Used Bike

Used test - 2002 Honda Transalp

Honda's Transalp combines true all-round ability with big mile comfort, so it may make sense if practicality is number one on your shopping list

Brit bikers have never really been turned on by off-road styled bikes. We've dismissed them as slow, soggy and unsexy and have only bought them in small numbers. But ignoring the virtues of these adventure sports machines is very much our loss. They've got tons to offer and you really don't know what you're missing until you've ridden one. They're rugged, practical all-rounders that go well in many environments and cosset you in comfort all day long.

Honda's Transalp is one such starlet, and one of the bikes that assisted the birth and development of this class when it was launched all the way back in 1987. The Honda hasn't changed that much since then, which is proof the factory got its sums right. And though us lot haven't latched onto it, the Transalp has been a massive hit in Europe from day one.

No wonder really. It's a very friendly, easy to ride machine that doesn't demand much at all from the rider, and forgives him if he doesn't always do as he should. Few bikes can match the Honda's marvelous balance and usefulness that make it such a doddle to deal with. It's a fantastic bike for beginners.

The 583cc V-twin engine is a peach. With only 50bhp on tap, it's no lap record breaker. But what it loses in terms of bhp, it makes up with cool, calm and collected ability to progress. It's a soft power unit and as such, is unlikely to land you in trouble with either hospitals or magistrates. It feels quite flat when you get the bike out onto the open road but, thanks to its V-twin configuration, you can always guarantee it'll respond - albeit no more than steadily and surely - to a yank on the twistgrip.

What little it has, it's always willing to offer. And given that there are plenty of people out there who want dependable delivery of power rather than a massive macho surge that'll leave them shaking, the Transalp's engine behaves almost perfectly.

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