GL1500 handling


Information and questions on GL1500 Goldwings (1988-2000)
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oldmopars
Posts: 224
Joined: Sun Jun 16, 2013 9:25 am
Location: Selah, Washington
Motorcycle: 1996 GL1500 SE
1989 GL1500 parts bike
1984 GL1200 Aspencade FOR SALE

GL1500 handling

Post by oldmopars »



So, I just purchased a 1500, its a 1996 SE. I got it from a dealer and it is in great shape.
I called my buddy and we decided that we wanted to go for a ride on Labor day. No plans, just a Butler G1 map and desire to ride. I set the tripometer to 0 and we started off from Greenwater Wa. were we met up. By the time I returned home in the afternoon, we had done over 400 miles.
I have an E3 in the rear and a 177(?) in the front. The E3 sings, I understand this is normal, but what I don't care for is that it just does not feel planted. I used to have a BMW K1200LT and I could ride that thing like it was a sport bike, but this seems to wallow in the corners and just does not inspire me to push it hard.
I have to assume, as this came from a reputable dealer that they did as they said and they checked the tire pressure, but if it is set at factory setting, not the 41/44 that I hear the E3 should be at, would this account for the poor handling?
I am starting to really like this bike and I got it so my wife and I can ride together and go places. The love for this bike grew when I went to the pet store and fit a 35lb bag of quality dog food in the trunk and I could shut the lid with room to spare. I had tools for work in the side bag, and more junk in the other.
I want to really love this bike, as it is really nice, but the handling needs to improve.
So, is it tire pressure? Or should I service the forks and shocks? Both? I think I am stuck with the E3's for a while, I have a parts bike (1500) with a set of new E3's on it. Can't afford to buy new tires when the tires on it are like new, and I have new spares.



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offcenter
Posts: 707
Joined: Sat Sep 22, 2012 2:10 pm
Location: Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey
Motorcycle: 99 Gl-1500 SE
76 GL-1000
77 Honda Trail 90

Re: GL1500 handling

Post by offcenter »

As the owner of a 1500 that handles GREAT, I have two pieces of advice.
First, get rid of the e3 and put on a Michelin Commander II.
Second, don't believe the owner's manual. Run the front tire at 41 pounds
and you'll get your sport bike handling.
Mine had E3s on it when I got it. They howled like crazy and the
handling sucked.
Now mine handles like a much smaller lighter bike.
George in Jersey.
99 Goldwing GL-1500 SE
76 Goldwing Gl-1000
77 Honda CT-90 "Trail 90"

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bluthundr31
Posts: 561
Joined: Tue Jul 11, 2017 11:43 pm
Location: Morgan Hill, CA.
Motorcycle: 1991 GL1500 Interstate (Cinnamon Beige)

Re: GL1500 handling

Post by bluthundr31 »

Tire pressure will definitely affect how these bikes handle. NEVER take a dealers word for something as important as tire pressure, , reputable or not, , ,its YOUR butt on the line, not his.

I would be tempted to pump those tires to 1 or 2 lbs UNDER max. E3's are an old model, , , check the mfg. date on those and condition of sidewalls too. You don't want a blow-out while tossing the bike through a hairpin turn at high speeds. Dyna-beads will help "smoothness" and greatly reduces cupping too, , , just a hint to keep the tires in good shape.

When the tire pressure is up near max., , taker 'er for a run on a moderate "twisty" and see how she handles. You might be pleasantly surprised.

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MikeB
Posts: 3033
Joined: Fri Dec 04, 2009 12:54 pm
Location: Tacoma, WA
Motorcycle: 1998 - GL1500 Aspencade
183K Miles
2017 - GL1800 Audio Comfort
10K Miles
Contact:

Re: GL1500 handling

Post by MikeB »

offcenter wrote:
Tue Sep 04, 2018 1:27 pm
As the owner of a 1500 that handles GREAT, I have two pieces of advice.
First, get rid of the e3 and put on a Michelin Commander II.
Second, don't believe the owner's manual. Run the front tire at 41 pounds
and you'll get your sport bike handling.
Mine had E3s on it when I got it. They howled like crazy and the
handling sucked.
Now mine handles like a much smaller lighter bike.
What size Michelin Commander II's are you using?
MikeB
1998 - GL1500 w/184,500 miles ~ 2017 - GL1800 w/13000 miles
USAF Avionics Communications Tech - 18 Years / Flight Engineer C-130E - C-141B - 6 Years. Retired.
Industrial Maintenance Tech - 22 years.
Retired in Tacoma, WA

User avatar
MikeB
Posts: 3033
Joined: Fri Dec 04, 2009 12:54 pm
Location: Tacoma, WA
Motorcycle: 1998 - GL1500 Aspencade
183K Miles
2017 - GL1800 Audio Comfort
10K Miles
Contact:

Re: GL1500 handling

Post by MikeB »

oldmopars wrote:
Tue Sep 04, 2018 1:16 pm
So, I just purchased a 1500, its a 1996 SE. I got it from a dealer and it is in great shape.
I called my buddy and we decided that we wanted to go for a ride on Labor day. No plans, just a Butler G1 map and desire to ride. I set the tripometer to 0 and we started off from Greenwater Wa. were we met up. By the time I returned home in the afternoon, we had done over 400 miles.
I have an E3 in the rear and a 177(?) in the front. The E3 sings, I understand this is normal, but what I don't care for is that it just does not feel planted. I used to have a BMW K1200LT and I could ride that thing like it was a sport bike, but this seems to wallow in the corners and just does not inspire me to push it hard.
I have to assume, as this came from a reputable dealer that they did as they said and they checked the tire pressure, but if it is set at factory setting, not the 41/44 that I hear the E3 should be at, would this account for the poor handling?
I am starting to really like this bike and I got it so my wife and I can ride together and go places. The love for this bike grew when I went to the pet store and fit a 35lb bag of quality dog food in the trunk and I could shut the lid with room to spare. I had tools for work in the side bag, and more junk in the other.
I want to really love this bike, as it is really nice, but the handling needs to improve.
So, is it tire pressure? Or should I service the forks and shocks? Both? I think I am stuck with the E3's for a while, I have a parts bike (1500) with a set of new E3's on it. Can't afford to buy new tires when the tires on it are like new, and I have new spares.
I can see how you had 400 miles when you finished your ride, Greenwater is 93 miles from Selah. I've got some GWRRA friends in Greenwater. Did you start the ride in Selah?
MikeB
1998 - GL1500 w/184,500 miles ~ 2017 - GL1800 w/13000 miles
USAF Avionics Communications Tech - 18 Years / Flight Engineer C-130E - C-141B - 6 Years. Retired.
Industrial Maintenance Tech - 22 years.
Retired in Tacoma, WA

oldmopars
Posts: 224
Joined: Sun Jun 16, 2013 9:25 am
Location: Selah, Washington
Motorcycle: 1996 GL1500 SE
1989 GL1500 parts bike
1984 GL1200 Aspencade FOR SALE

Re: GL1500 handling

Post by oldmopars »

MikeB wrote:
Tue Sep 04, 2018 2:24 pm
oldmopars wrote:
Tue Sep 04, 2018 1:16 pm
So, I just purchased a 1500, its a 1996 SE. I got it from a dealer and it is in great shape.
I called my buddy and we decided that we wanted to go for a ride on Labor day. No plans, just a Butler G1 map and desire to ride. I set the tripometer to 0 and we started off from Greenwater Wa. were we met up. By the time I returned home in the afternoon, we had done over 400 miles.
I have an E3 in the rear and a 177(?) in the front. The E3 sings, I understand this is normal, but what I don't care for is that it just does not feel planted. I used to have a BMW K1200LT and I could ride that thing like it was a sport bike, but this seems to wallow in the corners and just does not inspire me to push it hard.
I have to assume, as this came from a reputable dealer that they did as they said and they checked the tire pressure, but if it is set at factory setting, not the 41/44 that I hear the E3 should be at, would this account for the poor handling?
I am starting to really like this bike and I got it so my wife and I can ride together and go places. The love for this bike grew when I went to the pet store and fit a 35lb bag of quality dog food in the trunk and I could shut the lid with room to spare. I had tools for work in the side bag, and more junk in the other.
I want to really love this bike, as it is really nice, but the handling needs to improve.
So, is it tire pressure? Or should I service the forks and shocks? Both? I think I am stuck with the E3's for a while, I have a parts bike (1500) with a set of new E3's on it. Can't afford to buy new tires when the tires on it are like new, and I have new spares.
I can see how you had 400 miles when you finished your ride, Greenwater is 93 miles from Selah. I've got some GWRRA friends in Greenwater. Did you start the ride in Selah?
Yep, I started in Selah, rode to Greenwater to meet my buddy from Tacoma/Lakewood. We then came back down 410 to Selah and up 821(Canyon Rd) to Ellensburg. Then 97 up to Dryden for lunch. Over to Wenatchee, then down 28 to Quincy, then south to George to hit I-90. Across Vantage and back to Ellensburg, down I-82 to Yakima, then 12 back to Naches/Selah. He went home Via 410. It was a great ride and we had fun. He is on a CB500X and as long as I kept it under 80mph he did just fine. I had to use the cruise, because it was too easy to drift up to 85 and he would start to fall back.

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Mh434
Posts: 1512
Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2014 10:24 pm
Location: Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Motorcycle: 1997 gl1500 SE
Previous:
1981 GL1100I
1989 Kawasaki Concours

Re: GL1500 handling

Post by Mh434 »

I wouldn't trust anyone's word on tire pressure - I'd check it myself. I ran my E3's at 41 psi rear, and I run my new E4's at the same pressure. No wallowing, ever, even when 2-up & loaded for travel.

It doesn't take much to induce wallow, though - 35 psi will do it for sure.

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aholloway17
Posts: 90
Joined: Sat Jan 28, 2017 10:00 pm
Location: Grand Junction, CO
Motorcycle: 1994 GL1500 Interstate

Re: GL1500 handling

Post by aholloway17 »

First off,

Welcome! These folks (I'm not included) are amazing, so willing to help and smart!

I've been on my 94 1500 for two years now and love it. There are some things you must always know and do. Which you probably know but get the essentials down like tire pressure, suspension pressure, fork oil, etc.

Having said that, it took me at least a couple of months to really dial in my skills on this bike. Balance, acceleration, braking, rolling on throttle, entering and exiting turns etc. I've ridden motocross, track, and all sorts of bikes for more than twenty years. Once I really understood how it likes to be handled, I love this bike. I think you will too given a little more time!

Keep the Shiney Side Up!
1994 GL1500 Interstate

oldmopars
Posts: 224
Joined: Sun Jun 16, 2013 9:25 am
Location: Selah, Washington
Motorcycle: 1996 GL1500 SE
1989 GL1500 parts bike
1984 GL1200 Aspencade FOR SALE

Re: GL1500 handling

Post by oldmopars »

So last night I adjusted the tire pressure to 41/44. This did help a lot. it feels more planted now and seems to corner better. Part of it is getting used to the way this bike handles. The BMW I had was the same weight, but very different suspension. My last bike was a 500cc CB500X, it was super light and handled like a sport bike(17in front wheel, short, light). This GL1500 is heavy and wide.
I took it out to a customer I needed to visit today and took the twisty way home. I had fun, and it is growing on me.
My BMW it was instant love from the first moment I rode it. This GW is good, and it is growing on me. I am sure I will love it just as much as the BMW, it will just take a few weeks.
And, while I have not been very active on here in a while, I have been here a few years, 2013 or 2014 I think. I had a GL1100 for a while. Sold it to get the BMW.

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Rednaxs60
Posts: 2352
Joined: Wed Nov 18, 2015 12:44 pm
Location: Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Motorcycle: 1985 GL1200 LTD
1995 GL1500 SE CDN Edition
2012 Suzuki DL1000 VStrom
2008 GL1800 (sold)
Ontario 1985 GL1200 LTD (sold)

Re: GL1500 handling

Post by Rednaxs60 »

Just purchased a '95 1500 SE CDN Edition and have since done the maintenance that I knew would have to be done.

Being from the old school where suspension was king and the basis from which to make a car/bike handle well I would suggest a suspension upgrade. There are those on this and the other forums that will argue that every time handling comes up, suspension upgrade(s) get mentioned.

My basis for this is the suspension is the only part of the bike that keeps the tires firmly planted on the road, in doing so tires last longer, and the performance and ride quality is enhanced. Your bike is some 23 years old, and you probably don't drive a car that is that old. Whenever you go into a tire shop, there are posters on the wall that explain what is happening to your tires because of the suspension - more specifically what is happening to your car because of the suspension and reading tire wear, motorcycle shops do not have this, but the premise is the same. You can install a more dynamic/robust fork brace such as the Superbrace or Blackwing brace. These do help with the handling, but used independently without a suspension upgrade is only addressing the symptoms and not the issue. I have done a suspension upgrade, Progressive fork springs and 416 series air shocks in the rear. The bike came with a Superbrace. The handling is quite good both solo and two up.

Everything such as shocks and springs get soft/weak over time and the 1500 is no different. Had an 1800 and changed to the Traxion suspension front/rear and it made a difference as well - was also one of the main issues that people on the internet commented on, besides tire longevity. Have an '85 LTD and did the suspension as well.

I think of the suspension as a safety and performance issue.

Just MHO and thoughts on your issue. Good luck. Cheers
"When you write the story of your life, don't let anyone else hold the pen"

Ernest

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offcenter
Posts: 707
Joined: Sat Sep 22, 2012 2:10 pm
Location: Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey
Motorcycle: 99 Gl-1500 SE
76 GL-1000
77 Honda Trail 90

Re: GL1500 handling

Post by offcenter »

MikeB wrote:
Tue Sep 04, 2018 2:21 pm

What size Michelin Commander II's are you using?
I am running a Michelin Commander II 130/70 B18. (M/C 63 H) on the front with 41 pounds of pressure.
On the back, I run a car tire.
Bike handles GREAT. I always seek out the twistiest roads I can find.
With the E3s that were on it when I got the bike, it handled like a truck
and I was almost ready to give up on it.
Now I love it.
Good luck with yours.
George in Jersey.
99 Goldwing GL-1500 SE
76 Goldwing Gl-1000
77 Honda CT-90 "Trail 90"

mugmarine66
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Mar 27, 2019 5:17 am
Location: United States
Motorcycle: 2000 goldwing 1500 se

Re: GL1500 handling

Post by mugmarine66 »

offcenter wrote:
Thu Sep 06, 2018 12:31 pm
MikeB wrote:
Tue Sep 04, 2018 2:21 pm

What size Michelin Commander II's are you using?
I am running a Michelin Commander II 130/70 B18. (M/C 63 H) on the front with 41 pounds of pressure.
On the back, I run a car tire.
Bike handles GREAT. I always seek out the twistiest roads I can find.
With the E3s that were on it when I got the bike, it handled like a truck
and I was almost ready to give up on it.
Now I love it.
Good luck with yours.
I have a 2000 see that's handles horrible. I may do the Michelin front. What kind and size is your rear car tire?



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