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Photo by Igor Djokovic, camping above San Juan river, Arizona USA

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Photo by Igor Djokovic,
camping above San Juan river,
Arizona USA

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Old 14 Apr 2022
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Post 1989 XL600VK Transalpine Help/Questions


Questions below for my 1989 XL600V transalp, currently has a little over 17k miles and bought used (Pictures attached & forgive the dumb questions this is my first bike and trying to learn as much as possible w/ my Haynes manual acting as scripture)

1) Any tips for mounting aluminum hand guards? I have some bark busters I purchased. They were not “impossible” to attach but included clamps were scratching/not aligned with actual guards so I ended up taking them off

2) I couldn’t for the life of me find the rear brake fluid reservoir, I know different versions might have unique placements (87-89, 90s, etc) but I took off both side panels and couldn’t find anything at all. (Pictured is my bike, and then is the manual and literally NO reservoir to be found I am confused)

4) Any headlight substitute recommendations? Current light is fine but wanting to change/switch out sooner rather than later with a 1500 mile trip coming up after I’ve serviced everything (Light is a 5x7)

5) Oil type, manual says API grade “SE, SF, or SG” but those aren’t relevant in todays world if I’m not mistaken. Any recommendations with consideration to driving/operating in hotter temperatures? (90-115 degrees)

6) Generally any advice with operating older bikes + accessories specifically for this 89’ XL600V that anyone could recommend?

Thanks to all for reading bearing with me!
Attached Thumbnails
1989 XL600VK Transalpine Help/Questions-fa020be7-fb88-471c-8d4d-eaa295b21c9b.jpg  

1989 XL600VK Transalpine Help/Questions-54fd3c26-f0e7-4400-9886-a38abd1bf662.jpg  

1989 XL600VK Transalpine Help/Questions-12f5cdd0-c043-4d90-b319-f744ef4348c4.jpg  

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Old 14 Apr 2022
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I’m mostly confused as to how a 33 year old bike has only 17k miles on it. That’s like one weekend ride a year…

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Old 14 Apr 2022
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If that is your bike in the first photo it has a drum rear brake so there is no reservoir, I would look for a more powerful bulb for your existing headlight or some LED auxiliary lights if you want an up rated headlight and any semi-synthetic motorcycle oil will suit the Transalp.
I would check the condition of the wheel bearings and grease the swinging arm and suspension pivot bearing before heading off on a longer trip, this might require stripping the swinging arm out if there are not grease nipples fitted and if you have not done this before I would recommend you get a mechanic to do it and ask to watch while they work so you can do it yourself next time.
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Old 14 Apr 2022
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And check the age of the tyres. If it has done so few miles, they could be really old. They don’t last forever.

The manufacture date should be printed on the sidewall.
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Old 14 Apr 2022
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Good points above!
Oil - this is a never ending discussion, but to keep it simple - see your local Honda dealer, tell them what you have and buy whatever they recommend. Your manual will tell you the right WEIGHT of oil, which is different based on temperature, but your temperature range isn't extreme, though on the hot end. Again the dealer can help. They're a resource, and they do want to help. Also get the RIGHT manual - yours is clearly the wrong one / wrong year.
You do want to do a full service as recommended in the manual, basically checking everything, and make sure you have a reasonable selection of tools to carry with you. They're a super reliable bike, and you should have no issues - but given it's age, all bets are off until proven.
Good luck, and have fun!
Grant Johnson
Seek, and ye shall find.

Inspiring, Informing and Connecting travellers since 1997!
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Old 14 Apr 2022
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Huge thanks! I think the service manual was just confusing me with the photos and semi-unclear descriptions (oh well)

That’s exactly on my list of work to do as far as headlights go, and funny enough about the mechanics in my area they didn’t feel comfortable working on it for liability/age reasons. They recommended a specialist and I plan on talking to him after the work is done for a last inspection before heading off.
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Old 14 Apr 2022
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Yes the tires were old, bought some new ones and am fitting them on this weekend once my balance stand comes in + new sprockets & chain!
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Old 14 Apr 2022
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Thanks Grant! Good point on the dealer, I had been to some local mechanics in my area and they didn’t feel comfortable working on it given the age/liability (understandable!) so I gave up a bit too quick mechanic/dealership help.

Tools have been assembled and learning a ton in the interim as I order new parts and tools, but other than replacing some older parts bike is absolutely a blast!
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1989, honda, trans alp, xl600v

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