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A few years back I purchased a 2007 GL1800 with out taking it for a ride. It was very cold with snow still on the ground and some icy spots on the streets, that's the reason for no ride. So last summer I find a 99 GL 1500 SE with quite low mileage and pick that up. Don't ever ride both back to back in the same day or the same roads! The 1800 is like a sports car, fast, awesome throttle response at lower rpm's and rides like a little sports car. Firm. GL 1500, luxury car like a older mid 70's Lincoln or Mercury. Smooth riding, a little soft but 416 Progressive suspension cured that. Good throttle response and still takes off if the grip is twisted far enough. Of course the 1800 gets a 'little better' fuel mileage, but I think the comfort of the ride is worth it on the 1500. The bike only had 26700 miles when I bought it, has almost 29000 now and it does get 'cool' here in ND in the winter.
 

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I think you are absolutely right and sum up the differences very well. Being tall makes a difference to the comfort aspect too, the 1500 has more leg room for the taller rider.
 

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I prefer the comfort of the 1500, but I ride so seldom now, that I need the reliably of the Fuel Injection so it can be ridden when I am able.
 

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When the 1800 came out in 01 Honda's tag ;line was, "THIS ISN'T YOUR FATHERS GOLD WING" The 1800 is more of a sporty bike
 
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