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back in '75 we though those gl 1000 wings were huge but just look at the 1000 next to the 1800 at the beginning
My 2 cents
The same thing was thought of other bikes like the KZ 1000 but the GW was more than just CC's. That gave it a longer future if the company pursued it. Which they did and Kawasaki only played around in the market over time with no serious commitment.

Honda had years of no real improvements and were very late with tech and comfort improvments. (Fuel injection multi-port or throttle body, Heated seats/hand grips all now stanard, a real sterio not the old transister radio and anyone have CD's in the mid 90's?). This is where a serious competition could have taken the lead.

My only point is Honda left a hole that others could have taken advantage of. But they didn't. Just my 2 cents, neither right or wrong.
 

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when honda first introduced the gold wing it was to be a grand tour bike like the bmw's of the time. it was guys like us adding luggage and honda taking surveys listining that made glodwings what they are today get a copy of this book http://www.goldwingowners.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3656
 

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Actually a friend of mine bought a Gold Wing in 75 when they first came out and he dressed it himself, Fairing, bags, CB custom seat etc, he was a Honda rally and a Honda rep him if they could study his bike for a week or two, the gave him a new car to drive and paid him a couple hundred dollar for his trouble. I think Honda got some of their ideas for future Gold Wings from his bike.
 

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[Honda had years of no real improvements and were very late with tech and comfort improvements. (Fuel injection multi-port or throttle body, Heated seats/hand grips all now standard, a real stereo not the old transistor radio and anyone have CD's in the mid 90's?). This is where a serious competition could have taken the lead.

There was no serious competition out there at that time. Now the have some, Honda used to be first in everything from fit and finish to reliability, but today's products, both bikes and cars leave a lot of room for improvement. So many recalls and service bulletins on the 1800 Gold Wing you wonder what Honda was thinking when they release it back in 2001, I think they were trying to stay ahead of BMW with their 1200LT. Honda still has problems that they won't admit exist with the 1800's tranny, look at how long it took them to recall for frame cracks and overheating on the 01 to 04 Wings. I love my wing but right now I'm in the process of checking out the Kawasaki Concourse 1400 and selling my 08 Gold Wing. I haven't had any trouble with it I just don't like the way Honda is treating their customers.
 

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I guess I don't get it. In my mind the Honda Goldwing is the nicest bike out there. Maybe they haven't changed it in 10 yrs, maybe they didn't have too. I'm sure if they put their mind to it they could include something that would wash your clothes or automatically call your wife when you're going to be late, but how much do you want a bike to cost? You complain that they're too heavy, too expensive, too high, not enough power and the gas milage is lousy. I think I'll sell mine and go back to a BSA with a kick starter. With an economy like we have, we're lucky they're still in business.....
 

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for what it's worth
(hey, one of my favorite songs)

I work in automotive, make parts for most all major car makers. The competition is enormous as there is so many $$ at stake. We ,as engineers, were chastised a few years ago because we designed and engineered things way over the top or bulletproof. We were told to make things "adequate". We collectively hate our jobs now as it has become a stressful and strained occupation. When new products are introduced, they have weaknesses. As parts fail in testing or in the field, higher quality is demanded and as always, our "adequate" machines then struggle to meet those new demands and in some cases, it takes time to make improvements while production continues. Conversely, proven, robust parts are then attacked having us look for cost savings (outsource offshore or lower standards to increase productivity).

"Back in the good ole' days" skilled trades and engineers had a strong voice and in most cases were the decision makers. Today, those who hold the purse strings are the ones who make decisions. (We are costly overhead they work and hope to eliminate).

Back to the point, research the history of the gl1500. They focused on the flaws and corrected them during the early years of production. The last ones had problems because they cheaped out on japanese quality starters etc for ones made in China. The story is a familiar one.

Bottom line, All producers of cars, bikes etc. are in a fight for survival.

We too, as consumers have driven this. How many of us shop at Walmart because it's cheaper. Most comsumers will buy on price and producers know it. Howard Clark is very popular here in the USA on radio and TV. The first time I ever heard him on the radio he said, " I will always sacrifice a little quality if I can save a little money. His example was an internet phone service vs. a regular land line telephone. He is popular, I am not. But if we keep that thought process, we will keep sacrificing until we are buying junk -although it will be really, really cheap.

Sound familar?

The greatest generation came before us. They took construction, innovation and precision to it's highest level. This generation is dumbing it down to "adequate".
I agree, it is frustrating. I keep on the look out for this as it might be a place for opportunity. I hope to find a niche where a need for quality exists.

I have worked on a lift design now for 4 months in my spare time. I will try to sell some next spring. It will be interesting to see how it sells compared to cheap lifts. My guess is, I will sell a few but not many.
 

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If you think about it, so much of what we buy these days is "throw away". Gone are the days of getting a watch fixed, or a TV or a microwave or so many other things. Even when you have a major problem or accident with a car, they don't fix the part they just replace it and ship the old part out overseas to be fixed or recycled.

There are not a lot of tradesman left that can fix the old stuff. Gone are the days when if you had a trade skill you always had a job and were set for life.. Our trade schools today are producing workers that diagnose and throw away. So much of that knowledge and skill have been lost, perhaps for good. JMHO...
 

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for what it's worth
(hey, one of my favorite songs)
There's something happening here. What it is ain't exactly clear.


There are not a lot of tradesman left that can fix the old stuff. Gone are the days when if you had a trade skill you always had a job and were set for life.. Our trade schools today are producing workers that diagnose and throw away. So much of that knowledge and skill have been lost, perhaps for good. JMHO...
Two Wheel I can relate, in the HVAC trade a high percentage of the parts are circuit boards (some with internal diagnostics). Boards go bad, change board, unit runs. Not much of a troubleshooter needed. I have actually told some of the young guys at work when they aren't going to get their cicuit board for a couple days. "Grab a transfomer, a contactor, a couple of pin relays & some wirenuts & I'll show you how to bypass that board." You should see some of the looks I get.

Anyway that's my soapbox for the evening.
 

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Oldtimer....

Awww, memories. Before the future happened, I remember stomp starting my Velocette 500 single, a real thrill esp on a chilly morning.
 

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It wasn't really that bad was it, Bill. I guess we're just spoiled now.....;) Happy motoring.....
 

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I see it in the trucking industry, parts that were repairable are no longer, throw away parts, make it lighter and cheaper, sell high price replacement parts, abide by all the EPA requirements by not allowing someone to even think about trying to get inside that thing to tinker with it. Also finding someone with enough smarts to actually fix a componant is getting real hard these days, craftsmanship is slowly going to the wayside. It's become a plug and play business these days. The days of tinkering a little here or there just to get a truck into the nearest shop for repairs without towing it are long gone. Check engine light on? If it is still running your lucky, find a shop nearby before it quits running and costs you a tow bill too!
 

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repairs

Beleive me I'm no mechanic and fixing things isn't my hobby. So when its is "diagnose and replace the black box" for me it may be cheaper than 100 $ an hour removing, repairing and replacing. Any way you cut it, its expensive. But.... to "fix" an electric rocker switch on the handlebar one must replace the whole assembly... this would be an aggrevation. So far all (most) repairs are covered by the extended warranty. Darn, it runs out next month :( ! Now, pay attention, this is important; just where in the heck did those 7 years go?
 

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Back in the old days, we had simple parts (points, condenser), which had to be routinely replaced but were simple and cheap. Remember, a car needed a tune up every 10,000 miles and you routinely had it "serviced" before you went on vacation.

Today, so much is handled by complex, sealed electronic modules which generally last a long time, cannot be fixed, and are expensive to replace. But who here would like to go back to the old ignition systems vs. what we have today?

I look at the cost of a GW and scratch my head and wonder why they cost so much (more than a decent car). I HOPE it's because we are getting quality components for our money. I typically hear that a GW should last for 300,000 miles. That's more than we expect from a $20,000 car.

Yes, I know the GW isn't perfect. OTOH, hopefully they have the bugs worked out of the current 2010 models. Those people who are holding off, waiting on a "new" model in 2012 may be getting a handful of bugs that will take years to work out. You remember the old adage of not buying a car the first year the new model hits the showrooms.

Ken
 

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Honda is (as mentioned previously) struggling with today's buy it cheaper consumer, but not to the degree we might think. They are still adamant about producing the best made, durable and problem free autos, m/c's, atv's, and power equipment on the market. That doesn't however, always make their marketing decisions right just because it did work before and still does work. I mean they still have the same rear brake on certain atv's that they did in the early 80's for gosh sakes. But to Honda's credit, they still do work. Honda is guilty of sitting on their laurels definitely, and it is catching up with them. It does no good to go out and build a business jet if the ground transportation is getting left behind. My test ride on the VFR1200 didn't discover the latest and greatest sport touring bike on the planet, there's better stuff already out there that's ten years old: Concours 14, ST1300, FJR13, BMWK1300ST. Yikes. The next rendition of the GL had better set the world on it's ear, but don't hold your breath, there hasn't been anything really ground breaking come out of the Hamamatsu camp since the RC30 ('90), and the Blackbird ('96-'07). And although a great motorcycle, the 1100xx was still an also ran behind the ZZr Ninja, and the Hyabusa in the top speed wars. Always a bridesmade and never a bride, hope that doesn't spell trouble for our beloved Goldwing.
 

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In my opinion Honda did leave the door open to loose it's top honor.
I'm not a fan of 'Sportbike Style' touring bikes and if this is the trend to come, Honda will loose the very people who buy the Wings, Honda needs to focus on the demographics as HD did when they introduced the Tri-Glide Trike. I'm not suggesting that Honda build Wing trikes, but keep the Wing available for those who want them. There are much nicer touring bikes for people to buy if Honda discontinues the Wing.
1. HD Ultra Classic
2. Victory Vision
3. Yamaha Royal Star Venture
4. Kawasaki Vulcan Voyager
5. HD Ultra Classic Limited
These are the full dressed touring bikes and this is what Honda will loose out to. Honda please do not drop the ball on this one.
 
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