Distance travel on a Transalp
If you want a bike to keep up on the autobann, wriggle through Delhi traffic, carry a passenger from time to time, deal with dirt roads and not break down then the Honda Transalp is not a bad choice. It is versatile, reliable and tough. Any bike asked to deal with such a variety tasks is going to be a compromise between off-road and tarmac ability. This is one biased toward the road, although with a little bit of work, the off-road appearence can be given some substance. Replace the plastic bash plate with something harder, firm-up the suspension, take off the vunerable plastic bits, and you've got yourself a capable do-it-all type of bike.
The TA is one of the few bikes in this class with two cylinders. As the engine is under so little stress, in comparison with singles of this size, it last longer and breaks less frquently. The liquid cooling helps here too. It was produced with comfort and ease of riding in mind. It is possible to spend 10 hours day on this machine without the japanese flag arse-syndrome. There is very little vibration, the chain drive is a smooth as some shaft-driven bikes, and the seat is well padded. The seating position is easy on your back. And the disadvantges...
1. The weight, most of all. A single of similar capacity is going to save you over 20kg. Among the favourite overlanding bikes of this type are the Honda Dominator, Suzuki DR650, Kawasaki KLR 650 BMW 650GS and the Yamaha XT. If you are keen on off-road, and can keep your packing down in order to retain the weight advantage, these are fine options. I suspect that they would be a better choice for Africa. But on the tarmac, which is your principal surface on most tours, the TA is ahead. Have a look at the thread http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/which-bike/weight-vs-power-4888
especially the second contribution by Grant.
2.Very early models had a drum rear brake, which is not so hot. And pre '97 models like mine had a single disk on the front. This is fine until you start putting loads of kit on the machine. It is easy to upgrade though.
The new 650 is a great two-up machine, but is getting a bit on the heavy side for a solo traveller. But then, it all depends what you like...
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