GL1800 BUYERS GUIDE

( A Little Advice )

2015_GoldWingABS_Black Black-2013-Goldwing-GL1800

      Always go and see it ?

 

The GL1800 is now 15 years old, introduced in 2001 it quickly became an icon in the world of touring motorcycles, with an all new 6 cylinder 1832cc fuel injected engine nestled in a aluminium frame with a single sided swing arm the improvements to Handling, Braking, performance, and fuel economy exceeded all its predecessor’s Abilities, it was and still is a touring machine like no other.

 

Honda have Updated the GL1800 during the past 15 years with two facial & mechanical makeovers, the first in 2006 and the second in 2012

It also became the first production motorcycle to have an Airbag in 2007.

 

With out doubt it’s a very enjoyable ride and extremely reliable, Well know and proven for its mile munching bullet proof engine it handles well and can surprise other motorcyclists with its agility when your out riding on the twisty’s

The tasty array of factory fitted gizmos and gadgets and their huge luggage space and comfy seating all adds up to making the GL1800 an ideal choice for those wishing to tour the UK and Europe.

And, with a great national and international club scene available to socialize and tour with, owning a “Wing” like a Harley is a lifestyle choice for many owners.

Second hand wings vary from completely standard un-messed with machines, to well accessorized examples and choosing the right machine for you does require a little home work before you part with your hard earned cash.

 

The Condition of second hand examples on the UK market is generally very good but its worth taking a few sensible steps to ensure you get a nice one.

Paintwork and chrome work are easy to check over with your eyes, take your time remembering to check panel fitment as you look around,

Poor fitting panels can often hide other problems, ranging from bodged insurance repairs, to DIY servicing.

Put simply, all Honda panniers fit correctly when they left the factory so if they don’t now, why not?

Check the silencers, pay particular attention to the mild steel chrome covers, they are tack welded onto stainless silencers and are prone to rotting on the underside causing the covers to come lose and rattle, these covers are not available separately, it’s a complete new silencer.

 

Don’t be put off by the array of buttons and switches on the wing

Make sure they all work, if you’re viewing with the owner/dealer he should know the machine and be able to explain how it all works and show you it working. After all it is his machine. Don’t be afraid to ask.

 

The engine and running gear are hidden away and not that easy to check over so a test ride on the machine is important,

Don’t ride a demo unless you’re buying a new one always ride the one you wish to purchase.

Providing it’s been serviced regularly and maintained correctly, it should go for many ten’s of thousands of miles under your ownership and a test ride should show up any areas which require further investigation

A test ride will also give you time alone with the machine to have a good look around it and remember, ride it with the stereo off for a while, so you can hear if there are any unusual noises from the engine and running gear.

I averaged 15/ 20,000 miles a year, sometimes more, my wings are always serviced as per the book plus a little extra time at every service on checking / servicing the brakes. In all those years no Goldwing as ever let me down

However if you should happen to buy the wrong one it really can be a money pit.

Here are a few GL1800 Common problems to watch out for in no particular order.

1/ Factory fitted heated grips failing on 2006 to 2010 models..  

Usually caused by the left-hand grip twisting and breaking the wire contact,

It’s a replacement grip to repair, genuine Honda is approx £180 each.

Replacement OEM parts are available at £125.

If you want it fitting by a dealer, allow for 2/3 hours labour. And that’s Just the L/H grip.

Heated seats can also give problems so make sure you test them to ensure they work.

 

2/ after market lighting,

 

This really is one to watch out for; all that shines is usually not so rosy,

Many Goldwing Owners have added additional lighting over the years usually wiring the lights up themselves, and the standard of work varies?

There are good and bad ones around, but be well aware of the bad ones, take your time checking over the machine, look for exposed wiring, wiring hanging lose,

If you’re not proficient in sorting it out yourself then you are going to be paying out for it sorting at a dealer at some point.

 

 

3/ alternators / batteries

Can and do fail, it’s a wearable item, so check the charge rate, cost to replace alternator approx £700/800 battery £65/75

 

4/ poor wiring loom electrical connections

(Genuine plug sockets) can cause electrical issues so make sure everything works as it should.

 

5/ the adjustment control

On suspension units on early model 1800s can seize up and fail

Usually it will show on the dash as an error message when you try to adjust the suspension.

 

6/ gearboxes

Have been known to fail on some 1800 models; It is rare, but well worth looking out for.

The telltale is the bike jumping out of 4th/5th gear usually when under load. So if you’re buying private a test ride is a must. From a dealer, you should have a warranty period.

Undue wear to the selector forks and gears is the problem and Without doubt a very expensive and time consuming job to repair

Yes, it’s an engine out and a full gearbox strip, and a job not for the faint hearted

Average cost is around £3000 at a specialist centre / Honda dealer.

 

7/ wheel corrosion

The wheels on the GL1800 2001 / 2010 are generally of a good quality but its worth checking the rear wheel for surface corrosion.

On newer models 2012 onwards, both wheels are prone to suffering from surface corrosion

New wheels are expensive; your best option if corrosion is caught early enough is to powder coat the wheels they look smart and are easy to clean in the future.

 

8/ Service costs

These can vary depending on your location due to hourly rates,

So the easy way to check service costs is to know how long it should take to service your GL1800

A Minor service should take hours around 2/3 hours

A Major Service should take hours around 4/6 hours

It’s always worth checking that your dealer has staff competent to work on your Goldwing,

The removal and the re-fitting of panel work incorrectly can cause panel damage.

 

9/ Recalls

There have been a number of recalls on the GL1800 since 2001

From simple kill Switch modifications, to a Major frame recall in 2004/2005.

All dealt with by Honda (after a little pushing)

The latest recall which affects 145000 GL1800s worldwide is a brake recall.

This Recall Requires the replacement of the secondary brake master cylinder and master cylinder on all GL1800 machines at no cost to you, the owner.

If you wish to check to ensure your machine as had all relevant recalls done simply contact Honda customer service on 0845 200 8000

It helps to have your full frame number and registration number handy.

 

I will also be adding a recalls page very shortly