The bike

First moto camping trip!
NOTE:  The EQUIPMENT page provides a few thoughts about our riding gear and accessories.

1989 Honda Transalp, new to us with about 20k miles on it. We had previously owned a fancy BMW, but it was a huge beast and she seemed a little stuck up. Jill (and Mike, too) much prefers the Transalp, or TA. I think she is going to fit in well in Central and South America. And hopefully repairs will not be hard to come by. Mike is currently putting some final modifications on the bike, including installing a new rear spring, as well as chain, sprockets, and sliders.

Stew Working on the Bike

He put a new muffler on it so it will be louder (Jill's excited because she thinks loud motorcycles are cool and Mike thinks the sound is just right for a motorcycle, enough to let people know we're there, not so loud that people won't want us there).

New Muffler

Corbin seat, GIVI trunk, taller windscreen, 12V power outlet, heated grips (all previous owner)

GIVI crash (engine) guards
Acerbis handguards
Lenac Big Brake kit (larger front rotor)
Braided stainless brake line
Eastern Beaver H4 headlight kit
HyperPro progressive fork springs
HyperPro progressive rear spring
Titanium Suzuki GSXR-1000 exhaust
CigarMike (ADVRider) prototype centerstand
Custom fabricated rack

For more thoughts on the luggage we are using, check out our EQUIPMENT page.

Givi Trunk
Nelson-Rigg saddlebags
Wolfman tank bag
el cheapo ATV tank bags


After rigging the old GIVI saddlebag rack with hose clamps, repeatedly flexing it back into shape, and hoping that it keeps holding up, it was time to get some welding done.  (Some thought was given to luggage setup ahead of our departure.  This saddlebag rack specifically for softbags had the advantages of being paid for, being light, being fixable, not changing the structure of the subframe at all.  It´s disadvantage is that it was not very sturdy.  But since we were going with soft bags, it started the journey with us.  It also happened to serve as a basis for the design of the new rack.)  See pics above for images of the right side rack.

I found an amazing metal worker in Xela who was happy to help with this project.  He kept the important dimensions the same (width), extended the rack in the desired direction (lower to keep bags out of the chain), and helped to reinforce the whole setup with a rear bumper and additional attachment points, all without getting too heavy.  This custom rack cost me Q300 (less than US$40).  It looks great and should hold up much better than the original GIVI.  If you´re ever in need of metal work in Xela, I´d highly recommend going to Carlos (Taller San Carlos, Diag 11  7-63 Zona 1, Tel:  7765-3557 y 4117-6834). 


Transalp XL600V Maintenance
MileageWork performedLocationCost
(all +/-500 mi)(Description)(City)(US$)
(parts mostly, incl. labor when appl.)
(incl. GIVI trunk, Wolfman saddle and tank bags, Corbin saddle, GIVI engine guards (uninstalled), taller windscreen)
CO Springs3000
21200Progressive Fork SpringsDenver160
21200Front Rotor and pads (Lenac Big Brake Kit)
Stainless Steel braided brake lines
21200Air FilterDenver20
21500Chain, sprockets, slidersDenver225
21750Progressive Rear SpringDenver100
22000Oil changeDenver20
24000Front (Shinko 705) / Rear (Kenda K761) tiresHenderson110
25000CDI swap (rear cyl)Hermosillo (MX)70
26000Oil changeDurango (MX)30
28000Major service
(radiator drained & refilled, carb clean & sync, plugs, cables lubed, battery topped, bearings checked and greased, oil change)
29800Air Filter, CDI swap (front cyl, OEM now spare)Perquín (el Sal)100
31500Oil change, new rear tire (Full Bore M-41), clean rear brakes, "straighten" front end, troubleshoot electrical (diode shot in wire harness), power direct to CDIs, eliminate wire clips near voltage regulatorSan Jose290
32500Replace battery, fix electrical connection, remove direct power to CDIsPanama City75
33000Clean and lube all electrical connections
(pre sailing)
Panama City3
35000Oil changeGeorgetown30
35300Steering head bearings replaced, Fork oil change, Air filter with panty hose prefilter, Renthal bars installed (desert/vintage), GIVI top plate replaced, Fan override switch added (in place of heated grips)Paramaribo240
36823Speedometer/odometer cable brokeMaraba-
(Rear:  Rinaldi M-34 Rallye /
Front:  Metzeler Sahara 3)
38400CDI swap to OEM (front and rear), Ignition coil, Carburetor clean, New coolantHumaita270
39000Chain and sprockets (16T front / 48T rear), New plugs (4),
Oil change
42250Valve check, Sprockets (back to OEM parts 15/47), Clean carbs, Speedometer cable replaced (5438 mi run on GPS odometer only), Lubed all cables and electrical contacts, Oil changeCali310
44000Brake pads, battery, pilot jets
(speedo drive broken recently)
44500Front wheel bearingsAyacucho15
44750Front tire (Pirelli MT-21)Cusco65
46000Rear tire (Pirelli MT-60), Oil change,
Exhaust welded
La Paz160
46750Air filter mod (foam replaced paper)Potosi0

New air filter, Fork oil change, New front brake padsCochabamba60

New non-O-ring chain, Carb cleanLa Serena80
50250Oil change, new spark plugs, adjust fork oil level (ATF Dexron III at 135 mm), Foam air filter, new brake shoes, Speedo drive and cable replaced (~12000 miles not shown on ODO), petcock cleaned/inspected, external fuel filter addedSantiago170
Tires (Rear:  Pirelli MT-90 Scorpion /
Front:  Pirelli MT-60),
Oil change, Air filter, New O-ring chain
Punta Arenas450