Transalp for 2 up

Discussion in 'Land of the Rising Sun: ADV Bikes from Japan' started by wesel123, Jan 30, 2013.

  1. wesel123

    wesel123 VERY Proud Daddy

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    I need to tap into the wealth of knowledge on the site.

    I sold my GS1200 a few months ago as Im having a hard time holding the bike up with my knees are going south on me. I need to find a lighter bike that I can still ride two up for, lets say 200 to 300 max a day. But mroe so local weekend rides. I wtill would like a bike that I can go out by myself and blast through some fire trails as well.

    I have a buddy whom has an 89 Transalp with about 16k miles. I have yet to ride it with the wife, and of coarse plan to do so but I wanted to get an idea of folks whom have done it or are doing it now.

    The other bikes I was looking at are the Tiger XC (still a tad tall but easy to handle) or a Scrambler. Although I really would like to buy used.

    Ive had an 800 gs and did not like it at all. Also not a fan of the VStroms so that is off the list.

    Any help would be appreciated.
    #1
  2. Pecha72

    Pecha72 Long timer

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    XL600V is not very light-weight, and its softly sprung for two-up, and for me also a tad underpowered for that use.

    That said, it's a proven workhorse, that'll take you there, even with a passenger. And it is a bit lighter, and probably easier to control than a 1200cc... also the good old Tranny is known to be very reliable (but a 1989 bike may still have some issues by now).

    edit. The last version, XL700V, has FI (a plus in my book) and a bit more oomph for two-up. It also has optional ABS. But it also put on some weight compared to older models.
    #2
  3. bluesman

    bluesman Long timer

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    To be honest anything is doable - last ride to Norway one of my friends done on Aprilia Tuareg 600 with his wife.
    But boy was it slow on open road...
    Transalp will do OK in allowed speed limits. If you can stay in them :)

    It is by far different bike than GS800 or Tiger 800. Not really same league.
    New 700 have a tad more responsive motor but it still heavy and rather underpowered and as fully correctly stated above softly sprung.
    It offers no advantages over GS or Tiger but does have disadvantages. Or saying simply - honda should not have tried to revive it IMO.
    But 1989 have just couple of curable problems apart from which it is very reliable and undemanding (service-wise) bike that will get you far if needed.
    I just recently serviced one of those (engine rebuild) and before I done couple of complete overhauls on them - 1992 and 1989. My conclusion: it does not need much service, but 1989 usually need full rebuild (cure rust and oxidization, check carbs, may need new piston rings etc. etc.) and when you do need to service - it is not easiest bike to work on.
    #3
  4. Hotmamaandme

    Hotmamaandme Wishing I was riding RTW

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  5. potski

    potski Wiley Wanderer

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    [QUOTE

    The TA is very capable and will do just about anything and 2up is no issue[/QUOTE]


    + 1....well said; the best, yet one of the smallest cc bikes I have ever owned...Superb:clap

    Cheers
    Potski :freaky
    #5
  6. potski

    potski Wiley Wanderer

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    Hi wesel123

    Yep, I think Mike & Jills mega 2 up trip above says it all..Mike also used to be a Beemer GS rider.



    Cheers
    Potski :freaky
    #6
  7. Pecha72

    Pecha72 Long timer

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    I´ve owned a total of 5 Africa Twins in the past. And I don´t question that statement, yes the Transalp is a proven bike, and almost equally capable compared to the AT.

    But even though the OP doesn´t like the Suzuki DL650, that´s actually the most capable two-up RTW-tourer in this class at the moment. It has more punch, more room, better headlights, brakes and handling than especially the 600 or 650 Transalp. And with the newer technology, it´s also more maintenance-free (valves with shims, check every 24000 kms) and probably more fuel-efficient as well, especially on the highway.

    But this does not mean the XL600V would be a bad choice, and naturally you could get one a whole lot cheaper.
    #7
  8. wesel123

    wesel123 VERY Proud Daddy

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    The newer DL650 is actually OK, But if I'm going to shell out 10K for one I would much rather have the 800xc...the older DL is not my cup of tea.

    We test road the TA we are thinking of buying and it went ok. 70+ speeds are pretty rough on the TA, and that's about he gold standard of speeds on the freeways here in Los Angeles (unless the traffic is bad...which is like 85% of the time:D).

    We are going to give it one more try to see. Still need to ride two on on the 800xc and the Scrambler to get a real world comparison though.

    Thanks for all the info so far, its a great help!!!
    #8
  9. Pecha72

    Pecha72 Long timer

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    Maybe I misunderstood something.. but are you seriously considering, whether you should get a 24-year old bike, or a new bike?? If yes, they are going to be two totally different experiences, and of course the investment is very different, too.

    The upside of the old one would be, that its naturally a lot cheaper, and its price does not really go down any more. But it´ll be an old bike, make no mistake about that. Even a Transalp can break down, nothing lasts forever, or at the very least it´s highly probable, that a bike at that age will require some minor fixing from time to time.
    #9
  10. locorider

    locorider Loco, pero no estúpido!

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    I love my TA, and the reliability is what I like the most!

    I made lots of mods in mine! Its a keeper!
    #10
  11. Iron_Floyd

    Iron_Floyd BIG ENDURO FREAK

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    If you ask me.... I would always say that it's better to get old proven bike than today's newer bikes built from some 5th recycled alloy.. they are just not reliable.. the youtube is full of cracked on half KTM's and ripped apart BMW engines.. not to mention all that digital equipment that fails if just smells water vapor.. it's to sensitive, and unreliable to death..
    #11
  12. Rackemcrackem

    Rackemcrackem Unsafe at any speed

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    I've never owned a Transalp but have rented the XL600V model a couple of times in the Philippines, for a total of 2+ weeks of riding time, mostly 2-up.

    My impressions:

    -Nice, smooth motor if you're comfortable with modest power and time your passes accordingly. Speeds up to 75-80 mph are reasonable but don't expect to feel comfortable at anything faster. The transmission does it's job without any complaints, although I have a habit of looking for a 6th gear that isn't there.

    -Suspension was pretty soft with a lot of brake dive. Could be addressed with upgraded suspension.

    -The weight and size of the bike are easy to manage, on everything from expressways to easy single track to lane-splitting through the extremely congested streets of Manila. The bike feels more compact than a V-Strom, for example.

    - The brakes are weak, especially 2-up. Plan your stops accordingly.

    -The stock headlight is very weak. Without upgraded lighting, avoid riding after dark if at all possible.

    -The stock seat is horrrible after a couple of hours and a passenger will be constantly sliding forward. Easily fixed by the aftermarket.

    -The ergonomics for me are perfect, at 5'9'', 170 lbs and a 30" inseam, without bar risers or other mods. With a very petite passenger (100-110) lbs and a top case, 2-up is comfortable, aside from the bad seat. On one trip with a larger companion at probably 130-140 lbs, seat space was crowded.

    In general, I like the bike within it's limitations. I love my 2012 DL650, though! Compared to a Transalp, the new gen Wee Strom is a rocketship, with passing power, brakes, suspension, handling, seating and lighting that are miles ahead. The Wee's super-smooth shifting 6 speed transmission is great. Also, more room for 2-up riding in comparison. A little heavier than the TA, with less ground clearance, but there are always trade-offs.

    A TA may not have all the attributes of more recent designs but will always have a coolness factor that modern bikes may lack..

    For another modern (and economical) option, a Kawasaki Versys looks like it would make a very nice fire road capable bike in a reasonably light and compact size. The mods people have done with 19" front tires appear to make it a very fun dual-sport.

    I hope these impressions are helpful.
    #12
  13. RodT

    RodT Been here awhile

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    I had a 1989 Transalp and tried it 2 up, it was fair but lacked power. The suspension is a little soft for 2 people, and that left the front end to light for my preference. I sold it and bought a Triumph 800XC, and it works great 2up, it is everything the Transalp wasn't and more. The suspension is adjustable easily and the motor is silky smooth. My wife and I have rode as far as 500 miles in a day, but try to keep it at 350 -400 so we can stop and see the sites. I think the Transalp is a great bike but the availbility of easily availble parts is a drawback. I love the Triumph and would never go back to a Transalp. Rod
    #13
  14. locorider

    locorider Loco, pero no estúpido!

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    Two up!


    [​IMG]
    #14
  15. bombsquad

    bombsquad Been here awhile

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    DOOO IT!!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    It is a great bike for the purpose you described. We use it for a lot of two up trips in the southeast. It also handles well on forest service roads both solo and two up. We have made a trip from north Georgia to New Orleans without issue as well. It's just a great, reliable, do most anything motorcycle.
    While the newer bikes are better in most every aspect, they just seem to have lost a lot of "feeling" in reaching that level of efficiency.
    I looked at a lot of new bikes before buying TA and if I were doing a lot of mile munching, there is no doubt one would have been purchased. Despite its drawbacks compared to the newer bikes the TA is still a good choice.
    #15