May 2, 2008
My Top Ten Bike List #3: Honda Transalp XL600V
Since I first saw a Transalp, in 1987, this bike was high on my list of all time favorites. The Transalp didn't last long in the US, but it's alive and well in the rest of the world. More evidence that we're too dumb to reproduce in the US. The photo on the right is the 2008 model. This, of course, is zillions of times cooler than the coolest bike imported into the US.
The XL600V was a 450 pound, V-twin, 4-stroke, with a semi-Paris-to-Dakar styling that was ahead of its time. It wasn't fast, it didn't have a monster suspension, it wasn't flashy. It was just a solid, reliable, easy to ride bike that could carry you across the country, deserts, mountains, and lousy roads without worry. Every once in a while, a used Transalp appears on the want ads and it always vanishes faster than free money.