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(Mods if there are a similar thread somewhere please merge - I searched but found none)

The Honda XL700V Transalp is a great bike to ride and own. It's reliable, comfortable and a lot more capable than most people thought it would be!


This post is not about singing this great bike's praises though, but rather to help owners and prospective buyers of secondhand Transalps to know what the known issues are and what to look out for when buying a secondhand Transalp.

As an owner of my 2nd XL700V Transalp and avid reader of bike forums I have picked up some universal niggles being discussed about the 700 Transalp and I'll discuss these issues and offer remedies for these problems where I can. Please feel free to add.

My bikes:




(List of modifications here)


This being a Honda, there are no big issues like front axles snapping and suspension breaks that happen at the most inopportune times.
The Transalp "issues" are mostly small stuff, but still, just be aware of it.


1. Exhaust heat shield screw coming loose.

2. Rattles in the head unit.

3. Rusty spokes and mirror stems.

4. Headshake.

5. Radiator fail.

6. Operating temperature (FAQ).

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1. Exhaust heat shield screw coming loose.

This is something I have seen discussed several times. My first Transalp did not have this problem, although a friend's Transalp did. When I bought my second Transalp early in 2010 the same thing happened to that Transalp, so I guess it's pretty common.



The problem: The screw coming loose touches the exhaust and as a result of the heat and cold cycles works itself loose. Use a shorter screw - problem solved!



2. Rattles in the head unit.

Some people complain of "rattles" or "squeaks" in the head unit, especially after having ridden on dirt roads. Hard plastic moving against each other with dust in between would do that I guess. Once again my first Transalp did not have this issue, but my second one did.

The solution to this problem is also rather straight forward (or I thought it was). 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.



Don't tell anyone my bike is held together with patch!



3. Rusty spokes and mirror stems.

I have not experienced or seen this on either of my bikes (I live in a coastal area, but not right on the ocean). I clean my bike regularly and would notice immediately if it starts. That said I have heard of one case in Cape Town and on the internet forums riders from countries that uses salt on the roads seem to complain of it regularly.

In many of the cases reported Honda has replaced the mirrors / wheels under warrantee.

Even if you don't have surface rust on your mirror stems / spokes enough of these instances have been reported, so using a corrosion protectant spray on these areas as 'n preventative measure will be a good idea. Prevention is better than cure!


4. Headshake.

Some riders complain of the bike having a "headshake" if you take both hands of the handlebars. Now while most riders would not ever take both hands off the handlebars, this is something you must be aware of as it can catch you seriously unawares. My first Transalp did this and it seemed to be the most severe at slow speed (< 20 km/h). Some people on the internet forums had various explanations and remedies. Some said it only happened when you carried a top box, others blamed the tyres they were running and even said that wheel balancing could fix the issue.

Here's my experience: In my case the top box (a 49L Givi / Kappa box) made no difference, either loaded or empty. My wheels were balanced so that was not the issue. It did seem to be slightly worse when running knobblies (Continental TKC80's) than when running Metzeler Tourances. I never did solve the problem apart from never letting go of the handle bars.


That said - it's not really a "problem". Even with one hand only lightly touching the handle bars there was no indication of a headshake whatsoever. It's quite possible that another rider, whose hands never left the handle bars at the same time, could have owned that bike for 100 000km and never have known about this "issue".

Now here's the funny part - my second Transalp does not do this at all. Not at any speed, loaded or not, with any sort of tyre. Somehow it seems that some Transalps do this and others not at all. Go figure.


5. Radiator fail.

This not something that happens frequently, but it has happened to me and I have seen two other cases on the internet, so I include it here. In all the cases Honda replaced the radiator under warrantee.

At first I thought a flying stone caused the damage to my radiator and that might even have been the case, but the incident was very similar other documented cases so here goes:

The radiator seems to start leaking at the bottom screw here:





The case on my bike:



When I saw this I was quite distressed. I made sure the radiator reservoir was full and kept riding while checking the water level regularly. In my case I could not see the leak at all and it did not leak when the bike was stationary, so I guess it only leaked when under pressure. I rode more than 300km to the Honda dealer and after that distance the radiator reservoir was still above the minimum level. My bike had approximately 25000 km on the clock at the time of the incident.

Bike fixed by Honda. Top two pictures from this thread.


6. Operating temperature.

This is not an issue, but it is a frequently asked question so I also include this here. Do not get a fright when you test ride the bike.


Under normal riding conditions normal operating temperature is around 77 - 78 degrees Celsius. In slow moving traffic it can shoot up quickly, but the radiator fan will come on at 103 degrees Celsius and bring it down to 100 degrees. The 100 - 103 -100 cycle will continue while in the slow traffic but as soon as you hit the open road the temperature will come down to normal operating temperatures.

Weather conditions will also affect the normal operating temperature with the bike running little hotter on hot days and little cooler on cold days.

My second Transalp ran at 88 degrees Celsius in "normal operating conditions". Honda replaced the thermostat under warrantee and everything was back to normal. Mine is the only thermostat replacement on a 700 Transalp that I know of.


This article was originally posted on my blog *here*.
 

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Also on my 2nd TA700

Add to that:

Rusting exhaust over all year round use - replaced twice, second time for a 3rd party model with cash topup to the value. Known issue with soft metal used, also features on other models, Blade, BBird etc. SMall rust dots all over the inner side and if you remove the chrome cover, some under there too. This is with regular cleaning and treating.
 

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The only problem that I had with my alp 700 was that It wouldn't go into sixth gear.:happy6:
 

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Womble
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I was thinking on the squeeky screen issue.....

The screen is held in placeby 4 bolts, the nuts for which are held captive within rubber gromets. These gromets are mushroom shaped, and when fitted correctly there is a section of the 'foot' of the mushroom protruding from the mounting point with the idea that the screen touches the rubber and not the plastic.

When I changed screens from the standard to the high screen I found it really hard to keep the mushrooms in place whilst inserting the bolts and tightening them down.
 

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On my 650 I used some draft excluder and lined the inside edge of the fairing, this allows the screen to compress it and not come into direct contact with the plastic, thereby removing the contact areas that produce the squeak.
 

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4. Headshake.
Hi T- rider. Honda South Africa replaced my front tyre to try to cure the headshake. I thought that it had made a difference but it really hasn't. My friends TA is absolutely rock steady. I suspect that the trouble lies in the wheel itself. There is a discernible "untrueness" in the rim, but it is within the allowable tolerance according to Honda's specification.
Have to put up with it I suppose.
As you point out, most TA problems are niggles. The forums on the GS 800 list severe engine problems (piston slap). A pity because they seem like nice bikes.
 

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Dear all,

Is seat hot spot when in stop/start traffic a niggle or an issue with the 2009 TransAlp? Anyone has come across this?
Engine seem to run pretty hot according to the engine temp reader, but then is that device reliable?
Any comments? anyone?
 

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Dear all,

Is seat hot spot when in stop/start traffic a niggle or an issue with the 2009 TransAlp? Anyone has come across this?
Engine seem to run pretty hot according to the engine temp reader, but then is that device reliable?
Any comments? anyone?
I'm not sure what you mean by the "seat hot spot" but if if you are referring to feeling excessive heat in traffic, then for myself I'm not uncomfortable with that and it's not something reported by other riders much, if at all. It does get hot in those circumstances but not excessively so and is normal, not an "issue". Virtually every bike will get hotter in heavy traffic.

On the 700 Alp, the normal open road riding temperature is around 78° and that shoots up very quickly when stationary or in heavy traffic. What should happen is that the radiator fan cuts in at 103° then stops when the temperature drops a few degrees. The gauge seems accurate because other owners have the same experience from what I've heard. If your fan is not doing this, then there is a fault.
 

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Seat hotspot is more of a niggle but not a fault - its design rather than issue.

The seat area around ones b####ks gets extremely hot in hot summer weather like weve recently had and ive found it uncomfortable even when riding at speed in hot temps.

Spend most of Saturday in over 30deg heat, riding round at 30mph and my b####ks where pretty much cooked...boil in the bag as they say.

Fact is - to squeeze that 680cc engine in, theyve ended up with the cyclinder head just 3 inches away from your nads and with very little air circulation around it. It copes with this okay and the rad does seem to work in traffic but it will go from 103 down to 100 and back up again as quick, whilst in the meantime id say sit well back, stand up on the pegs or find water cooling technology for your pants!

TA700 causes infertility!?
 

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Hi T- rider. Honda South Africa replaced my front tyre to try to cure the headshake. I thought that it had made a difference but it really hasn't. My friends TA is absolutely rock steady. I suspect that the trouble lies in the wheel itself. There is a discernible "untrueness" in the rim, but it is within the allowable tolerance according to Honda's specification.
Have to put up with it I suppose.
As you point out, most TA problems are niggles. The forums on the GS 800 list severe engine problems (piston slap). A pity because they seem like nice bikes.
A set of Continental "Trail Attacks" cured my headshake. They give lots of grip wet and dry but more road orientated than trail !!!
 

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Seat hotspot is more of a niggle but not a fault - its design rather than issue.

The seat area around ones b####ks gets extremely hot in hot summer weather like weve recently had and ive found it uncomfortable even when riding at speed in hot temps.

Spend most of Saturday in over 30deg heat, riding round at 30mph and my b####ks where pretty much cooked...boil in the bag as they say.

Fact is - to squeeze that 680cc engine in, theyve ended up with the cyclinder head just 3 inches away from your nads and with very little air circulation around it. It copes with this okay and the rad does seem to work in traffic but it will go from 103 down to 100 and back up again as quick, whilst in the meantime id say sit well back, stand up on the pegs or find water cooling technology for your pants!

TA700 causes infertility!?
Funny that, I haven't noticed this effect and it hasn't been reported much, if at all, on this or the other Alp forum I follow. In fact many owners on the other forum live in very hot countries like Greece where if this was a common problem it would be far worse, for the male riders at least.

Look at it this way, if this does affect you, we live in such a cold damp country that 99% of the time it is far more of a benefit than a disadvantage. There are two remedies for those really bothered by this. The drastic one is to change the Alp for another machine. The simpler and far less traumatic approach is to have your testicles removed.
 

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If I were to complain about the heat on any part of my anatomy it would be when the fan comes on and blasts hot air over my knee. Never really noticed my wedding veg getting any hotter as a result of engine temp, but then again in leathers and this weather it's difficult to see how they could get any hotter without spontaneously combusting.....!
 

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The drastic one is to change the Alp for another machine. The simpler and far less traumatic approach is to have your testicles removed.
Lovely ABC, never noticed it and our bikes can get quite hot.
One thing is for sure, we'll all be checking every 5 minutes from now on. Thanks so much Farky for pointing this out!
Thanks for the "Continental Trail Attacks" info Wee Jack. I was spinning my front wheel yesterday while cleaning the bike and I am wondering if the wobble is not caused by the tyre/ rim combination being out of round. This could be an explanation for your problem being cured with a change of tyres. I am going to try to convince my friend, who doesn't have the problem, to swap wheels. That should tell us whether or not the problem is the front wheel.
 

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Right! ...so it wasn't my imagination!
The seat does get pretty hot.
I guess the thing to do is to insert some sort of insulating material under the seat. That should help somewhat.....
 

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Sorry, but I don't think that'll help much. Your seat is made out of plastic and foam - which is a pretty good insulator. Also bear in mind that under that part of the seat is the ABS unit and electronics and the battery - you really don't want to keep any more heat in that area - for reliability/safety reasons.
 

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As mentioned, you can't really insulate it any more to protect you. Sit back further would probably be best as I normally am right up against the tank.

For the number of days we do get this kind of heat it isn't a big issue and yes it is more of a benefit the rest of the year keeping your bum warm along the way. Also dries out a damp crotch!

I did struggle with 2weeks round Sth France though!


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Sorry, but I don't think that'll help much.
<snip> you really don't want to keep any more heat in that area - for reliability/safety reasons.
Hot seat? burning bum? nuts boling in the bag (as it were)? :(
Thinking of changing your bike or even seharing them nuts? :(

Despair not!

Fit a heat shield!! ;)

Something like this or similar....
HEAT INSULATION CLOTH | Denis Welch Motorsport

Superb! excellent! :thumbup:
Cool bum, cool ride :cool:

Problem sorted,
Job done! :happy3:
 

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Also look out for the shonky tax disk holder... mine was a little rusty then it was gone... no idea if it fell off or was pulled off. Lucky for me I work near a DVLA office!
 

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Bump so it's easy to find.

Moderators! Can we sticky this one so it can be added to.



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