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Hello, all,

I have a 2006 Harley Ultra Classic, which has been a fine bike, but I'm giving some thought to a change. I'm a mid-60's age guy who likes long distance touring, and I will be riding mostly one up. I'm looking at both the 2012 Goldwing and the BMW K1600GTL. My concern with the Goldwing is its size and weight. It looks like it would be a beast to handle compared to a smaller Ultra Classic. On the other hand I like the so-called "barcalonger"-type riding position of the Ultra, and I'm not sure I could adjust to what appears to be a more forward riding position of a sport bike like the BMW K1600. What advice might former Harley riders/owners offer?

I haven't taken either a Goldwing or GTL for a test ride, so I realize that my inquiry might be a bit premature. But I would still appreciate any thoughts you might have on the matter. BTW, I posted this message on the K1600 Forum, so it will be interesting to see how the responses, if any, differ.
 

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Hello and welcome to the forum.
I owned Electra Glide Classics and now own a GL1500.
For comfort and seating the Wing is the way to go.
The GL engine is very smooth and quiet and delivers power efficiently.
A well maintained Wing will last for 300,000 miles and beyond, so don't worry if you find a good used one with 70,000 miles on it, it's just broken in.
Excellent wind protection. While the Wing is massive the engine placed low in the frame lowers the center of gravity to make the bike not top heavy.
May I suggest a test ride on a GL1800 and a GL1500.
 

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Another factor to consider is the relatively few BMW dealers around the country compared to Honda, especially since you are talking about touring. I can't say enough good things about how my GL1800 handles and performs. Reliable as heck, but if I do have a problem, I know I can get parts and service just about anywhere in the U.S. Not so with BMW.
 

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Welcome the GWOF, jweakey.

What Trike Lady mentions below is important. While I've only owned Japanese bikes, over the past 37 years I've ridden many other bikes, including the Fat Boy and Road King. The single most surprising thing since I've gotten my Wing is how it handles at low speed, let alone high. It SEEMS lighter than my 850 Suzi, even though it weighs 200lbs.+ more. The geometry or whatever you want to call it is near perfect.

I don't know what the curb weight differences are among the 1200, 1500, and 1800 cc models of the Wing, but aside from the fact that it would be cool to have more modern technology, I guess, my '85 1200 Aspencade is all the bike I will ever need or want.

Enjoy your Wing, bud!
 

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G'day to GWOF from Down Under. I was a small bike rider and still love them. And when I say small I mean bikes like the Yamaha RD 200's, CB250's, CB350's, 700 &750's as the big bike. When we decieded to ride a bike in the USA two up, it was alway's going to be a wing. I too was worried about the weight of the wing and though the 1200 maybe the go because it was a 4cly. Well now that I have a 1200 wing, I have found that the worry of the weight of the wing was unfounded right up to the point that you stop. Then you must always respect the the weight until underway again. I throw that wing arround like a 700 now. Coming of a HD you should be just fine with a wing. And by the way go with a 1500 or 1800 because the parts will be easier to get. Me, well I am more than happy with the 1200. Eric
 

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Welcome and good luck with your decision. It is a lifestyle change away from the biker to a motorcyclist.

Rarely see a Harley rider without chaps and you rarely see a Winger in a pair of them.
 

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I have never ridden the HD or BMW but the one thing that swayed me toward the GL1800 was the visability of the bike. The front has 2 head lights, the bright turn signals and mine has the lower driving lights. The rear has lights on the trunk and hard bags and you can always add the spoiler lights. I believe the others have just the single rear light w/turn signals.
Oh and it has 90+ ft lbs of torque from 1500 - 5200 rpm's, very little down shifting needed.
 

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jw: I rent a Harley Ultra Limited every year in Arizona for a few days ride adventure. The Harley is heavier to me than my Wing. Up-righting the Harley from the side stand takes more physical input; part of this could be explained by the fact that a Harley on a side stand leans more than a Wing. I will say that I had done a 300+ mile ride on the Harley without any added features like a back rest and highway pegs and still was able to walk upright. The stock handlebar position on the Harley is more natural to most riders while many of us Wingers are adding handlebar riser ( which, by the way, is very limited in repositioning ability ). All in all the Harley is a doable ride for my time there, but I miss my creature comforts. P.S. The Harley radio sound quality is second to none for a stock system.
 

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jweakley, The best advice an Ole Fossil can give is go & ride both bikes. Try to take them on enough a cruise to feel the differences. Although you have asked the question on a Goldwing forum (somewhat loaded) Goldwings are not for everyone. You right now have the feel of forward controls & a Wing is different. I have a friend who struggled a bit & said that "He felt like he was sitting in a Kitchen chair". He since has adapted & now loves his Wing but again I say they are different.

Have Fun & Good Luck on your quest. Oh by the way Welcome to the GWOF.:D
 

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hello jweakley, welcome to GWOF. i test rode the bmw and a 2010 wing last year and the bmw is a sport-touring bike with bags and a trunk as far as seating position goes the h-d and the wing are more alike
 

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All good advice thus far. I'm just going to toss this out there regarding a couple other points.
Your '06 has a claimed curb weight of 819 lbs. I don't know if you have added any other 'farkles like most of us tend to do. A 2012 Wing full load tips the curb-side scales at 933# fully fueled and ready to go. Current comparative HD are the Ultra Classic at 889# and the E-glide Limited at 901#. The GTL weighs in at 767# ready to go, so it's a relative lightweight in comparison to the other two. However, as you noted, it is a 'sport tourer' not a luxo tourer (rolling lazy-boy if you will), but it also definitely wins the gizmo wars.
The Harley is the least powerful of the three, and the Beemer is the 'rocket' with it's svelt body and 160 ponies at the ready. It also is almost half an inch taller in the saddle at 29.5" as compared to 29.1 on both the Wing and the HD. The Wing's heft advantage comes in the form of where it carries the excess weight: down low for an exceptional c of g. The GTL does have better cornering clearnce than the other two, but not as big an advantage over the Wing as you might expect for it's sporting pedigree; it drags hard parts really quickly (more quickly than it's GT stable mate) in the tight corners. So unless straight line sprinting is your thing, the GTL hasn't got a huge advantage.
Big touring bikes are very often doing two up duty. This is the Wing's strongest point: passenger comfort. There is nothing wrong with the Ultra's passenger accomodations, but the Wing is definitely more passenger friendly. This is the biggest downfall of the GTL,; it's a sport tourer with the emphasis on sport. The "L" in the GTL means luxury but not for the passenger. It's a fast sport touring mount that will do two up if it has to, not because the pillion rider wants to and it shows.
If I was independantly wealthy, I'd probably own all 3 bikes (because I could). But for all round comfort, quiet smooth power, great handling manners (and it's ability to jump into the canyon carving mode), longevity and near bulletproof reliability, the Wing steals my heart and soul (I've owned 2 HD's BTW). I've done parades on all my Wings (3) and my HD buds won't ride theirs due to the air cooled engine and related clutch heat issues they are afraid of. In a near two hour parade at 90*f temps, my clutch never chattered or slipped, and the engine does not overheat (I also run Amsoil synthetic oil). Are there unique quirks to any of these bikes? You bet there are. Test them all in order to make the right decision for you.
 

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Like our estimed Administrator say in his last Statement: Test them all and make the right decision for you.
I'm betting it will be a wing.
I got 177,000 miles on my 93 1500 and wouldn't think twice about heading cross country on it.
 

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My neighbor has an Ultra Glide, awhile back we traded rides for a few hours of riding, he rode my 1500 and I rode his UG. I was glad to switch back to my GW and he wanted to keep riding it, I found the UG's center of gravity very different than my GW which made it more of a driving bike than a riding bike. I'll stick to my GW.
As for the BMW GTL, changing oil in that bike can be expensive, I was talking to a BMW GTL rider in John Day, Oregon last year, I asked him ahow he liked the the bike, I must admit, it is a very nice looking bike, he said the bike is perfect except fo the 400.00 oil changes. I guess BMW wasn't thinking very well when they designed the GTL, an oil change required the fairing to be removed.

Good luck on your choice
 

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Hey, I forgot to add 'welcome' in my first answer to your enquiry!:eek: The ST is much more akin to the GTL in nature (had one of them before my '09 Wing), but neither are head to head comparo's with the big touring rigs. I do miss the ST's range though...350 miles on a tank of fuel at 'legal';) speeds! The ST, FJR, and Connie are the three sport touring mounts that define the class IMO. Power, speed and near 'rr' bike cornering clearance and still reasonable rider comfort, even if the passenger would likely disagree.
 

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Goldwing

I have never owned a Harley but have ridden them nice bikes. I bought a 2012 Goldwing last Aug and love it "first one" have put 19,000 miles on it already, nothing like it for cursing the highway they handle great it took me about a month to get use to it as all my bikes for the last 5 or 6 yrs had forward controls. The goldwing will amaze you on how quick it is and how well it handles. Really like mine and glad I purchased it just wish I had 5 yrs ago as I am 65 now and sooooo many roads to ride.
 

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I had a E-Glide standard before I rented a Gold Wing. I rode that Harley for 106,000 miles and loved it. It never let me down. Last year was my first year on the Wing and I put 17,000 miles on it. It took almost all that miles to finally get comfortable on it. Not the weight of it just the seating position. I love my Wing and at the end of the month I'm headed out to Colarado pulling my trailer to camp and site see. Quess I'm saying that the Wing is very comfortable to me now. Try one and see for yourself.
 

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I like low maintenance which means little to no chrome. I can wash my bike and have it wiped dry with micro fiber towels in less than 10 min. I'd rather be riding than wiping.
 

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I rented an '06 Electra Glide while in Daytona a few years back. Pleasantly surprized on the ride quality, but my wife had not liked the passenger options. Each bike has it's pro's and it's con's. Just remember if you do decide to get a Goldwing, you just my go broke buying ice cream and you might forget where home is. You would be surprized how much a Goldwing will handle like a 'sport bike'.
 

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Hello, all,

I have a 2006 Harley Ultra Classic, which has been a fine bike, but I'm giving some thought to a change. I'm a mid-60's age guy who likes long distance touring, and I will be riding mostly one up. I'm looking at both the 2012 Goldwing and the BMW K1600GTL. My concern with the Goldwing is its size and weight. It looks like it would be a beast to handle compared to a smaller Ultra Classic. On the other hand I like the so-called "barcalonger"-type riding position of the Ultra, and I'm not sure I could adjust to what appears to be a more forward riding position of a sport bike like the BMW K1600. What advice might former Harley riders/owners offer?

I haven't taken either a Goldwing or GTL for a test ride, so I realize that my inquiry might be a bit premature. But I would still appreciate any thoughts you might have on the matter. BTW, I posted this message on the K1600 Forum, so it will be interesting to see how the responses, if any, differ.
I own a UC as well and a triked GL1500 Wing. For me, the UC is most comfortable. The BMW woudl probably be a killer tourer, but the near sports-bike like posture would kill my hips. In fact, if I didn't have semi-forward mounted floorboards on my GL1500, I couldn't ride it due to muscle spasms in my hip area from the midline placement of foot controls.

The UC is a Lazy Boy wheels. My GL1500 is more akin to a knock-off Lazy Boy that's not quite as accommodating, though my wife likes riding on the back of the Wing more than the UC. My GL1500 is much faster than my TC88 UC. The Harley gets better MPGs. If my GL1500 wasn't triekd, it'd be too tall for me. The UC is the perfect height, but cost me a new seat and lowering shocks to make it so.

Both bikes are great tourers. I think you'll see more older-folk on Wings than Harleys due to the quiet ride of the Wings. And I'll bet you'll see more folks actually touring long distances on a Wing than a Harley. Just my observation from the road,s o I could be wrong.

Now, if i had to get rid of one or the other, I might keep the UC over the Wing... unless my wife could convince me that she really wanted to ride 2-UP more. By myself, I'll take the UC; 2-up, the Wing. I mean those 6cyls really make acceleration a no-brainer, no matter how much its loaded down.
 
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