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Gonzo struggles to get his leg over, but then that’s nothing new

It seems to happen on the most awkward of occasions. I had great difficulty in getting my leg over the Transalp.

If it had been on some Alpine pass that would have been fine, as I doubt anyone would have seen me. But as it transpired, the incident in question happened on my driveway at a time when mums were picking their children up from school and passing by.

I had tried to look nonchalant as I got my boot stuck halfway over the seat, before almost tipping arse over tit as I dragged it back off and resorted to using the left-side foot-peg to stand and throw my right leg over, which I should have done in the first place.

Honda Transalp XL750

Now, you might be wondering why I did not do this immediately, and that would be a fair question. The thing is, I had been riding Honda’s new Transalp XL750 for a week with no issues whatsoever. Wearing armoured jeans, it had been no problem getting astride the bike and pretty much touching sole to bitumen. Then I decided it was time to trial a new adventure suit from Weise, namely the Dune.

Of course, my thinking was that as I had an adventure bike to hand, I should wear an adventure suit in all its composite glory, even though on the day in question the weather was mild. That was a big mistake. So, I donned the suit without bothering to remove either the waterproof, windproof and breathable liner or the removable 100gsm quilted thermal liner. Bonkers, I know now, but sometimes I am a brainless clod.

Anyway, even though I had ordered what for me was my normal size, the trousers were, ahem, quite tight, but once on were actually comfortable, although there was one slight issue. I managed to catch the liner in the zip at the bottom of the right leg and after some attempts to free it, I simply fastened them up using the Velcro closure. I would sort that later. On with the jacket. Phew, this is one heavy item, but again, amazingly comfortable.

Honda Transalp XL750

Once by the side of the bike, the problem arose. I could not lift my leg over, either due to the tightness of the trousers (there didn’t appear to be much play around the crotch area) or their bulkiness. And when eventually I did manage to get on board, I was on tiptoe. WTF!

Having covered a few miles to a nice photogenic spot, I managed to find the right angle of camber to allow me to climb off safely without bike and I barrelling into the verge. Photos and videos sorted, I used the foot-peg and, hey presto! why the bloody hell hadn’t I done that every time?

So, on my last ride-out on the bike with the Halfway Heroes MCC before Honda collected the Transalp, I reverted to jeans. It was a pleasant day, so a review of the Weise Dune suit is in a holding pattern for an upcoming occasion when the weather is more inclement.

As for the Transalp, I was keen to get my hands on one after watching Henry Cole enjoying riding one across the Lincolnshire Wolds. And you know what, I reckon Honda has played a blinder with its new mid-large capacity adventure bike. For those riders sizing up from a 500, or Africa Twin owners possibly looking to downsize and want to stay with Honda, then this is a no-brainer.

For starters, it packs the same engine but is so much lighter, oh, and cheaper, too. Did I hear some gnashing of teeth from recent Africa Twin purchasers… Yep, affordable it certainly is, and unless you decide to throw a load of accessories at it and increase the cost and weight, then you will stay well in control of your budget. If I had one, would I spend any extra? Yes, heated grips. And no doubt many an adventure biker might like a centre stand, although I’m not duly bothered about that. Oh, and  I would make do with a waterproof rolltop bag to strap to the back for overnighters, rather than fork out any more wedge on a set of hard panniers and a top box until it was necessary.

Honda Transalp XL750

But back to the ride. So, ignition on and prepare to be amazed. I would like to say that I had plenty of smooth runs on blacktop, but that is not entirely true, thanks in no small part to the number of humps and bumps and potholes that we have to endure on Britain’s roads. Time the councils got a grip on this once and for all rather than completing simple botch jobs. Ah yes, uneven surfaces. That is where the Transalp comes into its own, gobbling them with hardly a twitch. Tip into a corner and the bike holds its line beautifully. This can’t be right, I think to myself, this ain’t no sports bike. And not with such a tall front tyre, but stability would appear to be its middle name.

I didn’t get chance to head off-road apart from the odd area of gravel, but then the Transalp seems happy to share the middle ground whereas its stablemate Africa Twin will no doubt continue to hog the limelight when it comes to hardcore adventure. And I’ll admit that’s not my bag. The Transalp is soft and compliant, yet grunty when you want it to be, pulling hard up top thanks to the smooth, flexible engine. I had to chance to ride it in variable conditions, on motorways, A and B roads and country lanes, sometimes doodling, sometimes ‘swiftly’, and when it came to collection time, I noted 61.2mpg on the clock, which impressed me immensely.

You’ve got a full-colour instrument panel and four standard riding modes plus a customisable user mode where you can dial in engine response, engine braking, traction control and ABS interventions. I have User mode on my Rebel and it suits my riding perfectly.

Honda Transalp XL750

So, we all like a conclusion… the best I can come up with is try one for yourself and be smitten. I was. And even at the price, if you are still worried about sums, stick to stock and ride one for a while before deciding what accessories you want, or need, or don’t really need but want anyway.

The only thing is, do I chop in my CMX1100 Rebel for one… Bloody dilemmas.

Gonzo

SNAPSHOT…

RIDE…

SPECIFICATION

Honda Transalp XL750

  • Price: £9499
  • Capacity: 755cc
  • Engine: Four-stroke parallel twin
  • Transmission: 6 speed
  • Power: 91hp (67.5kW)
  • Torque: 75Nm @ 7250rpm
  • Drive: Chain
  • Brakes: (F) 2 x 310mm discs, ABS, twin-piston calipers (R) 1 x 256mm disc, ABS, single-piston caliperTyres: (F) 90/90-21 (R) 150/70-18
  • Suspension: (F) 43mm inverted telescopic fork, pre-load adjustable (R) Monoshock, Pro-Link, pre-load adjustable
  • Fuel capacity: 16.9 litres
  • Seat height: 850mm
  • Kerb weight: 208kg
  • Contact: honda.co.uk

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