Around town or around the world, Honda's brand-new XL750 Transalp carries the adventure forward from the iconic original, ready for a fresh generation of riders looking to travel wherever the road leads. The new-generation Transalp is friendly but tough—perfect for extended touring trips, as well as the urban cut and thrust, and all points in between. It's at home slicing through a mountain pass or kicking up dust on rough dirt trails, and it adds to the formula a high-performance engine, all-new design and the equipment level that modern riders demand.
Simply put, the Transalp is a brilliant all-rounder that leaves only one question unanswered: How far do you want to go?
Although only offered in the U.S. in 1989 and '90, the original Transalp—powered by a 583cc V-Twin engine—is something of a legend in Europe, where it was introduced in 1986. In fact, as a testament to the sheer quality of its build and timelessness of its design, many can still be seen on Continental roads today. Back then, its focus was as a smooth, comfortable do-it-all crossover that could cope with rougher ground thanks to long-travel suspension and light off-road dynamic. It came with spoked 18-inch rear and 21-inch front wheels for good performance in the dirt, but it was the first Honda adventure bike to be equipped with a fairing for improved comfort on the road. By 2000, the engine had grown to 647cc in Europe, and the last version in 2008 landed with 680cc, fuel injection and a 472-pound curb weight.
The adventure segment has expanded massively since the Transalp first turned a wheel. Honda has the superb pocket-adventurer CB500X, plus the super-athletic CRF1100L Africa Twin adventure flagship and its long-range, continent-crossing sibling, the Africa Twin Adventure Sports. That means there is room in the mid-capacity sector of Honda's ADV range for a model to attract customers with a different set of adventurous aspirations. This is just what the new XL750 Transalp is built to do, and a legend of adventure touring is thus reborn.
The engine packs a great deal of Honda's engineering prowess into a small space and provides strong response across the rev-range—just what's needed for either solo or two-up touring. The all-new 755cc, parallel twin-cylinder unit produces good power and a strong helping of torque through the rev range. Refined settings of the Throttle by Wire system (TBW) orient the engine character toward touring and comfort.
Compact, CRF Performance-derived Unicam eight-valve cylinder heads employ downdraft air intakes and Vortex flow duct to ensure optimal combustion. The 270° crank delivers feel and character. Electronic rider aids run via Throttle by Wire and include five riding modes, four of which contain preset combinations of Engine Power, Engine Braking, ABS and Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC) with integrated Wheelie Control. The fifth "User" mode allows the rider to fix his or her own preferred combination.
Handling is light, nimble and confidence inspiring. The steel diamond frame is light thanks to optimization of wall/pipe thickness and stiffness. For supple on-road performance and off-road bump absorption, suspension is top quality: a Showa 43mm SFF-CA inverted fork, and a rear shock operating through a Pro-Link system. Dual two-piston calipers provide efficient stopping power while the tires deliver versatility on or off-road.
The rich specification list is headlined by a 5-inch TFT color display which supplies vivid information delivery and management of all systems. All lighting is LED and the indicators auto-cancel.
"With our new Transalp, we looked hard at what made the first model so good and wanted to strike the right balance between urban agility, long-distance, on-road touring comfort and off-road ability. In arriving where we are, we have considered all these aspects in a ‘360 degree' way, and created a bike that gives riders of all experience levels a fresh new option in the Honda range. The look revives the classic Transalp presence in a modern key, the new engine is incredibly strong and versatile, and the bike has an appealingly long and rich specification list. Around town or around the world—our Transalp is ready!"
--Mr. Masatoshi Sato, Transalp Large Project Leader, Honda R&D, Japan
STYLING / DESIGN
- Fairing and bodywork balance aerodynamic wind protection, on-road comfort and off-road ability
- Practicality from 33.7-inch seat height, USB socket and rear carrier
- Full LED lighting
The Transalp's design projects an unmistakable feeling of adventure touring in a package that works superbly on the road. The long-legged stance makes a strong statement of adventurous intent, while the fairing and screen work together to deliver wind protection without bulk. The overall look is sleek, simple and clean.
In imagining the perfect lines for the Transalp's bodywork, the aim of the Rome, Italy-based R&D designers was to strike a balance between aerodynamic performance and wind protection at speed, matched to a sense of lightness and freedom at low speeds. The concept tagline used throughout was "Friendly Toughness."
The result is sleek, simple, clean bodywork. It has a purposeful look and feel, with zero excess and is built tough. For open visibility forward—and excellent wind deflection—the screen's height has been carefully optimized. Its compact width also minimizes turbulence from "trapped" air. A tall screen and upper/lower around the front and side of the screen deflectors are available as accessories.
This bike is built to go the distance, so genuine comfort matters—also for two. Seat height is low for the class at 33.7 inches (a .4-inch lower seat is also available as an option) and the riding position is upright for natural control and leverage. The riding geometry also works well when standing up. A rear carrier is standard and there's a USB socket under the seat.
ENGINE / DRIVETRAIN
- 755cc, 8-valve Unicam parallel twin-cylinder engine with 270° crank
- Transalp-specific TBW mapping for touring focus
- Patented Vortex flow intake ducts and tuned exhaust note
- Assist/slipper clutch
Starting from a clean piece of paper, Honda's development engineers set out to build a brand-new twin-cylinder engine to power the adventuresome XL750 Transalp.
The resulting 755c, 8-valve Unicam unit has bore and stroke set at 87.0 x 63.5mm, with compression ratio of 11.0:1. It produces a hard hit of top-end power, which is accompanied by mountains of torque in the low to mid rpm range. The result is an engine that provides usable, enjoyable performance for rides of all types and all distances, and for riders of all experience levels.
The new engine is extremely compact and lightweight, due in part to the Unicam head (as used by the CRF450R motocrosser), which operates the 35.5mm diameter inlet valves (with 9.3mm lift) via cam, and 29mm diameter exhaust valves (with 8.2mm lift) by rocker arm.
The compact dimensions are also due to clever packaging: there's no balancer drive gear since the primary drive gear doubles its duties and also spins the balance shaft; the water pump is tucked away inside the left engine cover, and there's no need for a water-cooled oil-cooler.
For razor-sharp pick-up and throttle response, patented Vortex flow ducts create a more uniform distribution from the side scoops into the airbox, which then feeds downdraft intakes and 46mm diameter throttle bodies. To increase the engine's efficiency, the cylinders use a Nickel-Silicon Carbide coating (Ni-SiC), as used on the CRF450R and CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP.
The crank uses a 270° firing order for characterful, twin-cylinder pulse feeling. The exhaust note is tuned for a pleasing low-end beat and raucous top-end howl.
An assist/slipper clutch—with F.C.C. Leaning Segment discs—reduces clutch drag torque by 30%, for a lighter lever load and easier upshifts. It also manages rear-wheel hop under hard braking and rapid downshifts.
- Premium feel of a 5-inch full-color TFT screen
The instruments comprise a 5-inch, full-color, high-visibility TFT screen, which offers four types of speed/rpm display—three analog rev-counter styles and one bar—according to rider preference, as well as fuel gauge and consumption, riding mode selection and engine parameters, gear selected and customizable shift-up point on the rev-counter. Management is via the screen and switchgear on the left handlebar.
To simplify and miniaturize the entire electrical system, the Transalp uses a Controller Area Network (CAN) alongside a Body Control Unit (BCU). The BCU is sited on the lefthand frame rail, under the fuel tank and collectively processes control signals from the ABS modulator, TFT screen and switch gear. All lighting is LED.
ELECTRONIC RIDER AIDS
- Four default rider modes; SPORT, STANDARD, RAIN and GRAVEL
- USER customization option between all levels
- Four levels of Engine Power and three of Engine Brake
- Five-stage Honda Selectable Torque Control with integrated Wheelie Control
- Off-road ABS brake setting allows rear caliper to be switched off in USER mode
Throttle By Wire engine control offers four default riding modes—SPORT, STANDARD, RAIN and GRAVEL—adjusting the engine's performance delivery and feel to suit conditions and the rider's intent; they're easily switched and managed between the left handlebar mode and TFT screen. There is also a specific USER mode that allows the rider to fine-tune his or her own personal settings.
There are four levels of Engine Power (EP), three levels of Engine Brake (EB), two levels of ABS, and five levels of Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC) available; HSTC and rear ABS can also be switched off. The riding modes offer different combinations of each parameter. Wheelie Control is also standard and integrated to HSTC.
SPORT mode offers maximum performance and uses level 4 EP, level 2 ABS and level 1 EB and HSTC to deliver strong acceleration with minimum intervention.
STANDARD mode is a mid-way setting for urban riding that uses level 3 setting for EP and HSTC, with level 2 EB and ABS.
RAIN mode is designed for challenging on-road conditions and employs the lowest EP setting, level 1, for the least aggressive power delivery with level 2 EB and ABS and 5 HSTC.
GRAVEL mode features level 2 EP, level 3 EB, and level 4 HSTC with level 1 ABS setting for confident travel on rougher terrain off road.
USER mode allows the rider to choose between settings 1-4 EP, 1-5 HSTC and 1-3 EB plus rear ABS switch off, and to save them for future use.
CHASSIS / SUSPENSION
- Lightweight 40.3-pound steel diamond frame with integrated subframe
- Showa 43mm SFF-CA inverted fork and Pro-Link rear suspension system; both spring preload adjustable
- Two-piston front calipers/310mm "wave" discs; single-piston caliper/256mm rear "wave" disc
- 21-inch front and 18-inch rear wheel combination, fitted with 90/90-21 front and 150/70R-18 rear tires
The steel diamond mainframe is lightweight, at just 40.3 pounds—10% lighter than the frame of the CB500X, for example. A major R&D process of reducing the number of reinforcing parts, thinning of the main and down tubes, and optimizing the upper shock mount and swingarm pivot shape produced a very strong platform, with rigidity balanced to deliver feel to the rider across all conditions, and geometry set to inspire confident handling agility. The integrated heavy-duty subframe employs high-tension steel tubing for strength and toughness.
Rake and trail are set at 27° and 111mm, respectively, with a wheelbase of 61.5 inches and curb weight of 459 pounds. Slow-speed U-turns are simplified thanks to a 42° steering angle and 8.6-foot minimum turning circle.
The suspension specifications have been selected with the all-around concept in mind, with long travel and superb bump absorption to deliver smooth performance and comfort on-road, and reassuring control off-road. A Showa 43mm SFF-CATM (Separate Function Fork-Cartridge) inverted fork offers 7.9 inches of wheel travel and has spring preload adjustment; it mounts via a forged-aluminum bottom triple clamp and cast-aluminum top triple clamp, for a perfect balance of strength and rigidity in wide-ranging riding situations.
The remote-reservoir Showa shock (with adjustable preload) operates through a Pro-Link system, delivering 7.5 inches of rear-wheel travel. The swingarm employs the same castings as that of the CRF1100L Africa Twin's, but uses aluminum material exclusive to the Transalp. Ground clearance is 8.3 inches.
Compact, two-piston front calipers work dual 310mm "wave" discs. The rear 256mm "wave" disc is operated by a single-piston caliper. The stainless-steel, spoked 21-inch front and 18-inch rear wheels are fitted with tube-style 90/90-21 and 150/70R-18 tires.
A full range of accessories are available for the XL750 Transalp, ready for personalization to an owner's preference and use, including a quick shifter and low seat option.
To make it easy there are four collections that group the accessories neatly together:
- ADVENTURE COLLECTION: Handguards with Deflectors, Engine Guard, Upper Fairing Guard, Radiator Grill, Skid Plate, Enduro Footpegs
- TOURING COLLECTION: Pannier Cases, Pannier Panel Kit, 1 Key Inner Cylinder Set, 12V Accessory Socket, Tall Windscreen, Centerstand
- COMFORT COLLECTION: Tall Windscreen, Windscreen Deflector, Fairing Air Deflector, Handguards with Deflectors, Heated Grips, Low Seat, Comfort Passenger Footpegs
- CITY COLLECTION: Top Case, Top Case Panel Kit, Top Case Pad, 1 Key Inner Cylinder Set, Top Case Inner Bag, 12V Accessory Socket, Centerstand