GL1800Riders Forums banner

1 - 20 of 91 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
318 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
(My report is too long according to this site's parameters, so I have had to cut it into several posts)

Preface: I own both a K1600GTL and GL1800. I bought the GL1800 after I bought the GTL.

I never thought that at 45 I'd be riding a 2012 Goldwing. I was all set to buy one until I heard about BMW's upcoming K1600GTL. The inline 6 is what seduced me. I will try to keep this comparison as brief as possible and straight to the point.

Engine:
K16:The engine is, as you would expect, is as smooth as it gets. There are no detectable vibrations at all. Engine braking is severe. Much more so than on the Goldwing. When you close the throttle it's as though you've applied the rear brake.

GL1800: On par with the inline six for smoothness and vibration free. I have no preference for one over the other. On the GTL, some engine heat can be felt on hot days (in the 80's and 90') on the left leg, but to me it was not an issue. It's nothing like the heat from the Gen 1 FJR or ST1300. You notice it, that's all.

Transmission:
K16: Clunky, long throws between gears. You really need to shift it authoritatively or it will kick back and fall out of gear. So push it up hard, don't just tap it up, especially into 2nd and 3rd. From a stand still, the bike doesn't have a lot of off line torque, so you need to shift, shift, shift... of course, you could accelerate hard in first up to 6000 or 7000 rpm and then shift, to 2nd, but that's not how I ride. So the tranny ratios are on the sport bike side. Once in sixth gear, it was good down to 2000 rpm before I felt I was lugging it, due to some vibrations coming through. I felt the engine was happy at 3000 rpm or higher. Without earplugs, transmission whine is unbearable (to me).

GL1800: Excellent transmission. I never felt the need for a 6th gear. The ratios are perfectly spaced. Ample torque in every gear. I felt my former FJR1300 could have used a 6th gear, but not the Goldwing.

Throttle response:
K16: Throttle by wire takes some getting used to. There are 3 riding modes: Rain, Road, Dynamic. Rain mode throttle is less responsive, it's as though there's a bit of a delay, Road is more responsive and Dynamic is for sport bike performance. All three modes work well. However, the transition between open throttle and closed throttle can be jerky and driveline lash is evident. So when you are decelerating to a lower speed, but are not fully closing the throttle, that little space between closed throttle and open throttle takes some mastering or else you feel like the bike is "hesitating" and bucking back and forth with throttle on and throttle off. Physically since there are no throttle cables, it's completely "E-gas" as BMW calls it, the throttle rotation is super light. Passing on 2 lane roads sometimes required me to downshift to 5th gear to get the roll on acceleration to be more responsive.

GL1800: I find the throttle grip quite heavy by comparison. Throttle response is excellent. Acceleration at highway speeds to pass cars on 2 lane highways is leisurely by comparison to the K16 but in fact, it's very responsive and fast.
I've spent the last few weeks riding mostly backroads and passing countless cars, RV's, trucks etc.. and rolling on the throttle the bike flies to 100 mph with ease, without downshifting.

Suspension:
The K1600GTL has the factory option of electronic suspension adjustment. You can set the preload for solo, solo and luggage, or 2 up. You can also select 3 suspension modes: comfort, normal, sport. The suspension is excellent.

GL1800: Bottom of the line front suspension. The back shock feels fine to me but the front is harsh and non compliant. Since the GL1800 is a "keeper", I've done the fully monty Traxxion front and rear suspension. It rides like a different bike now. Honda should really do something about upgrading the front suspension on the Goldwing.

Ergonomics:
For my physique, the seat to pegs and handlebars distance is perfect on the Goldwing. My arms are bent at the elbows on the Goldwing and fully stretched on the K16. Seat height is low on both, I think the K16's stock seat is a bit lower than the Goldwing's and it's comfortable, but nowhere near as comfortable as the 2012 GW seat. The placement of the footpegs seem to be about the same on both bikes but since the GTL's seat is a bit lower, my knees were bent more. I find the riding position of the Goldwing to be more comfortable for all day riding.

Windshield:
K16 is electrically adjustable, with memory function, so when you turn off the key, it retracts to its lowest position and once you ride off again, it returns to the last place you had it set. No matter how high or how low I had it, I could not find a quiet riding position. I ended up keeping it level with my nose, but since it's curved, it's optically distorted, so looking through it is not ideal.

Goldwing: I've lamented the lack of on the go adjustability, even though with either bike, once I've found the sweet spot, that's where I keep the windshield. For me, the Goldwing's stock windshield has been excellent. I have it set at nose level and sometimes when I slouch, I am looking through it, other times, I'm looking just above it. It's a quiet ride, without wind turbulence, and on a recent trip to the Rockies, I enjoyed the feel of the cool mountain air on my semi raised faceshield coming through the windhshield vent. The Goldwing's windshield just plain works.

Seats:

GTL seat: The seat is a one piece non adjustable seat. It's low, lower than the Goldwing and for a stock seat, it's comfortable for a couple of hours. I find the stock seat on the Goldwing much more comfortable. A taller seat (taller by 1") is available as a no cost factory option. The K1600GT uses 2 seats and those can be installed on the GTL, at your expense. The GT's rider seat is an inch taller than the stock GTL seat and can be raised another inch or so. The GTL stock seat is heated for both rider and passenger.


Switch gear:
(Skip this section if you don't care to know how the menu system works on the K16).
K1600: BMW employs a Menu button to select functions and a rotary controller to select items from the menu: Menus are for general settings for selecting things such as fuel consumption; there are 2 mpg calculators (much like Trip A, and Trip B odometers, but for mileage), Range remaining on fuel in tank, air temperature, actual tire pressure for front and rear tires, engine oil level, stop watch, time traveled / time stopped, date. Second menu: electronic shock settings: comfort, normal, sport and then preload for 1, 1 plus luggage, or 2. Third menu: GPS controls: zoom in, zoom out, next page on GPS, voice repeat, voice mute and GPS screen off. Fourth setting: Heated grips, with 5 degrees of heat adjustment. Fifth menu: Seat heat for rider only, same as heated grips. Sixth menu: Audio controls: speakers on, speakers off (which enables Bluetooth transmission to Bluetooth helmets. You can select one menu as your favorite by pushing the Menu button up and storing as your direct access menu.
Radio controls on the K16 are on the left side fairing, some functions are accessed by pressing a button, others are accessed by pressing and holding down that button.

Goldwing: Buttons, buttons and more buttons. Having used both systems, the K16's menu setup seems more sophisticated, but in practical terms, I prefer the direct access buttons on the Goldwing. I want FM, press the FM button, I want Intercom, same thing, no menus to scroll through. I like that better than the K16 setup.

Horn button: Try as I might, I was unable to reach the horn button in an instant when I needed to use it. The rotary controller gets in the way of my reach. I have average (size 9) hands. The ONLY way for me to reach the horn button is to have my hand right up against the rotary controller all the time. The horn itself on the K16 is worthy of a 50 cc scooter, meep meep, I certainly could not hear the horn at highway speeds..It's completely useless.

Cruise control:

K16’s throttle by wire means when you engage the cruise control, the throttle grip resets to the idle position. When you disengage cruise by applying the brakes or the clutch, if you don’t want to experience heavy engine braking, you need to rotate the throttle to the approximate position it should be at the speed you’re currently traveling. The K16’s cruise control does NOT have a Resume function similar to the one used on the Goldwing. Even the switch gear for cruise control says “RES”, all it does is set a new speed. So, if you had set cruise at 60 mph and you disengaged it, and you’re now riding at 50 mph, when you hit “RES”, it will not accelerate to 60 and maintain that speed. It will set itself to the current speed.

Brakes:
BMW uses a semi integral braking system. This means when you apply the brake lever, you have full braking power to the front and rear brakes. When you apply the brake pedal, you are activating only the rear brake.
Honda’s combined braking system does not permit the application of only the rear brake without any braking from the front. I find this odd. There are instances where one needs to apply trail braking only.
Both bikes have excellent brakes. On the BMW, you can sometimes stop faster than you can put your foot down!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
318 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Traction control: BMW uses a dynamic traction control system derived from their S1000RR superbike, which not only monitors wheel speed differences between the front and rear wheel, but also uses gyroscope sensors to detect lean angle. The system is greatly appreciated on wet roads and it reduces power to the rear wheel imperceptibly to eliminate loss of rear wheel traction. The system can be turned off once but is enabled at next startup. I liked it very much.

The next gen Goldwing should have traction control. If memory serves, Honda had it on early models of the ST1100. I didn't think the GL1800 needed it, but I had a couple of pucker moments when accelerating uphill on a wet road and I detected the back end "coming loose"... The Goldwing would benefit from having traction control, which actually uses the existing ABS sensors to detect wheel spin and the rest is done through software in the ECU.

Headlights: BMW uses HID xenon light on the low beam, which can be ordered as an adaptive headlight, meaning it will tilt into the curves when cornering to keep the light beam on the road. It works very well, but outside of the big city where I live, I don't ride at night for fear of animal strikes and also the risk of being unable to read the road surface (gravel, spilled diesel fuel, etc..). On a couple of occasions I left on a trip at 4 am and found the low beam light to be very good. The angel eyes day time running lights are not as bright as on new generation bmw cars, so that's a bit disappointing. I use the LED accessory foglights for daytime visibility. Both the LED foglamps and the adaptive headlight are factory options.

I find the headlights on the Goldwing to be better than the headlights in my car... enough said..

Tipover protection:
The K16 does not have any standard tipover protection. You can buy OEM supplied engine guards which bolt onto the engine block, but there’s no way to determine at this point how well they will protect the bodywork since they are slow in coming from the factory. I continue to debate whether mounting engine guards directly to the engine block is really a good idea.. There's the potential for some serious damage to the engine block instead of the plastic fairing.

The Goldwing comes with engine and saddle bag guards stock from the factory.

Luggage:
The K16GTL comes standard with 3 detachable cases. The saddle bags measure about 37 liters each and their capacity is less than those on the GL18. They are easily removable and are available with central locking (power locks as a factory option). The top case has 2 gas struts which lifts the lid and holds it up. There’s a standard LED interior light and an optional LED high mounted exterior brake light. The top case is also removable but not as easily as the panniers. First, you must remove the seat (easily removable with the bike’s key), then you must detach the wiring harness located under the passenger portion of the one piece seat, lift the carpet in the top case floor and rotate a large knob. There are no built in handles to removing the top case is not something I would chose to do frequently.

There is a central locking / unlocking button on the right switch gear of the K16, as well as a wireless fob. I wish the Goldwing had a central locking button on the switch gear, what's another button among friends!

The 2012 Goldwing has larger saddle bags now and claimed capacity is of 150 liters for all storage on the bike. I absolutely love the (air bag) storage compartment. I think it's claimed to be 7 liters, so it's quite a good size. (That's the main reason I opted for my Level 3 Goldwing over Level 4, so I can have that compartment and I wasn't keen on having an airbag.).

The K1600 has a couple of small locking compartments in lower edges of the fairing, just ahead of the rider's shins; one holds the Ipod, and the other side can hold.. well, I had a small pocket sized kleenex tissues in there and the bike's registration.. it won't hold a lot more than that..


Oil changes:
As with all BMW bikes, service intervals are set at 10,000km (6000 miles), mostly for oil changes and a check list. The first major service is at 18K miles (30,000 km) for a valve inspection).
Oil changes:
The oil filter on the K16 is easy to reach without removing body panels, but the oil drain can be tricky. There are 2 oil drain plugs, one under the bike like on the GL18, but within this drain’s opening, you need to reach in and undo a smaller drain plug to drain the oil from the crankcase.

Valve adjustments:
Recommended valve inspections are at 30,000km intervals (18K miles). Accessing the valves is a complex affair: First you must remove the fairing, then the radiator and other connectors in the way. Once the valve cover is removed, the cams must also be removed to check the shim/bucket valves and adjust if necessary. While there, you might as well replace the spark plugs.


Bluetooth:
There is no wired communications system. You must buy the BMW bluetooth communicators ($410 each) which are designed to be integrated with the bike's radio, and gps. The BMW comm is designed to fit the BMW System 6 helmet (not available in the US) or the Schuberth C3 helmet. That's a $700 helmet. Installation of the communicator into the helmet is complicated. It works well with the bike's radio, but the volume is not very high for those who wear earplugs when riding. It's audible, but not very loud.
In order for the rider to talk to the co-rider, the rider must press the ON button on the radio control or tap the power button on the helmet twice to switch to intercom. There is no Vox setting. Passenger must press the power button twice to switch to intercom mode to talk to the rider, only if the rider is not listening to the radio. If the music is playing, the passenger CANNOT call the rider, only the rider can interrupt the music to call the passenger. If both are wearing Schuberth C3 helmets with the BMW communications system, both can hear the music. It's a very expensive proposition to buying new helmets to get the comm installed.After market bluetooth comm's may work, but some functions may not be available. Owners have reported that the Cardo G4 pairs to the bike sometimes, but not always. GPS prompts sometimes work and sometimes don't.


GPS
:
BMW uses a rebadged Garmin Zumo 660, mounted high on the dash, within a trap door, so it can be easily removed when you want to take it with you,or it can remain on the bike and is securely stowed when the windshield retracts when the key is turned off. I found the GPS location to be too far away, and there's too much sun glare to be able to see it. The GPS is not included with the bike, it's a $799 accessory. When the bike hits reserve, the GPS is supposed to show available gas stations in the area, but that feature so far isn't working. Some GPS features such as zoom in, zoom out, page select, voice prompts, voice mute can be controlled from the switch gear, if you bought the BMW Nav IV. If you use a zumo 660, it will power up, but you have a long reach to the screen to fiddle with it. The GPS screen on the 2012 Goldwing is much much brighter, bigger and much easier to read. The only thing I don't like about it is the lock out while moving feature.. Therefore, I have the BMW Nav IV mounted on the left handlebar above the clutch reservoir with a Ram mount.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
318 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Radio / ipod:

K1600 radio / ipod integration: One word: Worthless. The radio is worthless at highway speeds. I can't hear a thing. On the Goldwing, with the CS auto audio, sound at 75 mph is loud and clear. Honda has an additional amplifier for the radio, in the rear wheel well, behind the wheel.
Ipod integration: BMW: Worthless. It doesn't work. It plays a few tracks then you get "No USB" on the display.. back to the drawing board bmw. USB memory stick: Same thing... It doesn't quite work. The bike also comes with Sirius satellite radio in the US and Canada with a free 1 year subscription. Strangely, sound quality of the Sirius radio was more like AM radio than FM. I didn't much care for it and have no intention to pay a monthly fee for it once the sub expires.

Goldwing: Ipod integration is nearly flawless.The owner's manual says to press and hold the Title button and the display will scroll through artist name, album name and track name. Mine does not. If anyone has any tips regarding this, please drop me a line.

Passenger accommodations:
GTL: Let's put it this way: My wife refuses to ride with me on the GTL. The passenger grab handles are hidden below the seat. There's no way for the passenger to wrap her hands around the grab handles, she has to brace against the grab handles. The passenger backrest is too far back.. Double fail.. The passenger seat is so much higher than the rider's seat that the passenger has very little, if any, wind protection. My daughter and my wife both complained of way too much wind on their torso.. Triple fail. My teenage daughter is always keen to ride with me. She NEVER complains about anything. She did ask me "how am I supposed to hold on to these grab handles?" Have a look here:






Goldwing: I bought this bike so I can get my wife to ride with me. She loves it. The grab rails are in the "natural" position, not behind your butt like on the GTL.

TO ME, the Goldwing is a better touring bike in every respect. The GTL would be more suitable as a solo bike, but even then, the Goldwing is more comfortable. I find the GTL to be less comfortable for all day riding. I can't say exactly why, but the Goldwing is more comfortable for me and my passenger.

3 things Honda should do to the next gen Goldwing besides better suspension: Electrically adjustable screen, mileage computer (mpg, fuel tank range remaining, actual consumption), and a gear indicator. Even if this was done, I'm so pleased with my Goldwing, I won't be running in to trade it in. I've added a gear indicator from HealTech.. Plug'n'play.

Now that I’ve done 5000 miles on my GL1800, and all of it on twisted backroads of Colorado, I am very impressed with the agility of the Goldwing. The GTL might be a bit more agile, it has better stock suspension which is adjustable on the go, it has 3 throttle maps and dynamic traction control, but overall, I found the GL1800 a more comfortable ride for solo and 2 up riding.
I could go on but this review is long enough and if you have any specific questions regarding the K16, please ask.

I didn't mean to make this comparo as long as I have.. so if I missed anything, I'll try to answer as best as I can. (Sorry to have rambled and may have repeated myself. This report was written over several weeks in several hotel rooms, airport waiting lounges and on airplanes.)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
812 Posts
Good review/comparison. Thanks for posting.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,855 Posts
Excellent write up. Thanks!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
102 Posts
Great post. THANKS

---------
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
814 Posts
You took a lot of time on this post and it was very informative. My 2008 GW is my last bike and I couldn't imagine riding something else in place of it but its always interesting to see a good comparison like you did.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,187 Posts
Another thanks, being male there is always a pretty skirt to catch your eye but once I stop thinking or maybe start thinking, the Dirty Fat Girl really does, after Traxxion and a few other mods, what I want a bike to do better than any other bike out there. It's just not sexy, I'm older now and can live with that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
894 Posts
Wow, I need to echo what has already been said. Excellent review/comparo with great in-dept perspective. :thumbup:

If one can't find the answer to what you're looking for in this write-up, you never will.

Roger
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
238 Posts
excellent write up...

"3 things Honda should do to the next gen Goldwing besides better suspension: Electrically adjustable screen, mileage computer (mpg, fuel tank range remaining, actual consumption), and a gear indicator. "

Completely in agreement on your next gen observations for the GW. I had a FJR before the Wing and it had a trip computer and gear indicator as well as electonically adjustable windshield. Many don't care about these kind of things, but for the price of the wing, they should come standard. Something you didn't cover is fit and finish. I have a '10 Wing that I am very happy with overall, but am baffeled by the fact that so many aftermarket fixes need to be applied to it to correct, what I feel, poor f & f issues. For instance, the trunk lid rubbing... small things like that that should not happening on the Honda flagship. Have you noticed any f & f issues with the BMW? From the pictures I've seen of the BMW's, I was puzzled to see that they left the side cover off that would cover the brake resevoir. I find that odd... Anyway, great write up, thanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,849 Posts
MINGO: wonderful write up and a very balanced, fair comparison. Many have suggested that the 2012 is only a stepping stone to a radical new design for the Goldwing. You make some excellent recommendations on improving an already fine Goldwing machine that I hope Honda will actually pay attention to when it comes to designed future models.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,115 Posts
Thanks for the excellent writeup. :bow:

I do have one question for you. :?:

How does it feel to have chosen the "number 2" touring bike over the "number 1" touring bike? :lol: (I'm with you on the categorization of the Beemer. Definately a 1-up solo rider sport-touring bike over the Wing's 2-up touring.) :thumbup:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24,624 Posts
A very good review! Thanks for taking the time to do and post it!!
 
P

·
Guest
Joined
·
0 Posts
Thank You Mingo !!!

:thumbup: You presented a very detailed review and more importantly when you did have a complaint about the Beemer, you added supporting details. I have to admit, I tested a K1600 GT and really enjoyed it. I even thought about trading my wing for one.

The more reports like this I read, the happier I am that I did not follow an emotional high from the Beemer test ride and make the trade. Even my 08 base model is way better than this overpriced machine.

Goldwings are still the best motorcycle available today. They may not be as "sophisticated" as a Beemer, They may not be as Sexy as a Ducati, or they may not have the fancy Chrome/paint/pirate clothing as a Harley... But they do most everything well
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,633 Posts
Outstanding comparo......Lots of work here....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
318 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
For a 12 year old bike, it just plain works.. and for me, it's nothing shy of touring perfection.

Even if it lost a hundred or 200 lbs. I still won't be able to paddle walk it backwards if there's a slope.. Electric reverse is a great feature. I forgot to mention that the GTL does not have reverse and for a 775 lbs bike, it would come in handy.

GTL ----> Concours14... same class of touring bikes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
234 Posts
Quite in-depth. Great analysis! I really appreciate the work you put into this...

J.D.
 
1 - 20 of 91 Posts
Top