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This is an article printed in a mag.. Sshh..

The Transalp has long been a star in Honda's constellation, but will the eagerly awaited incarnation shine as bright?

It's been 20 years since the Transalp first hit our shores, and to celebrate it passing that two-decade milestone, Honda has introduced an all-new version. The factory's aim was to improve the bike's general performance and make it even more of an all-rounder. After spending a long day on one in the French Alps, I'd say that target has been reached. And though it's not the most exciting thing you're ever likely to swing your leg over, the Transalp is very much a real world bike, well suited to a variety of everyday tasks.​

The test ride began in the very unreal world of Monaco, an exclusive zone where the world's most wealthy distance themselves from the hoi-polloi and taxmen. They simply wouldn't understand the realism and effectiveness of the new 'glamour-light' Transalp. But while I trundled quietly through their famous streets I was quickly won over by the Honda's ease and manageability. If you can't get on with this fuss-free machine, then motorcycling is too much of a challenge for you. Two-wheeled life doesn't get much easier than it does aboard the Transalp.​


Powered by a slightly modified version of the one fitted in the Deauville, the
Honda's 680cc V-twin engine has enough useful and friendly punch to give spirited performance, helping to make traffic*busting a simple and efficient pleasure. And with a light and agile feel to it, little thought and effort is needed to steer the bike quickly and accurately through the urban assault course. While it will suit a wide variety of riders, it'll be a particularly good choice for novices when it goes on sale in December.​


When the time came to leave the elite streets behind, I got the chance to see what the Transalp was really made of out on the open roads. And after 20 miles on the motorway, where the comfortable riding position and protection offered by the fairing and screen were a bonus, I headed for the hills The route from the coast all the way up to the summit of the​
Col de la Bonette turned out to be a great test for the bike. If the road wasn't twisting tightly and unpredictably through the lower reaches of the Alps, it was climbing sharply and steeply through small villages, sometimes along roads so bumpy you wondered if the locals had been paying their way.​


None of these challenges bothered the Transalp though. That gutsy engine was strong enough to cope with all the rigours of the route with its broadly spread power and torque always able to promptly provide the necessary pace without needing to swap too many ratios from the six that were available. Getting up to 100mph is pretty straightforward and at the other end of the scale, the engine retains its civility and sophistication, even at walking pace. Some V-twins can​
get a bit flustered at very low rpm in larger gears, with snatching and jerking often forcing you to drop a cog or two to keep the revs higher and smooth things out. The Transalp never obliges you to resort to such chores, and with nigh-on perfect fuelling and transmission, slow speed activities constantly feel sorted and polished.​


When the digital speedo is registering low numbers the poise of the chassis is also evident. Highlighting this perfectly is the Honda's ability to perform feet-up, full*lock U-turns with total ease. The planted balance of the bike remains the same when you get the chance to use the power to the full as well. New geometry, a smaller front wheel and more significantly, firmer and better controlled suspension give the Honda a much more composed and sporty feel when you're going faster. The challenging layout of the Alpine roads might require a bike you can trust if you want to take them at speed, but the Transalp generates all the confidence you need to do this with total faith.​


Aiding this belief are the new brakes. Being linked and ABS-equipped means they have loads of power that can be used to the full without risk of wheel lock-up. They represent a real step forward compared to the old bike's relatively weedy items. And even when the roads became really slippery in places, thanks to polished tarmac offering little more grip than most of ours would have in the wet, I still felt happy and at home thanks to those stoppers.​


With the new instruments telling me I'd covered just over 120 miles, the fuel gauge reminded me that the bike needed a drink. This was my only disappointment with the Transalp. For a machine with such brilliant versatility and excellent comfort it seems a shame that it doesn't have the ability to cover another 50 miles or so between fill-ups. I have to admit hating having my journeys interrupted by such annoying refuelling routines, and I think longer-distance touring fans will consider the Honda's fuel-range restriction a bit irritating at​
times too, especially when the rest of the bike is so adept at mile-eating.​


If that's what you're going to use your Transalp for then some of that disappointment will be compensated for by the range of after-sale goodies available that will make life on board even more convenient and useful. The extras include a two-helmet-big top box, panniers, taller screen, lower seat, centrestand and heated grips. Though one other item that I can personally vouch for and thoroughly recommend, is the sat nav system. All the test bikes were fitted with this superb device, which made the already very easy life on board the bike all the more convenient. Honda is saying the Transalp will cost around £5399. That's a competitive enough price, and when you consider it can excel at such a variety of roles, it represents very good value. There's plenty of reason to celebrate the Transalp's 20th birthday, and I'm confident it can expect to live a very happy life for a good few more years yet.​
 

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Pleb
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1,792 Posts
Did you copy other kids homework??!!:D

Read that mag. Shame they didn't send one of their other testers who owns a 650 - would of been a better comparison.

It also states the 700 has 6 gears. I've heard 5 (shame) elsewhere.
 
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