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I'm considering buying a GL1200 (my first Wing) because I like the prices and because they still look like a motorcycle, and because large as they are, they are smaller than the 1500 or 1800.

My concern is age. At 22 - 24 years old ('85-'87) I'm concerned about parts availability and repair costs. Any suggestions, info?

Or....

Everyone raves about the 1500's and the 1800's (latter out of my price range at the moment) so should I bite the bullet and go with a 1500? Why?

My current ride is a Honda Shadow Sabre, 1100 v-twin. I found that I added stuff to turn it into a tourer (bags, floorboards, fairing & windshield (last not wholly satisfactory)) and what I really want to do now that I'm retired is travel around the country on the bike. A wing seems the logical choice. The Sabre will do the trick, but not all that comfortable after a couple hundred miles.

The 1200 is "only" 125 lbs heavier, and the wheel base is actually 1" shorter than my Sabre.

Thanks for your opinions!
 

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rcmatt007 wrote:
repair costs.... depends.... do you do your own work?
Mostly no, but easier stuff I could. I'd rather ride than work on it.
 

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I guess it depends on the actual bike that you buy. Any bike regardless of model can have problems or run near perfect. No major problems with my 1200 and I don't think PO took good care of it. :cool:
 

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The newest 1500 is nearing 10 yrs old . Dealers get picky about working on bikes that old . ITs sad but often true:(. On the flip side either the 1200 or 1500 if its in good running condition when you buy , it should give good service with minimal work.
 

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This spring I swapped my 07 1100 Spirit for a '99 1500SE Wing. Like you, I'd dolled the Spirit to the "nines": highway bars, floorboards, chrome radiator cover, bags, reflectors, clock, thermometer, luggage rack-- you name it. Was a handsome bike and performed well, although at 6'1" and 260, my avoirdupois was not totally comfortable on the 550lb shock absorber:dude: when touring.

I'd lusted after a Wing since I first saw a tri-state wing gathering in Leavenworth, WA in 1980. My '99 SE will, in all likelihood be my final ride. Yes it's heavy (840lb) but sheds weight virtually as soon as it rolls; it's more agile than my Spirit. It turns in about the same economy as the Shadow Spirit (42-45mpg) but the smoothness, comfort, perqs of trim , appearance and creature comforts make an unbelievable difference. It has more storage room than the 1800's, and according to my dealership, all things being equal, the 1500 has proven the most reliable and maintenance free of all the Wings built to date. I do my own oil changes, loose hardware checks, and final drive oil changes. Anything much beyond that it goes to the pro's (it's always better to have someone else to hold accountable:dude:)

I've never operated an 11/1200, and only sat on an 1800. I like the 1500's look, feel, performance and reputation for reliability. Your opinion (and all the 1200/1800 owners':)) may vary.

Good luck with your decision.:coollep:



PS: Did I mention 1500's have reverse gear for those "Damn! I wish I hadn't parked this way" moments :shock:
 

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I would look for a 1500 myself instead of a 1200 as parts for these bikes are hard to find...
 

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If you get a 1200, you'll soon wonder how the 1500 must feel. I'd go for the newest model I could afford, and really shop hard for a good deal. They're out there right now,too. It's unfortunate, but lotsa folks can't afford thier bikes anymore. Good luck, jimsjinx
 

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jimsjinx wrote:
If you get a 1200, you'll soon wonder how the 1500 must feel. I'd go for the newest model I could afford, and really shop hard for a good deal. They're out there right now,too. It's unfortunate, but lotsa folks can't afford thier bikes anymore. Good luck, jimsjinx
What jim said. I'm on my 2nd 1200, and I'm just crazy about the 1200's styling. Still sitting on the fence to up-grade, but I feel that the 1500's are roomier,more long-legged and better suited for country crossing. My 86-I has seen several 600/800 mile days, but I sure wouldn't want to put too many of them into a2 week or longer road trip. Just my .02...:action: :gunhead:
 

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Just what is your budget? $3k? 2k? more/less?
 

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I have always loved the Goldwing. When I bought my first one, my budget was good for the 1200 only. It was a great bike. I rode it for 7 years. It had 155000 miles when I sold it and I did half of that myself.
The down side is that parts availablity is getting thin. some parts are still readily available new. Some are discontinued but you can find them on the used market (e-bay and various forums) and some parts, you may have to figure a way around. The bikes are incredibly reliable, however if you have the broken part, all the others being reliable is meaningless. I am able to do a lot of my own work, and I have friends that are better than I am that are able to help when I can't do it. Even the best vehicles still need repairs and maintenance from time to time.
My recommendation is buy the newest that your budget can afford. If you have a 1200 budget like I did, then by all means go for it. You will love the bike. Hope for the best. If anything goes wrong, odds are in your favor that it will be fixable, one method or another. Worst case scenario, it breaks and you can't fix it. There's a great used parts market out there and you can always sell the bike for parts, or part it out yourself and get a good part of your money back. But really, that's worst case. Odds are in your favor.
When I sold my 1200, it was really beat up. It still ran great, but it looked lousy. I ran that bike hard and the paint was shot, and the plastic was cracked in about a dozen places, I plastic welded it several times, and never finished the job (never sanded the finshed product) and never repainted. Some of the smaller plastic parts had gone missing. The part of the fairing that the mirror on the left connected to was almost broke clean off. I plastic welded it back in place, but it was starting to break again. It was a tired looking bike. But it ran great!!! and I was still riding it every day right up till I bought my 1500. I was considering parting it out, and someone offered to buy it. We agreed on $1500 and 2 years later they are still riding it every day.
 

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debron wrote:
rcmatt007 wrote:
repair costs.... depends.... do you do your own work?
Mostly no, but easier stuff I could. I'd rather ride than work on it.
Parts are not a problem, except for the LTD and SEI... in fact I can still get what I need for my 1100.... but from my viewpoint, if you are not going to actually do the work yourself, then save your nickles until you can afford the 1800.... getting good professionals to work on old bikes (including the 1500) is hit and miss at best.... or if you think you have someone you can trust that will work on old iron, then go for what you can afford....
 

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I have both an 1100 and a 1200 and have absolutely no trade up fantasies. Both my bikes are dependable enough for cross country trips, and I suspect, that you can find one in similar condition where you are. Having said this, I am lucky in that I have a local shop that specializes in older wings for anything that I don't feel competent to tackle or just don't want to bother. I'd say, look at your local shops, and if you think that you can get service, go for the 1200. Parts are not that hard to locate- shoot, parts bikes come up all the time.
 

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If I ever upgrade, I'd more likely look beyond the 1500 to the 1800, mainly because 1800 has more sporty handling than the 1500. I rode the 1200, 1500 and 1800.

To me , the 1500 just feels too big and cumbersome. I do think the 1500has themost comfortableride of the three, but I'll sacrifice comfort for better handling as all three are fully capabable of 700 mile + days (with the right seat)...but maybe someday, I'll change my mind.
 

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I just sold my 1200 last week, I had moved up to the 1800. I have never driven a 1500, but liked my earlier naked 1100 and liked the 1200 Aspencade. After riding the 1800 all I could say was WOW....what a ride!
 

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When I was shopping for a Gold Wing, I looked at a lot of 1100 and 1200's as they were more in my price range or so I thought. Many of these I was disappointed in mainly because they were in poor overall condition. I was fortunate to ride a few to get a better opinion on comfort, handling and braking performance. I was impressed with the handling considering their weight. I'm 6 ft 4" and about 250 lbs, I usually take a size 10 shoe. I found that there wasn't much room for my feet or knees especially on the left side and none of these had foot boards.

I had settled on a particular 1200 but some how missed the boat and while looking on the web found a 1500 quite close to home, er under a cedar tree in fact.
The PO was splitting up with his wife of 40 years and at all were being sold off at a 50/50 split. Anyway I went to see it, took it for a ride and the rest is my story. It has a lot of scratches and I will repair those in due time, for now I will just ride it and enjoy the summer. Plenty of time for fixin' things in the winter!

That was February of last year, apart from a few oil changes, a change of front tire and disc pads and some subtle mods, I have done little to the bike. However it carried my wife and I from Vancouver to San Fransisco and back last August with ease. I will be fitting new timing belts and a rear tire and balancing the carbs before heading for Montrose in September. It is really a great machine for the long haul and once you get used to the weight it really has great handling qualities. I have to mention that I did drop it a few times but that's all behind me now and Skert has helped me up once or twice. http://www.pinkribbonrides.com/dropped.html

Hopefully you can get to ride a few to get the feel of them before you decide.
 

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debron,

It depends on your budget, 2K a decent 1200, 3K a good 1200 or a high milage 1500, the later 1200's had better stators.

All good rides don't let milage put you off I've seen alot with over 250,000 miles

and some over 350,000
 

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I've owned both bikes at the same time. They overlapped several months. For a while, I was considering keeping both bikes just because I wasn't sure I would like the 1500 that much better. However, after riding both alternately, I got rid of the 1200. And, I'm not sorry I did. Don't get me wrong. I'm not badmouthing the 1200. It was a great bike, but the 1500 does everything the 1200 does at least as well and some things much better.

One thing that bugged the heck out of me was that the mirrors on the 1200 would sag if I rode on a rough road. I think that is a pretty common problem for 1200's. The seat on the 1500 is head and shoulders better for the driver and passenger. My wife says she feels much safer on the back of the 1500. By the way, we just got back from a 1000 mile trip from Idaho to Montana, through Yellowstone, into Wyoming and back to Idaho. The 1500 has an alternator instead of a stator. Any used 1500 will be loaded with features compared to the average used 1200 for sale. The 1500 only has two carbs to go out of balance while the 1200 has four (not a big deal). Both bikes had plenty of power for one rider, but the 1500 accelerates much better when loaded with a passenger. The 1200 is smooth, but the 1500 is smoother.

As a matter of fact, I would say that if you buy a 1500, it may be the last bike you ever have to buy. Well, maybe not. There is always something else that comes along.;)
 

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I'd go for the 1500. I'll probably do that myself in a couple of years, I'm just not up for the fight right now, lol. I love my 1200A, but I think the 1500 would be a better fit for me.
 
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