2023 Honda XL750 Transalp Review: Everything and More

CarBuyer Team
Honda XL750 Transalp

Honda’s new dual-sport adventure bike definitely isn’t a one-trick pony

2023 Honda XL750 Transalp

Launched: September 2023 | Price S$38,800 with COE
Petrol, dual-sport adventure motorcycle
90.5hp, 755cc, parallel 2-cylinder

Versatile despite adventure bike styling
Powerful and efficient engine

Suspension is not adjustable

words: Deyna Chia


Honda has overhauled its off road adventure bike, the XL750 Transalp for the third time. It is practically all-new, with every part and assembly angle given a full makeover.  

Honda XL750 Transalp

Now weighing just 208kg, it’s one of the lightest bikes in its class (for reference the class leading Ducati Desert X weighs in at approximately 217kg). The Transalp is a notable 6kg lighter than its predecessor. Pushing the bike when it’s not powered up feels unusually effortless. 

Honda XL750 Transalp

Powered by a 755cc, eight-valve parallel twin with 270° crank which gives it a unique V-twin power delivery curve and exhaust note, the engine also features Honda’s compact unicam design for a more compact cylinder head. It kicks out 90.5 horsepower, compared to the predecessor’s weedy 59 horsepower engine. 

To achieve this power output, Honda added two technologies that are typically reserved only for performance models. There’s the brand’s patented Vortex flow ducts, which create more uniform air distribution to feed air into 46mm (read: bigger than usual) diameter throttle bodies, and Ni­SiC (Nickel­Silicon Carbide) coated cylinders, same as those used on the CRF450R and CBR1000RR­R Fireblade, to increase the engine’s overall efficiency. 

Honda XL750 Transalp

Power is delivered through a 6-speed gearbox, up from the 5-speed of the previous version. This  means more usable torque, more top speed and better fuel economy. The clutch is now a slipper clutch incorporating F.C.C Leaning Segment (FLS) discs, which reduces clutch drag torque by 30 percent, for a lighter lever load and easier up shifts. 

Honda XL750 Transalp

It also manages rear wheel hop under hard braking and rapid dowshifts. We found clutchless gear changes up and down the box clean and crisp, and finding neutral was SUPER easy. Suspension units only adjustable for pre-load, but they do feature a Showa 43mm SFF­CA (Separate Function Fork­ Cartridge) mounted upside down with 200mm of travel at the front, and a rear monoshock with Prolink swingarm that gives 190mm travel. 

Honda XL750 Transalp

Paired with  21-inch front and 18-inch rear wheels, the Transalp has clear off-road intentions with its 210mm ground clearance. With such a host of upgrades and changes, you really do wonder why Honda didn’t just rename the bike like TransTerrain or TransEverything.

What else isn’t new? 

Sharing the same steel diamond frame chassis and headlight with the Honda Hornet 750, the Translap’s styling is modern, and at first glance, the silhouette reminds us of the famed Honda RD07 XRV750 Africa Twin. Unlike the RD07, all lighting on the Transalp is LED, inclusive of auto-cancel turn indicators and Emergency Stop Signal (ESS) technology to warn other road users of sudden braking. 

The cockpit is fully digital, its full colour 5-inch TFT screen featuring three designs and the usual white or black backgrounds for day and night legibility. Displaying everything from coolant temperature to battery voltage, fuel gauge, side stand warning light, trip-metre, ride mode, and connectivity of Honda Smartphone Voice Control system (HSVCs) for Android and IOS devices which adds turn-by-turn navigation. 

Honda XL750 Transalp

With Throttle-by-Wire, the Transalp also offers four selectable riding modes and a fifth user customisable mode to manipulate the Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC) with integrated Wheelie Control and Engine Braking and Power. 

In Gravel mode, ABS for the front wheel can be disabled, unlike that for the older Africa Twin, which disables ABS from both front and rear brakes. Throttle mapping on the Transalp was refined, intentional closing and re-opening of the throttle avoided the jerkiness that plagues twins and triple cylinder engines like the early Yamaha MT-09. We did however find that even in Gravel mode, the nanny controls (traction control) were too much, preventing intentional wheel spin when riding offroad. 

Is it rider friendly? Does it feel familiar like a Honda usually does?

Seat height is reasonably friendly for average sized Asian riders at 850mm (20mm lower than the Africa-Twin), with the further option for owners to purchase the 820mm low seat. 

Honda XL750 Transalp

Swing a leg over the saddle, and you’ll notice that in typical Honda fashion, ergonomics are spot on. Handlebar width is just nice, reach is just nice, pedal placement perfect, resulting in a knee angle that won’t cause any discomfort even for extended touring rides. Good ol’ Honda ergonomics. Whilst the windscreen position is not adjustable, it was tall enough to keep buffeting to a minimum, and low enough to avoid impeding the view of the road. 

How good does it go? 

The Transalp doesn’t ride like its predecessor (think the wallet-friendly BMW F700GS vs the world conquering F850GS), surprising us with its dynamic prowess, happily flicking from ear to ear, as we piloted the bike through South Buona Vista Road belying its adventure-bike sized wheels (90/90 R­21 front and 150/70 R­18 rear tubed spoked wheels shod with Metzeler Karoo Street tyres).

Honda XL750 Transalp

Adding to its agility are dependable stoppers, with two piston calipers gripping 310mm twin wave discs in front, and the rear brakes also giving good feel and strong stopping power, more than adequate for two-up riding. 

Honda XL750 Transalp

We found the Transalp a delight to pilot whether commuting or when giving the bike a spirited thrash. Typical of Honda motorcycles, the bike conveys familiarity and predictability with its comfortable layout from the get-go. Pointing it where we wanted it to go, even at speed, and it would do it. 

Honda XL750 Transalp
Underseat storage is minimal but enough for a toolkit and essentials

Fast sweepers, reducing radius corners, chicanes, the Transalp would hit the reference points with surprising precision. The softly sprung rear shock did show its limits though, bottoming out when we flicked the bike right to left when navigating a short chicane at, ahem, some pace. For owners who intend to ride two-up or have a penchant for riding spiritedly, we suggest changing the rear shock to a more adjustable unit. With its 16.9L tank and 23 km/L consumption (WMTC mode), the Transalp will cover 390km before it runs dry, long after our butt cheeks have been flattened.  

Who is the Honda XL750 Transalp for?

Clearly someone who wants a do-it-all instead of the Honda Adv750 scooter or road-biased Honda NC750. Compared with its big brother the 100.5hp CRF1100L Africa Twin, that weighs 30kg heavier, the Transalp would be more peppy on tarmac with its higher power to weight ratio, but perhaps less suited for the slips and falls off road.

Honda XL750 Transalp

We think the Transalp would appeal to someone who wants the option to do long trips, and also commute with a passenger/ luggage. Someone who previously would be wary of using an adventure bike as a daily would be pleasantly surprised how light and accessible the Transalp is, and how exciting to ride, if demanded of it. 

At the asking price of $38,800 including COE (no insurance), we think it’s well worth a look. If the Ross White colour pictured here doesn’t float your boat, you can also choose from Mat Iridium Gray Metallic or Mat Ballistic Black Metallic.

Honda XL750 Transalp

Honda XL750 Transalp 

Engine755cc, OHC 4­-stroke parallel twin
Power90.5hp at 9500rpm
Torque75Nm at 7250rpm
Gearbox6 speed Manual
Kerb (wet) Weight208kg
Seat Height 850mm (820mm with lowered seat)
AgentBoon Siew Honda
Price$38,800 with COE, without insurance (October 2023)
VerdictMiddle-weight adventure bike that’s accessible as a daily commuter, more peppy than the African Twin, drives well like a Ducati Desert X on tarmac, and can munch 390km before the tank runs dry. And comes in at an affordable price point. Worth a good look!


adventure bike honda off road Transalp XL750

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CarBuyer Team

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