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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi All

I have been riding the manual 6 speed 2018 goldwing for a few weeks now after riding Harley's since 2005.

Firstly, I think the GoldWing looks awesome, 20 out of 10 for body and engine looks.

But I am disappointed with a few things and really hoping this is just a learning curve and I will get over it although some things will require modifications to solve. Consider that my benchmark are Harley cruisers that I owned previously (Heritage softail 2005 and then the FatBob 2018 ).

Disappointments:

1. The engine drone noise is terrible. Harley's are just as loud but they sound good, they do not drone, their frequency varies to a nice rumble when cruising. The goldwing on the other hand just drills a big hole in your head with that nasty drone noise that kicks in at 2k revs and gets worse the higher the revs. I am sure only a new exhaust can fix this one but cannot believe Honda would design a horrible droning noise exhaust system on purpose, or did they do it by accident or neglect? Yep, ear plugs do not help that much. New exhaust system needed :frown2:

2. The gear box is clumsy, it gets stuck, sometimes hard to find neutral, does not always go into gear easily, makes a racket, just does not feel good. I thought this gear box would be high tech but it seems to be just plain bad. A low tech gearbox on a Harley is far superior. I just do not get it. Did Honda design their gearbox so be rickety on purpose or are they all like this? I think this one could be fixed by some clutch adjustments which I have yet to try - hoping this is a simple fix but surprised it is so bad at the moment.

3. The engine struggles with low revs making all sorts of "bad" noises. This is a weird one. On the outside the engine looks like it is really high tech, yet when you ride it in low revs it feels like a really old second hand engine that is ready to fall apart.

That is about it but that is a lot more than I expected for a bike at this price.

I have to say I really want to love my new Goldwing and I am hoping I can resolve the above.

I am currently wondering if I have a dud bike, or perhaps the DCT version is better in this respect?

Or maybe I just do not know how to ride it yet :surprise::serious:
 

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You got a dud! I don't experience any of what you describe your bike is doing. Consider asking to test drive a dealers GL1833 and compares your bike. Hope you find acceptable satisfaction.
 

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I am not sure how to reply to this post, since what we like about motorbikes is so subjective. For example, I dislike the sound of Harleys because I think they are too loud. And I think the 2018 Gold Wing is also too loud (but preferable to a Harley). I prefer the sound of the earlier Gold Wings or the larger BMWs. I also wear earplugs (foam, rated at 32 NRR; make sure they are seated properly), so the noise is much attenuated. At highway speeds all I hear is a low grow and mostly wind noise, which is manageable. The drone is barely noticeable; I am not sure I even hear it. In any case, it doesn’t bother me. (My wife, who sometimes follows me in the car, can hear it.) The occasional clunking in the DC transmission (I don’t have experience with the manual version) is a little annoying on those very few occasions when I am not wearing ear plugs, but there is no engine struggling in any gear, let alone the low gears. I understand transmission noise may be quieter with the 2020 models. That said, I have been happy with the 2018 Gold Wing

Our reactions to these annoyances may be a matter of temperament. That is, what annoys me might not annoy you, and vice-versa. I do empathize with your frustration, however, and hope that you will find your way to a happy ending.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
...

Our reactions to these annoyances may be a matter of temperament. That is, what annoys me might not annoy you, and vice-versa. I do empathize with your frustration, however, and hope that you will find your way to a happy ending.
Thanks for the feedback. I guess that all I am trying to do is find out if other owners, manual transmission in particular, have the same experience. The drone sound is unmistakably annoying.

I wonder if my exhaust pipes are worn out or if they have been modified? The bike had about 3,500 miles on it when I purchased it. It was a demo model. I am wondering if it was mistreated or if what I am experiencing is "normal".

The first response claims that something is wrong with my bike. Guess I will have to take it to a Honda service center and get their opinion. Are the exhausts worn out? Is the transmission worn out? Does the engine have a problem ? Or is all this normal?
 

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The drone, I hear it's there on some bikes... but, it's not going to sound like a Vtwin.

Gear box... would have to try it. Some folks are very particular on how their shifting feels. You may be so use to your HDs that the Honda feels significantly different, but is working as designed. Let the dealer double check.

Low revs... flat six is not a low rev bike... you're use to the Vtwin, which is. My 2008 lives at 3K RPM or higher, it took me a while to get use to that coming from a Vtwin as well.

My CBR1000RR is worthless at anything less than 5,000 RPM. You want to enjoy the ride, you have to keep it up there or higher... that was really hard to get use to coming from a Vtwin.

I'll tell you a story, after I got a bike in 2002 a friend got him a new HD and road it for two weeks... told me, "Something's wrong with this bike... it shakes, hard to shift, handlebars shake so much my hands are numb riding to work... it wears me out in an hour!"

He took it back to the HD dealer and the mechanic took it for a ride, came back and told him, "Nope... it's perfect...running as smooth as butter.........."

The handlebars and engine shook so much they looked like a blur to me sitting still...

But, nothing wrong with getting your GW bike checked...
 

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Just picked up a Tour DCT after riding a Road King for 10 years. I can’t comment on the transmission issues, but the behavior you are describing doesn’t sound right, I’d get it checked out. As others have commented, this is not a low rev engine, you’ll get strange behavior lugging it. As far as the drone, I’ve noticed some. Two things I’d try are properly fitted earplugs and, possibly, a different helmet. On my Harley I would hear very different noises if I was wearing a half or 3/4 face helmet.

Rob
 

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The OP may just be a Harley kinda guy.

It’s OK. Trade back. You may take a beating, but life’s too short to quibble over a few thou. The dealer has to make money to stay in business.
 

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I also hate the exhaust drone with my 2018 6-speed. The transmission though is the best Honda transmission I've ever owned....huge upgrade over the old models 5-speed. I've noticed no low rpm troubles with the engine...feels like the old models engine to me except it gets much better fuel mileage than the old models engine. Overall I'm very happy with my 2018
 

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Thanks for the feedback. I guess that all I am trying to do is find out if other owners, manual transmission in particular, have the same experience. The drone sound is unmistakably annoying.

I wonder if my exhaust pipes are worn out or if they have been modified? The bike had about 3,500 miles on it when I purchased it. It was a demo model. I am wondering if it was mistreated or if what I am experiencing is "normal".

The first response claims that something is wrong with my bike. Guess I will have to take it to a Honda service center and get their opinion. Are the exhausts worn out? Is the transmission worn out? Does the engine have a problem ? Or is all this normal?

Some have found that the severity of the drone is dependent on the helmet they are wearing.

Of course, it's also speed dependent. In my opinion, it's definitely worse than it was on the previous generation.

There are some that think (drone or not) all wings are too quiet.

I think you're idea of verifying that someone hasn't modified the exhaust is a good one. Modifying the exhaust on the previous generation commonly caused an unacceptable level of exhaust drone.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks everyone, really great feedback. Sharing your experiences and tips have really helped.

I still love the goldwing and definitely will keep it. As much as I like Harley's too I think the Goldwing comfort is unbeatable. I am still really excited riding the bike.

For peace of mind I will get the bikes condition assessed. This could all just be me needing to get used to the Honda brand bike.

I think too that it will take me a while to get used to the gearbox and a higher revving engine.

Agree with the DCT owners that I would probably like the DCT more (may trade in for a DCT one day but want to see how I go with the manual).

Will post back in a few months and let you know how its all going then.
 

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I have the DCT so I can't comment on your six speed observations, but my Wing doesn't have the drone you refer to, not at all. At least I can't hear it if it does.

Also, my engine doesn't seem to struggle at all with low revs? I've ridden Harleys for 25+ years and I love their low end torque but honestly my Wing pulls like a mad demon up hills at low revs. Even while two up it rarely has to even downshift while going up hills. The flat six has impressed me to no end, I love this engine.

Northgork, why don't you go to the dealer and test ride another Wing to see how it compares? Might be your bike has issues.
 

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I have the manual 6 speed. Been riding and owning Harley's since 1976. Still have a 2019 Low Rider in the garage. Sold my 2017 Ultra Limited in March. Have owned and ridden over 20 HDs.

I'm not experiencing any of the issues OP describes. Bike snicks into gear unless I'm clumsy with the clutch. I do notice that it's a higher RPM engine to get rolling and that you can't short shift like I can my HDs. Better chassis, better suspension, better weather protection. Just a better bike all the way around.

For me, test riding the Gold Wing when I bought it in September, was a revelation. I've owned 5 HD touring bikes in the past 20 years... 2001 Road King, 2003 Electra Glide Classic, 2004 Heritage, 2016 Road King, and the 2017 Ultra I described selling above. None of them, not one, compare to this Wing. They were all clunky, loud (drive train noise), and handled terribly as compared to the Wing. Loved every d**n one of them and have no regrets. I'll always have a Harley in the garage.

But, for trips, 2 up, and rides like today... 2 up 170 miles, I'll never look back.

Like others have said, you might want to compare yours to others. And, you'll need to get used to the higher RPM dynamics of this engine. Good luck.
 

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Its funny reading about needing higher RPMs with the wings flat 6...it puts out over 100ftlbs of torque to the rear wheel at only 2000 RPMs.
 

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I love the sound of my Wing, it is music to my ears. The only time I can't hear it is when I'm riding with Harleys, because I have to listen to their noise all the time. I can hear every shift they make up & down which is many more than the Wing makes. :serious: :surprise:
 

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I had a 2015 Streetglide for 2 years before trading it info my 2018 non tour manual Goldwing.

For the transmission, I think they are two different animals that need to be shifted differently. On the Streetglide, I used the heel shifter for shifting up. I had to really practice to put just the right amount of pressure so that it would not make such a big clunk (which I understand it typical shifting behavior and characteristic of HD). I also needed quite a bit of force to pull that clutch.

On the Goldwing, you snick it into gear. I'm still practicing it and sometimes make sloppy shifts when I'm not focusing on the shift -- but I'm learning to use two fingers on the clutch. With two fingers, I don't pull the clutch in so much and the shifting is a lot smoother. I too have trouble getting into neutral but not that often. On the HD, I had trouble finding neutral a lot but I believe practice also helped a lot too (one thing I hated was a sore clutch hand because I couldn't find neutral). On the Goldwing, like the sport bikes I've owned in the past, the faster the engine is turning, the less I need to pull in the clutch lever to get a smooth shift.

Regarding the drone, yes, it's there on my bike too and I noticed it when I test drove the bike the first time (I test rode without earplugs). I wear earplugs probably 95% of the time and with earplugs on, I don't notice the drone anymore (on my next ride, I'll make a point to listen more carefully so I can remember at what RPM it happens at). The HD didn't have a drone at all, just that good ole soothing v-twin pulse. BTW, I wear a 3/4 helmet and a full face Shoei. Today, I wore the 3/4 and didn't notice the drone. Also, I wet my ear canals with water before I put in my 29NR 3M foam earplugs.

I ride at 2K RPM (maybe 2.5K) most of the time. The bike feels pretty good there -- if I need to accelerate or climb any incline, I'll downshift if I feel the engine getting even close to struggling (which doesn't happen much).

There is one characteristic I don't like about the motor. Today, I got onto the highway, and went through the gears. At about 5th and certainly at 6th, acceleration has vibrations. It's not smooth ; I'll have to look at my RPMs to better characterize it but there are times when I'm accelerating and it does not feel smooth or powerful (like the power flattens). I'm always in tour mode. I have only used Sport mode a few times -- so maybe it's better in Sport mode and with high RPMs.

I bought this bike early September so I have not had much time to really get used to it (esp. in warmer weather given I'm in NH) so maybe I just need more miles (I've only put 2K miles and the bike had 1.8K when I bought it).

Dennis
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks again everyone. I have to say I rode for 3 hours today and really enjoyed it.

I am sure part of the problem is me getting used to a different brands bike and most people agree that it is a higher revving engine than HD's.

Some of you DCT owners claim that there is no drone noise at all. To be honest I find that hard to believe unless the helmet and ear plugs are really sound proofing?

I rode with ear plugs today and the drone noise is much quieter. My helmet (Bell Bullet) is not so sound proof so that does not help either.

I suspect the DCT is soother and quieter because it changes gears asynchronously meaning as it swaps one gear out while it is swapping the next gear in, at the same time. So I would understand why DCT owners would not have concerns about their transmissions.

I think most of it is me adjusting to the new bike. Just to be clear though, this is the best bike I have ever owned and I am more than happy with it.

I will check out other goldwings to see if they are the same. I suspect there is a big difference between the manual and the DCT in all aspects of gear changing and it probably has less of a drone noise than the manuals although I cannot think why...

Will post back in a few months as I learn a bit more.
 

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Stick a cork in it!

Well actually two corks from your favorite wine, another winger tried that as did I and it does change the tone of the mufflers.
 

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Or maybe I just do not know how to ride it yet :surprise::serious:

I think you don't know how to ride it yet. I have a 2018 Tour MT. I rode a Honda Valkyrie for 18 years and it took me almost 1,000 miles to really learn how to ride the 2018. The gear shift points are much different that the 5 speed Valkyrie. I've also learned to be more comfortable riding in 6th gear between 40 and 50 mph. The bike reaches top torque at 1200 RPM and it's flat thereafter. You can ride comfortably in 6th gear below 50 if you'd like, thus eliminating the higher revs and potential jerkiness of riding in 5th gear at about 45 mph.


Also to say that HD has a better gearbox than the Wing, tells me you don't know how to ride it yet. There's no comparison. The Wing's is better. Give the bike a chance and you'll love it. :cool:
 

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Man.....I LOVE the sound of my bike

......especially goin into or coming out of tight turns at 4K or above RPM in sport mode!

I read about the “drone” here and just scratch my head...... Either mine doesn’t have it, or I don’t notice it.
 
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