My new bike sitting at the former owner's home in Virginia.
For years I've liked the comfort and luxury of Goldwings. I never really gave much thought to getting one. They seemed big, expensive, and more bike than I needed.
In 2006 I upgraded from my Shadow to a Nomad as I started seeing the virtues of a bigger road bike. Also, that year two of the guys I work with bought Goldwings. They had many good things to say about them and it made me more interested in them. A couple things they brought to light were the Goldwing's power and handling. I assumed a Goldwing would be a heavy pig of a bike, but the newer Goldwings have a low center of gravity and excellent handling. Good handling is something my Nomad doesn't have...it's an oinker at low speeds, especially 2-up.
My riding buddy Mike plans to get a Goldwing and his enthusiasm has been rubbing off on me. When we went on our Asheville trip there was lots of discussion of Goldwings and I began noticing them more. Goldwings are also a popular bike on the internet forums I read. It's a popular upgrade from the Nomad. It's also a popular bike for long distance riders and, of course, touring. On our Asheville trip I saw some orange Goldwings which I really liked.
There were two things that made me decide to start seriously looking for a Goldwing:
The first was my co-worker (a different Mike) gave me the keys to his Goldwing and I took the bait. They always say not to test drive a Goldwing unless you're gonna buy one, and now I know why. The Goldwing is a sweet machine! Lots of features, power, and handles great!! The handlebars even seem comfortable to me and I'm an apehanger guy. The foot positioning took some getting used to. I can honestly say if my Shadow was still my main bike I would have went right out and bought a new Goldwing.
I wasn't opposed to buying a new one but I thought it would be nice to find a used Goldwing that I could customize, but wouldn't cost as much as a new one. Here's what I kept an eye out for:
The second thing in my decision to get a Goldwing, oddly enough, was my John Deere riding mower. When I bought my house I bought an old, used Wheelhorse riding mower. It served me well for over 10 years but eventually I replaced it with a John Deere X475 that I got practically brand new (32 hours and not a scratch on it) at an auction for half the price of a new one. The new mower is luxurious...23hp, hydrostatic clutch, hydraulics, comfortable seat, power steering, water-cooled, smooth riding...you get the picture. I actually look forward to mowing the grass now. It made me wish I'd gotten a John Deere years sooner. I was mowing one day (and loving it) when it occurred to me there were parallels between the John Deere and the Goldwing I'd been thinking about. Both are luxurious and top-of-the-line. If I wanted a Goldwing I should get one instead of pondering it for years only to wish I'd gotten it years earlier like I did the John Deere. Life is short (Each man's life is but a breath...Psalms 39:5).
- 2002, 2003, or 2007 orange Goldwing. The 2002 orange is my favorite. Blue is my second choice, followed by black or a bright silver.
- ABS and maybe even an airbag on a 2007.
- Lower mileage and in good shape.
- Some add-ons would be nice. Less to add myself. For a Goldwing I lean more towards functional upgrades as opposed to chrome.
Add-ons that catch my eye are:
- Utopia backrest
- trunk spoiler
- trunk luggage rack
- fog, driving lights
- engine guard pegs
A couple times a day I would check Ebay, Cycletrader.com, and the For Sale sections at GWRRA.org and GL1800riders.com. One day I found an orange 2002 on Cycletrader. It wasn't advertised as ABS but a very close inspection of the pictures revealed 'ABS' on the front wheel covers. I sent the seller a message through Cycletrader asking for more information. A few days later I returned to my desk at work to prepare to leave for our Gatlinburg trip when I saw I had voicemail. The seller had called me. The bike did have ABS and his description sounded good. I returned his call and left voicemail telling him I would take the bike if it was still available.
The next day (October 4, 2007) my girlfriend and I were slowing progressing through Pigeon Forge, Tennessee traffic when my phone rang. The seller, Kaya, was on the line. We discussed the bike for a while and I told him I would take it. He said it was mine. Yes! I was on vacation and now I had a trip to plan to get my new Goldwing!! A few weeks later Operation Get Goldwing was undertaken and I had a new (to me) Goldwing!
Kaya, the former owner, and my soon-to-be bike.
I am very excited about the bike. There wasn't a scratch on it. We spent several hours riding around Sunday after we got back. The bike is amazing. It's like a big, cushy electric scooter. Tons of power, handles wonderfully, quiet. I can't even tell I have a passenger back there. I can see how people ride several hundred miles a day.
It also came with about $2000 worth of accessories on it:
- Kuryakyn engine guard pegs
I already have several things in mind to add. I'm sure there will be more as time goes on. Some include:
- Kuryakyn luggage rack
- Kuryakyn exhaust turndowns
- Hondaline fog lights
- Several pieces of chrome, but not too much
- Front fender extension
- Chrome trunk & saddlebag wraparound trim with LEDs
- Air wings
- Carpeted trunk & saddlebag mats
- RAM mount
- Slipstreamer windshield w/vent
- XM radio (which I plan to replace with Sirius)
- Hondaline cigarette lighter plug-in
- Utopia backrest
- Bushtec trailer hitch
- Handlebar risers
- Traxxion fork brace
- All Balls steering bearings
- CB antenna (for looks/symmetry)
- Tulsa belly pan
- Kuryakyn ISO Wing pegs (the factory pegs aren't that bad)
- Kuryakyn ISO grips (the factory grips aren't that bad)
- trunk spoiler (for the extra brake light)
- Orange air wings (a little more subtle)
- Passenger arm rests
When I got the bike home and rode it for awhile I noticed two problems. First, the clock would reset every time the key was turned off. Second, the bike wouldn't go into reverse. I decided to tear into the bike to solve these problems. It would give me a chance to see how the bike works. I'll also do some upgrades and preventative things since it's torn apart. Some are shown below.
The clock reset problem was simple. My guess was a problem with the battery backup wire. A little searching revealed the battery backup wire to the guage panel had come loose from a connector. It had had a jumper cable added in the same area so it might have came loose then. I reinserted it and things were working good again.
The reverse problem wasn't so easy to find. The reverse system is complicated and I spent a lot of time studying the system and troubleshooting. In the end it was simply a loose connection of the power wire for the starter in reverse. In troubleshooting the problem I broke the stud on the reverse switch (they break easily) and had to order a new one. I also discovered the adjuster on one of the reverse cables was broken and had to order one of those, too.
Fan reversal mod
Coolant hose checks
Fog light wiring mod - allows the fog lights to be on with the headlights.
Accessory power circuit
LED voltage gauge
Silver Star bulbs - while I had the front fairing off for the fan reversal project I replaced the headlight bulbs with Sylvania Silver Star bulbs. Update: On our 2009 Pigeon Forge trip both bulbs burned out within a couple hours of each other. I replaced them with normal bulbs.
LED brake light
Luggage rack spacers
Windshield vent fix
Trunk lid modification - keep the trunk lid from rubbing the lower trunk
Rear shock reservoir fill mod
Hoppy trailer converter
Kuryakyn ISO grips
Ergo II footpeg upgrade
CB radio install
CB antenna install
CB coax connector swap
Traxxion fork brace
Fork cover modification
Handlebar weight retention mod
Satellite antenna lead shortening
Parts tray - a good way to keep track of your parts when you tear into the Goldwing.
Bushtec trailer hitch
Tulsa belly pan
Helmets to match the bike
Kuryakyn wing pegs
Hella driving lights
Sirius mounting setup
Trunk/saddlebag organizers - updated
Trunk power outlet - updated
Wingrider trunk support
Goldwing Gadget's GPS mount
Fuel sender mod - make fuel gauge more accurate
GPS comparison - Garmin's StreetPilot III, StreetPilot 2610, and 276c
Stereo upgrade - Amplifier and new speakers
Manual fan control
Lower trunk spoiler - just something for looks
Larger oil filter
Wingleader transformer passenger pegs
Heel/toe shifter - didn't work as well as I had hoped
Memphis Shades windshield
Brake pedal upgrade
Traxxion suspension upgrade
Gear position indicator
70-series rear tire
Trailer upgrade 3.0
Car tire - going to the Darkside.
Ground loop isolator
New taillights - and a little defarkling.
Homemade hitch rack
Touratech GPS mount - lockable mount
Temperature display mod
Storage pocket pouches
Saddlebag spoiler trim
GPS reservoir mount
Passenger arm rests
Arm rest pouch
Arm rest cupholder
Hondaline heated grips
Tiregard tire pressure monitoring system
BikeMP3 MP3 player
Seat beads - comfort for your behind
CB antenna mod - use a regular CB antenna in the Honda mount for hopefully better performance
Dechroming - uncovering hidden beauty
Driving light remount
CB antenna upgrade
Windbender electric windshield
Passenger headset plug relocation
Windshield ratchet repair
Coolie Caddie drink holders
HID light upgrade
Passenger cruise pegs
Better bike-to-bike communications
Bike rebuild - thanks to a drunk driver.
Traxxrite triple trees
Integration of the GL2Way with a second radio and installation of Kennedy FRSet4.
Torq Master mufflers
Reverse lights - for the trailer
Trailer lights upgrade
LED brake flasher - for noticeability
Trunk interior lights
Antenna mount disassembly
EdSets 3G headsets
Russell Daylong seat
Remote garage door opener
Progressive monotubes - installed on my brother's GL1800
Yaesu FT-1900 radios - I think we've finally hit on a good communications setup
Auxiliary LED brake lights
Generic mic muting idea
Trailer wheel covers
GROM radio integration kit - replaced my BikeMP3 player.
Updates I'd like to see on a Goldwing.
Relay board - cleaning up the electronics
Passenger mic muting idea
Trips & Adventures - my trips and adventures
Fred Harmon's site - a huge source of Goldwing information and instructional videos.
GL1800 Riders - the largest Goldwing forum on the net.
The GL Forum - up and coming Goldwing forum.
Steve Saunders Goldwing Facts Site - lots of good how-to's.
Wingstuff - a great source of Goldwing parts.
Shinhopples - Another source of Goldwing parts.
Cyclemax - Another source of Goldwing parts.
Goldwing colors and info by year - Good info if you're shopping for a used Goldwing.