Buying a 1981 gl1100 Goldwing.


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Gnosistika
Posts: 24
Joined: Wed Jun 10, 2015 4:07 am
Location: Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa
Motorcycle: 1980 BMW r65 (retired)
1982 GL1100 (Apple)

Buying a 1981 gl1100 Goldwing.

Postby Gnosistika » Sat Jul 18, 2015 9:13 am



HI Guys,

Long time lurker, first time poster.

I am about to buy a 1981 gl1100 Goldwing and would like some feedback before I complete the transaction in a day or two.

Some background - I found the bike on of the local South African online add sites. The bike belongs to a gentleman who for health reasons cannot ride any more. He claims to have had the bike for only two years and that the previous owner is unreachable. The mileage or rather the kilometers on the bike is very low for a 34 year old bike - 38000km. I took it for a test ride earlier this morning and noticed a few things that bothered me. Maybe I'm being unduly paranoid and thought that maybe you stellar chaps could put my mind at ease or have me running to the hills...

1. As mentioned, the very low mileage for the age of the bike. My first reaction is that the clock has been replaced at some stage and that the current seller is unaware of it.
2. There is a strong petrol smell when the bikes stands for a bit. I checked for leakage but found none under the bike.
3. There is a disconcerting "wobble" when cornering at low as well as higher speeds. Possible reasons? Steering or Swing-arm or more?
4. Rust on the swing arm.

The engine utters no strange noises. Are there more "issues" that i should be looking for on this model?

Thank you guys. Much appreciated.


"Of all the the things I have lost, I miss my mind the most"

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HawkeyeGL1200
Posts: 918
Joined: Sat Jul 05, 2014 11:53 am
Location: Courtland, Va.
Motorcycle: 1984 GL1200 Interstate
1981 GL1100 Interstate

Re: Buying a 1981 gl1100 Goldwing.

Postby HawkeyeGL1200 » Sat Jul 18, 2015 10:46 am

Depending on how familiar you are with riding a heavy motorcycle, the wobble may be perception more than reality... then again, there may be issues with the bike. Check tires for cupping, loose forks in the steering head, loose axle clamp fasteners... etc. The swing arm having rust on it, in and of itself, isn't necessarily a concern... through-rust or rusted out swing arm, on the other hand, is a big deal and would be a deal breaker for me unless I had a replacement lined up and wanted the bike so badly that I didn't mind changing the swing arm before I was able to ride it.

If your seller hasn't ridden the bike in ages, the tires may be the cause of the wobble... they've probably got flat spots on them from sitting and I'd be inclined to change them (first thing) before I rode far. New, matched tires, work wonders on these old bikes. Take your time, and go over the frame and wheels to see if there's anything obvious that is causing the wobble. Weight distribution is also something that can give trouble
I am wrong as often as I am right concerning what is wrong with someone else' motorcycle without having seen the machine in person. Guessing with limited information, as to the source of the trouble, is sketchy at best.

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fixdent
Posts: 41
Joined: Sat Aug 30, 2014 8:22 pm
Location: Red Lake, Ontario, Canada
Motorcycle: 2005 Goldwing

Re: Buying a 1981 gl1100 Goldwing.

Postby fixdent » Sat Jul 18, 2015 1:57 pm

I owned a 1981 interstate back in the 80s. It was the best bike that I owned. I have a 2005 now, and wish I had my '81 back.

Go for it.....

--
Gordon
2005 Goldwing

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spiralout
Posts: 1050
Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2013 6:41 pm
Location: Alabama
Motorcycle: 1975 GL1000 (gone)
1980 GL1100I (with '77 1000 engine)
1996 GL1500 SE

Re: Buying a 1981 gl1100 Goldwing.

Postby spiralout » Sat Jul 18, 2015 8:15 pm

Not GW related, but killer avatar. I checked that guy out and he has some great illustrations.

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Gnosistika
Posts: 24
Joined: Wed Jun 10, 2015 4:07 am
Location: Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa
Motorcycle: 1980 BMW r65 (retired)
1982 GL1100 (Apple)

Re: Buying a 1981 gl1100 Goldwing.

Postby Gnosistika » Sun Jul 19, 2015 3:07 am

Thank you Gents.

@HawkeyeGL1200: The goldwing is definitely much heavier than anything I've ever ridden, including the 2003 bmw 1150GS. It might be a combination of the tyres and the weight, thanks for highlighting. The rust thankfully is not severe. I will be taking the bike for a service I think to be on the safe side. The shop can check out the steering and axle claps etc. I'll school myself as time progress, with the help on this forum and a manual. Really appreciate your feedback mate.

@fixdent: That makes me more comfortable with buying the wing, thank you.

@spiralout: He is superb!

I have one more question for you gents - How do i treat rust? Are there products that i should use, barring respraying the whole frame?
"Of all the the things I have lost, I miss my mind the most"

User avatar
HawkeyeGL1200
Posts: 918
Joined: Sat Jul 05, 2014 11:53 am
Location: Courtland, Va.
Motorcycle: 1984 GL1200 Interstate
1981 GL1100 Interstate

Re: Buying a 1981 gl1100 Goldwing.

Postby HawkeyeGL1200 » Sun Jul 19, 2015 8:01 am

Back in the old days, we stopped rust with "Naval Jelly" (which I understand is an acidic gel of sorts) then cleaned the area with a solvent followed by paint. Rustoleum sells paint products that can more or less bypass the Naval Jelly, cleaning, painting with a little wire brushing and painting directly over the rust. I don't know if their products are available in your area... if you take the swing-arm off... sand blasting, primer and paint would be the way I'd go... but it's a lot of work for surface rust.

I also am unfamiliar with the climate where you live. If it is fairly dry there without a lot of humidity, then the rust is far less likely to become severe in the short term.

I can't recall if you mentioned the last time the timing belts were changed, or if anyone else brought up the importance of a change if it's been a long interval since they were changed last. If you've been lurking, you know it's probably the most important thing you can do to the bike before riding very far.


I am wrong as often as I am right concerning what is wrong with someone else' motorcycle without having seen the machine in person. Guessing with limited information, as to the source of the trouble, is sketchy at best.


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