Wants to fall over when slow turning or stopping.


Information and questions on GL1500 Goldwings (1988-2000)
reggiefavre-1943
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Motorcycle: 1993 1500 SE, 1987 1200 Int, 1967 HD FL

Wants to fall over when slow turning or stopping.

Post by reggiefavre-1943 »



I have not rode my 93 SE very much scene I bought it. I have rode 1000s, 1100s and a 1200 but never had this problem. Yes I have a Harley and don't have this problem with it. When I try to make a turn in slow traffic or come to a stop at a red light or stop sign it wants to fall over like it is top heavy. I was told last weekend that I should be using bias tires and not radials. On the facebook 1500 group there seems to be conflicting answers to this questions. In fact some were down right snotty. I go as to what the owners manual recommends as to tire pressure. Yes I am a little old (76) and over weight (245lbs) Does anyone have a real answer? I have owned several motorcycles in my years. Still have the 1200 the Harley and have done parades with both but would never try this with the 1500SE. What say you all?



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bluthundr31
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Re: Wants to fall over when slow turning or stopping.

Post by bluthundr31 »

I've got a bias (Avon Cobra) on the front and it holds up in slow (lane splitting) traffic without a hint of "fall". So my vote is for ONLY bias tires on the front.

What is the tire pressure on that front tire of yours?? You'll find that "slow turns" will feel "squishy" with under-inflated front tires. My suggestion is to inflate that front tire to 1 (maybe 2) lbs. below what the Max air pressure rating for that tire is. Check your rear tire too and pump it up close to max also. I would bet that you'll see a better handling ride during slow traffic.

Additionally, when in slow traffic situations, try to keep your knees in tight, touching the tupperware close. Your head and shoulders facing str8 ahead and try to not move your shoulders too much.

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tfdeputydawg
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Re: Wants to fall over when slow turning or stopping.

Post by tfdeputydawg »

Time for a trike conversion

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AZgl1800
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Re: Wants to fall over when slow turning or stopping.

Post by AZgl1800 »

I just turned 76, so just as young as you...

w/o sounding harsh, are you NOT using the front brake at slow speeds?
the 1500 benefits from just a tad bit of throttle, and the use of the foot brake at very slow speeds. this requires having the clutch in the slippery zone, foot on brake lightly, throttle up just a tad. also, use 2nd gear, not 1st when practicing these slow speeds. it is much easier to control in 2nd gear.

I used to practice this a lot when I was still gainfully employed, as we had a gate that was controlled by a vehicle approaching, and then it would open.

If you touch the front brake at slow speeds, it is going to lay down NOW!, if the front wheel is not perfectly inline with direction of travel.

I would get to a large open area, and practice this very slow speed maneuver over and over, just to see how slow I can go..... then as I got better, I started practicing it at every stop sign, crawling forward the last 100-200 feet and try to not have to stop at all, before the lights change.

one thing for sure, if you come to a full stop, and the bike is not perfectly vertical, it is going to go down, if you don't have a foot on the ground. IIRC, 2 inches out of vertical is just about the point where it is going to go down w/o a lot of strength to hold it up.

I ride a 1800 now, and it is a lot the same.

On tire pressure, I always use 42-44 psi in the front tire, that will negate a lot of slow speed problems.
~John

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2009 Piaggio MP3 250cc

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Bigbiker0
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Re: Wants to fall over when slow turning or stopping.

Post by Bigbiker0 »

most of the time if you look to close in front of the bike is the big problem keep your eyes in front far away.
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dingdong
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Re: Wants to fall over when slow turning or stopping.

Post by dingdong »

It seems to be just the nature of the beast regarding the gl1500. It handles like a pig at slow speeds. I seriously doubt if your tires are at fault. What Az1800 suggests is a good method for handling at slow speeds. Practice using the friction zone.

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Andy Cote
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Re: Wants to fall over when slow turning or stopping.

Post by Andy Cote »

All good suggestions. While the 1500 is not a snappy low speed bike, it is not that top heavy and with practice, will respond to your commands.

You are sitting a little higher than the HD so your legs are straighter. Watch stops and stay aware of worn pavement.

The only other thing is to have the steering head bearings checked just to make sure all is good up front.
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Previously: GL1200 standard, GL1200 Interstate, GL1500 Goldwing, GL1500 Valkyrie Standard, 2000 Valkyrie Interstate, many other Hondas

reggiefavre-1943
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Re: Wants to fall over when slow turning or stopping.

Post by reggiefavre-1943 »

Thanks for the help. I will try more air pressure later today, now off to Doctor apt. Let you all know how I do in a few days. Thanks for being nice about it.

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Re: Wants to fall over when slow turning or stopping.

Post by 89 1500 »

Mine's only a little touchy two up. I run 41 front 43 rear pressures on my 92. Check the rear shock pressure. My 89 hated it when I would forget to drop it back to 27 after a two up ride. The 92 not so much it's a way better handling 1500 over the 89.

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aholloway17
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Re: Wants to fall over when slow turning or stopping.

Post by aholloway17 »

Like Andy Cote said, the 1500 at slow speeds and turns it takes bit to learn to ride it. I've had mine for three years now and dropped it twice in a slow speed turn in the first year. Year two I practiced those turns. This beings year three, while there is more room left to make a sharper left or right turn, my friends on Ultra Glides can't turn as tight. Find a parking lot and get busy, you'll be just fine.

Best,
1994 GL1500 Interstate

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Happytrails
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Re: Wants to fall over when slow turning or stopping.

Post by Happytrails »

Good tire pressures and technique go a long ways. I'm running 41 front/43 rear. Its easy to notice when the front drops below 40psi. The garage I get my bike inspected at always lowers it to 35psi. And coming to a stop it really helps to keep the bars squared up. Until I started practicing RLAP I had a hard time too and I find when I dont practice that those skills diminish. Good luck with it :D
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reggiefavre-1943
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Re: Wants to fall over when slow turning or stopping.

Post by reggiefavre-1943 »

Thanks for all the info, I did increase the tire pressure both front and rear. Helps quite a lot. I haven't been riding much, between the weather and cleaning up around and fixing up a little at the house we are selling I have been busy. Thanks again.

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joeincalif
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Re: Wants to fall over when slow turning or stopping.

Post by joeincalif »

Several years back I bought a Honda VT1100 Shadow Sabre. i took it for a test ride and when I made a turn it felt like it wanted to lay down on the ground, both way, left and right turns. I asked the seller if he had a tire gauge, took him a long time to find one and when he did he only had under 10 lbs of air in both tires. He tool it to the gas station and put air in the tires when he came back he said : GEE IT RIDES A LOT BETTER NOW!!. I gave him the money and rode off. I think he thought it had a problem and that is why he sold it.


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Rodzim
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Re: Wants to fall over when slow turning or stopping.

Post by Rodzim »

Give it a few days and it will become second nature. I also went from a cruiser to the wing and it took me a little time to learn the new dynamics. I also have a yamaha roadstar and the low speed technique is completely different. The gl1500 is top heavy, we just have to deal with it.
I just finished installing progressive springs on mine so i bet thats gonna take some adjustments since the front end is now 2 inches higher than previously, yeah, my stock springs were in that bad of a shape.

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Bob380S2
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Re: Wants to fall over when slow turning or stopping.

Post by Bob380S2 »

AZgl1800 is spot on - the ONLY way to keep it upright in tight turns is as he says, throttle, slipping clutch and back brake. I have dropped mine several times before I learned this - once in a car park with the wife on the back - she was NOT impressed!! Once at the top of the Stelvio Pass in Italy with about 100 bikers watching - very embarrassing. I am such a believer in this now that I almost never even pull way without my foot ready on the back brakes and I have learned to make really tight turns like this now - turns that my mate on his GL1800 wouldn't even begin to attempt, so it can be done. Touch that front brake when rolling to a stop though, and you are dicing with the Devil. Anything other than dead upright with steering straight and you'll be over - there is just no pulling her back up when she starts to go.

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WingAdmin
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Re: Wants to fall over when slow turning or stopping.

Post by WingAdmin »

I'll echo the experiences of others - a little bit of trailing rear brake will keep the suspension tight and the bike manageable at slow speeds. I practice this often, riding at a slow walking pace just to keep my hand in.

Having power in and a little bit of clutch slipping (keep it in the friction zone) means that power is available instantly simply by letting the clutch out a bit, so if you are starting to go over and need to "pick it up" all you need to do is let out a bit of clutch, and it will pop right back up again. Especially while executing tight, slow turns.

As for front brake when coming to a stop, I disagree - I use front brake ALL the time when coming to a stop, there is nothing about the front brake that will make the bike fall down. What WILL make the bike fall down however is not having the steering PERFECTLY straight when coming to a stop. Keep it turned one way or the other, and once the bike stops, it's taking a nap.

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hwkfan
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Re: Wants to fall over when slow turning or stopping.

Post by hwkfan »

Not sure what the issue may or may not be. I do not think it is anyone's ability to ride per se (at least not totally. ;-)) It is probably just not the bike for your geometry (height, weight, arm length etc) I am 6' 4" @250 lbs. I have a 2000 GL1500 SE and ride in all kinds of traffic conditions to and from work. I run into many situations in long lines at 4 way stop signs and have gotten pretty good at barley moving and keeping both feet on the pegs. It is such a well balanced bike for me at least. As long as I have room to keep moving even at 1/2 mph I can balance it.
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Gord
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Re: Wants to fall over when slow turning or stopping.

Post by Gord »

I have been riding various bikes for 61 years. I tried a gl1500 and hated it. I found it to be top heavy and PONDEROUS.
I have extensive miles on Gold wings: 300,000klm on 1983 GL1100, 50,000 on Gl1200, 150,000 on 2005 GL1800, 115,000 2007 GL1800,
and 105,000 on my current 2013 GL1800. All mileage is in Kilos
I got rid of the 1989 Gl 1500 within a couple of months - I hated it. I had it between the 2005 and the 2007. Very short mileage
You get very spoiled with the GL1800.
Try letting another rider with experience on a GL1500 try it. He may have an idea or two.

L8R
Gord

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Ol Dan
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Re: Wants to fall over when slow turning or stopping.

Post by Ol Dan »

One thing I would offer is to check the neck bearings. I've had issues with this a few times over the years and your problem sounds very similar. The last was with a Yamaha Venture Royale with about 80,000 miles. The problem would really show up at parking lot speeds and it would act like it just wanted to fall over. Put your bike on the center stand and have someone set on the passenger seat or put a jack under the engine to get the front wheel off the ground then turn the forks from stop to stop and see if you detect a slight notchy feel in the bearings or tightness or loosness. This is an area that is often overlooked for service. And thats my 2 cents worth, spend it wisely. Ol Dan

Gord
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Re: Wants to fall over when slow turning or stopping.

Post by Gord »

Very good idea Ol Dan. I forgot about that one. Had it in my 1200.
I find that I forget a lot these days. Too much knowledge - no retrieval ability. :D :D :D

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Bluewaterhooker0
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Re: Wants to fall over when slow turning or stopping.

Post by Bluewaterhooker0 »

I'm sure I'll stir some disagreement here, but what the hey. I rode extensively back in the day, 1971 - 1982. I was a pretty good bike rider on the street, in the woods, on the dirt. 3 different bikes during that time. I sold all of them when my daughter was born in 1982. I took 30 years off, and got older in the process. So, imagine my surprise when I started riding again in 2012, with a GL1500, that was bigger than anything I had ever driven before. I sort of felt like I was driving a small building. U-turns, corners, you name it, anything but straight line was an issue. I thought, WOW, I must have really gotten rusty over the years, and just lost some of my skills. That bike actually scared the crap out of me, and intimidated me to a great extent. Not something you should experience from a bike. I'm 6 foot, 280 lbs., and not accustomed to being intimidated by anything. So I worked at it, and worked at it, and 3 years later I was LESS intimidated, and nearly comfortable when riding it. I kept thinking, this bike is just plain TOP HEAVY. That's all it can be. But, I read many comments online about how LOW ? the center of gravity was on a GL1500. Are you s#!tting me ??? Maybe LOW, compared to a city skyscraper, but LOW ??? No freakin' way. About that time, my son-in-law was looking at a VTX1800. He was new to bikes, so I offered to test ride, and drive it home if he bought it. I did, he did, and I drove it home. My immediate reaction was......this is like driving a motorcycle with training wheels. It was so easy to hold up, so easy to corner, so easy to maneuver and u-turn, I was shocked. I immediately realized my suspicion about the TOP HEAVY GL1500 was absolutely correct. So, forget the bearings, forget the tires, forget the air pressure, forget all of it. That bike, as wonderful as it is, is as was stated, a top heavy PIG, and will always be a top heavy PIG. It is something you eventually get used to, learn to live with.....Or not. But to run around pretending you can correct the design of that motorcycle with little adjustments of nothing ??? Forget it. I love the GL1500, and now also have a GL1800 Trike. So, practice with your 1500, enjoy it if you can. But don't let anyone tell you it is your particular bike, or some Mickey Mouse adjustment that is going to fix the handling. It won't.

Gord
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Re: Wants to fall over when slow turning or stopping.

Post by Gord »

Hear Hear My findings exactly.

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Bob380S2
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Re: Wants to fall over when slow turning or stopping.

Post by Bob380S2 »

I agree too, it is top heavy, and I also took a long (25 year) break in my motorcycling and then went straight to a GL1500 having never ridden anything like it because I'd always loved the look of Goldwings and always thought ..one day! So my learning curve was steep to say the least and anything other than a straight line when moving slowly was a nightmare, until I learned the 'trailing back brake' trick which unlike the front brake, I find does have the tendency to sit her upright a bit rather than pull her straight over like the front brake does. For me it just requires a different mindset when manoeuvring slowly to anything else I've ridden, and a realisation that she is totally unforgiving if I depart from the technique I've found that works for me, i.e. cover the back brake, slip the clutch and stay off the front brake at low speeds. With that in mind I love my GL1500 even though she is top heavy.

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WingAdmin
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Re: Wants to fall over when slow turning or stopping.

Post by WingAdmin »

I came into the world of Goldwings from a GSX-R750, which was tiny, light and fast. The GL1100 I bought rode like a truck in comparison, it was huge, heavy and ponderous.

However...once I got used to it, I realized that with that low center of gravity from the HO engine, it was actually really quick and maneuverable. Momentum/kinetic energy is your friend. At slow speed, YOU are the one muscling it around. Once you get some speed in, you are instead managing the steering, and the bike's momentum and physics are doing the work for you.

Then I got my GL1500, and all over again, it was a huge, ponderous truck of a motorcycle. Much heavier, bigger, and kind of scary at first.

But once again, once I got used to it, I realized that it too had quite a low center of gravity, and was quite "flickable" and maneuverable once you had any kind of velocity. Again, at slow speeds YOU are the one muscling it around, and it can take some effort - that's why keeping it well within the upright margins so as to expend the least amount of energy possible is the best way to ride it slowly.

These bikes are NOT top heavy. They are just heavy. The VAST proportion of the weight is very, very low down. The engine and transmission are right at the bottom, very close to or below the line you would draw between the two axles. The swingarm is low as well. Easily 80% of the weight of the GL1500 is below the midline of the bike. What's above it? Seat, trunk, fairing, faux tank, handlebars, a bunch of plastic. Lightweight stuff. Below it are the engine, transmission, swingarm, final drive, fuel tank, battery - the heaviest parts of the bike. Even the frame is designed so the heaviest, strongest members are down low, with lightweight parts up top.

The perception of the bike being top-heavy is simply because the bike is heavy overall. If it was in fact top-heavy, it would be completely unrideable, and unmanageable by a human.

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offcenter
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Re: Wants to fall over when slow turning or stopping.

Post by offcenter »

My two cents...
The choice of tires has a lot to do with how the thing handles at low speeds
as well as high speeds. When I got my 1500, it had Dunlop E3s on it.
It handled like a truck! I dropped it several times.
I went to a Michelin Commander II on the front and a Austone Taxi tire
on the rear.
What a difference!!
It's still a heavy bike, but but now it handles MUCH better at at any speed
including slow speeds in parking lots etc.


George in Jersey.
99 Goldwing GL-1500 SE
76 Goldwing Gl-1000
77 Honda CT-90 "Trail 90"

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