25 October 2010


I keep shaking my head.
This thing is just unbelievable.

When I started thinking about buying a motorcycle you'll remember the pre-requisites
I had:

-I was looking for something that wouldn't vibrate so badly it would crack the license plate bracket.
-It had to be big enough so Sara Jean could come along comfortably.
-It had to either have a belt or shaft as a final drive system.
A lot of bikes meet those requirements.

I've always shied away from Honda Goldwings because they're so HUGE...
Four-cylinder (the new ones now have SIX!), water cooled, 800 pound monsters.
But Sara Jean likes 'em and it became obvious if I wanted to be able to pat her leg behind me as we rode, my choices were limited to either a big Harley or a HUGE Honda.

Buying a Harley would have been approved in this family immediately...
Sara Jean's brother owns one, as do two of her nephews. We'd have been part of the family gang.
But Harleys are expensive. They're in great demand and therefore their owners can demand top dollar for them. They're also expensive to maintain...
Harley-Davidson Corporation sets a pretty high price on replacement parts for the things.
Then there's the reliability factor...
While I was driving Pizza Bike to Indiana two weeks ago, Sara Jean's brother was riding his '74 cu. in. Harley 350 miles to visit with his sister. He had to stop twice along the way to try to get a pretty serious oil leak under control, and he then worked much of the weekend in our garage to fix the problem before his trip back home.

I found several Goldwings on eBay at what I considered VERY reasonable prices. Two escaped my grasp before I finally won an auction. You've read the story below about our trip to bring the bike home.

Saturday was blustery and warm.
We mounted the bike and went riding, stereo blasting.
I'm simply amazed.
The engine on this thing is like a Swiss watch. It is quiet, and there is JUST NO VIBRATION at all! We rode 62 miles, stopping along the way to grab Chinese for dinner, and came home with bellies full and smiles on our faces.

I've now had a chance to look the bike over closely and have been reminded about things I knew, but didn't really sink in until now:
The engine is down really low in the frame. The four-cylinder opposed configuration means most of the weight is right at axle height.
The big thing that looks like a gas tank behind the handlebars is NOT a gas tank, but opens to provide storage for the tool kit and other small items you might want to put in there. The gas tank itself is behind the side covers, also down low.
It's genius-
The heaviest parts of the bike are lower than any other motorcycle I can think of, and that low center of gravity gives the driver lots of leverage to maneuver the bike fairly quickly in spite of the bike's (still damned heavy) proportions.

But it's a Honda, and with that comes that renowned reliability.
I'm still shaking my head.
I wish I had bought one of these things LONG ago.


Terry said...

Glad to hear the ride is better than you thought, now just to get use to no vibration, from a man where vibrations are part of the job.
When you do feel one, you will think something is wrong. Hee Hee

Keep safe

Timothy Frazier said...

It is undoubtedly the king of the road when it comes to reliability, comfort, and handling. The horsepower is nothing to sneeze at, either. For a big bike, they have no problem passing others...especially the v-twin cruisers.

I never owned one because I was always too stupid to consider buying used and the new ones were always out of my price range.

Love my R3, but one of these days when comfort, handling and practicality become more important to me than speed and chrome I'll probably go find a good used GW.

Bloviating Zeppelin said...

As I wrote before, driving a Gold Wing down the street is kinda like driving your sofa down the freeway on two wheels.

Hondas historically are never "light."

But, on the other hand, they last a long time, they're dutiful, obedient, loyal, courageous, and mostly cold-blooded until they're not.

You've already, I suspect, discovered that a Gold Wing mostly couldn't care LESS how much weight you pack onto its saddles or in its bags, it's still gonna PULL like a bastard in damned near ANY gear.

Plus: Wings are ALL about the PASSENGER as well.

Just don't drop it.