Honda XL700V Transalp - Known niggles and issues.

Discussion in 'Land of the Rising Sun: ADV Bikes from Japan' started by Trailrider ZA, Jul 5, 2010.

  1. Trailrider ZA

    Trailrider ZA Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
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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! [​IMG]

    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:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    (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. [​IMG] [​IMG] 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).


    [​IMG]


    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.

    [​IMG]

    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! [​IMG]


    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:

    [​IMG]

    Next I got patch (yes, good old puncture fix patch [​IMG]) and cut them to size:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Now I used the patch as "washers" between the places where the head unit screwed together:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Problem solved! [​IMG] Not a squeak to be heard! [​IMG] Everything screwed back together nice and tight.

    [​IMG]

    Don't tell anyone my bike is held together with patch! [​IMG] [​IMG]


    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. [​IMG]

    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:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The case on my bike:

    [​IMG]

    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. [​IMG]

    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*.
    #1
  2. Paulvt1

    Paulvt1 Long timer

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Good post. I heard about the rusty spoke issues - but none of the other stuff. Cracking little bike. Test rode one and was impressed by it's civil easy to get on with nature.
    #2
  3. B DIRT

    B DIRT Long timer

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    Location:
    your moms house startn a small fire in her panties
    I have to post here because as soon as this bike comes state side I will be the first to own :evil Thanks for the thread :thumb Beautiful bike!
    #3
  4. la fletche

    la fletche Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2008
    Oddometer:
    261
    Location:
    Coonamble NSW Australia
    Only issue that I have encountered was last December when I blew a fuse to the starter motor on the Moonan Flat rally. Had to push start it for the rest of the ride, (starts easy with a push from a few good men). Found out when I got home that the problem was with a light globe that was on the same fuse relay. Fit a new globe and problem was sorted.
    Have not had a chance to ride much of late which is a bitch but I will get back on the horse once more!
    You wont get a bad word out of my mouth about this bike, a real go anywhere machine. Pity someone didnt manufacture a larger fuel tank. I noticed that there is a aux. tank available for a pre 2007 Transalp, wonder if it could be modded for the 2008 model?
    After thought, the bike is a little lowslung and with the aftermarket centrestand it drops it another inch which gets it bulldozing in sand. I dont think that this a reason to discount the bike but just something to take note of when in deep sand conditions, maybe their is someone out there that could design a better centerstand that does not come past the skid plate on the bottom of the bike.
    #4
  5. vdv2020

    vdv2020 Luxembiker

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2009
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    Location:
    Luxembourg
    Thanks!

    My beast:

    1. Exhaust heat shield screw coming loose. - I think they fixed this at 1st checkup. Will keep an eye (ear) for this.

    2. Rattles in the head unit. - I do have them. Vibration induced. Will try the solution.

    3. Rusty spokes and mirror stems. - Knock. None so far.

    4. Headshake. - Confirmed. I have tried hands off at relatively slow pace just some week ago. So this shouldn't be normal. Hmmm...
    #5
  6. showkey

    showkey Long timer

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    2,004
    Location:
    Wausau
    Headshake as this thread is calling is very common on a lot of bikes crossing all brands weight and size bikes, can be made to happen by knocking the end of the bar while hands are off in decel. Some will be worse some more speed critical and some not at all or until an exact condition occurs.

    Many causes and variables- tires, load and weight distribution, head bearing tension, swing arm bearing tension to mention a few. Tires and tire wear seem to have the most effect.

    That being said handsoff decel shake primary cause is "HANDS OFF"....arms and hands are part of the total steering damping system and like others stated earlier if you keep your hands on the bars you will never find the shake and it is pretty much normal.

    More reading on headshake with hands on bars relating to proper steering bearing tension:
    http://www.motorcycleproject.com/motorcycle/text/shucking.html
    #6
  7. GezwindeSpoed

    GezwindeSpoed Been here awhile

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    The land of the Dutchmen
    Hi Trailrider, thanks for starting this thread. Looking into the 700 Transalp because my 2009 Tenere left me stranded already 3 times with electrical problems.

    Did you have a look at valve adjustment, it does not look to hard. Some plastic removal, lifting the tank, taking of the air induction system and you can open the cilinder cap.
    #7
  8. Cortez

    Cortez BAZINGA!

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    Croatia
    That's a great post, I'll be keeping an eye on this thread, I love that
    bike. Thanks for sharing!
    #8
  9. Stray Dog

    Stray Dog Been here awhile

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    France
    Hi guys

    I'm looking for a bit of advice
    I'm about to put a deposit on a second hand Transalp 2012
    Had a test ride on a local bike today and had a bit of a problem with it.
    The throttle response at low revs seemed a bit jerky.
    Almost like it was dying as I shut the throttle down
    Then sort of surged as I opened it up.
    I found on roundabouts I had to slip the clutch to get round cleanly.
    It was Ok on normal pulling away, and only seemed to happen
    when I shut the throttle down then tried to open it up again slowly.

    Is this normal on these bikes?
    I'm wondering if it's just a Fi Vtwin thing
    and I just need to get used to it,
    or if there was some fault with the bike I rode today.

    Cheers Dog
    #9
  10. Cortez

    Cortez BAZINGA!

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    Croatia
    Was your last bike a 4 cylinder (or a scooter)?
    :deal
    #10
  11. Stray Dog

    Stray Dog Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Location:
    France

    :brow, Actually it was a DR350, but I get where you're coming from.
    My little scooter is as smooth as a smooth thing.

    Dog
    #11
  12. Cortez

    Cortez BAZINGA!

    Joined:
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    Then you should be able to tell if there's something wrong with the Transalp
    or not.. and possibly something is wrong..
    :huh

    ..but I used to do a lot of the "clutch action" you describe on my 650R.. but it never felt like it
    would stall.. it just didn't like low revs (under 2000).
    #12
  13. Stray Dog

    Stray Dog Been here awhile

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    France
    Yup, thanks....
    #13
  14. sumskagljiva

    sumskagljiva n00b

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2013
    Oddometer:
    3
    hi guys:clap
    at first,sorry for my bad english :D I own transalp 700 and I'm planinng to remove catalytic converter and replace it with Y pipe...
    I saw that the author of this topic remove the CC but he is now longer here on adv forum....did anyone else remove it and had some problems after that? ,were there any changes?
    I'm not expecting any power or great sound , I'm removing it because it is ugly to see :D
    #14
  15. Traumat1x

    Traumat1x Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2013
    Oddometer:
    123
    Mine got removed.
    Better sound, lost 5kg weight, better midrange, lost a tiny bit of 1st gear torque.
    No issues. I say go for it. You will love the sound.

    My mate is still riding my ex xl700 after I upgraded to a 2012 Vstrom and no issues.
    #15