Honda XL750 Transalp

The Transalp name is one of the most iconic and long-standing names in the adventure bike hall of fame.

It was born in 1987 and was in continuous production right up until 2012 when it finally succumbed to declining sales. 

Over the next 10 years, the name lay dormant, waiting and watching as the buying public’s tastes changed and the adventure bike was born again. In 2023 Honda revived the legendary name and boy, they did it justice.

If you are not entirely familiar with it, the XL750 Transalp was released in 2023 and is a mid-size adventure touring motorcycle, designed for both on-road and off-road use. 

These days we call them adventure bikes and the new XL750 Transalp fits snugly into the midsize adventure bike category, a category that is becoming increasingly popular and crowded. 

The Transalp is powered by a 755cc liquid-cooled, 8v parallel-twin engine that produces 90.5bhp and 75Nm / 55 lb-ft of torque. Everyone is doing the parallel twin, 270-degree crank thing these days, but it’s obvious to see why. This is an absolute peach, tuned more for road riding rather than off-road. The power builds with the revs and feels strong. 

Suspension is by Showa, with 43mm SFF USD forks giving 200mm travel, adjustable for preload only. (SFF means Separate Function Fork. Each fork leg performs a separate function. The left leg contains the damping cartridge and the right fork leg contains the pneumatic air spring)

At the rear is a preload-adjustable, remote reservoir Showa shock and Pro-link swingarm, giving 190mm travel. 

Honda has fitted a 21” front wheel with a 90/90-R21 size tyre and at the rear is an 18” wheel fitted with a 150/70-R18 tyre. Controversially, tyres are tube type too. 

Out of the box, the chassis worked really well. It’s a great set-up for road riding; compliant and comfortable and soaks up the bumps. It inspires confidence in a way I didn’t expect and makes this a playful and fun bike.

Front brakes are 310mm discs with axial mount 2 piston Nissin calipers and at the back is a 256mm disc with a single-piston caliper. They do a great job of stopping the bike and offer very good feedback and feel. 

Of course, the bike has ABS. You have two-channel, switchable ABS that can either be switched off at the back only, or completely disengaged for off-road riding. This comes back on when the ignition is reset.

The switchgear and TFT have been lifted straight from the Hornet, which is no bad thing as they work well. Both are intuitive and do what they are designed to do, without being unnecessarily complicated or fussy. As is the norm these days, you also have 5 rider modes to play with; (Standard, Sport, Gravel, Rain and a customizable mode). 

The Transalp is sparse on standard kit; Cruise control, quickshifter, heated grips, hand guards, engine bars and bash plate are all optional extras. 

From the moment I picked up the Transalp I felt at home.

It’s only 208kg and has a seat height of just 850mm with a fairly narrow seat, so is practically featherweight in this class. Its bigger brother, the Africa Twin weighs in at between 231kg and 244kg depending on spec, so you can see why a middleweight adventure bike appeals. 

I do a lot of miles in all weather and on all types of roads. The Transalp fitted me and just worked everywhere. 

The press bike had a quickshifter which is excellent. A little slower than a sports bike shifter, but a great addition. 

On one particular day, I set off from a gloomy and overcast Northampton, headed north on the M1, then A1 to York, A59, A1 and up over the A66 to Carlisle. That A66 was a bit hairy, with lashing rain and gusts of wind pushing me across the dual carriageway. 

From Carlisle, I made my way back down south, through Kendle then skirted the Yorkshire dales and jumped on to the M6 from Manchester, down to Northampton. 

All in all, 10+ hours in the saddle and around 540 miles. Apart from nearly getting blown off the road on the A66, the Transalp was the perfect companion. After over 10 hours in the saddle, I could have easily carried on and I even contemplated riding past Northampton and on to London. 

Wind protection is superb. The screen was perfect for me, with virtually no buffeting from headwinds. The only thing I missed was cruise control which would’ve been a real asset…..oh, and heated grips In the evening when the temperature dropped. 

From a pillion perspective, the Transalp was excellent. My press bike had the top box and tank bag fitted, both were perfect additions to the bike and enhanced the useability. 

The top box has a pillion backrest too which is useful.

The pillion seating position and rear pegs work well, even for short legs. Often on adventure bikes, it can be a mission just to get on in the first place. If you are a little short in the leg, pillions can struggle to get feet comfortably and securely on the pegs, particularly if there’s luggage fitted. The Transalp was no problem and was a comfortable and safe ride for a pillion.

I had an absolute blast on the Transalp. I’m not a particularly confident off-road rider, so only venture onto mild green lanes. Most of my riding is on the road and the Transalp excels here. Point to point, this is hard to beat. It’s subtle too. When you press on, particularly with the top box fitted, it’s a very subtle bike, stealthy even, perfect for covertly having fun.

I would definitely consider one myself. These days, adventure bikes can be huge behemoths. Something like the 208kg Transalp works. It’s lighter, more nimble, easier to manage, easier to ride and most of the time just as capable as a bigger adventure bike. I can see why this is such a popular class of motorcycle. 

The Honda Transalp happens to be a bit of a bargain too, starting at just £9,699.

Of course, you can add all manner of packs and optional extras;

There are six ‘packs’ to choose from:

Adventure: upper crash bars, LED fog lights, radiator grill for £755

Rally: quickshifter, lower engine bars, skid plate, rally footpegs, hand guards for £1100

Comfort: tank bag, wind deflectors, lower pillion pegs and 12v socket for £290

Tour: panniers and heated grips for £1290

Urban: 50L Top box, tall screen, main stand for £935

Plus: 50L Top box with backrest, panniers, tank bag, main stand, skid plate, upper crash bars, lower crash bars, hand guards, windscreen & fairing wind deflectors, tall screen, heated grips, LED spotlights for £3,685


755cc liquid-cooled, 8v parallel-twin engine

90.5bhp and 75Nm / 55 lb-ft of torque

Aluminium spoked rims, tube type.

Front-wheel/tyre – 21in (stainless steel) spoked wheel, 90/90-R21 M/C 54H

Rear wheel/tyre – 18in (stainless steel) spoked wheel, 150/70-R18 M/C 70H

5 rider modes with ABS cancel; (Standard, Sport, Gravel, Rain and a customizable mode)

208kg kerb weight (231-244kg for Africa twin)

16.9L tank

210mm ground clearance

850mm seat height

Assisted slipper clutch

Quick shifter optional

Adjustable traction control

Switchable ABS

5-inch TFT display

LED headlights

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