The Evolution of the Honda XL750 Transalp: A Journey Through Time

Introduction to the Honda Transalp Lineage

The Honda Transalp series has a rich history, tracing its roots back to the late 1980s. Over the years, this iconic adventure bike has evolved significantly, adapting to the changing demands of riders and advancements in technology. Let’s take a look at the journey of the Honda XL750 Transalp, from its inception to the latest model available today.

The Birth of the Honda Transalp: 1987

In 1987, Honda introduced the first Transalp, the XL600V. This model was designed to cater to the growing interest in adventure touring motorcycles. It featured a 583cc V-twin engine, providing a balance of power and versatility. The bike was well-received for its smooth performance, comfortable ride, and ability to handle both on-road and off-road conditions.

XL600V Transalp


The 1990s: Refining the Adventure

Throughout the 1990s, Honda continued to refine the Transalp series. In 1991, the XL600V received a few updates, including a larger fuel tank and improved suspension. By 1994, the XL600V had evolved into the XL650V, featuring a larger 647cc engine. This model offered better performance and increased comfort, solidifying the Transalp’s reputation as a reliable adventure bike.

XL650V Transalp

Entering the 2000s: Technological Advancements

As the new millennium approached, Honda continued to innovate. In 2000, the XL650V Transalp was updated with a more modern design and enhanced features. This included improved suspension, a more comfortable seat, and updated aesthetics. These changes helped the Transalp maintain its competitive edge in the growing adventure motorcycle market.

The 2008 Rebirth: XL700V Transalp

In 2008, Honda introduced the XL700V Transalp, a significant upgrade that brought the series into the modern era. This model featured a 680cc V-twin engine, fuel injection, and an updated frame. The XL700V was praised for its reliability, comfort, and improved fuel efficiency. It was a versatile machine, capable of tackling long-distance tours and off-road adventures with ease.

XL700V Transalp

The Evolution Continues: 2019 Honda Africa Twin Influence

In 2019, Honda made a bold move by reintroducing the Africa Twin to the market. This model quickly became a benchmark for adventure motorcycles, known for its advanced features and rugged performance. The success of the Africa Twin influenced the development of the Transalp series, setting the stage for the next big leap in its evolution.

Honda Africa Twin

The Introduction of the Honda XL750 Transalp: 2023

In 2023, Honda unveiled the latest iteration of the Transalp series: the XL750 Transalp. This new model was designed to offer a more affordable alternative to the Africa Twin while retaining many of its key traits. The XL750 Transalp features a 755cc parallel-twin engine, delivering 91bhp and 75Nm of torque. It comes equipped with modern features like a full-color TFT display, multiple riding modes, traction control, and smartphone integration.

Key Features of the 2023 Honda XL750 Transalp

The 2023 XL750 Transalp is a testament to Honda’s commitment to innovation and performance. Key features include:

  • 755cc parallel-twin engine: Offers a perfect balance of power and efficiency.
  • Five riding modes: Sport, Rain, Standard, Gravel, and User modes provide versatility for different riding conditions.
  • Advanced electronics: Traction control, wheelie control, and switchable ABS enhance safety and performance.
  • Full-color TFT display: Provides clear and accessible information, with smartphone integration for added convenience.
  • Comfort and ergonomics: Designed for long-distance touring with a wide handlebar, spacious seat, and neutral foot peg position.

The Future of the Honda Transalp Series

As we look to the future, the Honda Transalp series is expected to continue evolving, incorporating the latest advancements in technology and design. Honda’s dedication to providing reliable, versatile, and high-performance adventure motorcycles ensures that the Transalp will remain a popular choice for riders around the world.

Introduction to the Honda XL750 Transalp in India

Seven years ago, Honda made a significant entry into the Indian adventure motorcycle market with the Africa Twin, priced at Rs 12.9 lakh. Assembling the bike in India was a strategic move that paid off, making the Africa Twin an instant hit. Fast forward to today, and Honda has introduced a more affordable alternative, the XL750 Transalp, priced at Rs 11 lakh (ex-showroom).

This bike inherits many traits from its elder sibling but is designed to be more accessible. After spending three days with the Transalp, here’s an in-depth review covering its performance in daily commutes, long rides, and off-road adventures.

Honda XL750 Transalp Styling & Quality

Honda XL750 Transalp Front View
The XL750 Transalp showcases a typical Honda aesthetic, characterized by a design that is neither aggressive nor sharp. While it draws some inspiration from the Africa Twin, it manages to carve out its unique road presence. The motorcycle’s body proportions are quite large for a 750cc bike, with a noticeable visual mass around the fuel tank. The rear of the bike resembles many Honda touring models. Features like the 21-inch front wheel, optional large bash plate, and prominent grab rail add to its rugged and versatile appearance. However, it may not excite those who prefer the aggressive styling of European bikes.

Honda XL750 Transalp Right Side View
In terms of build quality, the Transalp excels. The paint finishes and overall craftsmanship are top-notch, exuding a sense of premium quality. However, the area around the instrument cluster doesn’t quite match the rest of the bike’s high standards.

Ergonomics & Comfort of the Honda XL750 Transalp

Honda XL750 Transalp Left Side View
The Transalp 750 stands out for its excellent ergonomics and comfort, essential for an adventure bike designed to handle a variety of riding conditions. The seating triangle is well-designed, featuring a wide handlebar, a spacious seat, and neutrally positioned foot pegs. These elements combine to offer a comfortable riding experience, making long-distance touring a breeze. However, the seat height may be a bit high for the average Indian rider. Adjusting the handlebar for off-road use is straightforward and significantly enhances off-road ergonomics.

Honda XL750 Transalp Radiator
The suspension setup is somewhat unusual, particularly at the rear. For a rider weighing around 95kg, the rear suspension tends to bounce excessively, which can detract from the road riding experience. On the other hand, the front suspension performs well, with appropriate compression and rebound rates suited for Indian roads.

Performance & Handling of the Honda XL750 Transalp

Honda XL750 Transalp Front View
The heart of the XL750 Transalp is a 755cc parallel-twin engine that delivers an impressive 91bhp and 75Nm of torque. This engine is remarkable for its performance and refinement. The power delivery is smooth and linear, making city riding effortless. The bike’s NVH (Noise, Vibration, and Harshness) levels are well-managed, enhancing its usability in heavy traffic. The engine’s strong mid-range power makes it a joy to ride in urban environments.

Honda XL750 Transalp Left Side View
On highways, the Transalp truly shines. The engine cruises comfortably at triple-digit speeds, maintaining composure and efficiency. It can easily manage 120kmph at under 6000rpm, making it ideal for long-distance touring in India. The bike remains stable and vibration-free up to 8000rpm, beyond which some vibrations are noticeable but unnecessary to reach under normal conditions.

Honda XL750 Transalp Rear View
Handling is another area where the Transalp excels. The combination of a wide handlebar and well-balanced weight distribution makes maneuvering through heavy traffic surprisingly easy. The bike’s braking system is robust, providing excellent stopping power, and the ABS settings can be adjusted on the fly. Off-road, the Transalp handles well, with the off-road mode allowing for controlled rear wheel slip and adjustable ABS settings. However, the handlebar position needs adjustment for optimal enduro riding.

Features & Technology in the Honda XL750 Transalp

Honda XL750 Transalp Handle Bar
Honda has equipped the XL750 Transalp with a comprehensive suite of features and technologies, enhancing both on-road and off-road riding experiences. The bike offers five riding modes – Sport, Rain, Standard, Gravel, and User – which adjust power delivery and traction control settings. There’s also wheelie control, providing an extra layer of safety and performance customization. The User mode is particularly useful, allowing riders to tailor the bike’s performance to their specific needs, especially off-road.

Honda XL750 Transalp TFT / Instrument Cluster
A standout feature is the full-color TFT screen, measuring around five inches. This display provides clear and accessible riding information and is user-friendly. The toggle switch allows for easy adjustment of settings, and the inclusion of smartphone integration enables voice commands, enhancing convenience and connectivity on the go.

Fuel Efficiency of the Honda XL750 Transalp

Honda XL750 Transalp Front View
With a fuel tank capacity of approximately 17 liters, the Transalp offers impressive fuel efficiency. During testing, the bike achieved between 18kmpl and 21kmpl, providing a potential range of around 320 kilometers per tank. This efficiency is a significant advantage for long-distance touring and daily commutes alike.

Final Verdict on the Honda XL750 Transalp

Honda XL750 Transalp Right Side View
The Honda XL750 Transalp is an outstanding adventure motorcycle, particularly well-suited for long-distance touring. Its 755cc engine is both powerful and refined, ensuring a smooth and fatigue-free riding experience.

The bike’s ergonomic design enhances comfort, making it ideal for extended journeys. Its off-road capabilities, highlighted by the 21-inch front wheel and adjustable features, make it a versatile choice for adventure enthusiasts.

While the styling may not appeal to everyone, and the plastics around the instrument cluster could be improved, these are minor drawbacks in an otherwise excellent package. Priced at Rs 12.32 lakh on-road in Mumbai, the Transalp offers great value, particularly considering Honda’s reputation for reliability and low maintenance costs.

Strengths and Weakness

Styling & Quality– Unique road presence– May not appeal to those who prefer aggressive European designs
– Excellent build quality and paint finishes– Plastics around the instrument cluster feel flimsy
Ergonomics & Comfort– Comfortable seating triangle– Seat height may be high for the average Indian rider
– Wide handlebar, spacious seat, neutral foot peg position
– Easy handlebar adjustment for off-road riding
Performance & Handling– Smooth and linear power delivery– Rear suspension bounces excessively for heavier riders
– Excellent NVH management– Minor vibrations above 8000rpm, but not necessary to reach in normal conditions
– Strong mid-range power, ideal for city riding
– Stable and efficient cruising at highway speeds
– Easy maneuvering through heavy traffic
– Robust braking system with adjustable ABS
Off-road Capability– Effective off-road mode with controlled rear wheel slip– Standard handlebar position needs adjustment for optimal enduro riding
– Can handle tight and fast trails well
Features & Technology– Comprehensive suite of riding modes (Sport, Rain, Standard, Gravel, User)
– Traction control and wheelie control
– Full-color TFT screen with clear and accessible information
– Smartphone integration with voice commands
Fuel Efficiency– Impressive fuel efficiency (18kmpl to 21kmpl)
– Potential tank range of around 320 kilometers
Value for Money– Priced competitively at Rs 12.32 lakh on-road in Mumbai
– Great value considering Honda’s reputation for reliability and low maintenance costs
Overall Verdict– Powerful and refined 755cc engine– Styling might not appeal to everyone
– Excellent comfort for long-distance touring
– Versatile for both on-road and off-road riding

Tech Specs

Technical specifications of the Honda XL750 Transalp

Engine755cc parallel-twin
Power Output91 bhp
Torque75 Nm
Cooling SystemLiquid-cooled
Transmission6-speed manual
ClutchAssist & Slipper Clutch
Frame TypeSteel diamond frame
Front Suspension43mm USD fork, adjustable preload, rebound
Rear SuspensionPro-Link, adjustable preload, rebound
Front BrakeDual disc with ABS
Rear BrakeSingle disc with ABS
Front Tire90/90-21
Rear Tire150/70-18
Fuel Tank Capacity17 liters
Seat Height850 mm
Ground Clearance210 mm
Wheelbase1560 mm
Kerb Weight208 kg
Instrument Cluster5-inch full-color TFT display
Riding ModesSport, Rain, Standard, Gravel, User
Traction ControlYes
Wheelie ControlYes
Smartphone IntegrationYes, with voice commands
Fuel Efficiency18 kmpl – 21 kmpl
Price (Ex-Showroom)Rs 11 lakh
Price (On-Road, Mumbai)Rs 12.32 lakh

Conclusion: Is the Honda XL750 Transalp the Right Bike for You?

If you’re looking for a reliable, comfortable, and versatile adventure motorcycle that can handle both daily commutes and long-distance touring, the Honda XL750 Transalp is an excellent choice. Its blend of performance, comfort, and technology makes it a standout option in the adventure bike segment. While it may not have the aggressive styling of some European competitors, its practicality and Honda’s engineering excellence make it a compelling option for riders in India and beyond.


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