- Transalp workshop -

Air filters
Battery box
CDI unit
Chains & oil
Dust covers, rear axle
Engine dies
Intercom for two bikes
Oil usage
Soft bag protection
Speedo no-go
Sprocket change (front)
Tail light
Thermo needle
Tool compartment
Warning flashers

Air filters - The K&N air filter is advisable for those that use a non-standard exhaust. Usually you need to change the [sproeierbezetting] of the carburetors also. The advantage of the K&N air filter is that it can be cleaned/washed. Contrary to the original Honda paper air filter that needs to be replaced. The K&N filter can be cleaned regularly by just knocking out dust, etc. Every 1200km/750mls you can clean it with a liquid cleaner to get the black greasy stuff out. Using high pressure air finishes the job. The K&N filter allows for 20% (?) more flow, therefore your mixture must be adjusted. Or you can limit the flow to 80%. Which will leave the only advantage: washable air filter.
Battery box- I bit the bullet last night and took the Dremel tool to my 1989 Transalp's battery box. My plan was to remove the right side (only) of the box, replacing it with a sheet metal box affair which would accomodate a wider, Maintenence-Free battery (available at WalMArt)(ES12BS; just over $50US).

Other than having to be aware the battery box is also the air cleaner plenum (in other words, don't penetrate the air cleaner as you remove material or attach the new partial box), the fabricating aspect wasn't beyond the reach of anyone who has a drill, a sabresaw, a Dremel tool, and a vise large enough to make 90-degree bends in sheet metal pieces up to 5.5" wide. Procedure:

  1. Examine the existing battery holder, looking at the room available on the right hand side for expansion
  2. Remove the righthand side of the plastic battery box with Dremel tool, cutting it flush with the back wall.
  3. Make a stiff paper pattern of the sheet metal piece you will make, using a single piece of material with a couple of 90-degree bends for bottom, side, and back wall. Remember to allow material to bend over for a flange/tab on the right side to which to bolt the battery holder strap. Origami, anyone?
  4. Bend, pop-rivet to hold shape of box, and pop-rivet the new piece to the original floor of the battery box.
  5. Presto: new, wider area in which you may insert a battery to which you'll never have to add water again.

Thanks to Pete Tamblyn, USA

CDI defect - Especially the 1987/88/89 models are sensitive to defective CDI-units. The result of a defective CDI-unit is that your bike runs on only one cilinder or won't start at all. The general cause with these models is an aged sagging seat that touches the connectors of the CDI-unit(s). The weight of the rider influences this of course. Honda produces a modified mounting rubber that puts the CDI-units lying behind each other instead of standing up next to each other. Installation is simple and insures the CDI-units to stay free of the seat. Check if the new rubber is mounted because it can save you a lot of trouble/money. A new CDI-unit sells for NLG 560.00. A replacement rubber sells for NLG 22.95. The Honda part number is: 30401-MM9-010.
Another solution is to make a metal plate between that seat and the CDI-units to protect them from sagging.
chains & oil - Many thanks to the people of Loobman for this piece of text. The people from HawkeOiler also provide a manual chain oiler. A source for an automatic chain oiler is Scottoiler
dust covers, rear axle - The dust covers on the rear axle are meant to keep dust and dirt out. Thus minimizing wear and tear on the rear bearings. These covers can themselves wear out. Make sure you check them when changing tires or on other occasions when the rear wheel is out.
engine dies - It happens regularly that the engine of Transalps build before 1990 dies when, after a long steady ride in cold temperature, you accelerate again after a short pause (e.g. traffic lights). The reason is that due to the low temperature the gas gaskets freeze up. It is possible to prevent this by covering part of the radiator. That causes a decrease in cooling. Another one is to use leaded gas. The lead will get on the gas gaskets and 'lubricate' them, this prevents them from freezing.
The 1990 and up models were slightly modified to prevent this.
footrests - For those of you that need some foot rests (a.k.a. pegs) the following drawing and description may be of use.

Material required
1 pipe 5/8 " outside diameter x 22" long
1 flat bar 1/8" x 1" x 3"
1 flat bar 1/8" x 1" x 5"
1 flat bar 1/8" x 1" x 7 1/2 "
1 set folding footpegs (universal type)
2 bolts that screw into foot pegs
1 can black paint

The foot peg pipe should just fit between the lowers and the skid plate resting on the bracket where the rad plastic protector slips in on the front of the frame.

Step 1 Drill a 10 mm. hole 1/2" from edge of 1x3 plate. Put it in the center. 1/2" from side. Weld this onto the pipe also in the center 11". This plate goes and bolts to the center bolt on the lower skid behind the front wheel.
Step 2 With skid plate removed bolt this assembly on the bike. ( using Temporary spacer, thickness of lower skid, use Skid washer spacer).
Step 3 Measure 3 3/4" from the ends and mark on pipe.
Step 4 Bend both side plates to fit from mark on pipe to skid mounts on each side. These plates fit between skid and mount. They are hidden behind lowers. Mark and weld these in place.Remember the center plate goes on the outside and down.
Step 5 Weld your two bolts on the end of the pipe. Paint all of this black and assemble with your skid. Longer bolts may be required. Screw on you foot pegs and adjust to your desired angle and lock in place using lock nuts.

Thanks to Morgan Smolak, Canada.

intercom for two motorcycles - Click here .
leakage - This problem is about coolant between the cylinders. Actually this wasn't coolant but unused gas that leaked out of the combustion circuit because of backfire. Backfire is caused by valves that are partially opened at the same time in combination with to much throttle and low revs.
It is possible that the rubber gasket on the cylinder head are not thightened enough. This could in turn be caused by a spacer in the clamping screw that is just a little to big. Use a file to correct it and the problem will most likely be over.
lowering - Lowering the Transalp calls for the help of a suspension expert. One I've seen has dropped the front height by 1cm/.4" by changing the position of the clamps on the forklegs. The WP-suspension rear shock also contributed 1cm. Maybe in some cases changing the seat may be enough. The Corbin seat is lower that the original.
mudflap - One of the missing parts on the Transalp is a mudflap to protect the engine and the rear shock absorber. Because it is not there mud and other stuff can get to the rear shock and the engine causing more wear on the shock and more cleanup work in general. One simple solution is the following. Take a piece of an inner tire of a large car or truck. Some types of floorcloth will work also very well. Cut it at the width of the rear mudguard and at the desired length. Then mount it on the outside of the rear mudguard using a bracket and nuts/bolts or use velcro (mine did 50,000km without problems).
oil usage - The variance in oil use with the '89 models is a lot. The problem is caused by worn piston...... If yours is using more than 1 liter per 1000km, like Honda says you may want to get it fixed. Changing the piston..... and reworking the cylinder costs anywhere between NLG 1200 and NLG 1600. If you have low mileage, NLG 1200 buys you a lot of oil if you choose to not get it fixed. You need to check your oil every 600km and you have to carry oil with you all the time. You can minimize oil usage by using high grade synthetic oil and don't keep the engine running without riding. Start using the choke and go easy on the gas is best. Use the choke as little as possible.
softbag protection - If you're using softbags on your luggage carrier, you must be carefull not to let them melt against the exhaust. For some thoughts about protection click here .
speedo no-go - Disconnect the cable from the speedo itself, check if it rotates if you move the front wheel. If it does, you may suffer from a broken speedometer. Remove the cable from the drive assembly on the axle. (One Phillips screw) If the cable is broken, you should be able to push on the upper portion of the cable - the part that inserts into the speedometer itself - and the broken portion will slide right out the bottom. The last two bikes that I had cable failures on - broke where the cable makes a bend to attach to the axle drive unit. Maybe 8 or 10 inches from the end of the cable sleeve. If the cable removes from the sleeve intact, the white plastic drive gears are toasted.
Off with the front wheel and remove the drive unit. There are two gears inside. One large helical cut gear (steel) and the smaller one (plastic) that it drives. You'll have to order them directly from Honda. Upon reassembly, pack them with white lithium-based grease. Regular grease will "attack" the plastic over time....leading to another failure. It's a good idea to replace the cable at this time,too. Be sure to lube it generously with oil. I use an oil made for firearms that contains Teflon. (Tri-Flow).
Even if it was just the cable, I'd remove the front wheel and treat the drive gears to some fresh lube anyway. For who know how many miles, they have been working hard to turn a failing cable.
I took my broken cable into a Honda dealer and asked if they had one. Of course they didn't have a Transalp part. BUT, they did have a cable with identical fittings at each end. Although the cable was about an inch longer, it has worked just fine. It was under $20.

Thanks to Transalp Eddie and others via the Transalp Mailinglist.

sprocket change (front) - The standard fromt sprocket has 15 teeth. Due to unavailabilty of a replacement sprocket and wishes for better (eaier, quieter) highway performance people have been using 16-teeth sprockets. The conclusion is that for some people the gain in top speed and less engine revs makes up for the loss of accelaration in the lower gears. For some others it doesn't. This probably depends on who you are, your riding style, etc. Here are some opinions .
tail light - The vibrations of the bike may cause the tail light to burn out. Especially with off-road riding. You can replace the bulg every time but make sure that you use a model that has a support wire for the actual filament. They are more expansive but they pay themselves back in notime.
thermo needle - So, you're in your suit, happily spinning along the streets and lanes and lo and behold, the needle of the thermometer will not free itself from the first mark. Rest assured, this is totally normal. Riding in 20 degrees Celsius will bring the needle to the centre of the dial. Stop-n-go riding through traffic will bring it to three quarters and then ... the fan will kick in. But in close-to-freezing wheather, the needle won't move from the first mark. No problem. Some put a cover (cardboard/plastic) in front of the radiator. I no of no harm that that does. I don't know if it does any good either.
tool compartment - The standard tool compartment of the Transalp is hardly big enough to put the original tool set in. And after driving in rainy weather, water stays in so your tools will rust. Some people thought up the following solutions to that problem. (1) a piece of PVC pipe with waterproof covers, mounted at the rear left. (2) put the tool set in a tank bag. (3) mount the tool set to a crash bar.
Everyone agrees that whatever you may do, you better mount the tool set as low and as possible. Ideas are being developed to build a lightweight box that mounts on one of the crash bars.
tripmaster - What the Africa Twin has and the Transalp hasn't is a Tripmaster. Instead you can mount a bicycle computer. It handles and calculates speed, average speed, trip distance and time. Make sure that it is suited for the much higher speeds of a motor cycle and pay attention to wire lengths because of the motor cycle being larger. One example is Sigma Sport, models BC700 and BC900. But I don't know if you can buy them outside of Holland. Anyway, I use a Sigma Sport BC800 and so does Tom .
warning flashers, emergency indicators - The standard Transalp does not have a warning flasher switch. This is something that can be easily fixed. What you need is one ON/OFF-switch, a replacement turn signal relay, a couple of meters (or a bunch of feet) 12V wire, some connectors, some tools and this schematic .
About the replacement relay. According to my information, the original Transalp relay (MITSUBA FR-2204) is not capable of powering all four indicator lights simultaneously. I have therefore replaced it with a Hella (part# 4DB 004 124-002) relay. The Hella relay has three contacts instead of two like the original. Of those three you'll only use two.
Step 1: Replace the old relay with the new one. You may spend some time figuring out the two contacts that you need. After replacing it your turn signals should work as before. The flashing pace could be a little different and I found that the first flash comes much sooner that with the original relay. Something that I really appreciate. Mounting the new relay can be a problem because it does not come with a rubber strap like the original one. I fixed that by using some Velcro and a tie-wrap to mount it on the support for the original relay.
Step 2: The relay gets its power from a black wire. The flash-signal runs through the grey wire to the turn signal switch. From the turn signal switch it runs through an orange wire (left) or a lightblue wire (right) to the turn signal lights. From there it runs over green wires 'back to the battery' to close the circuit. The tric is to create a bypass for the turn signal switch. See the dotted lines in the schematic. Connect to the grey wire an extra wire using handy T-connectors. Run that wire (A1) to the alarm indicator switch. From the switch you run one wire (A3) to the orange circuit and one wire (A2) to the lightblue circuit. Connect them the same way as the A1 wire. In the orange and lightblue circuits is a connector that you use when taking of parts of the fairing. That is where you can connect the extra wires on the bike-side. Not on the fairing side !!
Step 3: Put the switch somewhere where you can easily operate it. I put it left of the odometer. There is a vertical part in the dashboard suited for it. I put it left because it is easier to take your lefthand of the handle bars (clutch) than it is to take your right hand off (gas and brake). But I guess that's personal and there are locations plenty for the switch.
Remark 1: Wire A1 (0.5m/2ft) runs from right to left. Wire A3 (0.2m/1ft) runs from right to right. Wire A2 (0.5m/2ft) runs from left to right. I hid them over the head light.
Remark 2: This way your alarm lights only work if your key is turned or if the engine is running. In order to make them work 'all the time' you have to bypass the start circuit.