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Which Bike? Comments and Questions on what is the best bike for YOU, for YOUR trip. Note that we believe that ANY bike will do, so please remember that it's all down to PERSONAL OPINION. Technical Questions for all brands go in their own forum.
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Old 19 Jun 2013
pjw pjw is online now
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I'm new to your brilliant organisation.
My name is Peter and I am currently a Goldwing owner, amongst a number of other bikes. Albeit, the Goldwing is my daily ride.

I want to start undertaking some more adventurous trips. The most I have done to date is northern spain including the pyrenees.

I totally understand the approach that any bike, if you are comfortable with it, is good. However, I have read very little references to Goldwings and wonder why?

The Goldwing is an incredibly comfortable bike. The power and responsiveness is outstanding. Hitting the odd pothole, that can't be avoided, does make you feel as though you are punishing the bike beyond its design. Furthermore, I have,so far, been very careful to avoid anything other than good tarmac.

If I go further afield, I was considering something like a GS. Mainly because of resilience on lesser quality roads and also from the point of view of servicing and repairs.

Please could some of you put aside the usual addage of "ride what you like" and give me some objective opinions.

Can I finally say, that I feel privileged to have found this organisation and become part of it.

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Old 19 Jun 2013
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Location: West Yorkshire UK
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On an XT600 with knobbly tyres, the 50 mile stretches of gravel in Norway and hundreds of miles of gravel and sand in North Africa were fun. I could pick it up without taking the luggage off and anything that got bent was straightened with a handy rock.

The F650, Bonneville and Enfield were a bit slower, a bit harder to pick up, a bit harder to buy tyres for and there was more buying of bits on e-bay to fix the stuff I broke. They were a bit less fun on that gravel and sand.

My K100 was fine as a sidecar tug, but an utter swine on anything except tarmac solo. Tyre choice was limited and just moving it round the garage a PITA never mind picking the beast up. The plastic bits fell off faced with snowy back roads and even on a 20 year old rat were really too valuable to treat that way and worse still held the lights.

I once went to Morocco with a bloke on an R1100GS on road tyres. He picked that ******* up over 40 times in 8 hours. He gave up and went home.

There is no reason not to use a Goldwing, but you are giving up the ability to have fun in perfectly normal conditions for places still in Europe never mind further away. You aren't gaining very much as the places that have such roads run at barely over 30 mph anyway. You don't need 650cc never mind 1200 or 1800.

If you know Goldwings to the extent that you don't need the service manual, or are a dirt road god who will never drop it, your goalposts are of course in a different place to mine. If you aren't bothered about only seeing places within a hundred yards of the tarmac, or would turn back at the roadworks you might be happier than I'd be.

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Old 19 Jun 2013
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Goldwings are great bikes albeit with a limited design envelope.

You can still have some great adventures on metalled roads. If you really feel the need to take to the dirt get another bike which is fit for purpose.
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Old 19 Jun 2013
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I have had several GoldWings in the past, some 1200's and a 1500/6

I did use the 1200's on good dirt roads and bad asphalt roads, with no problem, but the 1500 was (for me) to heavy to have that flexibility in choise of road.

I always try to avoid the freeway and like the countryroads, paved or unpaved, so I sold the 1500 and I ride a R1100GS now.

You can read about my trips on various bikes, including my trip a week ago to Morocco on the R1100GS, on my website.
Jan Krijtenburg

The bikes I ride are a Honda GoldWing GL1200 Aspencade and a 1978 Honda CB400T
http://jkrijt.home.xs4all.nl/ (my personal homepage with trip reports)
http://www.krijtenburg.nl/HU_BoZ/ (The HU Motorcycle Travellers Community in my area)
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Old 19 Jun 2013
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There's Gold Wings and Gold Wings ... I had one of the early ones for quite a few years and big though they looked at the time they're petite compared to some of the adventure tourers being marketed at us now. I went all over Europe and a fair bit of North Africa on it, mostly two up and laden down with luggage. It coped easily with being pushed up shallow river beds, some light off road and getting bogged down in sand and I think it was a vastly underrated bike. A friend who still has a 1976 vintage one set off on it a few days ago to ride from New York to South Carolina and back over a long weekend. He took it in preference to a modern Triumph.

I'm not sure I'd want to go off roading or crossing rivers on one of the current luxo barge Wings but if you stick to tarmac they're great bikes. Expensive though. My wife and I are planning an NY to LA trip on one in the next year or so and the prices of reasonable second hand ones are frightening. I sold my old one when I went through a periodic financial "restructuring" (read divorce) and couldn't see any long trips on the horizon for a while. I thought at the time that as a bike to go from (say) London to Athens it was almost unbeatable but I just didn't want to use it on a shopping trip to Sainsburys.
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Old 20 Jun 2013
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People have gone RTW with Goldwings. A dude from Finland actually did it over 20 years ago on a GL1500, he went through most parts of Africa as well, including crossing the Sahara (through Algeria and Niger I think).

But it wasn´t without difficulties, and some of those seem related to his choice of bike. Like the ´Wing turning out to be WAY too heavy to ride in the desert sand, for example. Ended up burning the clutch in no time, and he waited a long, long time to get parts and get it fixed (and it wasn´t the only clutch failure he had). He did make it round the world, but that does not mean, that it was the optimum bike to make the trip with. It is important, though, that you go with the bike that you like, and that you feel comfortable with.

All that weight, and high purchase value taking big hits (as the bike starts to look very old very soon), and being not so well suited for other than reasonably smooth tarmac, would probably put me off. I´d go for something cheaper, and much lighter anyway. But if your plan is to stay mostly on paved roads (and there are a lot more of those, than there were two decades ago) and you really want to do it with the ´Wing, then maybe it is the right bike for you to do it on.
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