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Honda XL 700 V Transalp
The Transalp debuted on the European motorcycling scene in
1987 in response to the surging popularity of the Paris-Dakar Rally.
Combining elements of a mid-displacement tourer with a trail-going enduro
chassis and look, the Transalp pioneered a fresh new direction in motorcycle
development that has remained popular for over twenty years. Although
initially based on the intrepid rally bikes that raced across Africa, the
Transalp also won a strong and growing following for its superbly
comfortable ergonomics, confidenceinspiring control and inherent ability to
cruise high-speed motorways with strong, agile performance, and remarkable
For its exciting next generation, the Transalp’s development
team set out give it a more modern, adventurous design backed up by
stronger, smoother performance that could indisputably re-establish it as
the leader of the mid-displacement Adventure Sports class that it pioneered
over 20 years before. Styling had to be distinctively aggressive and rider
friendly, yet infused with an intrepid spirit that can carry its rider to
the four corners of the Continent with confidence and ease, and bring them
home again with the same exhilaration and comfort with which they set off on
their riding adventures.
The all-new XL700V Transalp really stands out with dynamic
new Adventure Sports styling that’s sure to turn heads wherever it goes. Its
sleeker, more aggressively curved and angled bodywork speaks of breathtaking
road-going agility and a lighter, fresher way of enjoying all the thrills
that motorcycling has to offer. Modelled on the image of galloping horse,
the Transalp’s intrepid new lines seem to strain at the reins even when
Twin-Bulb Multi-Reflector Headlight
Accentuating the front cowl’s distinctive new form is an integrated twin-bulb multi-reflector headlight that features separate bulbs for low and high beams to offer excellent night-time riding visibility. This design also greatly extends bulb life by using separate single-filament bulbs that reduce heat build-up within the housing.
The bold graphics surrounding the Transalp name on the
shoulders of its aggressively sculpted side cowls were inspired by the
modern, high-tech design of a GPS readout, accentuating the Transalp’s
far-ranging appeal. The position numbers correspond to the peak altitude of
the highest paved road accessible by motorcycle in Europe: at Col de la
Bonette, located in the southern French Alps.
Curvaceous design also extends to the Transalp’s new moulded resin undercowl, which more attractively integrates with the bold new lines of its bodywork to provide excellent protection for the lower engine and its components.
The new 2008 XL700V Transalp will take to the road in four distinctive colour variations which each provide a strong visually contrasting complement to its black fuel tank, seat, wheel rims and mudguards. This quartet of attractive style leads off with a shimmering golden metallic yellow that grabs attention with its brilliant hue. Next, a deep, luxurious metallic red provides a glamorous accent on the Transalp’s attractive new curves. This is followed by a subtle metallic grey that blends in with the greys of its front cowl, engine, undercowl and rear carrier to extend a modern monochromatic sheen that is accentuated by the black of its other body parts. Finally, a rich metallic blue completes the scene with a sophisticated image of urban refinement.
The Transalp’s compact, smooth and powerful liquidcooled
three valve-per-cylinder V-twin engine has won an enthusiastic following for
delivering strong, versatile performance over every road it travels.
Debuting out in 1987 with a displacement of 583cm3, this incredibly
dependable, hard-working mid-displacement powerplant has received few major
modifications over its long lifetime of service, save for an increase to
647cm3 in 2000 that boosted its low-to-midrange torque for enhanced touring
and passing performance.
The Transalp’s new engine features a 2mm larger cylinder bore (up from 79 to 81mm), which increases total capacity by 33cm3, from 647 to 680cm3. These larger pistons and their connecting rods are also lighter, contributing to the engine’s sharper throttle response and more forceful acceleration. While this new engine’s larger displacement is responsible for some of the Transalp’s stronger power and torque, it is only one of several factors in the new engine’s total performance equation.
New 4-Valve Heads
The Transalp’s new engine also sports 4-valve heads and new porting that permits smoother, more efficient flow of intake and exhaust gasses through the combustion chambers, as well as more complete filling of the combustion chambers on the intake stroke: better breathing for better performance. With new centrally located spark plugs ensuring a quicker and more efficient spread of the combustion flame across the tops of the pistons, the heads’ more compact combustion chambers also achieve a higher compression ratio (up from 9.2 to 10.0 : 1) for stronger thrusts of power and smoother overall performance characteristics.
New PGM-FI Fuel Injection System
Like all of Honda’s road bikes for 2008, the new Transalp also features Honda’s advanced PGM-FI electronic fuel injection system for accurate fuel delivery, quick, easy starts, highly responsive throttle control and exceptionally low exhaust emissions. The system uses two 40mm throttle bodies integrated into one crossed unit, and high-performance 12-hole injectors for optimised atomisation that results in stronger power, more responsive throttle control and smoother, flatter power output from low to high revs, along with a more linear and forceful feel of torque-filled performance. Not only does this system contribute to the new Transalp’s stronger power output, it is also responsible for providing a 7% increase in fuel economy and lower emissions compared to its previous smaller-displacement engine configuration.
As with nearly all of Honda’s latest fuel-injected engines, the Transalp’s new engine reduces its exhaust emissions to well below EURO-3 regulated levels by means of an integrated HECS3 oxygen-sensing catalytic converter system. The exhaust system also features a large-capacity 300-cell catalyser element, which is located just under the swingarm pivot. The complete system effectively minimises the emissions of carbon dioxide (CO), hydrocarbons (HC) and nitrous oxides (NOX) while maintaining strong and smooth performance throughout the engine’s impressive powerband, and ensuring full EURO-3 compliance.
With it’s new engine, the Transalp produces significantly
stronger performance, especially in its wide midrange, for a more impressive
surge of roll-on acceleration whenever the throttle is opened wide, even
when carrying a passenger and load of gear. Fitted with a liquid-cooled oil
cooler, the engine is also rugged and reliable, and always ready to set out
on long tours whenever and wherever the urges takes one.
The new 2008 Transalp is built on essentially the same
rugged double-cradle steel tube frame it has used since its second
generation debuted in 2000. Its composite box-section construction
incorporates the engine as a stressed member for an outstanding balance of
light weight, strength and rigidity that optimises riding performance for
smooth, effortless handling. Its 10mm longer wheelbase makes a small but
significant contribution to the Transalp’s enhanced high-speed
manoeuvrability, especially noticeable when carrying a pillion passenger and
New Smaller 19" Front Wheel
The new Transalp now rolls on a lightweight 19" wirespoked, aluminium-rimmed front wheel with a wider profile 100/90 tyre than the 21" wheel it replaces. This smaller wheel diameter provides easier in-town riding control and smoother handling at highway speeds. A wider new 130/80 radial rear tyre replaces the bias ply tyre mounted on the Transalp’s previous edition for more reassuring riding ease, especially in fast corners.
Standard and Combined-ABS Triple-Disc Brakes
In its standard version, the new Transalp offers the responsive braking control of a lightweight pair of dual-piston front callipers gripping lightweight 256mm drilled rotors between sintered metal pads. At the rear, its box-section swingarm mounts a compact singlepiston calliper stopping a 240mm rotor in a conventional setup that provides strong braking response to match the new Transalp’s sporty looks and riding capability.
High-Performance Combined-ABS Version
The new Transalp is also available in an advanced
Combined-ABS configuration that features the reassuring braking control of
Honda’s proven Combined Brake System coupled with the smooth,
confidence-inspiring operation of its popular Antilock Brake System.
Visually, the only major difference between the standard and Combined-ABS
versions of the Transalp are its callipers. In place of the standard
version’s dual-piston callipers, the Combined-ABS version mounts a set of
three-piston callipers. The right-side of each wheel also mounts a small
pulsar ring, which is constantly monitored by the Antilock Brake System.