“It should seem like it can ride over a wall…”
The Honda Transalp was the company’s V-twin dual-sport / adventure bike — a beastly, liquid-cooled machine built to take on a variety of climates and terrains. However, few bikes can survive the rust and corrosion of being left outside for years — particularly near the sea.
Such was the condition of this 1987 Honda Transalp brought to Emporio Elaborazioni Meccaniche (EEM). The bike was so badly rusted that only the engine appeared useful. Meanwhile, the owner had set a high bar for the Dopz and his EEM crew: he wanted a muscle bike that looked like it could ride over walls.
This was a big challenge, considering the bike’s condition and the difficulties inherent in the Transalp’s very design. However, the EEM team was up to the task, producing “Cobra” — a staggering street tracker with a one-piece carbon and fiberglass, re-engineered cooling and wiring system, and even a 180 front tire. Dopz says they decided to paint the bike black one side, white on the other, because “Cobra” has two souls — one aggressive, the other elegant and minimalist.
Below, we get the full story on this Transalp street tracker, shot along with a custom Cast MT3 helmet.
“Cobra” Honda Transalp Tracker: In the Builder’s Words
The customer came to us with this totally rusted old 1987 Transalp (left for years in the open air near the sea), telling us he would liked a power muscle bike that, we quote:
“It should seem like it can ride over the wall…”
Ok…hard but cool! We are in! We started from sketches… The Transalp is very hard to modify due to the frame itself, the engine position, the asymmetrical parts, and the 2 radiator…mix them with tons of rust and you can understand!
Nothing was useful except the engine. We waited a lot for inspiration, took our time, did some sketches and started throwing away 99% of the bike. After several months we started building… Some of us started rebuilding the engine, the rest of the team started using a part of the frame and an old Honda custom tank and a lot of clay to build a mockup.
We decided to build a one-piece shell in carbon and fiberglass, so we built a small frame from top to bottom to have the bike opening like a sports car hood and support the shell used for the tank and the seat. The tail turns upside down to permit this opening. Opening the shell permits access to all the electrical parts and to check the radiator. The opening movement is helped by a piston.
We re-engineered the cooling system, projected one big radiator protected with a good steel net put in the rear of the bike. It’s cooled in both sides: one with a fan under the seat and the other one with the air moved by the rear tire from the opposite part creating a good air exchange.
We also put together a completely new electrical wiring system to having new function for the service buttons (light, instuments, blinkers). The buttons are also produced in Emporio, in addition to Motogadget ones.
We designed and built the front light too, using two different types of headlights and covered with carbon and VTR small fairing.
The fueling was totally redone too. New carbs (Mikuni), new position of the carbs (outside on the left side), new filter, new fuel feeding.
The key is a finger ring! The owner places it in the side of the seat…to turn off the bike he can use the key or a secret button on the side of the bike. We machined an oversize triple-tree to have a 180” rain tire in the front as the rear. This bike is not focused for high speed and curves but for sprint and soft drive experience.
“Cobra” is more than a special or modified bike — it’s an all-round prototype! Engineered, powered, lathed, machined, designed totally by Emporio. The name comes from the tank, its shape looks like a snake head.
The bike is incredibly light and powerful, thank to the engine works and the loss of weight…and easy to drive instead of those fat tyres! 😉 Guys from E!Design suggested to paint in 2-color black and white because Cobra has two souls: one aggressive and sporty, one elegant and minimalist. We agree!
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- Website: www.emporioelaborazioni.it
- Instagram: @emporioelaborazionimecc
- Facebook: emporio elaborazioni meccaniche
- Helmet: Cast MTIII