Why is Transalp that famous? Need help choosing a bike!

Discussion in 'Land of the Rising Sun: ADV Bikes from Japan' started by Skyy223, Aug 23, 2017.

  1. Skyy223

    Skyy223 New on the Road

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    Hello :)

    I hope this is the right place to post this...
    I am looking for my very first motorcycle right now. After several threads in severeal forums I finally want to bring the ADV-Riders into the game!

    I managed to get rid of quiet alot of motorcycles that are just not suitable for me such as Versys 650, 650 Africa Twin, V-Strom 650 and KTM Adventure 640, Suzuki DR650 RSE, Kawa KLR 650.

    Whatsoever I will testride a Honda Transalp 600 (1998) next week. All I know is that it's is super famous, everyone says its a great bike and good for RTW and so on...BUT everyone also says that is is slow as fuck.
    So i get why you choose a slow bike for RTW, because it is lighter then other bikes! BUT the Transalp aint light. With ~208KG it is heavy as fuck. I mean i didn't drive it yet therefore I don't know how slow it actually is... but from reading it sounds like it is as slow as a 250ccm... I mean for a 208KG heavy bike...there are options available that are way faster isn't it? So WHY is the Transalp that hyped? Don't take me wrong, i really like the bike this far. The testride will prove me wrong or not.

    Well my list I still have to think about are the following bikes:
    Honda Transalp (600 or 650)
    BMW F650 GS Single (this is my second choice right now, if the Transalp is no fun to me. I just don't like the look...)
    BMW F-650 (not tested yet)
    BMW F-650 GS Twin (not tested yet, but i HATE the look...)
    Honda 750 Africa Twin (test it on friday, but im afraid its too tall for me...)
    Kawasaki KLE 500 (test it on friday, but basically the same issues then the Transalp)
    Aprilia Pegaso 650 (not tested yet)
    AND the one i just added to my list...Triumph Tiger 955i. This seems for example to be the much better bike compared to the Transalp... a bit more expensive but around the same weight and WAY more power.

    Thanks for now.

    BTW i just got my licence and for now i need a bike to get experienced on. I will do smaller Weekend Trips and for the next year i want to do a Trip in Scandinavia and one in West Europe. Both around 4 weeks in length. In 2020 i might start a bigger Trip around the world tho BUT for that i can upgrade my bike even tho i think i can better buy the perfect bike (for my needs) now.

    EDIT: Oh, ehm the Budget is around 2500€ would be nice. 3000€ is possible and if i get a much better bike at 3500€ i could sell some stuff to get that money. 4000€ is too much i think.
    #1
  2. neppi

    neppi Adventurer

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    It's not slow. It's robust and reliable and the toolroll is like 2kgs lighter than with the Beemer. Simple tech and no surprises if 1998. The older (88-93, or so) had CDI problems, but it wasn't the CDI, but it's mounting on the bike. Cheap and easy fix, but the later models have it all sorted out from the factory.

    If you wanna roadbike, get a roadbike. They're fast. None of these tractors are not even supposed to be fast, but take you to the places where Hayabusa can't go.

    With the Tranny, there's not even a way to get it faster, except leave the frame and change everything else.
    #2
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  3. Skyy223

    Skyy223 New on the Road

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    Thanks for the reply! ;) By "slow" I of course don't mean compared to a Supersportbike or something like that. But compared to other "Adventure" motorcycles. At least that is what everyone says.
    I want a bike for travelling, upright seating position and comfortable on the long run but since I'm german, speed is a factor. I don't wanna get run over on the Autobahn :)

    Can it run smoothly on...let's say 130km/h for a long time? And can I speed it up quiet fast to let's say...150 km/h in case i wanna pass a truck? Or is that the Limit and it get's unsteady?
    #3
  4. Dessert Storm

    Dessert Storm Dances With Drunks

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    Any of the bikes on your lists will take the West Europe and Scandinavia type of trip you describe in their stride. Ride as many as possible, and buy the one that floats your boat.
    #4
  5. Skyy223

    Skyy223 New on the Road

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    Just saw the Africa Twin Thread and some1 drove it throu Mongolia. Maybe the AT is the better shot for me ;) Will testsit one tomorrow! I hope it's not too high!
    #5
  6. Dr AT

    Dr AT Long timer

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    The transalp and old africa twin are two very different bikes.

    I had an 87 transalp for 15 years , you come to love the reliable , surprisingly capable quiet achiever despite it being an overweight undersuspended low tech pig even by 1980's standards. It's basically a twin cylinder dr650 - it'll get you there and you'll wonder HOW it got you there.

    I had a 92 ( rd04) 750 africa twin next , for about 4/5 years I think. Much more fun, but quite frankly I didn't go anywhere on the AT I couldn't go on the transalp - I was just airborne or sliding more often.

    Both these bikes are old tech, great in their time but it's THIRTY years later. A weestrom is almost as capable as a transalp and much more fuel efficient / powerfull. A ktm 950/990 is more everything than an africa twin. More importantly, have a very good think about a ktm640 / dr650 if you want to dirt ride - both will be infinitely more capable off road ( sold the africa twin for a 640 adv in 2007...never looked back)
    #6
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  7. Skyy223

    Skyy223 New on the Road

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    Hey i tried both (ktm640 / dr650) and both are way too high for me sadly. Im 1,78m but it seems like my legs are very short. I just didn't feel safe on them (that's maybe because I'm new to motorcycles) therefore I don't want to buy them right now. The Transalp had a really great and stable feeling while sitting on it (I didn't drive it yet) and I could put both feet on the ground, which gives me a very stable and safe feeling. That's also why I just hope that the AT isn't too high for me.
    Another point is, that the DR650 and KLR650 are super rare here. It's hard to find one in good shape and pretty expensive, then I still have to optimize it for travelling.

    Right now really hard offroading or trails are not really something i need to bother I guess because I Need road experience first.
    It's possible to buy one of those later on tho, maybe for the 2020 trip a KTM or Suzuki is a good deal, when I got some experience and feel safer on higher bikes. The good thing is, if I drive the TA or AT now for 2-3 years I think I will still get quiet a lot money back, maybe even the same amount I paid for it. That makes it perfect to test it.

    30 years is an argument tho. Next week i also testride a v-strom 650, even tho this bike kinda is not the right deal for me.
    The Transalp 700 starts at around 3200 and at around 3600€ there are some in kinda good shape and with abs. Maybe? Then it's a newer bike, or are those not that good?
    #7
  8. arcgotic

    arcgotic Adventurer

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    F650GS single is very capable bike. With a fork-rear shock upgrade, it will be excellent.
    Also look at BMW X Challenge.
    #8
  9. Skyy223

    Skyy223 New on the Road

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    I rode a F650 GS single. Liked it, hate the look. :X

    I will testride a V-Strom next friday and a Transalp 600 next saturday. Actually I am thinking about getting a Transalp 700 ABS and just get started with touring. If I don't like it or think i can't take it on a big trip to China (planned for 2020) I can still sell it and get something different. But for Europe one of those bikes should be finde. Dr AT catched me with the 30 years argument.
    #9
  10. neppi

    neppi Adventurer

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    You can do suspension updates for any bikes if That's what you want, no probs.

    Just pick the one that suits you The best. I've done all kinds of wrenching and tweaking for my 95 TA and even it has bazzillion kms on the clock I would happily ride it back to Finland from NZ right away. Thou would propably need some help on the blue parts of the map.

    I like to keep mine looking crappy but technically in good nick. That way nobody wants to steel it and I wont mind dropping it. And have I dropped it!!!

    Crash bars and an aluminiumin bash plate take you a long way...

    AT is too tall for you. I'm 180 and I have super long legs. I'm running AT swing arm and raised front on mine and I stand on the balls of my feet on tradic lights. I've raised the seat a bit and I need to find a way to lower the pegs to get my knees in a better angle.

    If you're just a few cms shorter than me, but with shorter legs, I think you'll find TA just perfect.

    I'm not keen on newer bikes 'cause it hurts to drop them and if something doesn't work you need a right guy with the right computer to fix it. With my old tractor, if something goes wrong, I'll talk to it for a while and then we'll continue the trip. Or the old blacksmith in the next village talks to it a while and then we go again.

    No matter what you decide to get, it's wise to tear it down and put back together before the big trip, so you'll get to know her and her manners. With these old machines that comes natural, but after I've rebuilt the clutch I now know excactly What's in there and I can be sure it wont blow before I've gone to the moon and back.
    #10
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  11. Skyy223

    Skyy223 New on the Road

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    Yeah the TA is perfect! :) Okay thanks, i guess the AT is really too tall then, what a pitty!

    The thing with the computer is right. The question is: Should i get a newer TA (700) and downgrade on a 600 before i go on the trip or buy the 600 right away?
    Maybe the 650 is nice aswell. Its a pitty: I needed 3 weeks now to figure out WHAT bike i want, now that i kinda know it I have to figure out what vesion i want. Never ending story!
    Is the 650 repairable or same issues like the 700? It feels like the 650 is basically the same then 600 but with new look, bit more power and upgraded breaks. Or am I wrong?

    edit: yeah it seems like a 700 in good shape is ripping my budget. Back to 650? Or save some more until end of winter? The 650 is the best looking bike out of the 4 in my opinion, if it is as durable and "easy to fix" as the 600 i think i found my bike ;)

    edit²: V-Strom 650 is back in the game, testride offered by my local dealer on next friday.

    edit³: can you also answer me a question to the Honda NX 650 Dominator? I really love this bike for it looks :D The old Hackerman2000 sign is amazing.
    Since the pre Dominator (XL 600 R) and post Dominator (FMX 650) are hard enduros..what Kind of bike is the NX 650 Dominator? Is it a Enduro for travelling? Isn't THIS the optimal Honda RTW-Bike then?
    #11
  12. arcgotic

    arcgotic Adventurer

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    I'd say no to Dominator. I had one and in hot weather/city traffic, the oil gets burn quick. Also look for Honda NC750X, are good for your height, good COG, fuel consumption.. great storage place for city use.
    #12
  13. Skyy223

    Skyy223 New on the Road

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    The NX750x is a nice looking bike, sat on it yesterday. It's too expensive tho
    #13
  14. Little Bike

    Little Bike Air/Clutz Sue

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    I have a 2001 Transalp, rode it all over Scotland a few years ago - including motorways. They're good bikes. I also have a 2012 vstrom, it's been all over the western US, also a good reliable bike, but you might find it tall.
    #14
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  15. Skyy223

    Skyy223 New on the Road

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    My neighbour did let me drive his yamaha V-Star 1100 today :D:D

    FUCK IT IM GETTING A CHOPPER!, just kidding, i still want to travel with the bike but damn... its fun to cruise around with that one ;)
    #15
  16. plumer1kt

    plumer1kt Adventurer

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    2001 xlv650:full throttle highway riding (180km/h on speedo) from one gas station to the other.
    you are wrong.
    650 and 600 are different bikes,650 has rd03 frame and engine with cbr600 rear prolink and transalp's 600 (98-99)front forks and brakes.check the code names...... transalp 600 (PDxx) transalp 650-700(RDxx) africa 650-750(RDxx)
    have the 650 for 16 years.....oil,filter's and air to the tires.......:D
    700 has better engine ,PGM-FI 4valves and street oriented tires(19'' front)-brakes(3piston caliper,ABS) and suspension setup.
    for ON-road/highway use take the 700 or.....vstrom 650,it is better for that use
    but decide first.....single or twin cylinder....
    take your tests on the autobahn,you'll find out by yourself.
    #16
  17. Skyy223

    Skyy223 New on the Road

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    But those are all twins aren't they?

    Okay okay, people say that the 600 is easy to repair. A blacksmith from the next village can fix it. Is this also possible for a 650?

    The 700 and V-Strom650 are way more expensive then the other ones. For the 700 i might even have to pay ~4000€... how much value will they lose within the next 3 years? Because if I decide, that I don't want it for the big trip, i can easily sell the 600 and maybe 650 TA for nearly the same price then i bought it for. Thats a clear advantage.
    #17
  18. plumer1kt

    plumer1kt Adventurer

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    #18
  19. Skyy223

    Skyy223 New on the Road

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    Ah sorry :X
    I think I might stick to an Transalp OR the V-Strom...just because im afraid to look around too much. I already think about all the stuff that could go wrong with "older" bikes etc...

    When I bought a car i just bought what I liked... and im still happy with it. And therefore I might get a Transalp. Not without testing ofc.
    #19
  20. Gustavo

    Gustavo Motociclista Errante

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    Wait, you've never ridden motorcycles before, meaning you just got your license?

    You are not going to feel safe on most of these ADV-touring bikes, even the singles that are relatively light because they are still big, tall and intimidating if you have little experience. IMHO you are going about this new motorcycle purchase decision all wrong. Don't buy a bike for the trips you think you'll want to do. Buy a bike to learn to ride first, then buy a bike that you want based on the experience you accumulated on that first bike. Also, after riding around for a while on your first bike you'll discover many things you like and don't like about motorcycles based on this experience that you didn't even know to look for when purchasing that first bike.

    My recommendation would be to buy something that is small enough for you to be comfortable on (most likely it means a standard or naked bike), cheap enough that you can afford to make a newbie mistake and drop it in a parking lot or an intersection you lost your footing on and that will not result in breaking the bank to repair it. And don't forget to leave yourself enough money in the bike purchase budget for gear and accessories. Most new riders don't think about that, but it adds up to a lot of money when you are a new rider and don't have a closet full of riding gear and a garage full of parts and accessories you can move from bike to bike.

    Good luck,

    Gustavo
    #20