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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Thought I'd post up a few details of my recent european 'oddessy' on the 'alp. spent the last five and a bit weeks hooning around france, belgium and the netherlands. Had a great time but one or two mishaps along the way. First 'mishap' in Limoges was forgetting to remove the U lock from the back wheel and sprocket before setting off...schoolboy error! Severed 8 spokes completely, bent the sprocket, dented the swingarm and cracked one of the lugs on the cush drive (in for a penny....). Fortunately, a guy named Tom (the chap behind NC 500 scotland motorcycle tour) who happened to be drinking coffee at the same cafe) and the incredibly helpful staff at the cafe I'd just been to, came to my rescue. the bike couldn't be pushed, let alone ridden, so I had to get it recovered the next day to the nearest honda dealers. the lady in the cafe even picked me up with all my gear and took me to a campsite, while I waited for the wheel to be rebuilt. The mechanic was a great bloke, who spoke good english, fortunately, so he had it sorted within 2 days, including a good used cush drive. Next issue was the front end on small french roads...I'd fitted intiminators a bit back, and went through the rigmarole of changing shims, drilling ports etc. and on the whole, it was an improvement, but nothing like as good as I'd read in other owner's reviews. I guess they still needed a tweak. On UK roads they were OK, but on some of the smaller stuff in southern France, it was nigh on unbearable. The front end felt like there was about an inch of stiff sprung travel and zero damping....in short, it couldn't cope; it was scary at times as the D road surfaces can vary and dip and camber in directions you don't expect. I'm not saying this is the intiminators' fault, just that the way they were set up didn't work well at all under those conditions. So in Millau, (where the iconic suspension bridge is) I pulled them, replaced the fork oil with 10W and made up some new longer spacers out of a track pump, kindly donated by a cycle shop. Much better all round. Next travail was after a day long ride up some of the cols in the Haute alps, south east France. Pulled in to fuel up and noticed an eggy smell....not unusual to smell odd things in france, but this was coming from my bike....fried battery, or rather smoked regulator with a fried battery chaser. I'm assuming this was just an old part letting go when pushed, as in fairness, the bike had been asked to do some work round some of those cols, in 32 deg heat....with luggage!
Aside from the hassle, the real bugbear was I got my arse slapped for a pattern part regulator I could've bought in the UK for about a 1/4 of the price, on the proviso that it would be delivered the next day. Didn't happen, and because I didn't want to ride the bike too far (which would shag the brand new battery), I ended up booking into a hotel in Grenoble for 3 days on a day by day basis, while the muppets in Dafy moto sorted themselves out...first it was 'the storms', then it was 'it's on the truck....but we can't call the driver'....then the truth of it: they'd phoned an order by message, the supplier didn't get back, so when they realized the following day that it hadn't actually been ordered , they ordered it again from another supplier. Complete contrast to Espace 7, the honda dealers in Limoges who'd rebuilt the wheel. Last gripe was an intermittent firing problem....bike would fire up and run like a champ and then suddenly one cylinder would drop out. I suspected the CDis (as one does) but swapping them over made no change. I'm pretty sure it's front coil related, whether it's a connection issue or it's just breaking down....either way, intermittents are a PITA, especially when there's no warning when you're going to lose half your power....<br><br>Despite the problems, I've had a really good time, seen some fantastic places and met some memorable characters. The overacrching thing is the friendliness of the people I've come into contact with, and their willingness to help a stranger in need. Let's hope we extend a similar welcome to foreign travellers to Blighty....
 

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my transalp 600 battery also ran dry in france once. although i think that was a failure to keep it topped up

i have also had the CDI 'issue' when swapping them around still gives the same fault. weird.

i've no idea what "intiminators" are
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
my transalp 600 battery also ran dry in france once. although i think that was a failure to keep it topped up

i have also had the CDI 'issue' when swapping them around still gives the same fault. weird.

i've no idea what "intiminators" are
When I managed to track down a battery, I blagged a multimeter from the shop and tested the output at the battery. It was reading anywhere between 16 to 18 volts on the new fully shop charged battery, so the regulator was definitely faulty. New reg fitted: 14.36v @ 5000 rpm with the headlight on....

Intiminators are shimmed valves that fit between the original fork damper rod and the spring. They're supposed to emulate the damping control you'd normally expect with cassette forks. Some folk have had great results, others aren't as convinced.

The fact that it was always the front cylinder suggested that it was coil or connection related. I swapped the CDis round and the front cylinder still shat out...although it doesn't rule out a fault in the AC circuit that fails to trigger the CDi....
 

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Discussion Starter #5
It sounds like you had a bit of a rollercoaster trip, 5 weeks ain't bad going though!

Sent from my SM-A320FL using Tapatalk
In the grand scheme of things the problems I had weren't insurmountable....costly.....but it didn't spoil the adventure. One girl on a 2016 GS I was speaking to in the Eurotunnel car park was waiting for a BMW recovery van to arrive. One of the other group members (another girl, also on a GS) had somehow managed to clip her while overtaking on the motorway. She dented the top box, ripped the rear hugger off and cracked the nearside footpeg hanger. The girl who came off was badly bruised but thankfully no major injuries...this was before they'd even left the UK, so maybe it was a blessing it happened this side of the channel! I had a good look at the damaged BMeer and, if it was me, just about to embark on a group tour, I'd've wired up the footpeg and carried on; after all, she said she'd ridden it 50 or so miles to the tunnel after the incident and it felt absolutely fine. Who'd've thought a cracked footpeg mount would be enough to write off a virtually new GS? The BMeer mechanic said it could have damaged the frame so would almost be guaranteed to be a write off....

I was in Egypt a while back, and when you see some of the shit they ride around on, overloaded with stuff, several family members riding pillion, it puts things into perspective
 

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a £16,000 R1200GS is no more reliable than a £1,000 Transalp 600

don't believe the great myth of modern BMW build quality/reliability
 

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Discussion Starter #7
a £16,000 R1200GS is no more reliable than a £1,000 Transalp 600

don't believe the great myth of modern BMW build quality/reliability
I was just suprised that the BMw tech gave it a cursory glance and then started to load it into the van. I don't claim to be suitably qualified to assess the extent of the damage, but under the circumstances, it seemed to be a simple a case of 'it's been involved in an accident...there's some visible damage....stick it in the van.' I'm presuming there'd be repercussions with the insurance or any warranty if she'd have carried on and there was a related issue further down the line. Crap way to end your holiday whichever way you look at it.

The irony was the bike was festooned with all the usual touratech protection and adventure pegs....amazing that the lass was clipped hard enough to crack an alloy mounting point but didn't sustain any injuries whatsoever. Lucky in many ways
 

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a £16,000 R1200GS is no more reliable than a £1,000 Transalp 600

don't believe the great myth of modern BMW build quality/reliability

Seriously I think you should re word that ------ a £16,000 R1200GS is NOT AS reliable as a £1,000 Transalp 600 LOL
 

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Great you enjoyed that trip and mishaps are all part of the adventure, shame about the intiminators though but at least you got round them. Re the bird on the BM Its stuff like that that puts me off totally about modern expensive biking all that money and a broken footrest and that's the end its a bloody joke!

I would rather set off on an old machine and keep fixing it, the stuff we've done over the years a lot of today's bikers wouldn't have a bloody clue, once set off with a mate he was on an old triumph the oil gauge blew up in his face we did no more than nip the end of the pipe with a mole wrench and the taped the wrench to the frame down tube and carried on riding for another two weeks :-D Got to say though its all the fancy electronics on cars and bikes that I cannot stand the thought off these days ----- still keep thinking about going back to an old classic whereby I could do absolutely everything myself -- guess its easy to look back through rose tinted glasses though :)
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Great you enjoyed that trip and mishaps are all part of the adventure, shame about the intiminators though but at least you got round them. Re the bird on the BM Its stuff like that that puts me off totally about modern expensive biking all that money and a broken footrest and that's the end its a bloody joke!

I would rather set off on an old machine and keep fixing it, the stuff we've done over the years a lot of today's bikers wouldn't have a bloody clue, once set off with a mate he was on an old triumph the oil gauge blew up in his face we did no more than nip the end of the pipe with a mole wrench and the taped the wrench to the frame down tube and carried on riding for another two weeks :-D Got to say though its all the fancy electronics on cars and bikes that I cannot stand the thought off these days ----- still keep thinking about going back to an old classic whereby I could do absolutely everything myself -- guess its easy to look back through rose tinted glasses though :)
I think it's all relative. My old fella had a BSA Bantam and for him, a big adventure was to ride from Bolton up to The Lakes. When something went wrong, which it almost always did, they'd get the tools out and cobble something together. It was part and parcel of owning a motorbike. Modern Technology has raised people's expectations, massively. A new adventure bike is marketed as something capable of taking you around the world without a hitch, which I'm pretty sure is impossible. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to have intuitive self-adjusting suspension and all the latest gadgetry to do mega miles in comfort, but realistically I can't justify the price. More to the point, is it really necessary when for the most part, I'm just tooling around the peak district looking for a decent place to stop a brew? I wouldn't turn my nose up at a new AT or something of that ilk but it'd be wasted on me...


and I probably couldn't fix the front forks with a hacksaw and an old track pump!
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
2016 Africa Twins can be bought for £6,500 now

it is tempting....

I know......I'm tempted!

But GS's are megabucks apparently. I was chatting to a couple of dutch lads about bike costs abroad, one on a V strom 650, the other on a nice 700 TA. They said BMWs in general are really pricey on the continent compared to other makes. I said you could pick up a well specced mid 2000 GS for £4K in the UK and they thought I was taking the piss!
 

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I said you could pick up a well specced mid 2000 GS for £4K in the UK[/QUOTE

but why would you want to,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, :p

the new Guzzi V85 looks interesting though,,,,,,,,,,,

looking forward to then being old enough for me to afford one,,,,,,,,,,,

I might even have worn out my 87 600 by then.
 

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I've sold a 1969 Triumph 500 twin and bought a Transalp. Oh the joys !!! No more ( I hope) getting ready to go out for a ride and finding the clutch has decided to stick together and will only release after 'x' hefty stalls trying to get it to break loose, or the pushrode tubes deciding they have held back the oil long enough and splat all over the engine and me...I've had old classic bikes for 30+ years and they are not reliable, great fun when they are going well but something always seem to 'let go' and ruin your day. So I agree that a Transalp is just as (or more) reliable that an expensive BWM GS that has more electronics that the latest NASA satellite probe - but the older British machines will always end up breaking your heart. Did Honda get it right - I hope so....
 

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" Did Honda get it right - I hope so...."

to be fair, Honda don't often get it wrong,,,,,,,,,,

Luckily for me I started riding in 1976 on a 3 year old Yamaha SS,,,,,,,,,,, so I missed all that messing about with old British stuff (I do have an Indian Enfield at the moment, but that's another story).

I've had all sorts over the last 42 years (except BMW oddly, but my Dad had two of those and I could never get on with them), I guess I just love V twins, and progressed from CX to Guzzi to Harley (there's always been one of those in my garage since 1989 and probably always will be).

There's always been other stuff too though, and a while ago I thought I'd try one these so called adventure style bikes. So I bought a cheap Transalp, just to see if I liked the style, I thought it would keep the Harley out of the worst of the winter weather if nothing else. Well, I've ridden it through 4 winters so far, I've added 25,000km to the 60 that was on the clock when I bought it. Other than changing a faulty CDI soon after buying it I've only replaced consumables.

Every spring, I think it's time to look for something newer, and then I clean her up and tuck her away at the back of the garage till summer's over.
I know some folk don't like the idea of a winter hack, but I've never thought of the Transalp as a "hack", and it's a bike that genuinely makes me look forward to winter because it's such a fun bike to ride. I guess that's why it's still here,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Enjoy the bike, and remember,,,,,,,,,,,, a Transalp is not just for Christmas,,,,,,,,,,,,,, it could well be for life.
:thumbright:
 

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Discussion Starter #17
" Did Honda get it right - I hope so...."

to be fair, Honda don't often get it wrong,,,,,,,,,,

Luckily for me I started riding in 1976 on a 3 year old Yamaha SS,,,,,,,,,,, so I missed all that messing about with old British stuff (I do have an Indian Enfield at the moment, but that's another story).

I've had all sorts over the last 42 years (except BMW oddly, but my Dad had two of those and I could never get on with them), I guess I just love V twins, and progressed from CX to Guzzi to Harley (there's always been one of those in my garage since 1989 and probably always will be).

There's always been other stuff too though, and a while ago I thought I'd try one these so called adventure style bikes. So I bought a cheap Transalp, just to see if I liked the style, I thought it would keep the Harley out of the worst of the winter weather if nothing else. Well, I've ridden it through 4 winters so far, I've added 25,000km to the 60 that was on the clock when I bought it. Other than changing a faulty CDI soon after buying it I've only replaced consumables.

Every spring, I think it's time to look for something newer, and then I clean her up and tuck her away at the back of the garage till summer's over.
I know some folk don't like the idea of a winter hack, but I've never thought of the Transalp as a "hack", and it's a bike that genuinely makes me look forward to winter because it's such a fun bike to ride. I guess that's why it's still here,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Enjoy the bike, and remember,,,,,,,,,,,, a Transalp is not just for Christmas,,,,,,,,,,,,,, it could well be for life.
:thumbright:

I just wish I could get the suspension sorted to the point where I'm not aware of it.....if you know what I mean? The engine and frame are fine for the type of riding I'm capable of doing, and with a few added extras like crash bars, pannier racks, aux lights etc. it's specced up for my needs.....I just feel that the suspension needs upgrading. It's really intrusive on some of the shittier road surfaces, and once your aware of it, it's hard to put it to the back of your mind.

I keep looking at the new V Strom 650 as a likely successor but I've yet to try one...and that's rumoured to have basic suspension and stability issues in crosswinds.....(sound familiar?)
 

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"I keep looking at the new V Strom 650 as a likely successor but I've yet to try one...and that's rumoured to have basic suspension and stability issues in crosswinds.....(sound familiar?)"

tbh, I've never thought of the suspension as an issue, I guess it is bound to be a bit low budget, but it's ok.
I did change the fork oil on mine as part of an initial service and check over when I bought it, but it's fine for me, and I ride it on a lot of rural roads and forest tracks.
I fear you may have to spend premium money to get premium suspension,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
;)
 

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I've sold a 1969 Triumph 500 twin and bought a Transalp. Oh the joys !!! No more ( I hope) getting ready to go out for a ride and finding the clutch has decided to stick together and will only release after 'x' hefty stalls trying to get it to break loose, or the pushrode tubes deciding they have held back the oil long enough and splat all over the engine and me...I've had old classic bikes for 30+ years and they are not reliable, great fun when they are going well but something always seem to 'let go' and ruin your day. So I agree that a Transalp is just as (or more) reliable that an expensive BWM GS that has more electronics that the latest NASA satellite probe - but the older British machines will always end up breaking your heart. Did Honda get it right - I hope so....
It will be like another world :) but to be fair when the Brit bikes were put together right they were good I bought a new bonnie in 1970 and more or less raced it on the road for 16,000 miles the only thing I had to do were the valves and guides and the only oil leak was a smear from the tappet covers Yeah I really do yearn for the simplicity back the 650 alp is electrically sophisticated enough for me and I wouldn't touch one of those £16,000 GSs with a barge pole I think they are over priced and over rated and god help your wallet when its out of warranty.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
"I keep looking at the new V Strom 650 as a likely successor but I've yet to try one...and that's rumoured to have basic suspension and stability issues in crosswinds.....(sound familiar?)"

tbh, I've never thought of the suspension as an issue, I guess it is bound to be a bit low budget, but it's ok.
I did change the fork oil on mine as part of an initial service and check over when I bought it, but it's fine for me, and I ride it on a lot of rural roads and forest tracks.
I fear you may have to spend premium money to get premium suspension,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
;)
Looking at it in more detail: I was touring with two Givi 35L panniers (about 8 kgs each and a dry bag (with sleeping bag & sleep mat c. 1kg) lashed to the pillion seat. On fast N roads (nice tarmac) the suspension and steering were both fine. the only issue I had being crosswinds, which is to be expected on a semi-faired bike. Preload on the rear was about 2/3rds down the thread, more than I'd normally run without luggage. The forks were topped out flush with the yokes. The big problem was when the tarmac gave way to what passes as a road surface in rural France...handling on 'gravillons' (compacted gravel) was a bit sketchy; I'd expect that, but on certain D roads the tarmac seems to be laid in furrows (like courdroy!) The front end was constantly bobbing to the extent that it felt like the front wheel was oval.....This was when I decided to remove the intiminators, add thicker oil and make some longer (than stock) spacers to add a bit more preload. This seemed to aleviate the problem to an extent but it didn't cure it altogether. The wheels and tyres are in good nick, as is the rest of the bike (all major bearings, bushes etc. having been renewed within the last 2,000 miles, including the swing arm and headset)

It may just be a set up issue; maybe I had too much preload in the rear, plus I didn't think to drop the forks in the yokes to see if this helped I'll give it a go before another strip down.
 
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