I woke up on a sunny Saturday morning in June and looked forward to my arranged demo on the 2023 model Honda Transalp. This bike has rave reviews and started as the Honda XL600V in 1986, eventually going up to the XL700V in 2008 when it stopped production. It has been restarted again as the XL750 this year. The bike was always an understated, do it all “dual purpose” bike made in the usual Honda fashion, and was a smaller version of the then Africa Twin and the new model sits again underneath the Africa Twin’s 1100cc.

You can get this in Paris – Dakar colours of blue, white and red, but mine was an understated metallic grey. It was sitting there very purposefully and it looked higher than
I expected – or dear! Newcastle motorcycles were very busy that morning, and I had to make do with a quick whizz around the controls. It had an interactive TFT display with various modes on it. I elected to use the standard mode, I pressed the button and what a lovely woofly start-up sound.

Off up Scotswood Road. My first feelings were that it had a lovely high seating position in traffic and was very easy to manoeuvre, but I had to get used to the serrated foot pegs (off-road use as an accessory on this model) to gear shift. No problem in keeping up with traffic. Where to go? I had thought of going over the back roads to Blanchland but decided to take the A69, turning off at Heddon on the Wall and took the Military Road. This route has a lovely mixture of tight bends, long but bumpy straights and less traffic. This demo had just over 500 miles on the clock but still had the new bike smell and went really well. It shows its off-road credentials by having a thin 21-inch front wheel. Remember, these types of bike have long travel suspension, so if you put the brakes on quickly there’s a bit of fork dive if you are not gentle enough. Through the course of the morning, I got used to the seat height which is 33.5 inches and it wasn’t a problem. Foot on the peg-like getting on a horse and swing over!

The engine is a peach. I’m told it’s the same engine in the current wow machine the Honda CB750 Hornet. It’s a 755cc unicam (one cam) 8 valve 91 BHP engine which has the fashionable configuration of the 270° crank to make this parallel twin feel and sound like a V twin. It’s liquid-cooled with Transalp written on the radiator which looks pretty fetching. The attention to detail from Honda is excellent.

A non-adjustable screen, but everything seemed to be kept off me in terms of wind protection, so it did its job.

Really good spread of power, but obviously was still being run in at 500 miles. I think I probably only used 5000 of the revs up to the 10,000 red line, which shows you what it can do. It hardly drank any fuel when I was out.

Where to go on this glorious day? I decided not to continue along the Military Road, but at the junction with the A68, I took that for a while North (I could see 40 miles to the border!) and was going to Otterburn/Carter Bar but decided to turn in on the B6342 which I’ve done before. This route takes you through the hamlets of Colwell and Little Bavington, and eventually
you end up at the cyclists’ and motorcyclists’ favoured watering hole of the village hall of Capheaton, which is also just off the main A697 out of Belsay. It’s in another little hamlet and is only open on Saturdays and Sundays.

I was basking in the sunshine with all the racing cyclists, also having their tea and homemade Victoria Sponge Cake. Marvellous. If you haven’t been before, please go, it’s like stepping back into the 1950s. Thanks to Ellie, who runs the cafe, for more amazing homemade food and a great welcome.

Back to base was now called for. The bars are high and wide but light and make short work of turns. This bike turns easily and is planted on the road. It has a gravel mode for going off-road, but at £9500 (although that’s cheap for many bikes now) I wouldn’t want to drop it. Back through Ponteland and on the motorway back to Scotswood Road – it dispatched everything with ease.

I found out when I got back that I could have been using the quickshifter accessory on this model – Doh! This bike is a lighter and more manageable (for some) alternative to higher-capacity adventure bikes or dual- purpose bikes. It has plenty of poke for performance and handling – is a good looker and did everything right the first time.

I didn’t cross any mountain ranges on this run, but you might want to cross over town and give this a whirl. The bike was booked out all of the time and the next rider was waiting to get on it when I got off! Thanks to Graeme again at Newcastle Motorcycles for the demo.

Mark Hipkin is a Partner/ Head of the Personal Injury and Civil Litigation department. He welcomes your e-mails or calls on the law (or your biking experiences) at wbay@aldersonlaw.co.uk or call 0191 2533509.

Mary was born and has lived all her life in the North East of England. Her first interest was science and she originally studied Biomedical Science at Northumbria and worked in the scientific research field and the NHS, before studying part time, again at Northumbria University, to obtain her degree in Law. Since then she has enjoyed a varied career covering many different areas of law, before specialising in Children Law, which she has done almost exclusively for the past 5 years.

Mary loves reading and history and at a weekend can often be found at one of the many historical sites the North East has to offer and has even been known to play video games when she can find the time.

Chris was originally a Fellow of the Institute of Legal Executives from 1997 and qualified as a Solicitor in 2001.

He has over 25 years experience in private client work comprising Wills, Trusts, Probate, Powers of Attorney and other Court of Protection Work such as Deputyship applications. Chris has been a Partner in several firms in the North East, being Head of Wills, Trusts and Probate.

He brings a wealth of experience to his role and works closely with clients, providing them with a service tailored to their needs

Susan was born and bred in the North East, spending all of her working life in Blyth. She qualified in 1981 and, after some years at Alderson Law, began to specialise in family law, covering both private and legal aid. Susan was a member of the Law Society Family Panel and an accredited Resolution specialist, specialising particularly in private children law and domestic violence.

Susan took part-retirement in December 2018 but still works as a Solicitor here at Alderson Law. Outside of work she enjoys cooking, walking, reading, and spending time with her family. She has also been a Brownie leader for over 40 years.

Originally from East Yorkshire, Jasmine moved to the North East in 2012 to study at Northumbria University undertaking the M Law Exempting (BPTC) course (the only undergraduate course in England and Wales which incorporates the Bar Professional Training Course), graduating in 2016 with a First Class Honours and a Very Competent in the Bar Professional Training Course. Prior to joining Alderson Law Jasmine specialised in RTA Fraud in a Personal Injury firm, before moving to another firm to work as a Family Law Paralegal.

In 2018 she joined our team as a Family Law Paralegal and before qualifying as a Solicitor within the Family Law Department based at our Morpeth office. Jasmine represents clients in a wide range of matters including; divorce and matrimonial finance, disputes regarding the arrangements for children as well as parents who are subject to Local Authority involvement both before and during Court proceedings.

In her spare time Jasmine likes visiting the beach, going to the gym, watching live music and looking after her pet rabbit.

Julie is a highly experienced property solicitor. She studied Law at Northumbria University and, after qualifying in 2000, went on to work at national and international firms prior to joining the team at Alderson Law in 2017. She works alongside her clients, advising on residential and commercial property development, property investment, portfolio management, property finance, landlord and tenant, easements and restrictive covenants.

Fiona is a specialist private client lawyer providing advice and assistance with wills, trusts, tax planning, probate & estate administration, lasting powers of attorney, court of protection and elderly client work. Having previously worked with a number of Newcastle-based firms listed in The Legal 500, Fiona brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the role. She is a full member of STEP (Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners), the association for specialists in family inheritance and succession planning.

Fiona grew up in Northern Ireland and studied law at Durham University, and has remained in the North East ever since. She enjoys spending time with her family at their cottage in Northumberland.

Mark Hipkin, partner at Alderson Law LLP, has been advising businesses and claimants since he qualified as a solicitor in 1982.

Mark’s passion is for representing claimants on two wheels in complex, serious and catastrophic motorcycle, scooter and cycle injuries, but he also has extensive experience of acting for claimants in many other personal injury areas including occupiers and public liability work and accidents at work. He specialises in challenging and complex cases. Mark always puts the client first, looking from the first day of instruction to obtain the best and fairest outcome for a claimant, no matter how long a case may take. He is a fan of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and early neutral valuation as alternatives to litigation. Sometimes, however, litigation is the best option, together with the necessary drive to see every matter through to a fair conclusion.

Mark also, having started his own business, advises business clients, often with motorcycle-, scooter- or cycle-related businesses and also deals with complex commercial disputes, professional negligence cases, and general civil litigation.

Mark likes to spend what free time he has with his family and practising Tai Chi and Tang Soo Do (Korean Karate – in which he is a second Dan).

Having worked in family law for over 25 years, Julie is a highly accomplished specialist in her field. She has a vast body of experience in dealing with family law, from divorce and related financial issues to complex child-related cases. Julie was the first person in North Tyneside to achieve the status of an accredited advanced family law specialist, and is a member of the Law Society Advanced Family Panel, which demonstrates her experience in complex contested family cases and other subject-specific matters.

Though multi-talented and highly experienced, Julie’s particular speciality is in complex ancillary relief (financial settlement) claims and complex residence and contact disputes.

In her spare time Julie enjoys relaxing and spending time with her family and three grandchildren. She attends clients at our Whitley Bay and Blyth offices.

Tracey is one of our Partners and qualified as a solicitor in 1997. Throughout her career she has had a varied caseload undertaking matters in most areas of civil and private client law. Tracey can assist clients in a wide range of matters including: Wills, Probate, Powers of Attorney, Debt Recovery, Residential and Commercial Conveyancing as well as Licensing and Landlord and Tenant matters.

Tracey is one of our most senior practitioners with over 20 years of local experience, having graduated from both Newcastle University and Northumbria University. When not in the office she enjoys walking, cycling, and cooking with her family.