Dynamic new Adventure Sports styling really sets the pace for the all-new 2008 XL700V Transalp. Powered by a new fuel-injected V-twin engine that carries it down the road with impressive power and confident cruising speed, the new Transalp reasserts its position as Europe’s most versatile midsized motorcycle.
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 riding ease.
Offering impressive appeal to a wide cross-section of riders who appreciate it uncanny ability to do most jobs remarkably well, from day-to-day commuting to longdistance touring, to exploring off the beaten path, the Transalp has always combined the best of on-road and off-road riding styles into a unique riding experience. However, eight years after its last major change in design, the Transalp has gradually fallen behind the times in terms of both style and performance, and was in need of both a new jolt of visual excitement and updates in its motorcycle technology to keep it at the front of its class in power, performance and environmental compatibility.
Setting out to firmly reassert the Transalp’s leading position in the mid-displacement Adventure Sports class, its development team drew up plans to give the next-generation Transalp a boldly dynamic new look, stronger power delivery and a more accessible range of riding enjoyment that would boost its appeal to even more riders attracted to its unique brand of versatile goanywhere performance. Offering cutting-edge style, strong, satisfying performance and an always inviting sense of adventure that makes every ride a great escape, the exciting new 2008 Transalp encourages one to seek out all the fun that lies just over the next horizon.
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.
To achieve these goals, bold, totally new styling was designed and a totally new upgrade of its engine carried out in order to bring it up to date with the latest developments in engine performance. Its strong, highly reliable liquid-cooled V-twin engine remained central to the Transalp’s easy riding concept. This time-proven mill features slim proportions that contribute to the Transalp’s easier handling coupled with the dependable low-to-midrange grunt to carry two passengers and a full load of touring gear across the mountains that gave it its name. Fitted with a new fuel injection system and new 4-valve heads, this popular engine more smoothly, quickly and effortlessly powers over hills and revs up to highway speeds for highly enjoyable long-distance cruising that chases horizons with spirited ease.
The Transalp’s basic frame and chassis components, including its long-travel suspension systems, were retained with the idea of continuing to provide a comfortable upright riding position and a smooth, allround ride. For this new generation, the Transalp’s highspeed touring capabilities were further enhanced with a new smaller-diameter 19" front wheel and a wider new radial rear tyre, which combine to more strongly emphasise its confidently responsive handling over Europe’s wide assortment of road surfaces.
Multi-purpose riding enjoyment has always been the central key to the Transalp’s appeal. With exciting new styling and swifter performance combining with the wider attractions of its easy-riding proportions and easily expanded carrying capability, the new 2008 XL700V Transalp sets the stage for greater riding enjoyment and broader horizons of more exciting touring adventures to come.
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 standing still.
The Transalp’s compact new front cowl area features an aggressive wind management design that intentionally does not provide the same degree of wind protection offered by its predecessor. Instead, this crisply attractive new design reduces the amount of wind blast to the chest while providing a more enhanced wind feel that deftly avoids becoming uncomfortable. Wind-tunneltested ports under the mini windscreen and to the sides of the headlight expand air flow around the rider for enhanced wind protection at higher speeds and lighter, more responsive handling. Behind the screen resides a compact, cleanly integrated instrument panel with large tachometer dial and large LCD readout of speed, odometer, dual trip, clock and six-segment fuel level.
The new Transalp’s fuel tank is smaller in capacity than its previous version (down from 19 to 17.5 litres), but the greatly improved fuel consumption figures of its new fuel-injected engine actually extend its riding range. A flat, flush-mount hinged fuel tank cap eases fill-ups while contributing to the bodywork’s more modern look.
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.
The Transalp’s slim, comfortably contoured tandem seat offers excellent long-distance riding comfort combined with a relatively low seat height that provides an easy reach to the ground for most riders. Surrounding the back of the seat is a sleekly styled new moulded resin rear carrier that brackets the attractively curved integrated taillight while providing comfortable hand grips for pillion passengers.
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.
2008 Honda XL 700 V Transalp
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.
Now, with a dynamic new third generation of the Transalp in development, the time has come to bring its engine up to date with further improvements to its overall performance and environmental compatibility. To achieve these aims, the Transalp’s development team turned to the latest generation of this venerable middisplacement V-twin engine, which was recently developed for 2006 Deauville. Featuring larger displacement, new PGM-FI fuel injection and freer flowing four-valve heads, this new engine incorporates a host of upgraded and redesigned components to improve performance, environmental compatibility and riding ease.
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.
Finally, if anything stands out in the V-twin riding experience, it is the exhilarating sound that the engine produces as it rolls up to speed. With its shorter, more cleanly integrated exhaust system, the new Transalp gives non-stop satisfaction with a pleasing rumble of Vtwin sound, especially in the lower registers. Just one more invigorating attraction for the Transalp’s unique realisation of complete Adventure Sports riding enjoyment and long-distance touring pleasure.
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 extra luggage.
The Transalp’s popular long-travel suspension system includes the same 41mm leading-axle telescopic front fork used till now, although without the earlier versions’ front fork gaiters, while its progressive and smoothly compliant Pro-Link rear suspension assures a comfortable, confidently controlled ride over a wide range of road surfaces, whether riding solo or fully loaded for several days touring.
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.
The ABS portion of the Transalp’s highly effective Combined Antilock Brake system operates in precisely the same way as Honda’s other ABS-equipped models. When braking over uneven or slippery road surfaces, this high-accuracy system instantly reacts to the most minute variations in the relative speed of the two wheels, predicting and counteracting tyre slip before it happens. With precise control, the system maintains just enough brake pressure for smooth and steady deceleration in slippery conditions that greatly enhances confidence in one’s ability to stop quickly and surely.
This Combined-ABS version’s Combined Brake System links the rear brake pedal to the centre piston of its rightside three-piston front brake calliper to provide a measured balance of front brake control whenever the rear brake is firmly used. An inline delay valve ensures that light operation of the rear brake, such as when trailing through a corner, has little or no effect on front brake operation.
Stronger pressure applied to the rear brake pedal results in just enough front brake engagement to provides a positive balance of front and rear braking forces for smoothly controlled operation. The remaining five pistons of the two three-piston front brake callipers are controlled by the hand brake lever and operate in a conventional manner, providing reassuringly strong braking control to match the Transalp’s sporty riding capability.
Confident riding control also requires strongly assured braking performance, and the Transalp’s advanced Combined-ABS version provides an exceptional level of smoothly responsive braking control to give both seasoned experts and less experienced riders more confident stopping power in situations where optimal braking capability is crucial.
Like most of Honda’s larger displacement motorcycles, the new Transalp is also fully equipped with the highly capable Honda Ignition Security System (HISS), which features a fail-safe electronic interlock to prevent the engine from being started by anything other than the machine’s two original keys, thus providing effective protection against ride-away theft. Designed to totally disable the engine at the very heart of its ignition system, the HISS system cannot be bypassed by hot-wiring the ignition or exchanging the ignition switch module.
Honda Access Europe NV will supply the new Transalp with a wide assortment of optional accessories designed to extend its riding range and versatility. These accessories include:
A locking 45-litre top box in matching colours designed to carry two full-face helmets and more with security and ease. Features integrated pillion back rest and handy, quick-detach locking mounting system.
A set of two black polyurethane armrests, which attach to the sides of the 45-litre top box lid for enhanced pillion riding comfort.
A set of specially designed, aerodynamic and fully integrated 29-litre capacity panniers.
A set of decorative brushed aluminium pannier panels.
A ruggedly constructed, deluxe finish expanding inner bag designed to fit inside the top box which greatly facilitates packing, with carrying handles and shoulder belt to ease transport.
A set of two strong light grey nylon inner pannier bags designed to protect their contents while offering handy straps for carrying ease. 16-litre capacity with front pocket featuring embroidered Honda Wing logo included.
An easy-to-use Honda Motorcycle Navigation kit that finds towns, addresses, POI (Points of Interest) or Honda dealerships across Europe with 2D and 3D onscreen guidance accompanied by handy voice prompts. Integrated Bluetooth wireless technology provides inhelmet voice guidance while permitting mobile phone operation with both hands safely on the handlebars. Comes with specially designed mounting bracket and wiring.
A motion and vibration-sensitive anti-theft AVERTO security system that warns off potential tamperers and thieves with a piercing wail. Low-consumption sleep mode protects the battery from drainage.
Front and rear fog lamp kits that improve visibility in foggy conditions.
A 17mm taller clear polycarbonate windscreen with deflectors that improves overall wind protection at higher speeds.
A 20mm lower replacement seat for enhanced ridingcomfort and an easier reach to the ground for shorter riders.
A choice of two comfortable heated handlebar grip sets featuring adjustable temperature controller and integrated circuitry to protect the battery.
A tailor-made brushed aluminium-look meter panel with a 3D shape that surrounds the dials to give the bike a more stylish look. Matches the tank protection cover,decorative pannier panels, top box panels and side fairing accents.
A brushed aluminium-look tank protector with the same finish as the optional meter panel to help protect the fuel tank from scratches.
A brushed aluminium-look fairing accent set designed to mount directly to the fairing. Matches the instrument panel, tank protection cover, decorative top box and pannier panels and unit skid plate.
An easily mounted and highly useful mainstand.
A sturdy U-lock designed to fit easily under the locking pillion seat.
A rugged, full-coverage outdoor cycle cover to protect the Transalp’s paint against UV rays and weather.
A handy 12V DC electrical socket that provides power to operate additional electronic equipment. Mounts inconspicuously under the seat.