Honda Transalp

For some reason, I’ve always liked Transalp’s, that is the early 600 models

So, the combination of Sunday afternoon and itchy ebay finger meant I ended up with a 1987 XL600VH Transalp, from the first year of production.

Transalp at Storey Arms

The combination of 80’s trail bike looks, reasonable size and something different to ride on the road has been great. For £700, I think I’ve got a pretty good bike for a blind buy. It was imported (I think from Italy) in 2004 and the panels, frame and engine are all corrosion free and still have that Honda quality finish.

Work done

Since I’ve had the bike, I’ve done the following:
– engine oil change; I’ve gone for Motul 20/40 semi-synthetic which was about £20 and came with a free Hiflow filter from LM Spares
– valve clearances: as this is the original model, the clearances are a lot finer than on the later engines; there wasn’t much adjustment required
– tyres: the front Pirelli Scorpion A/T has perished walls, so needed to be changed and the Bridgestone BT45 Trailwing on the rear is coming to end of life. I fancied something different on tyres and after reading the extensive thread on the Transalp forum I went with some Metzler Sahara’s (I know, I know….) as planning to some of the off-road bits round home. The front went straight on and once scrubbed in, ran really well on a trip to Cardiff in the wet with good feel. The rear is yet to be fitted, but has less rubber/road contact than the front

To be done

There are some niggly bits to finish
– the clocks are in Kmh (its an import) and have no stickers or mods which therefore surprises me how it has an MOT certificate. Will probably go for one of the Motrax mechanical convertors but still waiting to see how the bike performs. There are some original MPH clocks at David Silver Spares which are pretty reasonable (the VH ones being cheaper than the later 600 models).
– the brake master cylinder cap screws are rounded off and will need drilling out and replacing. Also, as its an early single front disc model I am thinking of replacing the hoses with replacement Goodridge hoses .
– front spindle clamp has a broken stud on the bottom of the fork. This needs extracting and replacing
– carb balacing. On the list of things to check, something I do a lot since frying a piston on a Yamaha XS500 I once had.

So whats it like ?

Really as expected. Not too quick, but solid, stable and great in traffic. The test run of a 120 mile round trip to Cardiff (with detours) was a good start for the bike. The engine thumps along and pulls ok from 4000 rpm and above. All in all, excellent for a 21 year old bike.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *