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Honda XL750 Transalp: Road Test Review

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Pratheek Kunder

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Introduction

Honda XL750 Transalp Right Side View

Exactly seven years ago, Honda introduced their first big adventure bike in India – it was called the Africa Twin and it was launched at Rs 12.9 lakh. In fact, Honda was so bullish about this bike that it decided to assemble this bike in India rather than bringing it as a full import. And as expected, the Africa Twin became an instant success. But the same bike is now Rs 3 lakh more expensive in today’s world and this price rise is also seen in international markets. However, Honda had a plan – to build a bike that is much cheaper than the Africa Twin but has borrowed a lot of traits from it. This bike is called the XL750 Transalp and it is now sold in India at Rs 11 lakh (ex-showroom).

I spent around three days riding the Transalp. I’ve used it for daily commutes, have taken it on a 200km long ride, and also tested it off-road and this is what I think about this new adventure motorcycle.

Styling & Quality

Honda XL750 Transalp Front View

The XL750 Transalp is a typical Honda when it comes to aesthetics. The overall design doesn’t come off as aggressive or sharp in any way. Even though there are a few styling cues that have been borrowed from the elder sibling – the Africa Twin, the Transalp manages to exhibit a road presence that does turn heads. For a 750cc motorcycle, the Transalp is quite large when it comes to overall body proportions. There’s a lot of visual mass near the fuel tank area and as and when you move towards the rear, you will notice that this bike resembles a lot of Honda touring bikes. The presence of a 21-inch wheel, large bash plate (optional) and big grab rail make the motorcycle look rugged and versatile. However, the overall aesthetics of the Transalp is unlikely to excite buyers that are inclined towards European designs.

Honda XL750 Transalp Right Side View

This ADV has been built with a lot of finesse. The overall build quality along with the paint finishes, really shouts great work. There’s a bit of premiumness seen throughout the bike, except near the instrument cluster.

Ergonomics & Comfort

Honda XL750 Transalp Left Side View

The Transalp 750 possesses one of the best seating triangles and comforts I’ve ever experienced. Adventure bikes are positioned as a motorcycle that can do it all, and to do that, the rider has to achieve a great level of comfort. And with this Honda, that is a big plus point.

Firstly, the seating triangle of the bike is spot on. There’s a wide handlebar to hold onto, the seat has plenty of room to adjust and the position of the pegs is neutral-set. When you combine these aspects, there’s a motorcycle that helps you tour all day long, with great amount of comfort. But the seat height is a bit high for an average Indian rider. For off-road use, the handlebar position has to be changed, which could be done in less than five minutes. But once adjusted, the Transalp provides good off-road ergo as well.

Honda XL750 Transalp Radiator

The overall suspension setup of the Transalp is a bit weird, especially at the back. I weigh around 95kgs, and with my weight, the rear was bouncing a bit too much. But this behaviour did spoil some of my road experience. The front though, worked quite well – the compression and rebound rates felt perfect for Indian roads.

Performance & Handling

Honda XL750 Transalp Front View

The 755cc parallel-twin engine is one of a kind. This motor blew me away with the kind of performance and refinement it offers. This 91bhp-75Nm performance figure is quite apt for a market like India. Firstly, the kind of NVH this bike comes with makes life extremely easy in city traffic. The power delivery is linear and with a strong mid-range, the Transalp flows quietly with peak Mumbai traffic. In fact, with the kind of seating triangle this bike offers, and with such a potent engine, the Transalp behaves as if it’s an everyday motorcycle.

Honda XL750 Transalp Left Side View

But the Transalp feels right at home when there’s a highway involved. Long uninterrupted roads bring out the true nature of the engine with the bike cruising comfortably at triple digit speeds without breaking a sweat. The overall NVH is well-contained. There are some vibes post 8000rpm, but there’s barely any reason to go that high. This motor does around 120kmph in under 6000rpm and this is also the best touring speed to be in a country like India.

Honda XL750 Transalp Rear View

The other major aspect of this bike is the overall handling, and that is something I thoroughly enjoyed. The combination of a wide handlebar and good weight distribution allowed me to ride through some of the worst traffic of Mumbai with ease. There was no panic while riding between vehicles, and that says something about the bike. The brakes are superior and do a fantastic job of stopping the bike on time. The ABS settings can be changed on the fly, and that’s brilliant. In off-road conditions, the Transalp 750 feels at home. This ADV even with its large posture, can go through tight trails quite well, and when there are fast trails around, this Honda can manage all of it. The off-road mode allows a good amount of slip at the rear wheel, and when the ABS is off, sliding the Transalp brings so much joy. However, the handlebar position has to be changed as the standard position is quite poor for enduro riding.

Features & Technology

Honda XL750 Transalp Handle Bar

Usually, Honda doesn’t do well in the features department, at least in India, but with the XL750 Transalp, things are otherwise. This ADV is equipped with a lot of features and technologies that make life quite easy on the road as well as off it. Firstly, the bike gets five riding modes – Sport, Rain, Standard, Gravel and User. These modes alter the power delivery and with the help of a traction control system, the rider will also be able to play with the traction. There’s wheelie control as well, in case there’s a need for one. The User mode is purely for the rider to customise the riding experience – something I used a lot off-road.

Honda XL750 Transalp TFT / Instrument Cluster

The Japanese brand has given the bike a full-colour TFT screen which is about five-inch in size. This screen shows riding information decently well, and it’s not too complicated to understand. The toggle switch is used to change the settings and with the presence of smartphone integration, the rider can also use voice commands.

Fuel Efficiency

Honda XL750 Transalp Front View

The Transalp 750 has a fuel tank capacity of around 17 litres, and during our test, the bike returned a fuel efficiency between 18kmpl and 21kmpl. So a tank range of around 320 kms is quite possible on this motorcycle.

Verdict

Honda XL750 Transalp Right Side View

The Honda XL750 Transalp is a fantastic touring motorcycle. The bike can go fast, and stay there for hours without any sweat. The 755cc engine works flawlessly, and its refined nature brings out the overall fatigue that usually comes with long-distance touring. Then there’s the overall seating comfort, which is a big plus point for this motorcycle. With that 21-inch front wheel, this Honda can go over some big logs and boulders with ease, and that’s one of the reasons why I loved the Transalp off-road. Plus, the feature list is good and quite useful too. But I’m not a big fan of the overall styling of the bike, and when you are sitting behind the handlebar, the plastics around the cluster look flimsy –and the design doesn’t feel like it belongs to a big adventure bike. But at Rs 12.32 lakh on-road Mumbai, the Honda XL750 Transalp is a fantastic adventure motorcycle to own and being a Honda, the cost of maintaining it is likely to be lowest in the segment.

Gallery

Honda XL750 Transalp Right Side View
Honda XL750 Transalp Rear View
Honda XL750 Transalp Front View
Honda XL750 Transalp Front View
Honda XL750 Transalp Rear View
Honda XL750 Transalp Rear View
Honda XL750 Transalp Rear View
Honda XL750 Transalp Front View
Honda XL750 Transalp Right Side View
Honda XL750 Transalp Left Side View

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