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Which Bike? Comments and Questions on what is the best bike for YOU, for YOUR trip. Note that we believe that ANY bike will do, so please remember that it's all down to PERSONAL OPINION. Technical Questions for all brands go in their own forum.
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  #1  
Old 23 Jul 2008
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Transalp / Africa Twin

I must be being a bit of a muppet because it looks to me like both these bikes fit in the same niche.

What are the main differences between the two ?

Which one is best as what ?

Am I right in thinking the TA is more road biased than the AT ?

Help please Ladies and Gents

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BYT
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  #2  
Old 23 Jul 2008
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Personally, go for the Transalp, a 600 with single disc should do you fine. The Africa Twin is too tall unless you are 6ft or over and with TKC80 tyres or better is better than you think off road. I would recommend that you get a large tank for one though, as I only got about 150 miles to the tank before reserve on mine. I dont think the AT gets much more....The transalp is lighter and less top heavy as well. But don't get me wrong, the AT is an awesome bike. Try out both.

The TA is indeed more road biased, but what do you want it for? I can give you a headsup on the Transalp as I had one for 3.5 years and couldnt think what to replace it with as it did everthing superbly, but was master at none. Originally wanted AT but could see it was excellent at touring round europe, maybe not so easy to handle when the going got tricky, as it was very tall for me.

Check out Honda Trail Bike Forums for more info, they are a good bunch on there
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  #3  
Old 23 Jul 2008
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You are correct they are in the same niche, but are exploiting slightly different levels with in that niche..

Like BB says go to the XRv forum. There is lots of information there.

I personally like the AT better then the TA, but I am over 6' and dont think it is that heavy. I get more like 210miles (solo) fully loaded and exactly 195m two up fully loaded (both going only slightly over the national). NOTE: this is to empty not to res.


Your best bet is try try them both.. It really does come down to personal tastes. I think they are both extremely capable bikes, I think the extra CC help others dont. Good luck with your choice and feel free to ask us anything
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Last edited by Xander; 23 Jul 2008 at 16:35.
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  #4  
Old 23 Jul 2008
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Hi,

I dont know what age of bike you are looking for. I have a 650 transalp 2007 model.

I am 5ft 8 inches tall and i needed the lower seat option to feel comfortable on the transalp. These lower seats are only £55.00 as a new genuine honda part for the XL 650 V transalps. That price is unreal !! but true.

I love the TA as it does everything i want, I cant comment on the AT as its too tall for me even to consider unfortunately.

I get 200 miles on the TA with the standard 19 litre tank, thats to almost empty and solo and unloaded.

Lee
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  #5  
Old 23 Jul 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NewAdventurerLee View Post
Hi,

I dont know what age of bike you are looking for
That would maybe be another issue. So what is the prefered vintage ?

Does the AT have any particular faults or foibles for any given model year ?

Are they both 21" front and18" rear wheels ?

I am used to falling of enduro / trail bikes and picking them up with no damage; are these pseudo rally /adventure bikes pretty tough or do they smash to bits if you bin them ?

BYT
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  #6  
Old 23 Jul 2008
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Arrow

I wouldn't really say that either is more or less road biased in reality. The AT has all the nice off-road extras like, metal bash plate, fold-able gear lever, bigger tank. The 100 extra cc gives it a bit better motorway performance. But the price is weight - which comes out mildly in the TA's favour. So it's half a dozen of one...

Of all the models the late eighties TAs were the best off road, taken on the basis of weight - there was a briefly produced AT 650 which is excellent too.

After 1993 the AT lost some of its features - Honda were trying to compete with the much cheaper Yamaha Tenere.

It all depend what you want. Be more specific and we can talk about the minutia 'til the cows come home. We love that sort of thing.

After a second disk was added to the TA front end late nineties, I think you can say goodbye to off road, but plenty will disagree doubtless.

For two-up overlanding both are good choices. Personally I think the 600cc TA is the absolute maximum in size for single overlanding touring. But, again, plenty will disagree.

Simon
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  #7  
Old 23 Jul 2008
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If you are tall enough to ride it, and if you aren't going to need to pick it up regularly, the Africa Twin is by far the better bike. And if not, its the Transalp.

They will both smash if you hit them hard enough.... like any other bike. But low speed drops should just see bar ends, and maybe tanks and pipes touching down - no serious damage. You can buy engine bars for some protection.
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  #8  
Old 24 Jul 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Yellow Tractor View Post
That would maybe be another issue. So what is the prefered vintage ??
The early ones are 650 (RD03) -1988-1989

Next model are 750 (RD04) - 1990-1993

Both of these are more rally oriented

then it went to more street but still capable off road
750 RD07 -1994-1996
and then
750 RD07a (minor changes most cant tell the difference) 1997-2003


But there is the most toys for the RD07 and RD07a,
there are some for the RD04

and i think that there is very little for the RD03


Quote:
Does the AT have any particular faults or foibles for any given model year
Yup the AT (all years) have a weak fuel pump: which can fail for no apparent reason.. (one day fine. next dead), the fix is to replace it with a facet one.. they cost about £40, and is a relatively easy job.. (the hard part is getting the rubber thing on.. the rest is easy.)..I may be wrong but the TA may have this too.. dont know for sure though.

Other then that the Rectifier can go if over charging (this also happens on all years but is worse on the RD04- RD07 models less bad on the RD03 and RD07a, it is a plug and play fix.

Finally the last big one is the out put shaft is prone to wear if the rider has the chain to tight and not lubed well. (this is a very big and exxy Job).

Other then that is it a bullet proof bike

Quote:
Are they both 21" front and18" rear wheels ?
Nope the RD07 are 21" and 17"

Quote:
I am used to falling of enduro / trail bikes and picking them up with no damage; are these pseudo rally /adventure bikes pretty tough or do they smash to bits if you bin them ?
They are both tough enough.. ( i have drop my plenty off road with no damage) but fit crash bars anyway. (I have). cus if you do drop em hard enough you can break the plastic fairings and this it exxy to replace from honda.. but mechanically they are both hard!
hope this helps
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Old 24 Jul 2008
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A TA's plastic can indeed be broken - see attached 'after crash' pic below. BUT they scrub-up well too! - see 'after repair' pic below.

Xander - As you can see, and for good reasons, I'm in the market for some crashbars. Would you pleaase tell us which ones you fitted? I've been focusing on (in order of preference):

1. The Graves crash bars (from Czech) - but if heard that it can be difficult to do business with them over there.

2. My next choice is the German Hepco & Becker bars

3. The Touratech offering, but I've read mixed reviews regarding their service standards.

4. A lot of TA owners rate the Givi bars, but these seem to offer less protection for the plastic fairings - more of an engine guard only IMHO.

Thanks

KEITH
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Old 24 Jul 2008
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"Next model are 750 (RD04) - 1990-1993
Both of these are more rally oriented
then it went to more street but still capable off road
750 RD07 -1994-1996"

The RD04 was from 1990 to 1992, and RD07 from 1993-->

The RD07 has a much nicer centre of gravity, and is much less top-heavy than RD04.

I´ve had altogether 5 Africa Twins myself, and I loved every one of them. Its a shame Honda quit making them, and I dont think the Transalp, even the new 700 version fully replaces it. Africa Twin had that desert-racer image that the Transalp doesnt have.
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  #11  
Old 24 Jul 2008
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I had one of the very early Transalps (early 1990's) and sorry to everyone who like their's but I thought it was awful. More than an hour in the saddle and it got painful . I even had to buy a slab of foam rubber to tape to the seat on one long trip in an attempt to reduce the painful vibrations that seemed to come up through the frame and almost killed me with vibration. Nothing I or the dealer could do would rid the bike of this and in the end I was very glad to see the back of it. I've never ridden an Africa Twin but I do like the look of them - although the saddle doesn't look very comfy . The only down side is the chain drive which I don't personally like but then I have been riding a BMW R1100GS for about 9 years now and it doesn't hurt me like the Transalp used to and I never have to adjust or oil the chain
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  #12  
Old 24 Jul 2008
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I dropped my TA while checking the tyre pressures in a service station. The unfortunate part of the drop was that the bike fell on to the kerb and shattered the fairing and one of the radiators. The fairing was reasonable at about £70 for a full side but the full repair cost over £400.

I am also looking at crash bars as my next accessory.



The TA is great for general use and for putting some mileage in. You need to test the TA and the AT to see which suits.

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Old 24 Jul 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith1954 View Post
A TA's plastic can indeed be broken - see attached 'after crash' pic below. BUT they scrub-up well too! - see 'after repair' pic below.

Xander - As you can see, and for good reasons, I'm in the market for some crashbars. Would you pleaase tell us which ones you fitted? I've been focusing on (in order of preference):

1. The Graves crash bars (from Czech) - but if heard that it can be difficult to do business with them over there.

2. My next choice is the German Hepco & Becker bars

3. The Touratech offering, but I've read mixed reviews regarding their service standards.

4. A lot of TA owners rate the Givi bars, but these seem to offer less protection for the plastic fairings - more of an engine guard only IMHO.

Thanks

KEITH
Hi Keith: I have and Africa twin (rdo7a) fitted with rikycross bars.. Riky Cross - HOME
the do one for the TA as well. I went with this brand due to a reasonable cost, they custom made some modifications that i asked for with no extra cost, and MOST importantly some of the crash bars made for the AT are mounted to the same bolts as the bash plate. This is a very weak mount, the Rikycross ones mount to the frame.
Having said that.. I know 3 people with the Grave bars and are happy with them. I cant comment on the Givis or the HBs, but the TT's customer service is less then stunning.


Pecha you are right 1993 was rd07..oops However, I had an Rd04 and have a RD07A and I would not say that the centre of gravity is that much higher... Granted i have increase suspension on my Rd07 for better off road with gear travel so maybe that is the difference.

Bottom line though.. i agree with you .. todate i do not think that there has been a better do everything bike made.
Both the TA and AT are are good at everything but not the master of any.. so IMHO for a world eater they are perfect..
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  #14  
Old 24 Jul 2008
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Thanks everyone for your informed opinions. I'll try to get a little play on each to help make a decision. I like the look of the AT more.
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Old 24 Jul 2008
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Thumbs up

Just so we can flogging this horse a bit more....

The TA doesn't have the same issues with electric fuel pumps as the AT. It wholly gravity fed. No need for the extra weight and complication of a fuel pump. A tick on the side of the TA.

However, this is because the TA has a smaller capacity tank than the AT. A tick on the AT column.

I think your initial instinct was right. The two bikes are very similar when it comes to how they perform; the AT has the cool accessories - but really these are bolt on to the fundamentals, these being a solid soft-tuned Honda twin engine that will give excellent moderate speed touring service over large distances with the capability of some dirt road adventuring on the side. Not great at anything. Good at most things.

My choice was an early nineties TA, and by sheer fluke, sandwiched between so very many awful options, it turned out to be the best choice of my trip.

Simon
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