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Hey guys, I know many will disagree with me but I wanted to share my experience over the last few years.

A couple of years ago I got an itch to go full blown touring so in 2010 I found a smokin' deal on a left-over new 2008 1800 with EVERYTHING! Airbag, GPS and ABS. 19 grand out the door!!!! What a deal!

Did my first Iron butt on it and thought it was a cool bike but still lusted for another sportbike and the Wing had a loan and I just didnt ride it as much as I thought so I sold it within six months of getting it. Good news is I darn nearly got all my money back!!

Got on a couple of sportbikes after selling the Wing and began to miss the luxury accommodations. Also, a spill on a Ninja reminded me that I'm not 20 years old anymore. This past July I toured all over New England on a Honda VFR and knew after that trip I had to have another Wing. I was truly ready this time.

Since going in, I knew I didn't want another motorcycle loan this time. See, for me, a motorcycle is a "Want" thing not a "Need" thing. Dont get me wrong, I LOVE motorcycles....ALOT! Its just my nature to be conservative with my toys. I have so many friends who have $300 and $400 motorcycle loans. I just don't want that so I decided whatever I get will have to be under $10,000 and have under 30,000 miles and have full-on touring capabilities. Those were my parameters.

I quickly learned that an 1800 with low miles was going to be difficult to find for less than $10,000 but the 1500's were far more affordable. I was concerned though. Having had an 1800 would I be satisfied with a 1500? I recall reading posts on the GL1800 forums how guys who moved on from the 1500 to the 1800 would "Never go back". I kept this in my mind while looking for my next ride.

I gave serious consideration to a BMW K1200LT. I really like that bike for its interesting qualities but after reading of final drive failures and clutches that can get contaminated from leaky slave cylinders(nightmare job to do a clutch on that bike) I got turned off. I really wanted to like an Ultra Classic but the heat on my right leg was ridiculous I thought. Plus, I was born in the 60's not the 40's and dont particularly like the harley look. For me I knew it was going to be another Goldwing. Nothing came close for the money like a GL1500. It seemed to be a value sweet-spot but will I be happy "Downgrading"???

As I searched I found many 1500s with 60, 70, 80 ,90 and 100+,000 miles. In my mind I "thought" the 1500's were going to be slower, poorer handling and less enjoyable to ride and the thought of getting one that was wore out didnt appeal to me.

So I stumble on a Craigslist ad for a local '98 Aspencade in Black with only 7,900 miles. Bone stock! Ad listed it for $6499. I've bought enough bikes, cars and houses to know you have to think through things thoroughly and you also have to recognize a great opportunity when one presents itself and act. In this case I phoned the owner and set up an appointment the same day to see the bike. Again, I was somewhat reluctant because of all I read on the GL1800 forum but I thought, "This is a virtually new bike for cheap and if I didnt like it I could re-sell it easily".

The story on my bike is it was from New Jersey. I know nothing of the original owner. The gent I bought it from bought it from a New Jersey dealer for $8500 two months before I bought it from him. The story he gave me was that his wife was recently diagnosed with dementia and is deteriorating quickly and he knew he wasnt going to use it for what he intended.

He wouldnt let me demo ride it. He was extremely particular with his things(anal actually) and was too afraid of a stranger dropping his perfect Wing but he agreed to ride it with me on back. This was a first for me. Anyhow, the bike seemed to run good but had a couple of issues I knew I would need to address like the tires(original), coolant, oil, timing belts(due to age), clutch and brake fluid etc...I told him I wanted to think on it and I came home and began to analyze it and within a few hours I e-mailed him with an offer of $5800. I explained all the maintenance the bike needed and even though it was low miles, it was 14 years old and needed all the services. He phoned me back and said $6,000 was his final number and I accepted.

Since getting the bike I did complete all the services on my own as I LOVE wrenching on bikes in my garage. I have got it literally running like new and have logged 1,200 miles and have made some conclusions and wanted to share some of my thoughts.

First, it is my opinion(yes everyone has one) that there is more "in-common" than not in comparison with the 1800. I recall when they came out with the 1800 Nicky Hayden did a Honda commercial and people perceived the 1800 to be a quantum leap and a "sportbike" compared to the 1500. While they are different, I feel its a more evolutionary difference than a revolutionary one. Yes, the 1500 is down on torque compared to my 1800 but not so much so that I feel the bike is a dog. In actuality I feel my 1500 is more than enough for a touring rig. I have no problem keeping up with ANY motorcycle shy of sportbikes. In terms of cornering and twisties, I dont see much significant difference. In fact, I would scrape parts on my 1800(unnerving ) yet I have yet to on my 1500. Could it be better ground clearance on the 1500? I recall when I had my 1800 that I wasnt impressed with the suspension and was considering upgrading it if I kept it. I dont find the 1500 suspension to be any inferior. The brakes where a little better on the 1800 but I'm fine with the 1500 brakes. I may eventually upgrade the pads and go with braided lines to improve the feel. I do like the style of the 1800 more than the 1500 but I still like to look at it because it is still a Goldwing after all. I do miss the ABS and the airbag was a great conversation item.

Overall, my new-to-me ridiculously low mile GL1500 is "almost as good"(to me) as my 1800 was for 1/3 the price. I have a reliable touring rig in the garage that is paid for and all services current. I intend on riding it from Florida to Nova Scotia this coming July for a two week trip and cant wait. If it sits in the garage for a couple of months I wont feel guilty about a payment sitting there not getting used.

Seems I'm enjoying my Goldwing experience more the second time around than the first. Could it be I'm getting older, wiser, slower or forgetful? Yes to all of the above. All I know is the GL1500 is a great motorcycle and totally understand why they are so legendary:RTFM:.
 

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Well done on the new ride as a 1500 owner myself i wont trade up to an 1800 after test riding a few of them i like the sturdyness of the bike its well able to handle pulling the trailer loaded to the hilt its great in cross winds and very comforting on a long or short journey all round i think its a better bike by far not as fast but that does not bother me i dont ride faster than my guardian angel can fly, People in general wont tell you they made a mistake by buying something they tought was better and it failed to live up to there expectations its a sort of self slap in the face, My wing is a 91 my car is a 95 Volvo and i have just restored a 1980 Kawasaki KZ550 that i got for 250 euros and like that is better than most new bikes that cost a small fortune, By the way i paid cash for all the above no banker is going to retire on any loan i ever had :raspberry:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well done on the new ride as a 1500 owner myself i wont trade up to an 1800 after test riding a few of them i like the sturdyness of the bike its well able to handle pulling the trailer loaded to the hilt its great in cross winds and very comforting on a long or short journey all round i think its a better bike by far not as fast but that does not bother me i dont ride faster than my guardian angel can fly, People in general wont tell you they made a mistake by buying something they tought was better and it failed to live up to there expectations its a sort of self slap in the face, My wing is a 91 my car is a 95 Volvo and i have just restored a 1980 Kawasaki KZ550 that i got for 250 euros and like that is better than most new bikes that cost a small fortune, By the way i paid cash for all the above no banker is going to retire on any loan i ever had :raspberry:
Peter, I would love to see some pics of the Kawasaki!
 

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Nice write up. I concur completely! I considered going to an 1800 from my 1500, but couldn't justify the cost for what I perceived as minimal pluses. My '93 does all I ask of it and does it well.
 

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Nice write up and it makes a lot of sense. I am almost in the same boat as I searched for a low mileage 1500 a few years back due to the fact that I did not want the 1800. I still don't want the 1800 and love the 1500 I finally rode home. To me, the 1500 is the last real touring machine built, and it still looks way better than any 1800 ever will. The handling might be short of the 1800, but for its intended use is more than plentiful. When I feel the urge for handling or performance I simply jump on my Ducati 1098. Keep up your 1500 and ride it to your final sunset, I know I will...
 

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Coming from street cruisers , (still have a VTX 1300) I didnt want to make the investment in a 1800, so I got an ok GL1500A, I dont have to tell you guys what a great bike.....having said this , Im liking the new F6B....Have a good un....
 

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The 1500 is a great bike. Some have over 400,000 miles on them. Take care of it and it will take you anywhere you want to go and play as hard as you want to push it. I was grinding the mounts for the Kury ergo pegs into the pivot bolt that were mounted on the lower horizontal bar of the engine bars while on the Tail of the Dragon last November on the return leg of 13,500 mi 3 1/2 months ride on my 99 which now has 102,000 on it. I'd like to go to Alaska on it this year lord willing.
 

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Peter, I would love to see some pics of the Kawasaki!
My photo gallery went missing in the change over to the new site and Steve is trying to retrive it for me i was going to post the rebuild on the old site but it was taking forever to load the pictures as the saying goes were working on it







The pic with the dog on it is the day we brought it home
 

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Nice write-up.

Also worthy of mention on behalf the 1500, is that is is a very mature design:
-Seemingly all the problems are well known and documented.
-Tons of used parts exist.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
That looks like a fun bike!!!

My photo gallery went missing in the change over to the new site and Steve is trying to retrive it for me i was going to post the rebuild on the old site but it was taking forever to load the pictures as the saying goes were working on it







The pic with the dog on it is the day we brought it home
 

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Definitely a nice write-up. I'm running a '94 with 35K on it and, while I wouldn't mind some updated electronics, I can't much imagine a better bike for me. It was a perfect way for me to get into Wings without breaking the bank as well.

Last year I was not only quite ill for a while but took a line drive off the face and had to have someone bring the bike home I had at the time, a Spirit 1100. I have been concerned now that I have the 1500 that I have no one to bring the bike home if I'm injured again.

I ride a lot with a buddy that bought my Spirit and a couple weekends ago he rode the Wing for the first time just to see if he could "bring 'er home" for me if need be. Then he brought it home with me riding my old one. Now guess who is in the market for a 1500??!! Yes, I agree with you - they are that nice!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
When you say line drive off the face do you mean literally? What happened??

Definitely a nice write-up. I'm running a '94 with 35K on it and, while I wouldn't mind some updated electronics, I can't much imagine a better bike for me. It was a perfect way for me to get into Wings without breaking the bank as well.

Last year I was not only quite ill for a while but took a line drive off the face and had to have someone bring the bike home I had at the time, a Spirit 1100. I have been concerned now that I have the 1500 that I have no one to bring the bike home if I'm injured again.

I ride a lot with a buddy that bought my Spirit and a couple weekends ago he rode the Wing for the first time just to see if he could "bring 'er home" for me if need be. Then he brought it home with me riding my old one. Now guess who is in the market for a 1500??!! Yes, I agree with you - they are that nice!
 

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one thing I have to agree with you about is not having bike payment. I payed cash for all 3 of my wings and can't for the life of me justify monthly payments on a toy.
But sure wish I would some times especially after seeing the new gl1800B umm one sweet bagger. but alas not going to happen
Wilf
 

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I had a 08 that I got a great deal on. I always had felt a little crowded on it, but wife loved the room on back. I ended up selling it after about
15k miles. Went back to my Ultra.
Recently I found a original owner low miles 99 SE that I just enjoy riding and I dont feel crowded, and I do plan on keeping the Ultra.
 

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That looks like a fun bike!!!

You better belive it i am very impressed with the handling, comfort and speed of the bike its great for the small country roads we have here did i mention its super fast, i got it as a project for my son and i and not to be useing the wing all the time the Youtube clip is of its first outing i have just put 250 miles on her in order to shake down any probs but i am happy to say there is none
 

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I bought mine in April 2012 so that the wife could ride on the back. Nothing in my mind was going to be as good as the '83 standard, which is a great bike all around. I was picking up head gaskets for it at Honda when we encountered ******, for sale (was a trade up).

That bike is the absolutely smoothest made made machine there is to ride down an asphalt surface. Beats our SL500 and towncar. You are staddling a 100 hp engine/tranny using the same oil for all, rigid bolted to a steel frame. Smooth enough to not know whether it had 1 hp or capable of 100 in 2 seconds time! The crank has no counter weights, and I bet the out of balance budget on piston-rod-ring pack assys is very very small, and out of position orientation angles of the rod journals to themselves and distances to the crank centerline is in the noise, when in cars, several degrees is acceptable in mass production. I love the sound of it, sounds a little like a muffled formual 1 engine, or it can moan along. And its paid for, all 6 cylinders of smooth power.
 

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An excellent and very fair appraisal. :claps:

I am in the "other camp" having had a 1500 and gone to an 1800 and absolutely love it. It took me about 20 minutes of test ride to know that the 1800 was for us, but I am sure there are some factors that drew me to that conclusion, that differ from those that you have.

If anyone is in the market for the 6 cylinder versions, then either are superb machines, as are the earlier 4 cylinder models in their own right. I think you hit the nail right on the head that each model has been an evolution of the previous ones, rather than just a complete change, which is something I have appreciated, through the models I have owned. My very first GL1000 was a completely different animal to the current 1800 I have, but my moves through the models have always felt as you describe, an evolution.

Nice write up. :bow:
 

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I really learned a lot and enjoyed the process on my 86 Wing, great bike. Similarly the 1800 was beyond me financially. I had listened to several people I ride with talk more positively about the 1800 than the 1500 but it was time to buy and I could only afford one option. I have been reading motorcycle magazines for decades and have followed the progression of the Wing from its inception. They were all identified as class leaders. I found a deal on a 99 1500 and have been very happy with the purchase. Comfort, power, dependability and of course the insight you can get from this forum on anything Wing. I expect to enjoy this bike for a long time and with some help from above I will probably enjoy a great used 1800 some day.

Ride safe!
 

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I am happy I came across this post! I bought my first Goldwing last August. I have done lots of upgrades and the bike already had upgrades to it. The maintenance is known now, but I ride with several people that have 1800's. I get the itch to upgrade to an 2012, but the lack of lights and all my goodies holds me back. You would not believe how many people stop me at a gas station or store to view my bike and talk about it. The new bike seems boring in looks. It would be $1,000's to upgrade a new one to features mine has already. I would love to have fuel injection, the power and the fuel economy, but the looks slows me down. I have not riden a 1800, but I do hear people say they are cramped.
Reading your post and others replies, I think I will continue with my 1999 SE 1500. Even with 153,000 miles on it. I just put 1,900 miles in one trip and loved the comfort. Yes, its a new seat and backrest, but would the new 1800 feel this good? I would need to spend more and more on the new bike to get what I have now.
 
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