Considering moving up to a GL1500


Information and questions on GL1500 Goldwings (1988-2000)
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oristorob
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Considering moving up to a GL1500

Postby oristorob » Mon Oct 06, 2014 9:06 am



I am thinking of getting a GL1500 between 1995 or later. I currently have a 1981 GL1100 with 41,000 miles that is in good riding condition. I have owned this bike for a year and half and had never rode a motorcycle before buying this one. I have rode approximately 2500 miles total, some with my wife as passenger so I am still learning. I am 66 years old, 5'10", 180 lbs with a 30" inseam so seat height is a concern. Specifications show the GL1500 has a 1" lower seat height but also weights over a 100 lbs more. I would appreciate any advise and information anyone would give me to the advantages or disadvantages of going to the Gl1500. There are a couple for sale by owner within 100 miles I am thinking of going to look at. The one I like best is a 1997 one owner with 37k miles listed as very good condition for $4200.

thanks, Rob



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wingpilot08
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Re: Considering moving up to a GL1500

Postby wingpilot08 » Mon Oct 06, 2014 10:12 am

No doubt you will get a bunch of different answers...I had ridden a 1200, but never owned one. I purchased a 96SE when I went to Goldwings. The one issue that I know of is the difference between the stator on the earlier Wings and the alternator on the 1500's. If the stator fails on the older Wings..it is my understanding that you have to pull the engine to replace...not so on the 1500.

Of course you get two additional cylinders on the 1500, a bit more power and maybe even more gas mileage. Storage increases also, I believe. Personally..I have enjoyed every one of the 207,000 miles I have on my Wing and expect a bunch more!!
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Wingsconsin
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Re: Considering moving up to a GL1500

Postby Wingsconsin » Mon Oct 06, 2014 10:56 am

I have owned a GL1100 ; a GL1200 ; and 2 GL1500's.

While ALL are great bikes - they are different as well.
Consider that I presume every one is in good state of tune with quality suspension (as my bikes have been) I will offer some observations.

The GL1100 and GL1200 all seemed much smaller and lighter when I had them than the 1500. I felt they handled better and were more peppy in acceleration. I often wished I had them back -- until I got used to the GL1500.

The 1500 is better in many ways -
Cruise control - Better radio systems - more accessories available aftermarket (13 model years).
Better long distance ride although I covered MANY miles with my Goldwings
Better storage on the 1500.
Better ride comfort - suspension - seats- wind protection for rider and co-rider.

It's all something you can get used to...but maybe ride a GL1500 for good ride before selling the GL1100.

Postings are my opinions based on experience and acquired knowledge.
Your results may vary. Universal disclaimers apply.


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Mh434
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Re: Considering moving up to a GL1500

Postby Mh434 » Mon Oct 06, 2014 12:51 pm

I had a GL1100 and moved up to a 1500. The funny thing is, the lineage is clear, but the 1500 is so much more evolved in every way. It's smoother, way more powerful (especially the torque - I've started off in 3rd without a shudder on mine), and it has so much more useable equipment. Yes, it's heavier, but the bike has a very low center of gravity, so it's just not an issue compared to the GL1100. You won't have a seat height problem. People, say 5'4", would, but you're plenty tall enough to sit flat-footed at rest on the bike.

Moving from a GL1100 to a GL1500 is kind of like moving from a VW Beetle to a Porsche 911. The family resemblance is there so it'll all be familiar to you, but there's just so much more of everything, and ALL of it is better.

Of course, GL1100 parts are starting to get scarce, whereas (at least, in my experience) GL1500 parts are still plentiful, even from MH (Mother Honda).

You really need to find someone with a GL1500 and try riding it. If it's a for-sale unit, though, you might want to have your checkbook with you...once you ride it, I'm pretty certain you'll want it. That's how I got mine - my wife & I went to look at the bike, she hopped up on the passenger seat, wiggled around and settled in, and said "I hope you brought your checkbook, 'cause we're not leaving here without this bike!". Right in front of the seller. How's that for bartering technique?? Didn't matter in the end, as the seller was a great guy, and he gave me a smokin' deal on the bike.

I've never looked back. Every single time I ride my GL1500, I fall in love with it all over again.

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Happytrails
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Re: Considering moving up to a GL1500

Postby Happytrails » Mon Oct 06, 2014 3:21 pm

I has the 30" inseams and feel very vertical challenged by gl1500. But mine is much older than one you is looking at. Should fit you just fine. GL1500 is mammoth of a bike. But its nice luxury ride and performs well. If you like the comfortable cruise then this could be good one for you.
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Re: Considering moving up to a GL1500

Postby RBGERSON » Mon Oct 06, 2014 3:45 pm

That's a great price if the bikes in good shape..definitely want 96 or hew re the transmission issue prior. Weight not an issue if you keep her upright. 800 VS 900 when she's falling doesn't make much difference. 1500's a lot more power, smoother ride and better/more electronics. The only down side is much harder to work on..more plastic to remove and more electronics.

That's what I went from 1100 to 1500 never looked back
HAD LOTS OF GOLDWING 75-83
NOW INTO 1500'S..RIDING A 1998 SE

FAIR WINDS,
RB

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oristorob
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Re: Considering moving up to a GL1500

Postby oristorob » Wed Oct 08, 2014 6:28 pm

Thanks everyone for all the information. I am still trying to decide if now is the time to move to the 1500. Being a new rider at an older age, I am mainly concerned with the skill needed to ride the 1500 not so much with newer and better stuff even thought that is a definite consideration. I really had a heck of a time trying to learn on the 1100. I even gave up and bought suzuki 250 to learn on and put the 1100 up for sale last May. But one day it just seemed to click and off I went. I am still a little uneasy in certain situations especially with my wife on back. I figure if I bang myself up, she will take care of me but If I bang both of us up, we are in real trouble. I am definitely gaining skill and confidence with each ride and enjoying it more and more. I have not contacted the seller of either 1500 bike as the arrival of my third grandchild was yesterday and I have not had the time. Thanks again.

Rob

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Re: Considering moving up to a GL1500

Postby WingAdmin » Thu Oct 09, 2014 8:34 am

oristorob wrote:Thanks everyone for all the information. I am still trying to decide if now is the time to move to the 1500. Being a new rider at an older age, I am mainly concerned with the skill needed to ride the 1500 not so much with newer and better stuff even thought that is a definite consideration. I really had a heck of a time trying to learn on the 1100. I even gave up and bought suzuki 250 to learn on and put the 1100 up for sale last May. But one day it just seemed to click and off I went. I am still a little uneasy in certain situations especially with my wife on back. I figure if I bang myself up, she will take care of me but If I bang both of us up, we are in real trouble. I am definitely gaining skill and confidence with each ride and enjoying it more and more. I have not contacted the seller of either 1500 bike as the arrival of my third grandchild was yesterday and I have not had the time. Thanks again.

Rob


To me, I found the 1500 easier to ride than my 1100 in terms of everyday riding - at speed. You sit lower, the C/G is lower, and while it does feel heavier, it is easily managed.

Where I did need work was coming to a stop, and at slow speeds. The 1500 demands respect and careful control at slow speeds, and particularly when coming to a stop. It is very unforgiving of coming to a stop with your front wheel turned. There is an awful lot of weight that is off-axis if you stop with your wheel turned, and trying to stop that from toppling your bike is tough, particularly if you are coming to a stop quickly.

Slow speed (i.e. parking lot) riding on the 1500 was very different. I could move the 1100 at a crawl, push the handlebars to lock, and make super tight U-turns. The 1500 took a lot of work and parking lot practice on my part before I was able to do that. I still do this all the time now, even when I don't have to, in order to keep this (perishable) skill up for when I might need it.

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Re: Considering moving up to a GL1500

Postby cbx4evr » Thu Oct 09, 2014 9:23 am

Well said, practice, practice, practice.


I had some handling issues with the 1500 when I bought it. Even feel over at slow speed with the wife on it. Realaized I needing some further training. I checked out my local GWRRA Chapter and ended up taking an Advanced Riding Course and going to weekly parking lot practices. Made a world of difference. Even my wife noticed the difference in how I was riding the bike. Maybe something worth checking out.
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Wingsconsin
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Re: Considering moving up to a GL1500

Postby Wingsconsin » Thu Oct 09, 2014 10:33 am

The one thing I learned that helped a lot with the GL1500 at slow speeds is to do most of my maneuvering in 2nd gear.
It reduces the jerkiness and smoothes out the ride as well as having plenty of grunt (technical term) to pull at low speeds...

Practice - Practice - Practice

I did find my GL1100 and the GL1200 to be easier to 'throw' around in aggressive cornering but the GL 1500 can do it just as well once you learn the feel of it. Being longer it takes bit more work but it can be done and the long range riding comfort and highway speed riding excellence of the 1500 makes it all worthwhile -- especially two up ... ;)
Postings are my opinions based on experience and acquired knowledge.
Your results may vary. Universal disclaimers apply.


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Re: Considering moving up to a GL1500

Postby WingAdmin » Thu Oct 09, 2014 12:59 pm

Wingsconsin wrote:The one thing I learned that helped a lot with the GL1500 at slow speeds is to do most of my maneuvering in 2nd gear.
It reduces the jerkiness and smoothes out the ride as well as having plenty of grunt (technical term) to pull at low speeds...


For me, I keep it in first gear, drag the rear brake slightly (which technically drags the front as well) to keep the suspension tight, and then feather the clutch. If you are at a very low speed with the clutch full out, modulating your speed with engine torque, and you get to a point or turn where you are going to lose the bike, opening the throttle may not give you power quickly enough to save yourself - and even if it does, you are then faced with having a ton of torque and power suddenly applied.

Easier to keep the engine revving at 1100 or 1200 RPM, then feather the clutch to pull just as much torque from the engine as you need. If you suddenly need more torque to rescue the bike from falling over, all you have to do is let the clutch out, and the power is there, instantly.

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Mh434
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Re: Considering moving up to a GL1500

Postby Mh434 » Thu Oct 09, 2014 1:11 pm

WingAdmin, as usual, nailed it. When you have controlled braking combined with feathered power on, it tends to keep the bike upright in turns. It will still turn, it just can't topple over, even at dead slow speeds. Using this technique, it is possible to do full-lock turns at almost a dead stop, for as long as you want, with nary a wobble.

I spent over 10 years as a member of a police motorcycle escort team, and a precision motorcycle drill team. This was, truly, extreme 10/10ths riding (for example, a maneuver called "the zipper" - picture a line of motorcycles traveling at speed, with a single bike going head-on toward them, at speed - at the point of almost certain collision, the line of bikes alternately veer off to either side - from above, it looks exactly like a zipper being opened). Some of the hardest maneuvers, though, were the extreme low-speed ones. With bikes close enough together that even a wobble of an inch or two means bike-to-bike contact, rock solid slow speed turns were mandatory. WingAdmin's method is what we used.

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Re: Considering moving up to a GL1500

Postby Wingsconsin » Thu Oct 09, 2014 1:22 pm

Perhaps we are not speaking of the same thing...
My method is how I maneuver through parking lots, slower traffic, and crowded streets...
Not DEAD SLOW crawling ahead speed, but rather the speed one uses when looking for a parking spot in a crowded mall or store.
You want to go slow, and smooth and be in control - but not working to balance as with drag braking and drill team ....
Just my experience - your experience may very.... :mrgreen:
Postings are my opinions based on experience and acquired knowledge.
Your results may vary. Universal disclaimers apply.


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Re: Considering moving up to a GL1500

Postby detdrbuzzard » Thu Oct 09, 2014 6:03 pm

lost of people say their 1100 or 1200 wing handled better than their 1500 wing I can tell you that's a false statement. the 1100 and 1200 wings have a shorter wheel base and steer quicker but the frame is nowhere as good as the frame on a 1500 wing nor do either have the ground clearance of a 1500 wing. the 1100 or 1200 wing doesn't have the cockpit room of a 1500 wing. while the seat height of a 1500 wing is lower than a 1200 wing the width of the seat is wider on the 1500 which splays your legs farther apart. that patio window Honda calls a windshield on a 1500 wing is wider than the windshield on a 1100 or 1200 wing
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oristorob
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Re: Considering moving up to a GL1500

Postby oristorob » Fri Oct 10, 2014 9:12 am

This is the information I was hoping for. Stopping and slow speed riding with sharp turns is the area I am most uneasy with on the 1100, especially uneven, grass or gravel parking lots with haphazard parking you find at town festivals. I am thinking I should stay with the 1100 a while longer until I gain more skill. The 1500 having a wider seat is something I had not thought about. I have some pain in my hips at times from sitting on the width of the 1100. Taking a riding course is a good suggestion and is something I am going to check into. I have not decided I am ready to move up to a newer bike at this time but was looking at adds when I found the found the 97 I mentioned in the original post. It is a beautiful bike in the pictures, two tone red, one owner and low miles at a reasonable price and I kind of got the fever. I would go to see the bike if it was local but it is 100 miles away from me which is a little to far to window shop. I would like to move up the a newer bike if I keep riding but don't know if I am ready for a more challenging ride. Thanks again for all the help.

Rob.




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