How did you manage to make a bike with such a high level of performance and electronics cost so little?
We eliminated non-essential elements to focus on what Honda has always done: building bikes that make riders viscerally fall in love with their unparalleled dynamic balance.
Why did the Transalp leave the scene in 2013, when maxienduros were already very popular?
The market was evolving towards more extreme products and the concept of total versatility of the Transalp seemed to be less appreciated by the public. Furthermore, we were at the lowest point of the market’s downward spiral and therefore it was necessary to rationalize the range. Some branches, especially Italy, wanted to maintain it but it was not possible. The direction taken by the “NC700” project in all its variants represented the right response at that historical moment.
When did you think about putting it back into production? And how many years did it take you?
In Europe it was first discussed in 2018, but the input came from Japan.
Had you thought about using the NC’s 750 cc, the one strongly inclined forward? As previously mentioned, the philosophies behind the NC and XL projects are profoundly different and the investment in a new engine was considered the best way to achieve the objectives of the project without having to make compromises that would have distorted the philosophy. We are aware that in this period investing in a completely new engine may seem like a risk, but Honda is the largest engine manufacturer in the world and, when it is necessary to design a new one, it has no problems, nor limits, in making a decision of this type.
None of the three Transalp designers worked on the Africa Twin, just as Aiello had not designed the 1000.
There are always transfers of skills and experience, but the projects are philosophically very different. The Africa Twin is a maxienduro with a strong off-road vocation, the Transalp is a medium-displacement enduro inspired by the original ‘Rally-Touring’ concept of this model. Making a smaller displacement version of the Africa Twin would have been a mistake in market positioning.
Consequently: where is the Transalp markedly different from the Africa Twin, at a design level? The two projects are profoundly different in every way, except for the wheels in the same size, 21 and 18 inches. The Africa Twin is a true twin-cylinder enduro, with which you can go off-road at a high level already in a totally standard configuration but also with which you can travel comfortably and quickly. The new Transalp is the opposite, that is, it is perfectly defined with the concept of “Rally-Touring”, that is, a motorbike with which to tour even long-distance and to be used every day on daily journeys, but which is capable of tackling off-road competently.
But, come on, is this result so different? We wouldn’t be surprised if people interested in the Africa Twin 1100 were tempted by the new Transalp, also enticed by a price of around 4,000 euros lower.
You said well. Even if the technologies and performances are on different but not distant levels, the philosophies of the two models are unchanged compared to their progenitors and, therefore, very different. The fact that now, as then, the two bikes allow you to do similar things is only due to the extreme balance that allows our models to juggle excellently in different situations, even if outside the main development focus of each. In other words, those more inclined towards extreme adventure will want the Africa Twin to tackle off-road but will have great fun on the road, while those looking for a motorbike for touring, which also includes off-road excursions, will choose the Transalp.
Why does the Africa Twin have a very personal and immediately recognizable front end, while the Transalp is completely different?
The two models have personalities and an extremely strong history. The family feeling must be had between the Africa Twins of the past and the modern ones, as well as between the Transalps of different generations. You realize that the bike has succeeded when, assuming that all graphics or references are eliminated, the enthusiast can say “hey, this is a Transalp!”. We are convinced that we have fully succeeded. There are not many models on the market that can boast such DNA.
How is Transalp positioned in relation to its direct competitors? That is, where does it openly challenge them and where is it unique?
The Transalp fits into a hotly contested segment, in which, among other things, engine sizes range from 650 to 900 cc, with very large differences in price. In our opinion, the absolute performance, dynamics and driving pleasure place it at a very high level, often superior to its competitors in many respects. But its greatest strength is the total balance between all the elements. In this it is 100% Honda.
Why are we still not seeing instruments based on at least 8″ tablets with full-screen GPS navigators?
We believe that Transalp’s instrumentation is perfectly in line with the customer’s needs. We preferred to invest in the development of the engine and chassis rather than offering the video game effect.
Will there be an Adventure version, or a more road version with the 19″?
They are not planned at the moment.
Will this new 750 also be available with the DCT, or dual clutch automatic transmission?
Transmission developments are planned for this engine. In the future the offer will expand with other versions of Transalp.
You had created a frantic wait for the Africa Twin, which lasted a good three years, with mysterious announcements, teasers, prototypes exhibited at Eicma and small appearances here and there. Transalp, on the other hand, went from the first appearances to the definitive version in just a few months. How come?
The most effective launch campaigns are studied based on the type of motorbike and potential customer and in the case of Transalp customers have been asking us to return for at least ten years. More frantic waiting than that!