A V-twin Brat Tracker from Brussels…
The Honda Transalp is a series of V-twin dual-sport / ADV bikes in production since the late 1980s. We rarely get to see these bikes in the USA, as only the original XL600V was available here, so they have an especially exotic appeal in the States. After all, what’s not to love about a 600cc V-twin dual-sport?
In the 2000s, Honda introduced the XL650V Transalp, which offered a 55-hp, liquid-cooled 52° V-twin engine and more road-oriented suspension. The bike advertised a “uniquely European riding experience,” built to “explore the upper reaches of mountain passes with the same ease and confidence it shows covering long distances on the highway.” The bike proved a game commuter and tourer, but slightly bulky and overweight for the 650cc engine.
Enter Max Ingelrest of HIDE, a small workshop based in an old distillery in Brussels, Belgium. Max’s customer arrived with a 2005 XL650V Transalp after another builder told him “it was impossible to make a cool bike with a Transalp.” HIDE was up to the challenge. The most important part of the build was the tank, around which the rest of the bike was designed. Max opted for a Honda Shadow VT1100 tank, with the bare metal and patina that has become a HIDE signature.
Below, we get the full story on this custom Transalp!
Custom Honda Transalp: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
HIDE is based in Belgium (Brussels), founded four years ago. We are a small workshop in an old distillery, where the walls are made with wood palette and black bricks. Really nice place to work — my bonanza where I stock all my stuff and old parts.
I spend all my time in the shop, almost more than in my house. This is where I dream, I work or chill with my friends, drink beers and pass night to have fun together! Ask my girlfriend!!
Only one big problem: Belgium is a cold and rainy country in winter, no ocean, no sun and no ride! Solution is to build bikes during winter and be patient for the sunny days. Otherwise, South of France, Spain or Italia are not so far!
For myself, I love bikes, cars, and all mechanics since I can remember and I dream to drive Hot Rods, Rat Rods, and other funny things built from people’s imagination. Original production (OEM) machines, in 2018, are really sad and without soul, so I decide to build myself what I want. Friends and people like it and ask me to make their bikes and step by step, bike after bike, the project was born.
Today, HIDE is small workshop where I build objects that I love, always with an assembly of spare parts which are reclaimed with their soul. I’m a rust lover and I like to keep the years’ patina on special pieces of the bike and especially, the tank.
When I look back on my different customs, I realized this similar connection between all. Black frame with old paint and metal tanks. Maybe I can say, it’s a sort of a HIDE signature.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
#17 – The Sentinel
Honda XL650 Transalp 2005
• Why was this bike built?
Customer project who ask me to help him to build his bike because the first builder told him that it was impossible to make a cool bike with a Transalp and had to sell this one and come back with an other model if they want work together.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
No concept and no design. For me, bike is just an engine with two wheels. The twin is fun and the rear wheel has a good size. Perfecto!!
Most difficult was to find a tank that matched with the horrible frame structure. After that, I had to build around the tank and make choice to built it.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
– Front fork (-15 cm)
– Custom Honda Shadow Vt 1100 Tank with gauge
– Fat Bar and mini switch (Start / Turn signal)
– Front light Bates Mini
– 18” front wheels
– Custom electric wire
– TKC 80 tires
– Custom cooling system
– Custom Exhaust
– Custom foot pegs
– SubFrame and seat
– Mini LED tail light
– Black frame paint
• How would you classify this bike?
When a Scrambler had sex with a Tracker who had himself a brat’s origins, the Sentinel was born and it was a new type of bike, a Hybrid…
Seriously, I don’t know which type is it, but I just know that I like this style.
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
Nothing in special, I just can say that I’m happy to have done the job and when I see the smile of the owner when he rides his bike.