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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I woke up on Thursday (was off work) & thought "I fancy a go on a 700 Alp" - I'm not one for test riding a bike just for the sake of it but have recently spoken to people who have experienced both & I have been left more than a little intrigued, so I decided to pop into Hunts of Manchester, driving licence in hand........

Paperwork sorted, a quick look round the '08 plate bike showed it to be a 6600 mile ABS version, a bit grubby with signs of corrosion - particularly on the chain. The bike was one of their hire fleet rather than a dedicated demo machine & came with a Honda aluminium style top box.

Setting off; The 700 instantly feels smaller, lighter, less top heavy & overall very different to the 650. Gone has the likable 'phut, phut, phut' exhaust note, replaced by more of an induction growl type of sound.

Wobbling the bike side to side through town, the bike feels light & agile - twitchy, the test bike tracked badly following undulations & overbanding badly. This turned out to be a badly worn front tyre - where the shoulders were badly stepped & worn to near the legal limit, while the centre had lots of tread. The rear was nearly new - both tyres were (I assume OE) B'stone 151/2s.

Initially, the bike felt a little bland, the weaving & tracking annoyed me & the induction noise, not a pleasing as the 650 & throttle response just 'ok'.

As I settled into the bike, the engine warmed & the roads opened up a little - my first change to open it up a bit.
Wow, throttle response & pickup a 650 could only dream of. The 700 gives a real 'punt in the back' power delivery from as low as 3000 rpm (maybe lower) & a totally linear power delivery right up to the redline, with no power band, fuelling glitches or tailing off of performance at the top end, all this accompanied by a snarl of induction noise.

Great stuff!

If thats not good enough, the 700 sits effortlessly at 'typical' motorway speeds. I mean 85mph on the 700 feels easier than 70mph on the 650. So much so, I wondered on the accuracy of the speedo.......
Open it up at this speed & the bike instantly lunges foward in a way the 650 doesn't. All the way to 95 mph felt easy & unflustered.
Not only does the 700 have more gusto & higher gearing than the previous model the engine feels to 'run easy' at motorway speeds too, having a comfortable, unstressed nature
The gearing is higher than the 650 with 85 coming in at about 5400 rpm (if memory serves).

Some engine vibration is present at cruising speed though I didn't find it a problem but was more noticeable at tickover.

Wind protection - I found it disappointing at first, giving noticeable wind blast at bicep level & above - more than a 650, wind noise was 'so-so'. As speed incrreased, the fairing seemed to work better and was probably more relaxed than a 650 at similar speeds.

The front brakes feel superb - strong, progressive, with plenty of feel. I was less impressed with the back brake, which felt poor, wooden & lacking bite for my liking. Vanessa's ABS Hornet's back brake feels the same.

As I pulled into Hunts I noticed the fan start, unusual, as it was not a hot day & I was generally moving with the flow of traffic. Maybe they just produce a bit more heat, it certainly wouldn't have come on with the 650 in that situation???

Suspension - felt well enough up to the job, if sometimes feeling a little crude over small road imperfections like small pot holes, cats eyes etc. Probably on a par with the 650's.

The riding position leans you towards the bars slightly, has a lower seat height (than the 650) but the seat/peg distance also seems bigger so it doesn't feel cramped for a 6+ footer.

Overall, I loved the ride of the 700, the initial blandness soon vanished & it was not long before I was grinning from ear to ear.
It certainly be at or near the top of my list if I was in the market for a new(er) bike. Most areas are a noticeable improvement over the old model & with a few sensible extras, would make a great mid distance tourer, commuter, off roader or whatever you fancy!

Downsides;
#Some have reported poor finish, this example (ex hire) was probably typical, showing some corrosion.
#19'' front wheel - less off roady. Hmmm, not sure on this one. Few owners would seriously take their Alp off road & even fewer would notice or even benefit from a 21'' over 19''.
#Sump guard - IMHO it's a hideous plasticy looking thing & would change it for an alloy one
# Exhaust note - it'd be nice to still hear the traditional Alp/AT exhaust note.......


Ironically, the AT owners are always harping on about 'why don't Honda bring out another AT, one with fuel injection, more power, lighter etc etc....'
It's here, it's just called a Transalp (and with less Dakar styling)!

Phil

ps any reference to speed over & avbove the national legal limit was carried out in carefully controlled conditions on private land:thumb:
 

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I have got one sitting in the garage - well Mrs A does - and I still haven't given it a proper go yet:confused: If we get a nice day this week I am going to work on it :D

What worries me is that I might like it so much I will change the 650 and the vara for it and although I have a bit of love/hate with the vara mostly I love it:cool:
 

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The finish does seem to be popping into the remarks about modern bikes more and more.
I like my Transalp but think if I change it the 700, the Varadero or the 800GS would all be worth considering.
 

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Always nice to read a positive report on the 700. And certainly from someone who nows/owns its predecessor the 650.

As for running hot quickly ,that is indeed a minus point ,aldo never had any serious problems with it and i"ve been riding a lot in high temps.

The plastic sumpguard i agree is indeed just optical polishing and absolutely not suitable as protection ,unless keeping the front of the engine and your feet clean and dry(er). The only reason why i keep it. An alloy one would be beter but i don't like the looks of it. If they ever bring out a bigger one ,i mean covering the sides aswell i'll get one.

As for comparing with the Africa Twin ,i never understud why everybody thinks its okay to go offroad with a A.Twin and laughs when doing this with the 700. The twin has the same specs ,more ground clearance but is heavier overall!.

Furthermore I think that 700 never had a fair chance coming out the same time as the new Tenere and 650/800 GS which are totaly different bikes.
More off road oriented ,exept mayby the 650 GS ,aldo has the same engine as the 800GS.
The media always compairs/doing tests with those above ,Honda never claimed the 700 to be a off road bike but an "All Road Bike". And thats what it is ,not really good at anything but not really bad at anything either.

Enjoy
 

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Rode one last December, and I pretty much agree with everything you said about it. It's a very good bike :thumbright:. I just don't like the styling as much as the 650, and somehow it just feels really small.

 

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I bought a new one at the begining of June and still love it! The power from that little motor (I used to have a Pan 1300) blows me a way and it delivers at all the right speeds although I do occasionally find myself trying to hook sixth, but conversely I sometime don't realise I'm still in fourth I'm having that much fun on the local twisties. ;)

The fan does seem to kick in early but can't say it's a problem and as the weather cools I might be grateful.

My biggest gripe is the seat. I've got all my comms kit under there and need regular access as some has its own batteries. Despite my earlier "dealer fixed it" comments on this forum I still have a bit of trouble getting it on. I even thought about cutting the tank sucker off the front of the seat to see if that helps(?)

Styling wise it's not the sweetest looker, but once you're on the road who cares, enjoy the ride!
:thumbup:
 

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Phil

Spot on - I have a blue 2008 with 11K on the clock and can vouch for the differences over previous models. The FI is a big plus - I just hope the system is reliable - and the power and response make it a blast on twisty A-roads. It is not an off-roader by any stretch - too heavy for a start - I tend to think of it as a definite road bike with off-roader looks and high riding position.

Agreed about muted exhaust, but aftermarket can may sort that, and surface corrsion so far on OE exhaust - easily fixed - and of course, rear spokes - was ever so...

A considerable improvement over a 600 and a typically Japanese "continuous improvement" way of thinking on an already good idea with regard to a 650.




Mark
 

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Always good to read a pretty positive report on a bike you already own but this report is truly an honest opinion I would trust due to the prior experience with the 650.

This is another report that has lifted my already high opinion of a truly great bike goes and goes.

A report read from the likes of MCN or Bike tends to demoralise you as it seems that the journalists are only after gadgets and gizmo's or buckets of BHP to get them grinning.

Yes the build quality could be better but I paid 50% more for my last bike and it was far worse.

The TA has a reputation of longevity and that a big plus point for me along with how comfortable the riding position is.
 
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