Published in: Gear
It can be difficult to choose the best protection for your ADV motorcycle because there’s so much to choose from. But if you want to protect your Harley-Davidson Pan America and ensure you can overcome pretty much anything the trail throws at you, I recommend the Black Dog Cycle Works (BDCW) skid plate—it’s built like a tank!
The BDCW's Pan Am skid plate comes well-packaged, has straightforward installation instructions, and all the necessary parts for mounting it correctly are included. The only stumbling block is removing the Pan Am’s centerstand’s springs, a process that could use an extra set of hands. However, I managed to tackle it solo, which took a little more time.
Reinstalling the centerstand springs was also a bit of a challenge, but the instructions were excellent and it ended up going more smoothly than I’d anticipated. And once the rear mount was on, the rest of the process was super easy.
The skid plate is lighter than it looks, and really improves the Pan Am’s aesthetics. Made of 3/16-inch 5052 aluminum and powder-coated black it blends well with H-D’s aesthetics.
Something else I like is that its extended rearward section protects more of the mechanicals. It covers much of under-motor real estate, both upfront and along the sides. Another benefit is BDCW’s hard mounting system—which is not mounted to the engine (a bad idea!) like the factory plate. This method shields the engine with far superior engineering that provides way better protection against those big hits. And as it’s mounted with just four bolts, oil changes should be a breeze.
Black Dog makes extremely high-quality products that are designed and manufactured with pride and quality right here in the U.S. With Black Dog Cycle Works, you might pay a little more than some other products, but you’ll be happy you did.
Published in: Gear
Time to gear up for the Holiday Season! We’ve assembled a few adventure motorcycle gift ideas for you or your favorite riding buddy from gloves to pumps, socks to helmets and more, arranged by price from low to high.
The Nelson Rigg RIGG STRAPS Kit is a versatile and durable set of straps designed to secure and organize various items on your motorcycle. With adjustable lengths and heavy-duty buckles, these straps offer a reliable solution for securing cargo on your bike over even the most aggressive terrain. The kit includes multiple straps in different sizes, ensuring flexibility and convenience for any ADV travel needs.
MSRP: $19.95 | NelsonRigg.com
The KLIM Vented Sock is a high-performance sock designed for riders tackling trails in steamy conditions. With breathable mesh construction and moisture-wicking properties, they keep feet dry and comfortable during intense physical activities. The socks also feature reinforced padding in critical areas for enhanced support and durability, making them a durable choice for off-road motorcyclists.
MSRP: $24.99 | KLIM.com
Want an affordable, usable, customized gift that nearly any rider will love? Check out our ADVMoto custom engraved knife! Three handy pocketknives priced from $45 to $85 feature two lines of your personalized message (limit 15 characters per line) on one of three high quality Kershaw EDC knives (Shuffle, Outcome or Radar). And because it’s the giving season, we’ll donate $5 for each unit sold to BDR! Visit the website for more details.
MSRP: $45 to $85 | ADVMotoGift.com
The Rocky Creek Designs MotoPresser Pocket Pump is a compact and efficient motorcycle pump designed for on-the-go inflation. With its small size and lightweight construction, the MotoPresser easily fits in a motorcycle pannier or tank bag and deploys quickly for a top-up or roadside repair. It’ll inflate a 150/70-18 tire in less than four minutes. The entire kit weighs just over 1 lb. and includes an EVA zippered bag, inflation hose, alligator clips, and an SAE battery cable, so you’ll always be prepared.
MSRP: $59.95 | ADVMoto readers also get a 15% discount using the code “ADV2023” at checkout. | RockyDesigns.com
The REV’IT Massif Gloves are an excellent choice for motorcycle enthusiasts seeking high-performance hand protection in warm weather. These gloves offer a perfect balance of comfort, durability, and safety. With their leatheresque Clarino fabric palms and reinforced PWR stretch mesh on the upper portion, the Massif gloves provide optimal protection without compromising mobility. Additionally, their touchscreen compatibility and neoprene cuffs make them a practical and durable choice for riders hitting the trails.
MSRP: $64.99 | RevitSport.com
Aside from helping support the mission of the Backcountry Discovery Routes organization, becoming a BDR Bronze Level Supporter offers numerous additional benefits. From discounts on a variety of motorcycle gear, membership in the BMWMOA—even 20% off a subscription to Adventure Motorcycle Magazine, becoming a Bronze-level BDR supporter provides access to exclusive content, discounts on BDR events and merchandise, and a ton of freebies. By joining, riders demonstrate their commitment to supporting Backcountry Discovery Routes and promoting responsible off-road exploration.
MSRP: $100 | RideBDR.com
The Big Agnes Woodchuck Camp Table is a lightweight and portable table designed for outdoor adventures. With its durable construction and sturdy aluminum frame, it provides a stable surface for cooking, eating, or chilling out over a friendly game of Uno. The table also features adjustable legs and a collapsible design, making it easy to pack into a pannier or tail bag. A lightweight chair is always in your camp setup—why not the Big Agnes Woodchuck Camp Table too?
MSRP: $129.95 | BigAgnes.com
The Motorola Defy Satellite Link is a rugged satellite communicator that offers reliable communication in remote areas where cell service is absent. The Defy couples with a standard smartphone, allowing users to send text messages and connect with emergency services if things go wrong. The device is also built to withstand harsh conditions, featuring a durable design that is water, dust, and drop-resistant. The Motorola Defy is an excellent choice for adventure motorcyclists who explore far off the grid.
The SW-Motech PRO Cross WP Strap Tank Bag is a bomber accessory for riders seeking convenient storage and protection for their belongings—all within reach of their seat. With its durable construction and waterproof design, this tank bag ensures your gear stays safe and dry, even in adverse weather conditions. The tank bag features a spacious main compartment, multiple pockets, and a quick-release mounting system for easy installation and removal on just about any bike. Its versatile design and practical features make it a valuable addition to any rider’s gear.
MSRP: $199.95 | SW-Motech.us
Need a super burly, windproof layer for those chilly morning starts? Then the Mosko Moto Surveyor Jacket could be just the ticket. The Surveyor excels in terms of its design. It has a sleek and modern aesthetic, with clean lines and a tailored fit. The jacket is available in earthy color options, giving riders options to ride in backcountry style. Mosko’s attention to detail is evident with the Surveyor’s high-quality zippers, hook and loop cuffs, and overall stitching, which add to the offroad durability and longevity of the jacket.
MSRP: $249 | MoskoMoto.com
The FLY Odyssey Adventure Modular Helmet is a smart-money choice for adventure riders seeking versatility and protection. With its modular design, it offers the flexibility of a full-face helmet and the convenience of an open-face helmet. The Odyssey has built-in compatibility with a variety of communication units and features a lightweight polycarbonate shell, excellent ventilation, and a drop-down sun visor. Its removable and washable liner ensures comfort, while its safety certifications guarantee peace of mind on every adventure.
MSRP: $279.99 | FlyRacing.com
The Garmin Zumo XT2 is the GPS leader’s latest and greatest motorcycle navigation system and is a must-have for riders looking for a GPS that has it all. With its rugged design and glove-friendly touchscreen, it is built to withstand the elements and be easily operated while riding. The Zumo XT2 offers preloaded maps, turn-by-turn directions, and real-time traffic updates. It also includes features like rider alerts, weather updates, and compatibility with smartphone notifications, making it the perfect companion for any motorcycle adventure.
Published in: Gear
Stuffing a puffy layer under a typical adventure riding suit might keep you warm, but it leaves you looking like the Pillsbury Doughboy. That might be fine for some riders, but many of us prefer an understated look and the option of layering for the elements, while still being armored.
For a few years now, Adventure Spec, a small British company, has been producing protective gear that’s practical yet presentable in more casual environments. Recently, they’ve developed the Supershirt, a novel product that takes this idea to a new level.
Built with a blend of ultra high-density polyethylene on its outer layer, the Supershirtis a next-to-skin abrasion-resistant top that includes chest, elbow, and shoulder armor for a full CE Level AA protection rating for both impact and slides. The polyethylene material is similar to that used in lightweight body armor plates for the military and is blended with stretchy nylon to help the Supershirt form-fit the rider. The design allows it to be worn under a rider’s choice of outer layer—whether it’s a down jacket, fleece vest, or just a T-shirt.
The Supershirt is form-fitting but also flexible. It has a unique diagonal zipper that keeps the annoying pull-tab away from the rider’s chin and comes with Forcefield Level 2 back, shoulder, and elbow armor as well as a Forcefield Level 1 chest protector. The cuffs feature a thumb loop to reduce protection gaps in the wrist in case of a fall. The entire shirt is generously cut in a length that allows it to be tucked into riding pants.
The Supershirt is so versatile that it works in almost any type of weather and situation. Put it on and throw a puffy jacket over it to ward off the morning chill, or take a break and stash the down layer for a riding jersey when the temps climb—the Supershirt is still there keeping your upper body protected. With the Supershirt, you can blend in anywhere because your armor is close to the skin. Well, almost….
One of the main issues with the Supershirt is the Forcefield armor itself is pretty bulky. If you’re trying to don a form-fitting top over the Supershirt, be ready to look like a pumped-up weightlifter. It may be worth looking into retrofitting some lower-profile armor to slip in there if your needs require a slimmer look. And while the diagonal zipper is a nice feature as it prevents yanking on a man’s whiskers, the zipper’s angle may be an issue over long-term usage. Lastly, don’t use the Supershirt for high-tempo singletrack riding unless you want to drown in sweat. That polyethylene material doesn’t breathe all that well when you’re tearing up the dirt.
Despite its minor (and entirely justifiable) drawbacks, the Supershirt is a really good option for ADV enthusiasts who want versatility and protection so they can sport whatever look the ride calls for.
Published in: BikesADVMoto has been tracking adventure bike segment growth since before it was a popular genre in in North America. Over the past 20 years, the selection of adventure bikes in all sizes and configurations has never been better! This year's EICMA only adds fuel to that fire with even more models from more brands trying to capture more of this exciting market space. We're especially happy to see the long awaited 450cc range bikes finally starting to populate the market. The United States, like the rest of the world, is fully ready for more options in this size category and after over decades of waiting, we're so happy to see it finally start to arrive!
Royal Enfield’s docile Himalayan gets a serious punch-up for 2024 with the reveal of the all-new Himalayan 450. Sharing little with the familiar 411cc platform aside from the name, this clean-sheet model features the brand new 450 Sherpa engine, a 452cc single-cylinder DOHC liquid-cooled engine putting out 39.5 horsepower and 29.5 lb-ft of torque.
The all-new chassis uses the engine as a stressed member, the absence of a cradle frame granting the Himalayan 450 ample ground clearance. A 43mm USD fork and single shock improve the suspension action while a six-speed gearbox, throttle by wire, multiple rider modes and 4-inch round TFT display further elevate the performance of the Himalayan.
Despite the more streamlined look, it offers an increased fuel capacity of 4.5-gallons, giving you a claimed range of 280 miles. (If that’s even close to accurate, we’re already impressed.) The new generation Himalayan will be available in the U.S. some time in 2024.
We recently traveled to the Himalayan Mountains of India for the launch of this all-new Royal Enfield model, so look for the full video review from ADVMoto below with print and online coming soon!
Royal Enfield also used the EICMA stage to reveal an electric Himalayan prototype, the HIM-E, the first step of Royal Enfield’s future toward “Sustainable Exploration with Electric Mobility.” How soon might we see a production e-powered Royal Enfield adventure bike? It’s hard to say. For now, the Indian manufacturer calls the HIM-E “the first step of a bigger adventure.”
CFMoto surprised many by unleashing the new 450MT into the global mid-size lineup. It sports a DOHC,270 degree-offset crankshaft found in many larger parallel-twin and claims to pump out almost 44hp and 33 ft-lbs of torque.
All this power sits in a tubular steel frame which rides on a 21/18 inch wheel set. Like Royal Enfield's Himalayan 450, we're now seeing the 450MT with spoked tubeless rims, previously only found on larger bikes. Also like the new Himalayan 450, the 450MT features 7.9 inches of front and rear suspension travel.
It looks like TFT screens are becoming de rigueur even on smaller and midsized bikes. The 450MT is also packed with a 5 inch curved TFT display that can update wirelessly with what they call "Over-The-Air" or OTA functionality.
Two colors (Tundra Grey and Zephyr Blue) are available for this first gen bike but pricing and North American availability are not yet announced at the time of this writing. Could it be, after years (if not decades) of waiting, we're finally seeing the 450 adventure field bloom?
Triumph’s new Tiger 900 family boasts more power from its 888cc triple-cylinder engine. The Tiger family also whittles down to three models from the previous six offerings, now featuring the 900 GT, the 900 GT Pro and the flagship 900 Rally Pro for 2024.
The 888cc three-cylinder engine boasts a 13% boost in power thanks to new pistons, a new cylinder head design and a compression ratio boost. Breathing is improved thanks to revised intake and exhaust ports, new camshafts and a new 3-into-1 exhaust system. All in, the higher-revving motor bumps horsepower power from 93.7 to 106.5, peak torque growing a bit less from 64 to 66.38 lb-ft. Triumph’s refined powerhouse is even more impressive when you factor in the claimed 9% improved fuel efficiency and reduced emissions.
Chassis remain largely unchanged for all three models, the GT and GT Pro still rolling on Marzocchi suspension and cast wheels while the more off-road aggressive Rally Pro features Showa suspension and spoked tubeless wheels.
The best news of all? The new Tigers carry the same price tags—MSRPs are unchanged from 2023 with the Triumph Tiger GT starting at $14,995, the Triumph Tiger GT Pro at $16,895 and the Triumph Tiger Rally Pro at $17,395.
Big Blue has some exciting news about the Ténéré 700 lineup, with the announcement of the Ténéré 700 Explore, the Ténéré 700 World Raid and the Ténéré 700 Extreme adding to its 2024 offerings. But before you get too excited, know that these are only for Europe—not for you. These models are not yet slated for an arrival in the United States. (“Dear Yamaha…”)
The Ténéré 700 World Raid model lets you (well, maybe not you. Just Europeans) go the distance with dual high-capacity fuel tanks, and will be available in Icon Blue and Mistral Grey. The Ténéré 700 Explore model makes adventure riding more accessible and a little more comfortable with a 15mm shorter seat height and a 50% larger windscreen for better wind protection.
The Ténéré 700 Extreme is, as the name suggests, the more aggressive trim, with fully adjustable long-travel KYB suspension and increased ground clearance for optimum off-road performance. The 5-inch TFT meter offers three themes, including a roadbook-style display. Touches like titanium foot pegs, a high front fender that looks like it’s straight off a YZ, and flatter one-piece rally seat will appeal to the “dirt bike” crowd.
If any of that is on your want list, you should probably head to Europe first!
The midsize ADV segment continues to grow, with Honda’s NX designation returning to the fray in the all-new NX500. The NX, meaning “New X-over,” replaces the outgoing CB500X as Honda’sapproachable and easygoing midsize explorer. Honda promises improved handling dynamics thanks to lighter curb weight. More capable 41mm Showa Separate Function Fork Big Piston (SFF-BP) front suspension and stronger acceleration amount to an overall improved package, with further upgrades coming in a new 5-inch TFT screen with smartphone connectivity. Fresh styling has the NX500 looking much more like its Africa Twin big brother than the outgoing CB.
For more information, visit www.honda.co.uk.
As already announced prior to EICMA, Honda’s Africa Twin duo has its share of changes for 2024, as well. Honda has furthered the fraternal separation of the Africa Twin twins, with the standard model remaining dedicated to off-road while the Adventure Sports model features more road-going comforts.
Both models receive a punched-up 1084cc parallel twin engine with performance improvements in the low- to mid-range performance. Torque figures grow 7% to 82.6 lb-ft, delivered earlier in the rpm range (5,500 rather than 6,250 rpm). Revised valve timing, intake ports, ECU settings and an increased compression ratio (10.1 to 10.5:1) along with new exhaust contribute to the new power character.
The standard Africa Twin features a revised fairing, five-way adjustable wind screen and tubeless Meteler Karoo Street tires. The CRF1100L Africa Twin is also now available with Showa Electronically Equipped Ride Adjustment (Showa EERA) as an option, something previously reserved for the Adventure Sports. Five available modes in the Showa EERA mean the rider can program suspension damping with a touch of a button on the 6.5-inch TFT display. Heated grips and ACC charging socket are also both now standard.
The major change on the Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports model is that it goes from a 21-inch front wheel to a 19-inch front. Along with lowered suspension (Showa EERA now standard, rather than an option), the revised setup offers improved road handling performance.
U.S. pricing and availability have not yet been announced.
Moto Morini is on a roll! It's only been roughly a year since the introduction of the X-Cape 650 at the EICMA's 2022 show and they've already introduced the new X-Cape 1200. The new big brother of the 650, will be powered by a 1200cc twin boasting around 125 hp and looks to be a promising adventure or sport-touring mount.
An array of new tech is also dripping from the new model like safety assistance with blind spot radar, 7" TFT display, Brembo braking with cornering ABS, four riding modes and cruise control to name a few.
We are excited to see what is next from the Italian brand. Keep posted at MotoMoriniUSA.com
The big news from Moto Guzzi at EICMA is the Stelvio S adventure touring model. Guzzi’s newest 1,042cc compact block engine (debuted two years ago in the V100 Mandello) now makes its way into the adventure segment, as the Italian firm revives the Stelvio name for 2024.
This all-new model, noted by its cardan shaft drive and beefy single-sided swingarm, features a 46mm Sachs fork and KYB shock and 6.7 inches of travel, front and rear. Cross-spoke tubeless wheels are 19-inches up front and 17 in the rear.
Moto Guzzi announced that the Stelvio will be the company’s first model to feature a front- and rear-facing radar system, which facilitates such whiz-bangs as adaptive cruise control, collision warning and blind-spot monitoring. Along with features such as an electronically adjustable windscreen and generous onboard electronics mean the Stelvio S appears destined to please more riders on the tarmac, but Moto Guzzi promises good “all-rounder” performance.
Moto Guzzi also revealed some modest changes to the V85 TT adventure bike. The air-/oil-cooled two-valve v-twin engine has been revised, like most 2024 model-year engines, to comply with Euro 5+ emissions. In the process, it gained a few ponies, now up to 80 with some added torque, to boot.
The big news around the V85 is its new Strada variant, which rolls on cast wheels for the more road-going adventure tourer, while the TT retains its cross-spoke rims. Both models ride on 19-inch front and 17-inch rear wheels. A generous electronics suite is based around a six-axis IMU and digitally controlled throttle system. A V85 TT Travel variant is also available, offering heated grips, a touring windscreen and side bags.
Look for the Moto Guzzi Stelvio in North America as early as next month. Pricing has yet to be announced.
This is the all-new and super-exotic that we love about EICMA. MV Agusta unveiled an all-new middleweight adventure tourer, the LXP Orioli. This signature model, available in a limited initial production run of only 500 units, is named for Edi Orioli, an icon of rally racing in the 90’s, and each model will feature his actual signature on the tank. The LXP “Lucky Explorer” is presented in the classic green, red and white colorway and looks to be more than a mere collectors piece.
Powered by a 931cc inline triple, the Varese-built “9.5” engine, with MV’s signature counter-rotating crankshaft, puts out a stunning 124 horsepower at 10,000 rpm. The LXP Orioli is more than just a pretty face—MV promises it is built to withstand the rigors of off-road. With beefy Sachs suspension, 8.26 inches of travel front and rear with 9.06 inches of ground clearance, Bridgestone AdventureCross AX41 tires and Brembo Stylema brakes, it certainly appears to have the chops.
A six-axis IMU and all the slick electronics you can shake a stick at, including a Mobisat anti-theft device with integrated geolocation, the MV Agusta LXP Orioli will most likely come in at a hefty price tag, to no one’s surprise.
Published in: Bikes
The adventure motorcycle market has seen plenty of change over the past five years, even through the pandemic, but one manufacturer has been fairly quiet. Honda had the CRF1100L Africa Twin and the up-spec’d CRF250/CRF300-based models, but presumably the folks in Tokyo didn’t recognize a market large enough to warrant a new launch. That all changed in 2022, when Hondaannounced the Transalp was coming back.
It was big news. Honda had been out of the middleweight ADV segment for a long time, with the previous Transalp model canceled in 2012—and much earlier than that in the U.S., where the machine only had a 1989–1990 sales run. Now, Hondais bringing it back, with an all-new engine and attitude.
Dubbed the XL750 Transalp, Honda’s new middleweight, dual-purpose bike boasts a liquid-cooled 755cc parallel twin engine. It’s packed with a decent amount of onboard tech and the all-day comfort of a fairing, as well as a plush, two-step seat and a wet weight of 459 lb. Honda officials are particularly proud of the base model price of $9,999—a sticker price that should appeal to a wide range of riders looking for a two-wheeler that can comfortably take them back and forth from the office and still explore the backcountry after they’ve clocked out.
The new Transalp sits right in the middle of Honda’s lineup with the Africa Twinand Africa Twin Adventure Sports at the top of the displacement segment, and the CRF300L Rally and CB500X in the lighter-weight segment. Basically, if an Africa Twin had a tryst with a CB500X, the Transalp would be its offspring. The company built the XL750 burly enough to handle all but the most technical off-road terrain an average adventure rider might tackle while giving it enough street cred to filter through busy city traffic and slab it to the trailhead.
Of course, there are plenty of other hardcore options for riders at either end of the spectrum, whether you’re more the touring type or one that sees Lockhart Basin as an average weekend ride. And Honda is 100 percent on board with that. The company says that’s why it made the Transalp to sit smack dab in the middle of the market. That also explains the pricing; it’s affordable enough to get new riders into the ADV market and potentially grab current off-road enthusiasts who are sick of hauling around a 500+ lb. monster.
If you’re hunting for a midweight ADV bike, the Transalp might be best compared to the new Suzuki 800DE, maybe the Yamaha Tenere 700 or potentially the Kawasaki KLR 650. All are relatively “budget friendly” bikes, but each comes with its strengths and weaknesses depending on the rider’s primary mission. Given the XL750’s onboard tech, mechanical features and general design—not to mention the MSRP—the Transalp seems to sit smack dab in the middle of its competition.
Honda recently hosted a media ride to test the new XL750 Transalp on a healthy mix of on- and off-road terrain through segments of the recently-released PA Wilds BDR-X central Pennsylvania route. The venue was viewed as the most likely scenario for a rider looking into a mid-weight adventure bike, with both moderately challenging gravel and two-track trails and undulating, twisty tarmac through rural mountain hollows and small towns.
At its core, the Transalp’s 755cc engine—based on the same powerplant of the new CB750 Hornet—is powerful enough to pass semis at highway speeds and grunty enough to chug through mud, ruts, and steep, rocky off-road sections with nary a hiccup. Honda claims the Transalp pumps out around 83 HP for the U.S. version—down from about 90 horses of the EU model—with a torque spec around 55 foot-pounds. That’s plenty of juice for all but the most power-hungry riders.
The six-speed transmission is run with a throttle-by-wire setup that’s mapped to several electronic rider modes to tailor the power and rider inputs to the terrain. Some couldn’t care less how their engine sounds, but somehow the eight-valve Unicam parallel twin, 270-degree crank, and vortex flow intake ducts combine to deliver a truly satisfying resonance, even through the windblast of backcountry rides.
One-and-done bike seekers rejoice! The Transalp’s design and technology seem to hit the sweet spot for on-road comfort and off-road control and maneuverability. With a full fairing, decent stock windscreen, and a seat height of around 34 inches, the XL750 is approachable for a wide range of riders and isn’t too cramped in the seated position for riders in the over 6-foot category. The standing position is pretty spot on even in the stock configuration, with decent bar height and okay stock footpegs—though most experienced ADV riders will swap those out. Taller riders may want to rotate the bars a bit forward for easier control from the standing position, but both the rear brake lever and gear shifter are easily adjustable on the trailside to dial in the right fit.
The seat is pretty standard, with a relatively wide platform that narrows at the tank. If you’re doing 100 miles of road, your butt might get a little sore, but such are the tradeoffs when you’re under the $10K mark. At highway speeds, the Transalp’s fairing does a pretty good job of keeping wind buffeting at bay. The 310mm front and 256mm rear brakes are perfectly adequate; the 21-inch front and 18-inch rear wheels tipped into corners with no problem. The handlebar length and angle were comfortable and access to the controls didn’t require a whole lot of hunting for buttons—all adding up to a confidence-inspiring ride throwing a leg over the Transalp for the very first time.
At the heart of the Transalp are its electronic rider aids. It’s tough to find a comparable middleweight motorcycle with this much technology baked in at this price point. The XL750 comes with four rider modes—Sport, Standard, Rain, and Gravel—with a configurable fifth “User” mode. Folks who’re interested in the deep specifics can dive in by checking out Honda’s official specs or other reviews, but basically, each mode delivers different pre-programmed outputs for ABS, engine braking, traction control, and power.
The User mode allows the rider to customize these four variables in a four-step range from strongest to weakest, or in some cases, shut them off completely. For most off-road situations, many will opt to completely shut off traction control and maybe ABS. But be warned, while the User mode will keep the settings even if the engine had been turned off, when the rider has completely shut off ABS or traction control, the mode will reset to at least “one power” for each of those. The nice thing is that all the modes can be utilized while on the move, so there’s no need to stop the bike, reset, and get going again.
The 5-inch TFT display is plenty big, even for “old man eyes,” and it’s customizable for the various dials, mileage, and layout a rider could want. Another nice add-on for the Transalp is that a quick-shifter comes standard, a useful piece of tech for both on and off-road situations where you want a quick highway pass or a hasty downshift into a downhill switchback. It’s even adjustable for a “light,” “medium” and “hard” foot input for both up and downshifting. Unfortunately, there is no option for cruise control.
The word that might pop into a rider’s head when they’ve ridden the Transalp for a bit is “competent.” Not exciting on the street, but not boring at all. Not a Dakar Rally bike offroad, but not holding you back from that random path you want to explore. There’s enough tech packed into this bike to play around with and help make different situations safer, but not so much that you get lost trying to remember where everything is. It feels light, and seems to carry its weight low enough to do even the most technical, bars-locked turns but still has enough on-road heft to keep from being victimized by wind.
Some of the more hardcore off-roaders might complain about the suspension. It’s not very adjustable (both rear and front adjustable for preload only), but its nearly eight inches of rear and front travel offer plenty of stability in the twisties and absorption in rutted, rocky two-track at moderate speeds. There is some concern about the Transalp’s ground clearance, however. With a little over eight inches of airspace underneath, this bike might have some trouble negotiating the most intimidating of trails.
But that’s entirely the point. In stock form, Honda’s XL750 Transalp is a middle-of-the-road adventure bike priced to move. It’s a sharp-looking machine, too, with offroad Dakar-esque lines and an upright, “see-the-whole-road” rider position. However, it’s unfortunate that the U.S. version of the Transalp is only offered in “Matte Black Metallic” and not the classic Ross White (at least yet). The XL750is packed with just enough features for those new to the ADV scene to keep up with their more experienced riding buddies but isn’t so pedestrian that a more advanced rider might shy away if they’re downsizing.
If you’re looking at the Transalp to add an all-arounder to your garage of toys, it’d be a good idea to pick up wider footpegs, a bash plate, and some engine protection (as well as some handguards) to dial it in for off-roading. And, it’ll need more off-road-capable shoes. But, honestly, that’s all you’ll really need to have a ton of fun in the backcountry, ride in style, and feel confident you’ll make it home in one piece… all without breaking the bank.
|Engine:||755cc liquid-cooled 24.5º inline-two-cylinder four-stroke w/270-degree crank|
|Bore and Stroke:||87.0mm x 63.5mm|
|Induction:||PGM-FI; 46mm throttle bodies|
|Final Drive:||16T/45T; chain|
|Front Suspension:||43mm Showa SFF-CATM telescopic inverted fork w/ spring-preload adjustment; 7.9 in. travel|
|Rear Suspension:||Pro-Link system w/ single Showa remote-reservoir shock; 7.5 in. travel|
|Front Brake:||Dual 310mm “wave” discs w/ hydraulic two-piston calipers|
|Rear Brake:||Single 256mm “wave” disc w/ hydraulic single-piston caliper|
|Tires:||Front 90/90-21; Rear 150/70R-18|
|Rake:||(Caster Angle) 27º|
|Trail:||111mm (4.4 in.)|
|Seat Height:||33.7 in.|
|Ground Clearance:||8.3 in.|
|Fuel Capacity:||4.5 gal.|
|Curb Weight:||459 lbs.|