Moving from 1984 Aspencade to 2004 GL1800 First Impressions


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gof
Posts: 116
Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2012 9:39 am
Location: Crown Point, Indiana
Motorcycle: 2004 Titanium Gl1800 & 1984 Gold Wing Aspencade 1200

Moving from 1984 Aspencade to 2004 GL1800 First Impressions

Postby gof » Sun Sep 02, 2012 6:06 pm



I took my first test ride on a 2004 GL1800 Saturday and ended up buying it. I previously was riding a 1984 1200 that had been stored since early in the 2008 season and "revived" with the help of this board this year. Bear in mind this bike has the front and rear Traxxion Dynamics suspension system.

I have to say my first thought was, I don't like it. I was asking myself why did Honda build a GIANT 6 cylinder, ultra heavy 1800 cc bike? Why didn't they just refine what they had at 1500 cc and under and make a lighter bike? It felt cramped, heavy, lower center of gravity, car like, uncomfortable as far as shifting and matching rpm's between gears. I also felt the windshield was not blocking much as far as wind. I thought the stereo sounded worse than my 1984. Cosmetically and ergonomically (controls) I loved it, no doubt, no question. Although the CB, stereo control is ridiculously high and bulky.

The 3 hour ride home was mostly in a fairly steady rain, so I was unable to get comfortable with much of anything. The ride was also harsh and the pre-adjust was about in the middle.

This morning I went to breakfast, 5 minutes there, 5 minutes back on the 1984. I was struck at how I liked the engine sound, the roominess, and even the smoothness of the ride. The negative was from the front fork dive etc. I was seriously doubting my purchase by the time I got home.

So I went out right away on the 2004 after verifying the tire pressures were low. I inflated them to 40/41. I figured out to set the pre-adjust at 0, that instantly helped the ride greatly, although some roads still have that rough snap. I wonder if Traxxion set this bike up for the 300 lb previous owner? Sounds like I will be talking with them this week.
I figured out how to raise the windshield up to top level, that was also a nice improvement.
I figured out how to shut off the CB and CD and got the FM stereo working. I turned down the bass a bit and upped the treble a bit.
On a second trip I got the CD player working, on a third trip I got my Ipod working, lookout I was in the 2000's now.

That short "test ride" became a solid, enjoyable back road cruise of about an hour. I was getting a feel for the bike now.
I was throwing it from lane to lane, practicing panic swerves, learning the cruise controls quirks and starting to have a lot of fun.
I was amazed at the sheer power at my fingertips. If I had a tailgater, I literally warped drive away from them. I can't help but think people must be amazed when the Golwing in front of them just literally blasts off? My 60 mph highway peg cruise snapped to 90 mph short test in an instant. What power!

I know some guys won't move beyond the 80's and others prefer the 1500's and now maybe I begin to understand the differences and personalities of these bikes. I really think I am growing into the 1800 quickly and I even want to try a 1500 for a day sometime.

The deceleration wobble is still there, some air in the tires and "wishing" did not make it go away. It does feel heavier than the 1200. It has less "motorcycle feel" than the 1200. That said it does handle better, is smoother and much more confidence inspiring in the rain than the 1200. It does feel like a "lead sled" which is partly why it feel so stable to ride. It leans with the best of them and I did not have to scrape pegs to get enough thrill in the turns. I can adjust easily if I pick a bad line in a tight turn, at that moment it really feels stuck to the road.

I think it's a keeper and I will feel like part of me is gone when I sell my 1200. I bought her in 1997. Funny enough, I thought I would hate a Goldwing when I test rode her on a whim.



User avatar
GreenDragon
Posts: 251
Joined: Thu Apr 08, 2010 12:51 pm
Location: Dillsboro, IN
Motorcycle: 2003 GL1800 GoldWing

Re: Moving from 1984 Aspencade to 2004 GL1800 First Impressi

Postby GreenDragon » Sun Sep 02, 2012 7:33 pm

Thanks for what sounds like an honest appraisal. I think you will come to love the 1800, nothing against the 1200 or 1500. Just different, in a good way. Yes, there are some issues, some would like a 6th gear, some more storage, etc. but all in all a great bike.
Light travels faster than sound, that is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak!

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st4r50
Posts: 133
Joined: Wed Apr 28, 2010 8:25 pm
Location: Timberville, VA
Motorcycle: 1988 GL 1500 crashed
2002 GL 1800A

Re: Moving from 1984 Aspencade to 2004 GL1800 First Impressi

Postby st4r50 » Sun Sep 02, 2012 7:56 pm

wow great write up, now bring on some pictures!

I rode a 1500 then the 1800, the only thing the same is it's made by Honda and it's called a wing, after that it's a whole different beast.

There are plenty of things I miss about my 1500 but I'm learning there are way more things I love about my 18.
KG4USG
73

User avatar
gof
Posts: 116
Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2012 9:39 am
Location: Crown Point, Indiana
Motorcycle: 2004 Titanium Gl1800 & 1984 Gold Wing Aspencade 1200

Re: Moving from 1984 Aspencade to 2004 GL1800 First Impressi

Postby gof » Sun Sep 02, 2012 10:33 pm

st4r50 wrote:wow great write up, now bring on some pictures!

I rode a 1500 then the 1800, the only thing the same is it's made by Honda and it's called a wing, after that it's a whole different beast.

There are plenty of things I miss about my 1500 but I'm learning there are way more things I love about my 18.


I am basically trying to make it look stock! The owner had a red topped custom seat made and added red accents which is not my cup of tea. I am actually going to sell off some of the Kuryakyn stuff too.

User avatar
gof
Posts: 116
Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2012 9:39 am
Location: Crown Point, Indiana
Motorcycle: 2004 Titanium Gl1800 & 1984 Gold Wing Aspencade 1200

Re: Moving from 1984 Aspencade to 2004 GL1800 First Impressi

Postby gof » Sun Sep 02, 2012 10:41 pm

gof wrote: Bear in mind this bike has the front and rear Traxxion Dynamics suspension system.
I wonder if Traxxion set this bike up for the 300 lb previous owner? Sounds like I will be talking with them this week.


Follow up: Tonight was my first night ride and my first 2 up ride. Guess what? With 2 up and the pre-adjust set to 3-5 the front suspension softened up. The harshness was greatly reduced in the front end. Most of that riding was 2 lane back country roads with tar filled cracks and generally rough limestone crush type pavement. If the road was at all decent I got comments like, "this thing is so smooth". It even handled 90% of the crappy roads very well. I need to talk with Traxxion. I am thinking it might be setup for a heavier load by default. Don't know much about their system, but I know something smoothed out when I added a passenger. The handling two up was a bit slower than normal, as to be expected.

LET THERE BE LIGHT! Between the driving lights and the B R I G H T S I was in heaven. I can see so much more and so much further now. I could not get over this and this was a huge bonus in safety.

User avatar
st4r50
Posts: 133
Joined: Wed Apr 28, 2010 8:25 pm
Location: Timberville, VA
Motorcycle: 1988 GL 1500 crashed
2002 GL 1800A

Re: Moving from 1984 Aspencade to 2004 GL1800 First Impressi

Postby st4r50 » Mon Sep 03, 2012 12:05 am

I took off some chrome and put on stock grips too.


KG4USG
73


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