1990 Honda Transalp XL600V
Honda only imported the Transalp to the United States in 1989 and 1990. For a few brief years the company experimented with dual-sport machines dressed up with fairings, windscreens and other street-oriented features. For some reason, the stylish V-twin Transalp and its relative, the single-cylinder NX650, never caught on with American buyers. The rest of the world loved them, with current models selling briskly today in Europe and other parts of the world. However, they are somewhat scarce in the U.S., with original and aftermarket parts even scarcer.
The Transalp is powered by a watercooled 600 cc V-twin engine adapted from the Honda Shadow. The U.S. models (1989 - 1990) feature a front disc brake, Pro-Link suspension, and enough power and comfort to make the Transalp a good choice for adventure touring. Although it performs well on dirt and forest roads, it excels as a predictable and easy-handling street bike.
I own a 1990 model, in a color Honda dubbed "Fighting Red." I bought it used in early 2000. The previous owner took exceptional care of it, and I hope to follow his example. Here's what it looked like when I first brought it home.
Click here for more photos.
The bike is stock except for a few modifications, including a Supertrapp exhaust, Givi engine guards, and a Rifle windscreen. The engine guards are a recent addition, mostly to protect the costly plastic fairings in case the bike falls over.
Click here for a detailed description of fitting the Givi engine guards.
There's a danger in becoming attached to an orphaned model Honda. It's like adopting a dog from the pound; you want to take all of them home. I'm sure it was this attitude that led me recently to purchase another orphaned Honda, a 1988 NX650. See the photos!