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The Mrs. and I have been dirt riders for a long time, but have talked about getting an older Goldwing to go up and down the West Coast when our kids (now 16 and 13) are out of the house. This past Summer, however, we realized that our kids have their own weekend social calendars. Between drop-offs and pick-ups, we're often left with daytime hours too short to get to the dirt, but plenty to take a street ride down PCH or up in the mountains above Ojai.

On a pretty frequent basis, I see low-mile, mid-80's 1100/1200GL's for around $3000, and early 90's 1500GL's from $4000-$6000 on Craigslist. If I'm not mistaken, the 1500's have reverse, but other than that, I don't really know what feature sets to look for, or flaws for that matter. For a person who's ridden dirt his entire life, will I be in for a steep learning curve with such a big bike?

I know these bikes have a reputation of motors capable of 200,000+ miles, but would I miss out on any really worthwhile features by looking at Goldwings that are so old?

Any insights would be appreciated!
 

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Welcome Cat Daddy . I ride a older 1500 , 1996 . Found on cl , Rode wings before , yeah they are heavy . Once in a while you can find a real cherry one out there . As with wings the older ones don't have reverse and have limited aftermarket stuff availibility. If i were in the market today i would look at a higher mileage 1800. Most of these are adult owned ,not hammered and have fuel injection ,i have seen one with 230,000mi , super nice brakes nice radio, goes on and on.The older 4 cyl models had a stator (a type of alternator), problem , you have to pull the motor to replace this 150.00 part. Good luck . Rob
 

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Cat 1st of all good to have you on board. 2nd some 1500's have reverse some don't. When I bought mine I found a sweet deal with only 23,000 miles on it. The bikes are out there if you take the time to look for them. Here are some links for you to look at it with lot's of info. Good Luck in your search. The 1st one was put together by Steve Saunders who many people on the web consider the Guru.

http://www.goldwingfacts.com/goldwinghistory.htm

http://goldwingdocs.com/index.asp

http://www.goldwingworld.com/pages/index1.htm

Hope these help & again Welcome from the Frigid Northeast Pa.
 

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only 1500 aspencade and 1500se have reverse. gl 1200 seem to have stator problems more than the 1000 or 1100 wings. if you did get a 1200 wing an '87 is 23 years old, how long should an alternator or stator last
 

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First welcome to the forum from Pa. As far as what year GW to purchase, Unless you are handy with a wrench and not intimidated by working on the "inners" of a m/c engine, I would look at a GL1500. There a lot more options (farkles) you can add to the bike and I believe the 1500 engine was pretty dependable and has lots of power for 2 up riding. Buying used, make sure you find a bike that has been maintained (with records if possible) and looks like it's been taken care of. A lot of low mileage bikes out there with a lot miles left in them. Just my $.02 worth.
 

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I would try to stay with a 1500, in 95 Honda made some changes to the bike and in 98 they made some more, depending on how much money you want to spend, I would at least try for a 95 or newer Gold Wing. Check to see if the owner has his maintenance records, most GW owners keep everything about their bikes, they might forget their anniversary or kids birthday but the always remember when the did the last oil cahnge on their bike! :D
 

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Just my personal experience, I just bought my first GW in Oct '09, '95 Aspy. I won't buy one without reverse.
 

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...For a person who's ridden dirt his entire life, will I be in for a steep learning curve with such a big bike?
...
Well, it will be different, for sure. I think you'll be fine, just take it slow and easy for a while until you get used to the weight. Riding in the dirt you're probably used to horsing the bike around some - not going to do that on a 'wing. The things are amazingly stable, but if it starts to tip during a slow speed turn or at a light, it's going to take more than shifting in the seat or putting more weight on the high-side peg to get it back upright (especially if you're 2-up).
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Some good advice here!

Thanks for all the good advice. I was already leaning toward at least a 1500 with reverse, so it's nice to have that thought confirmed. Other than a Garmin GPS, which I know I'll want, are there any aftermarket upgrades that most folks consider "gotta haves" that the previous owner may have put on, or are still available to add once I score a GW?
 

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Just check out this site for instance & you can get a feel for what's available yet.

http://wingstuff.com/cat_gl1500.php

Now as far as what people consider as must haves, you will get a varying degree of opinions here. I'll give you some of mine & I'm sure the other guys will join in. Some even disagreeing with them.

Highway pegs (for you)
Arm rests (for her)
Headsets/communication (for both)
Superbrace
Bellypan
Iso Grips
I have & like Floorboards (Some guys don't like them or if your short make it hard to reach the ground
Custom Seat
Progressive suspension
Xtall windshield
Wind Wing/Air deflectors
 

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Hi Cat Daddy, listening to everyones advice sounds pretty good. In the last 10 years I've gone from a 79 1000 to a 82 1100 to my current ride 2000 GL1500 SE. This thing is pretty dressed as you see. The main reason I bumped up was for the intercom when I'm with my wife as co-pilot, and CB when I'm with my buddys. My cousin rode a 80 1100 for years and just bumped up to a 94 GL1500 and he cannot believe the difference. I would not go below a 1500 myself. Being I'm taller in the saddle, I very rarely use reverse, but its nice when you need it.
BR
 

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For a person who's ridden dirt his entire life, will I be in for a steep learning curve with such a big bike?

The short answer to the above question is no; based on my personal experience. I have only ridden a Suzuki 400 on/off road for five years before deciding to join the big boys. The transition went well as the position of the operator/pilot on the Wing is essentially the same. My brother, a Harley rider, went for a spin on my Wing and he couldn't wait to get off it because of the difference in the positioning of the ride. He was not comfortable, (no forward control) whereas it was a better fit for me as a dirt biker. Also, in my totally biased opinion, I would advise you to go with the GL1800 for the bigger engine and other amenities; if you can up the price slightly. It should reduce your repair bills, offsetting the bigger price tag. Good Luck Cat Daddy!
 

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A Belly Pan for sure,especially with the crossbreeze where you will be riding.Hiway pegs.
Haven't got mine yet but can't wait until i have them. I am 5'10",just recently put on the MBL handlebars for the 1500.NOW i am really comfy against the stock seat backrest,and i don't get that between the shoulderblades ache on long rides. Put in some low speed practice by yourself before adding the misses.You are gonna love it! Be safe & enjoy. BTW if you like XM Or Sirius,then that is a must.
 
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