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ADV NewsReviving an Icon: 1987 Honda Transalp Gets Restomod By Viba

Reviving an Icon: 1987 Honda Transalp Gets Restomod By Viba

A custom classic inspired by the other-worldly landscapes of Joshua Tree.

Published on 10.15.2021
Honda Transalp 600 restomod by Viba

Until, and if, the rumors of a new Honda Transalp prove true, fans of Honda’s middle-displacement V-twin adventure bike of yesteryear will have to make due with what’s out there, good and bad. But it’s always fun to see what a custom builder can do with this classic platform while we wait. 

Honda Transalp 600 restomod by Viba

Yann Bakonyi, a designer with the French custom builder Viba, gave Transalp fans something to chew on with a classy restomod of a 1987 Transalp 600 he dubbed Joshua, as in Joshua Tree National Park in California, the place he was traveling when inspiration for the bike hit. Bakonyi was at the wheel of a Jeep Wrangler at the time, but dreaming of riding the two-wheeled equivalent of the venerable off-roader. Something simple, efficient and capable. Something that could easily take him down trails to explore the other-wordly landscape of the park. That, combined with his love of all things Japanese, led him to the Transalp.

Honda Transalp 600 restomod by Viba
Honda Transalp 600 restomod by Viba

First things first, he did a mechanical refresh on the bike to make sure everything was in good running order and gave the frame a fresh coat of black epoxy paint. Addressing the rolling stock, he upgraded the wheels with Excel units and added Brembo brakes and aviation-quality lines front and rear. A new EMC shock on the back, protected by a custom mud flap, along with a tune for the stock 41-millimeter Showa forks, took care of the suspension. He tastefully updated the cockpit with a custom 3D printed voltmeter mount that clips into the fuse box, all the better to keep tabs on the voltage regulator, a known issue with Hondas of this era. He also added a new 28-millimeter handlebar in custom Viba clamps.

Honda Transalp 600 restomod by Viba
Honda Transalp 600 restomod by Viba

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Cosmetically, Joshua looks like a clean, relatively stock Transalp. But when you look a little closer, the cool touches jump out. Bakonyi put the 3D printer to use again with custom, flush mounted housings for LED lights in place of the stock turn signals. The turn signals themselves are tiny, Viba-built units tucked under the lip of the fairing. The headlight is an LED unit sourced from a Jeep, and the taillight is another Viba creation. Rear turn signals are smartly integrated into the luggage rack. All the custom parts created for the build are available for sale on the Viba website.

Honda Transalp 600 restomod by Viba
Honda Transalp 600 restomod by Viba

All that’s left to round out the build are a few touches like a period-correct front disc protector from UFO, a custom seat cover and a taller rally fairing featuring an artistic interpretation of a topo map of the namesake park on the inside. And, of course, the bike is painted in a coat of flawless white with sunset-evoking accent strips. Add to that Japanese katakana symbols which translate to “Transalp” and you’ve got what Viba calls a “Japanifornia” look. We think this sleek, purposeful, retro-futuristic Transalp could provide styling cues if, and when, Honda decides to revive the Transalp. And if that never happens, then Transalp fans still have something to aspire to.

Photos by Victor Seller

Author: Bob Whitby

Bob has been riding motorcycles since age 19 and working as a journalist since he was 24, which was a long time ago, let’s put it that way. He quit for the better part of a decade to raise a family, then rediscovered adventure, dual sport and enduro riding in the early 2000s. He lives in Arkansas, America’s best-kept secret when it comes to riding destinations, and travels far and wide in search of dirt roads and trails.

Author: Bob Whitby
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2 thoughts on “Reviving an Icon: 1987 Honda Transalp Gets Restomod By Viba

  1. Very nice! I remember the reviews complaining about the weight of the TransAlp when it first came out. Turned out to be one of the lightest allroad twins ever made. Good call changing out the rims, mine lasted 2 years before rotting away quickly back then. The front brake was a nightmare as it needed constant maintenance to keep the slider pins from seizing up (something that was improved with the 650, but still needs a lot of maintenance).
    One thing that would definitely be recommended on this restomod is fabricating a better fork stabilizer, or, but that would ruin the looks, add a double disk brake system.
    Glad i owned one and used it untill i replaced it with the 650. A much better bike but in my opinion it lacks the looks of the 600.

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