Softcore Africa Twin
The Transalps Africa Twin heritage promises so much for the hardcore adventurer but can a minimal soft option do the job just as well. The problem with some new models is that accessories are sometimes thin on the ground and Honda have released the new Transalp with a hole swag of goodies straight off the showroom floor.Photos by Trail Zone Magazine and Lance Turnley
Given our previous experience with our previous project bike we went straight for a taller screen. Heading into an icy headwind west of Broken Hill had this high on the ‘Thank god we got it ‘ list. It’s an impressive 170mm taller and has a protective rubber strip around the edge for those rare occasions when the screen may smack you across the nose Retail price of $264.53.
The first of two non Honda accessories are a new set of Pivot Pegz. We fitted the new Mark 2 Pivot Pegz which are wider, lighter and stronger than before. The Pegz rotate 20° forward and backward improving grip of the bike and when you’re wrestling a Transalp you need all the grip you can get. Retail Price of $220.00
Keeping a Grip – Grip Heater Kit
High on our list was the heated grip option. In fact I don’t know why these things don’t come standard on all adventure bikes. The 180° kit that came on our Transalp has three settings, low, medium and high. The grips are activated by pressing a button repeatedly to cycle through the settings and the control unit has small LED light indicate the current setting. The heated grips, along with other accessories, requires an additional Quartet Harness. Grips retail price is $308.75. Quartet Harness $58.56
Premium Tail Luggage
The Transalp Tail Bag is a spacious 45 litre top box that mounts on a sturdy bolt-on carrier and features a locking quick detach mounting system. Our top box lid came in a matching colour but also comes in brushed alloy. Pillion backrest and top box mat included. Top box bracket is included along with the Honda Locking system. Retail price of $749.12.
The Transalp also has matching Panniers. Specifically designed for the Transalp they are aerodynamic and fully integrated 29-litre panniers. They have internal elastic straps and are key lockable. Also available in brushed alloy. Retail price of $313.15.
Low Seat Option
When I got my first job out of school the six foot tall company accountant looked down on me and said, ‘Son. There must be a law against having your arse that close to the ground.’ Well as it turned out there isn’t and Honda are one of the many motorcycle manufacturers catering for us pint sized pilots. 20mm lower than standard the Transalp low seat option is an absolute must and helps give you the leverage the avoid those embarassing tip overs at traffic lights in the instant of that unseen pothole. Retail price of $184.83
Light It Up
A couple of punctures on the Transalp put us way behind schedule on our outback ride and when dusk falls the Skippies and other big rodents appear from nowhere. After that experience we realized that you need to have the option to light up the road as much as possible. The driving light kit from Motorradgarage.com includes two 55 Watt headlamps, pre-assembled wiring harness for easy direct-to-battery hookup and a high-current handlebar-mounted on/off switch. Total power consumption is 110 watts. Fits directly to SW-MOTECH crash bars. Mounting kits are available for other crashbars if needed. These light housings produce a wide, diffused light beam perfect for foggy, rainy, or snowy driving conditions. The lights retail for $239.00 plus $44,00 for mounting bracket and is available from www.motorradgarage.com.au.
Touratech Chain Guard
This gives the chain guard the necessary stability and makes it as light as possible it stead of flapping around like the standard plastics. Laser-cut protection made of riveted stainless steel and aluminium parts. It uses existing mounting points to attach the chain guard making it an easy job.
Wolfman Summit Saddle Bags
The Transalp aftermarket panniers are great but they are vunerable to damage for adventure riders doing more off road than most. Our research has shown that soft luggage is the preferred option of the off road rider. Wolfman Summit Saddle Bags have streamlined styling and are easy to fit. They have a spacious 40 liter cargo capacity and the innovative side opening make access to the contents simple. The Summit Saddle Bags feature a universal 5 point mounting system (2 straps across the seat, 2 straps to the passenger pegs, and a strap around rear of the bags) They also have fleece backing to protect body panels. stiffeners throughout, zippered and mesh outside pockets. reflective trim plus D-Rings on the side of the bags that are compatible with the Wolf Tail and Odyssey Duffel. Dimensions: 38cm Long 20cmWide Height 30cm Front 25cm Rear. The Summit Saddle Bags retail for $245.00. Check out www.wolfman luggage.com.au for there full range.
When looking at the Transalp I decided to go with a centre stand on the rare chance that I might get a puncture. The Transalp is no lightweight and I pondered finding a tree stump to balanec the bike on should I get a flat. Even The centre stand bottoms out occasionally on rough ground but after four puncture repairs the centre stand is here to stay. It is difficult for one person to get the bike up on the stand but once you do a tyre change is a one man job. Retail Price of $561.33
12 Volt Accessory Socket
This DC electrical socket provides power to operate additional electronic equipment like a GPS or LED camping lights which is handy when stranded with a flat on the side of the trail at night. Can be mounted in the upper right fairing compartment or under the seat. It also has to be combined with the Quartet Harness. Retail price of $174.99
We’re not a fan of the black stuff but when joining this countries treasure of unsealed back roads you got to do the odd mile on the tar. With a 19inch front wheel Continental TKC 80?s are the best option. BMW owners swear by them and from my own experience they are the best black top road holding tyres around as well as the dirt. We fitted a 130/80/17 to the rear and a 110/80/19 on the front. Retail price of $235.00, Rear and $239.00 front.
SW Motech Crash Bars
We’ve been afraid to really push the Transalp to test the limits of its handling. The reason being that there is a lot of vunerable plastic all over the bike from the tank covers to the panniers. The SW-MOTECH Transalp Crash Bars are constructed of heavy-duty mild steel, and are designed to provide maximum protection with high-quality fit and finish. The bars are powdercoated with a black finish and attach to the frame with high-strength frame mounting points and constructed of 27 mm outer-diameter mild steel tubing. Time to get some sideways actions on the trail. Retail price of $299.00. For more information go to www.motorradgarage.com.au.
SW Motech Skid Plate
The Transalp cases arw extremely vunerable to damage as the standard engine fairing offers little to no protection. The SW Motech Bashplate is and absolute must have for somebody riding off road. The bashplate is constructed of 3mm-thick aluminum for medium-duty, light-weight protection. Baseplate includes side protectors that wrap around the engine block to provide both bottom and side protection. It intergrates easily with the SW Motech Crash Bars.
It is one of the first accessories you should consider for your Transalp and retail price of $375.00 for www.motorradgarage.com.au.
Standard Transalp handguards offer good wind protect but little else. If you’re serious about getting off road the new Barkbusters Storm hand guard is a must. The new Storm hand guard is designed specifically for adventure riding providing more protection from the elements and impact than any other handguard. The Storm handguard fits to Barkbusters the VPS aluminium backbone and is also be available with a new mounting system for a wide range of other bikes.
Contact: Rideworx – 02 4271 8244
Retail price of 159.95 (includes bar end weights and all mounting hardware).
With the Staintune pipe we couldn’t simply bolt on the standard heat guard which looks a bit like it’s come from a Harley. Looking the part it’s very light and strong manifold made of 2 mm aluminium. Safe protection against the hot header pipe. The shield is easily fastened to the original attachment points.
We’re not one to throw this bike down the road but even a small fall can cause a major problem. (See issue #14 where our BMWF650GS fell over.) A simple accident can often cause damage to the throttle tube on the Transalp. Theres no hope then of continuing the journey and these things are not easy to push. Touratech have developed a throttle cover to minimise this risk of damage. Made of anodised aluminium it’s easy to fit and offers more protection against the risk of damage.
Steel Headlight Protector
The 2008 Transalp must have one of the most vulnerable headlights in its class. Everytime Clubby got on the gas infront of me on the DRZ400 with those Motoz knobbies I would back off immediately in fear of blinding the mighty red Cyclops. As much as I wanted to make a headlight guard like Tenere Ray I couldn’t find a wire soap dish big enough. Touratech have created the perfect solution for the Transalp. The headlight protector was purely developed for off-road use.
The Transalp has a pretty plush ride but when the optional luggage is fully loaded up the Transalp scrapes its belly on some of the larger dips. For the larger rider a heavier spring needs to be considered. However the standard rear spring damping adjustment offers a short term solution.
Counter Shaft Spocket Guard
When when pulled off the plastic countershaft socket it was full of greasy mud which was basically thousands of k’s of dust mixed with chain lube. The Touratech guard is made of stainless steel and the appearance is enhanced by an additional aluminium shield. The design of the countershaft spocket guard makes it quick and easy to remove extreme dirt after another offroadexplorer.com trip.
Kick Stand Support Extension
In the sandy outback we always had to look for hard ground as even on a level surface the Transalp has quiet a lean on it. Made of high quality stainless steel this kick stand support extension allows the Transalp side stand a much more secure footing on a soft surface. It’s super quick and easy to fit.
Nothing sounds better than a V-Twin with a performance pipe. The guys at Staintune were keen to get a hold of our Transalp to develop a new pipe after their success with the XLV650 Transalp. The new unit is lighter and is expected to increase engine output by about 5hp. At the time of print the new retail price wasn’t available however the XLV650 pipe retails at $700 including GST. The pipe is expected to be in production by the time this issue is on the shelves. For more details call Staintune on 02 4871 3188 or go to www.staintune.com.au.
With the Transalp luggage space and its 12volt cigarette lighter style power outlet there is no reason not to pack a 12 volt work light. I have an old fluro model but an LED light would be just the ticket. This would have been perfect for our late night tyre changes out the back of Broken Hill. Most Models have a long lead and a hook for hanging the light off various parts of the bike. An absolute must have and available from most automotive stores.
Unifilter Air Filter Rebuild
I tried to look up the Transalp airfilter servicing the the XLV700 manual and all it tells you is to change it after 18,000 kilometeres but notes ‘Service more frequently when riding in unusually wet or dusty conditions’. Are there any other conditions? Anybody in their right mind should service an airfilter after most rides and recycling as opposed to replacing has to be a better option. Unifilter have a rebuild solution replacing the standard paper elements with Unifilter’s reusable, oiled-foam element. The filter gets two layers of foam. One is permanently moulded into the casing and the second attaches with Velcro so it can be easily removed and cleaned. Extra outer layers can be ordered. They cost $18.75 for the pair. The rebuild will cost you $58.50 and is about a three working days turnaround. (Freight and handling not included).