Honda has a fairly illustrious history of big dualies – the Africa Twin, Varadero, Big Red Pig, Transalp…the list goes on. Yet the family lineage goes back to a bike that not many people know about – the XLV750R. It was not a commercial success, and less than 10,000 were built between 1983 and 1986. As such, parts availability nowadays is limited so you’d be better off riding this as a novelty instead of a viable option for long distance exploring.
I normally enjoy the typically goofy styling of big adventure bikes, but this bike just looks awkward to me – particularly in the shape of the tank and the red coating the engine and wheel hubs. The air scoops are designed to help keep the rear cylinder of the V-Twin motor cool, helping the 749cc unit produced 61 horsepower and 51 pound feet of torque. Power was sent through a five-speed transmission to a shaft final drive. Wet weight was a portly 484 pounds – compare that to a R80GS of the same production year, which weighed 410 pounds wet. Despite all this, Honda bizarrely chose to have the press launch of this bike at a motocross track in Ibiza, Spain. Testers were quickly able to find the limits of the bike, as shown by the photo below, taken from a later review of the bike by Motorrad magazine where they compared it with the R80G/S. You’ll have to know German to understand the text, but the title of “Elefantentreffen” probably gives you an idea of the overall message.
Still, the XLV had some positives: shaft drive plus hydraulic valve tappets meant the drivetrain required little maintenance, and it had some advanced features like dry sump lubrication with oil-in-frame and three valves/two spark plugs per cylinder. Plus, they’re unique as hell and nearly impossible to find in the US because they were never officially sold here. So if you want to make your GS-riding buddies feel like they’re riding common bikes that don’t stand out, here’s an option.
This bike shows 20,878 miles on the odometer but it’s got new electronics and a modern rear shock with stiffer springs. The seller mentions that he has some spare parts but doesn’t go into many details beyond that. I see an aftermarket windscreen, trunk, crash bars, and fog lights. The exhaust also does not look to be stock but I’m unable to identify it beyond that. Find this XLV for sale in Bellaire, Texas here on Desert Pistons for $8,500.
This bike-uriousity brought to you by Michael H!