1500 or 1800 - Quality info required

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Motorcycle: 1982 GL1100 Interstate

1500 or 1800 - Quality info required

Post by Rjfowler » Fri Aug 17, 2012 2:07 pm

Presently running 1982 1100GL Interstate, looking to upgrade to a minimum of a 1500 but possibly an 1800. Lookiing for feedback on the 1500 and 1800. Which years are good, which had issues and what were the issues etc. Want to avoid a lot of maintenance issues due to a bad model or year. Any advice welcome.

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Re: 1500 or 1800 - Quality info required

Post by bustedwing » Fri Aug 17, 2012 2:27 pm

I currently own a 1500, have had a 1200 and would not own a 1800 unless I was going to trike it. The tires are expensive enough and the 1800s go thru them very fast.The 1500 was carb, the 1800 was fuel inj, good points and bad points to both, pick which you would rather put up with.Of course the 1800 has more bells and whistles.Whichever one you choose , be sure you are happy with your choise before spending hard earned money.It's hard to find much wrong with a certain year of wing, most of the time it's due to lack of maintenence. Good luck, ride safe.
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Re: 1500 or 1800 - Quality info required

Post by trike lady » Fri Aug 17, 2012 2:52 pm

Hello and welcome to the forum.
The GL1500:
Hydraulic tappets in engine.
Doesn't have a lot of complicated electronics.
More spacious, you don't feel cramped on it.
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2002 GL 1800A

Re: 1500 or 1800 - Quality info required

Post by st4r50 » Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:33 pm

I have both and I'll tell you from the start, the only thing the same is the name and they have two wheels.

The earlier year models of any vehicle generation typically have more troubles than the later. Over time they work out bugs and have product updates which improves the machine. Gold Wings are no different. If you're worried stay away from the earlier ones in a generation. 1500's were manufactured from model year 1988-2000, 1800's were 2001-2010. The new 1800 came out for model year 2012 and there is no such thing as a 2011. The reason is they moved production of gold wings from Ohio to Japan during the 2011 year.

The earlier 1500's had a small percentage of transmission issues, the later ones had a couple more bells and whistles. Mine is a 1988 which is the first year of the 1500s and I love it. In the early years they didn't have different models and they all came loaded. They do have a carb and this requires a little bit of maintenance but not really that bad if you can turn a wrench. I built a carb sync tool for under 5 bucks and it worked great against my buddy's store bought one. Tires are a big pain to change on the bike as it's got a double sided swing arm and it doesn't swing down low enough for the axle to be removed. You have to either pull the saddle bags or tilt the whole trunk/saddle bag frame up to access it. They ride like a sofa, smooth comfortable, easy to ride after you get used to the high center of gravity. Plenty of bag space, plenty of rider room. They are certainly a superb machine and well worth the investment if you like a touring bike.

The 1800's also have a small percentage with transmission issues along with frame cracks. The frame was redesigned a little bit for the mid years and on into the current production. They have a much stiffer/sportier suspension compared to the 1500's. They feel lighter due to the lower center of gravity, they respond quickly and feel like they are just looking for a good set of twisties to attack. I love my 1800. They are not quite as comfortable as the 1500 and you will get a little more weather on you due to the smaller fairing. The storage space is much less than the 1500. They are fuel injected and are really quick, no hesitation at all. They have a single sided swing arm with lug nuts and this makes tire changes quick compared to the 1500. Some models have anti-lock brakes and built in navigation along with audio inputs for mp3/ipod etc. My wife likes the seat on the 18 over the 15 as do I.

1500's have;
big trunks
ultra smooth ride
large fairing for protection from the elements
Hydraulic lifters (no valve adjustments)

1800's have;
smaller trunks
stiffier/sportier ride
smaller fairing
fuel injection
solid lifters (bucket/shim)(valve adjustment every 32k miles)

They are both brilliant examples of touring bikes although the 18 is more like an overgrown sport-tourer. They each have their own pros and cons. I wouldn't hesitate to buy either one again, it all depends on your budget and riding style.

Oh a previous post it says the tires don't last on 1800's that's bs. If you don't abuse your tires they last just about the same as the 1500 tires do. The cost is just about the same too, the thing is, it's far easier to change a set of tires on an 1800 than it is on a 1500. Typical rider I would estimate gets around 15k miles per tire on either model wing. If you have hard shifts and roll on the throttle hard you can expect less. If you are an easy rider and take care of your tires you can expect quite a bit more.

The fuel mileage is nearly the same between the two bikes. I average around 40 mpg on either one. The 1800 has a larger fuel tank so you can usually go a little farther between stops if you're pounding the super slab all day long.

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Re: 1500 or 1800 - Quality info required

Post by bustedwing » Fri Aug 17, 2012 8:48 pm

Even the 1500 will burn the tire if you want but the fuel inj.and 1800 cc on the bike make it a perfect candidate for a trike,two tires on the rear not so easy to burn up.No, thats not bs.

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