a bit of a mess of the back wheel with all the oil blobs that it flicks off.
Screen: To cut down wind blast and make things more comfortable over long distances I fitted a special 'Givi' flip-up screen. This was an excellent purchase.
Other things: Handlebar end weights - they are supposed to stop 'buzzing' vibration. Whether they do or not is debatable. Because of the appalling number of bike thefts in the UK I fitted a remote con
trol anti-theft alarm, but don't use it as often as I should.
Tips: NEVER remove the plastic plates that seal the fake 'air intakes' on the fairing. If it rains water gets blown into your electrics and causes problems.
Always carry a stand pad, which is a special plastic plate which slips under the side stand foot and stops your bike sinking in the mud and falling over. If not use a flattened coke can.
Always carry an emergency tyre foam/inflator and a CO2 tyre inflator and cartridges - you will never get the tyre off in the wilds yourself to repair a flat.
Wish list: To make my bike even more ideal I would like the following -
Gear: On the bike I wear maximum protection. My wife is expecting our second child and is most insistent on not becoming a widow so she lets me spend quite freely! I always wear the following (it neve
r gets too hot here!):
- A centre stand.
- Like all Transalp riders - an Africa Twin type fuel cap!
- More power. (can you ever have enough?)
- Hazard flasher conversion - I am doing this next and using your design.
- A twin headlamp conversion.
- Engine protection bars.
- A rear wheel 'hugger' mudguard to keep the crap off the rear damper etc.
- A noisy 'can' type exhaust.
Best wishes and happy Transalping!
- Underwear - 'Duofold' long johns and long sleeve top.
- Socks - 'Thorlo' trekking
- 'Dainese' armoured leather trousers (definitely without knee sliders!)
- 'Pro-tek' armour (back protector, shoulders and elbow pads in a mesh shirt)
- Scott Kevlar jacket. This is breathable, waterproof and probably bulletproof.
- Arai balaclavas.
- Various makes of gauntlets. Swift and Frank Thomas to name but a few.
- Arai 'Quantum' safety helmet with custom built in Nady intercom.
- Boots - either Alpinestars Moto-cross boots (car kickers!) or Axo summer boots.
John Gartside firstname.lastname@example.org