2018 GW, 4600 miles, Impressions
The preface to my story is on my intro. In a nutshell, I flew to Houston where my white 2018 had awaited me for 3 weeks, joined up with a friend who also purchased a red 2018 and we headed out to Cheyenne, Wyoming, where wed meet up with a buddy from Oregon on an FJR and buddy from California on a Yamaha Venture. I will post pics and videos of our trip later but wanted to use this post to tell you my likes and dislikes of the new Gold wing.
Having never sat on one, my concern was whether or not Id touch the ground. Im 5-7 with an inseam of about 30" on a good day and with an advertised seat height of 29.5 it was a concern for me. Right away I felt comfortable. The bar reach was just about perfect, the controls well within reach of my hands and the seat felt solid but comfortable. Id be spending a lot of time near the tank, arguably the worst part of the seat, so the comfort aspect remained to be seen. I have to stand on the balls of my feet but found sitting on the left half of the seat, i can touch flat footed.... on one foot. lol. ThaT WORKS FOR ME. I ghost clutched it a total of 4-5 times, so that wasnt an issue. Im not used to such a heavy bike so maneuvering it out of the shop mustve looked as awkward to the bystanders as it felt to me. The motor ran nice and smooth, no vibrations at the bars at all, a welcomed relief from the Harleys Ive owned/ridden. The shifting was FAST. 30mph and i was in 5th gear. That I did not like but am slowly getting used to it. The shifting was very smooth once on the throttle and at times undetectable. That i like. at slow speed, stop and go traffic, it can hunt between 1st and 2nd, sometimes lurching a bit as it tries to find the right gear. I Dont like that. I prefer to put it in Manual and choose the gear myself in those rare situations. I also chose manual mode in the mountain twisties. It up shifted and down shifted on me in the midst of a corner a couple of times and although it didnt translate to any difference in the line or disrupt the chassis in any way, it felt uneasy to me. I used the Rain mode in the 3 downpours and could feel the difference in shift points, throttle response and in the suspension. I mostly kept it in touring mode with very few stints in Econ mode. Sport mode was a blast, mimicking my CBR 100 XX but with a lot less power. Although it was fun, it seemed out of place for a bike like that. Definitely a noticeable difference.
The miles unfolded and my butt never complained. My last stint home was a 1320 mile marathon, only stopping for gas/drinks and once for dinner. The seat fit me well so no need for an aftermarket one. I placed a 50 liter Kuryakyn bag on the passenger seat and it served the dual purpose of additional storage, which left a lot of space in my bags and trunk. It also served as a back rest. Made me realize that a back rest was my next purchase.
The chassis on the bike was fantastic. I pointed it into the corners and it railed them. Even the one time I hit a corner too hot, and I had to correct mid corner, it settled into its line and followed my input precisely. I did use the double up and baggage as the preload setting in the mountains. The front suspension system was also fantastic. 4600 miles and my hands never felt numb or buzzy". All the small bumps were soaked up by the system. I did catch myself bottoming out on several occasions and will be looking into the fix for that. The back never wallowed or strayed, following the front around every sharp turn.