A Honda GL1500se from 1991 - built in the USA, exported to France and
then 'grey' imported here- hence the 'kilometers'. Jo has worked
hard over the years and the age lines are showing in places...
"Riding a Goldwing"
It's easy right? Well yes, It is, but it's not the same as
riding a smaller bike (smaller in terms of weight and width- not engine
size). The controls are the same (except there are a lot more
levers and buttons that have almost nothing to do with riding a bike).
The physics are the same - once you are moving the bike is as light as
any other and a lot more grounded on the road, although a heavier bike
has to lean further into the corner.
But the first time is daunting?
It was for me. For a year or so I looked at Goldwings for sale
and realised that I had serious issues about getting on one and riding
off, They are just so heavy.
But bear in mind...
You sit IN, not ON.
The seat is quite low on a Goldwing - so planting both feet is
practical, and that lifts your confidence.
The fuel is low down.
Although relatively heavy, the weight on a Goldwing is very low
down- and most of that 'chrome' is plastic, so the tipping point is
further over than you would imagine- the fuel tank area...isnt.
The fuel goes much further down.
Putting both feet down is no big deal
- most pillion carrying riders do it all the time
- but the trick is to master being able to control the throttle and
front brake simultaneously with the right hand - two fingers on the
brake and the rest on the throttle, means you can hold the bike on a
slope with two feet down without floating the clutch or worrying about
balancing the beast, and still move off smoothly.
- It's easy to park a big bike on a slight forward down slope and find
it difficult to reverse out, and the Goldwing even on the flat doesn't
need much of a lump or bump to make pushbacks difficult.
Flip to neutral. Engage reverse. Nudge the starter. The bike winds
gently backwards, even uphilll, and then locks stationary as you release
the starter. Very secure. Not often necessary. Sometimes
essential. Always a talking point.
- Hear bikers talk about motorways - what do they say - boring!
Well not on a Wing with cruise control. Pick your speed. Activate
the cruise - check the light comes on.
Press SET with your thumb, Check the SET light is on.
Slowly let the accelerator settle on it's own - the bike slows a couple
of mph before 'noticing' and a gentle surge puts your speed back - and
keeps it there. We have all flexed our left hand during a long
ride - now you can flex your right too (not at the same time).
Other features - footbrake, clutch, frontbrake, throttle
decelerate - all drop the cruise to OFF and you have normal
control. Hit SET again and power back to the set speed
(don't do this in traffic!). When on cruise - you can accelerate
normally and let the bike slow back to the set speed- and you can also
nudge the set speed up or down by a few mph at a time. Lots to
play with in fact, and you have all that scenery too.
How fast do you corner
- apparently bikers don't have a preferred cornering
speed - but they do have a comfortable cornering angle. They
unconsciously adjust their speed on most corners to lean the same amount
each time. Odd eh? However the heavier a bike is - the further it
must lean at a given speed. Thus you must corner more slowly on a
Wing than on a lighter bike, or you must lean the centre of gravity over
further. Personally I am getting used to rubbing my toes on the
tarmac at roundabouts. Sorted.
- It is different on a Wing. It doesn't
have to be - you can thrash a wing through traffic and burn off Corsa's
with fat exhausts, (allegedly) in fact you can do pretty much anything
you might expect 100bhp to be able to do - but because of the lean issue
above, and the weight, it makes more a much more energetic ride than on
a smaller machine - it actually gets quite tiring - and since the whole
point of a Wing is long haul - why make it harder than it needs to be.
Set a soft pneumatic pre-load setting and chill. You save
- Joesephine has a stereo cassette player and the AMB
button creates a surround sound effect which is especially rewarding and
still audible so long as your helmet isn't fully sealed. There are
six FM memories, and an AM tuner. However a five pound adapter
inserted in the cassette player means I can plug in my mobile phone and
stream Blackpool's Radio Wave 25 year old speakers. And why not!
Josephine likes Goldwing
Light Parades (click for Youtube)