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Apologies, the question below did inspire some thought (italicized text is yours from post #80)

There are lots of 2-cylinder motorcycle engines that produce more horsepower and torque per litre/cubic inch than Harley: (I’m guessing without researching the numbers) Moto Guzzi, Triumph, BMW, Honda, Ducati, and Aprilia. What’s your explanation why Harley twins “underperform“ compared to its competition?

I do have the same irritation with HD - but, I suppose I understand it a bit better: Here's why:

The Honda 1.8l 6 cylinder platform seems to easily lend itself to better specs. (Remember, my original point - (which may have been poorly articulated) was that Honda and GW seem to eschew the marketing formula most often used....that of bettering your competition on paper. My hypothesis was that it would be relatively easy to add to the spec sheet without really sacrificing much.

I still believe it's possible to do this "relatively easily" without sacrificing anything other than MPG. I know that's a debatable topic, but - most important are the answers coming this audience. Most of you GW buyers value: MPG, reliability, and longevity all ahead of power. IF Honda is listening to their customers, then they are doing a good job focusing on those buyer values.

As it relates to Harley, the platform - which is very, very "old" does not lend itself to material improvements within EPA guidelines. Also, their model (HD + dealer network) is really architected around customization of "everything". I bought the HD and spent "a lot" on customization....It was sort of bucket list item....but, I will not do it again. I will never buy another HD touring bike.

HD is a disappointment when it comes to innovation, but - they haven't really had a competitor until Indian re-launched. So, I sort of understand why they don't push forward....they already capture 50% of the overall sales AND their buyers lack options (or did). So, while I don't RESPECT their way of operating, I suppose I understand it.

Back to Honda and GW....the reason I asked the question initially - was to seek to understand why they would pull some relatively easy levers to capture more market share.

Having ridden the Kbike - I would "bet" that some Kbike buyers made that choice based on power/performance. The gap on paper is significant. Now, the Kbike doesn't handle anywhere near as well as the GW....it's super top-heavy. As a potential GW customer, I'm forced to trade power specs for something else.... I assume Honda would prefer to sell more GWs....why force their potential customers to make that trade-off?

The thread has been and education for me in GW buyer values. As a "for instance" - I would have never guessed that staying with 87 octane gas was a buyer value. Similarly, I wouldn't have thought getting 300k miles out of bike was as important as it seems to be. While I love the idea of longevity, 300k miles on a motorcycle usually takes so many years, people upgrade for reasons other than failing powertrain.

If I think about what Honda has done for the GW - it's not that they have avoiding R&D. The DCT is revolutionary. The engineering around weight savings, lowering CG and the tele-lever front suspension is amazing.

I regret not buying a GW - but, I also know I would have regretted not having the Harley. I did the Harley first - I'm sure the GW is coming soon....particularly as I begin my life's bucket list planning of riding all the U.S. National Parks.....that requires comfort, reliability, longevity, etc.

I appreciate the effort and community here - thanks for taking the time to read/respond.
Thanks for responding.

I infer from your comments Harley hasn’t “pushed forward” the power output from their traditional V-twins to more closely match its competitors’ engines’ output because they have acceptable market share and the majority of customers are satisfied.

That is the same logic I was trying to advance regarding the current Gold Wing 1833cc engine. Honda likely accepts its market share (in a small market comprised of what? BMW K1600GTLs? Harley tourers? A minuscule number Indians?) and the vast majority of Wing owners are satisfied with the 1833cc engine’s power, just like Harley owners seem to accept their lowish output, character rich engines.

If 99.9-percent of Honda Gold Wing owners are satisfied with the engine’s power AND the luxury touring market is so small (in my opinion), there’s little logic and no business case for spending R & D money to tweak the engine to achieve a fractional increase in market share. Plus, over the past year, Honda (anecdotally) seems to sell every Wing before they even hit the showroom floor.

Tim
 

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I am in the boat that the Harley touring power is lack luster. Before I even picked up my CVO Ultra, I had the engine redone to boost the HP/TQ (Bored, S&S, Andrew, etc) to get it up to an acceptable level to me.

That said, Harley has shown the ability to provide good power, as evidenced with the Revolution motors (With Porsches help). I have always wondered what would have happened if they developed a larger version and stuck it into a FL frame. If they could get ~150 HP out of 1200, I wonder what they could have gotten out of 1600, if they focused on maintaining that 150 HP, but increasing the TQ. Imho, that would have been real competitive in the Goldwing and BMW arena, and I would have been first in line.
 

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I am in the boat that the Harley touring power is lack luster. Before I even picked up my CVO Ultra, I had the engine redone to boost the HP/TQ (Bored, S&S, Andrew, etc) to get it up to an acceptable level to me.

That said, Harley has shown the ability to provide good power, as evidenced with the Revolution motors (With Porsches help). I have always wondered what would have happened if they developed a larger version and stuck it into a FL frame. If they could get ~150 HP out of 1200, I wonder what they could have gotten out of 1600, if they focused on maintaining that 150 HP, but increasing the TQ. Imho, that would have been real competitive in the Goldwing and BMW arena, and I would have been first in line.
Engineering and design considerations aside, it’s my belief that part of the Harley ownership “hobby” experience is the joy owners get from modding their machines. It’s not my thing, but I get it.

Tim
 

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I am in the boat that the Harley touring power is lack luster. Before I even picked up my CVO Ultra, I had the engine redone to boost the HP/TQ (Bored, S&S, Andrew, etc) to get it up to an acceptable level to me.

That said, Harley has shown the ability to provide good power, as evidenced with the Revolution motors (With Porsches help). I have always wondered what would have happened if they developed a larger version and stuck it into a FL frame. If they could get ~150 HP out of 1200, I wonder what they could have gotten out of 1600, if they focused on maintaining that 150 HP, but increasing the TQ. Imho, that would have been real competitive in the Goldwing and BMW arena, and I would have been first in line.
It’s a shame Harley’s Project Nova motors didn’t come to fruition.
 

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Engineering and design considerations aside, it’s my belief that part of the Harley ownership “hobby” experience is the joy owners get from modding their machines. It’s not my thing, but I get it.

Tim
There is definitely something to this point Tim. As mentioned, I have done tons of mods to my CVO, and all of my buddies have as well. The one big thing I do not like about the Goldwing, is the lack of aftermarket performance parts. Sure there are the Remus, which claims to provide 5 or 6 HP for $3,000+, but not much else is out there. I am still surprised that for Harley's, you can still get all sorts of tuners, but nothing for the Goldwings. There exists an entire thriving industry for aftermarket performance parts for the Harley and virtually nothing for the Honda. Why is that? Obviously I am aware that the PCM encryption is a factor, but seems nobody wants to even touch them, but for the Harley's, which are much easier, it's perfectly fine. Makes no sense that nobody will fill this void.
 

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There is definitely something to this point Tim. As mentioned, I have done tons of mods to my CVO, and all of my buddies have as well. The one big thing I do not like about the Goldwing, is the lack of aftermarket performance parts. Sure there are the Remus, which claims to provide 5 or 6 HP for $3,000+, but not much else is out there. I am still surprised that for Harley's, you can still get all sorts of tuners, but nothing for the Goldwings. There exists an entire thriving industry for aftermarket performance parts for the Harley and virtually nothing for the Honda. Why is that? Obviously I am aware that the PCM encryption is a factor, but seems nobody wants to even touch them, but for the Harley's, which are much easier, it's perfectly fine. Makes no sense that nobody will fill this void.
IMO, if there was a market for goldwing high performance parts, the manufacturers would supply those parts. The demand just isn’t there and wingers are price sensitive. A Canadian member of this forum made a turbo kit for the goldwing that provided a substantial hp increase. When members of this forum found out the price for the kit was $8,000, interest in the kit went to zero.
 

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There is definitely something to this point Tim. As mentioned, I have done tons of mods to my CVO, and all of my buddies have as well. The one big thing I do not like about the Goldwing, is the lack of aftermarket performance parts. Sure there are the Remus, which claims to provide 5 or 6 HP for $3,000+, but not much else is out there. I am still surprised that for Harley's, you can still get all sorts of tuners, but nothing for the Goldwings. There exists an entire thriving industry for aftermarket performance parts for the Harley and virtually nothing for the Honda. Why is that? Obviously I am aware that the PCM encryption is a factor, but seems nobody wants to even touch them, but for the Harley's, which are much easier, it's perfectly fine. Makes no sense that nobody will fill this void.
I think the market for high(er) performance modding Wing engines is miniscule. The majority of Wing owners (I’m guessing) aren’t buying Wings with their legendary, bullet proof 1833cc engines as a blank canvas for increasing power. Just like the ultra reliable diesel Mercedes car engines of the 1980s, people such as taxi drivers bought them for reliability and long term economy.

When you think about it, a Harley V-twin is the motorcycle equivalent of a small block Chevy V8. Common as dirt, been around for eons, so there’s plenty of hot rod parts available.

Hot rod parts availability for a diesel Mercedes engine or even a V6 Toyota Camry? Not so much, just like the Wing.

Tim
 

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There is definitely something to this point Tim. As mentioned, I have done tons of mods to my CVO, and all of my buddies have as well. The one big thing I do not like about the Goldwing, is the lack of aftermarket performance parts. Sure there are the Remus, which claims to provide 5 or 6 HP for $3,000+, but not much else is out there. I am still surprised that for Harley's, you can still get all sorts of tuners, but nothing for the Goldwings. There exists an entire thriving industry for aftermarket performance parts for the Harley and virtually nothing for the Honda. Why is that? Obviously I am aware that the PCM encryption is a factor, but seems nobody wants to even touch them, but for the Harley's, which are much easier, it's perfectly fine. Makes no sense that nobody will fill this void.
Harley and Goldwing are two different animals and personally I think Honda is doing exactly what they should. The Goldwing is known for being a super reliable, comfortable long distance motorcycle with above average handling for a large motorcycle.
Have you ridden a 2018 up Goldwing DCT in sport mode? I really wouldn’t want much more power.
The 112 mph speed limit is the only thing I would change.


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IMO, if there was a market for goldwing high performance parts, the manufacturers would supply those parts. The demand just isn’t there and wingers are price sensitive. A Canadian member of this forum made a turbo kit for the goldwing that provided a substantial hp increase. When members of this forum found out the price for the kit was $8,000, interest in the kit went to zero.
I think the market for high(er) performance modding Wing engines is miniscule. The majority of Wing owners (I’m guessing) aren’t buying Wings with their legendary, bullet proof 1833cc engines as a blank canvas for increasing power. Just like the ultra reliable diesel Mercedes car engines of the 1980s, people such as taxi drivers bought them for reliability and long term economy.

When you think about it, a Harley V-twin is the motorcycle equivalent of a small block Chevy V8. Common as dirt, been around for eons, so there’s plenty of hot rod parts available.

Hot rod parts availability for a diesel Mercedes engine or even a V6 Toyota Camry? Not so much, just like the Wing.
No doubt that there is a difference in the types of riders for each brand. While the Demographics might be similar for the Touring models, certainly there is a huge difference in the Psychographics. 9 out of 10 Goldwing riders like Kfadd here, claim that they are satisfied with the current power, and might actually feel there is too much for them. However, I've seen tons of posts from folks who have mentioned regrets that they missed the opportunity for a Guhl tune? My point is, why is it OK to tune every other bike out there, except Goldwings? Why is it not OK to tune a Honda but it's OK to do everything else, in particular, Harley's?

In the case of the turbo guy, I'm not sure that is a fair topic, and clearly that would have a profound effect on reliability. However, a simple tune, a reasonable exhaust, and intake mod if reasonable, I think would generate a good deal of interest if the costs were reasonable. Unfortunately, $3,000 for an exhaust is not reasonable, especially with little the benefit realized.
 

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No doubt that there is a difference in the types of riders for each brand. While the Demographics might be similar for the Touring models, certainly there is a huge difference in the Psychographics. 9 out of 10 Goldwing riders like Kfadd here, claim that they are satisfied with the current power, and might actually feel there is too much for them. However, I've seen tons of posts from folks who have mentioned regrets that they missed the opportunity for a Guhl tune? My point is, why is it OK to tune every other bike out there, except Goldwings? Why is it not OK to tune a Honda but it's OK to do everything else, in particular, Harley's?

In the case of the turbo guy, I'm not sure that is a fair topic, and clearly that would have a profound effect on reliability. However, a simple tune, a reasonable exhaust, and intake mod if reasonable, I think would generate a good deal of interest if the costs were reasonable. Unfortunately, $3,000 for an exhaust is not reasonable, especially with little the benefit realized.
The Guhl tune was not about a vast increase in hp. This is what Fred H. posted after the project was completed.

“Improvements include better throttle response in Tour mode, more controllable in lower gears in Sport Mode, ability for the bike to retain the last mode it was shut down in, elimination of the speed limiter function, and a slight improvement in horsepower.”
 

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The Guhl tune was not about a vast increase in hp. This is what Fred H. posted after the project was completed.

“Improvements include better throttle response in Tour mode, more controllable in lower gears in Sport Mode, ability for the bike to retain the last mode it was shut down in, elimination of the speed limiter function, and a slight improvement in horsepower.”
Agreed - All tunes look for increases in performance across all attributes that are available to crack, not just bottom line HP/TQ numbers. Same with all aftermarket tuners. The point is, why are these tuners still doing business as usual for everyone else out there but the Goldwings?
 

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Discussion Starter · #172 ·
@T-88

"I infer from your comments Harley hasn’t “pushed forward” the power output from their traditional V-twins to more closely match its competitors’ engines’ output because they have acceptable market share and the majority of customers are satisfied."

I don't think that's what I'm suggesting. I think it's fairly obvious Harley owners are dissatisfied with the powerplant, the seats, the handlebars, the windscreens. I mean, we spend thousands (some of us tens of thousands) replacing the stock HD stuff.

To your point further down - Part of the HD "hobby" is modifying. I think that's true. I know I've had fun with it.

For those of you commenting you have enough power on GW - I think context matters. For most, the GW (or any other motorcycle) is not 'transportation' - it's a recreational vehicle.

If you currently ride (as I do) a bike that has 146tq at 2k RPM at the wheel......then 125 at the crank is an enormous step down. 125 might work just fine - but, it's definitely going to be a noticeable drop and surely will subtract "some" fun in "some" situations.

That's not a slam, I think the DCT will add back some fun in some situations and and make other situations more enjoyable.

Maybe I should ask this question a different way.

Is there anyone here who doesn't think Honda could go to 135/135 with some simple tuning and "maybe" a step up in octane?

THAT was the essence of my question. The platform lends itself so readily to power output improvements.

In fairness - I think (I'm not a GW expert) that the new generation did lose close to 100lbs over the old? If that's the case - then that is even better than adding power.
 

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Agreed - All tunes look for increases in performance across all attributes that are available to crack, not just bottom line HP/TQ numbers. Same with all aftermarket tuners. The point is, why are these tuners still doing business as usual for everyone else out there but the Goldwings?
Thing is, if you tune a Harley, the Motor Company will void the warranty. This has been going on for a few years, ever since a legal settlement between HD and the EPA.
 

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Thing is, if you tune a Harley, the Motor Company will void the warranty. This has been going on for a few years, ever since a legal settlement between HD and the EPA.
Don't understand your point? As you are probably not aware, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act prevents any manufacturer to broadly void a warranty unless they can prove that the failure can be directly attributed to the modification. That is applicable across all manufacturers.
 

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mrmagloo said, “My point is, why is it OK to tune every other bike out there, except Goldwings? Why is it not OK to tune a Honda but it's OK to do everything else, in particular, Harley's?”

My guess it’s a free enterprise issue. If there was a market demand for tuning kits for Gold Wings, tuning kits would be available. Insufficient demand = lack of tuning kit products.

Tim
 

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That would
mrmagloo said, “My point is, why is it OK to tune every other bike out there, except Goldwings? Why is it not OK to tune a Honda but it's OK to do everything else, in particular, Harley's?”

My guess it’s a free enterprise issue. If there was a market demand for tuning kits for Gold Wings, tuning kits would be available. Insufficient demand = lack of tuning kit products.

Tim
That thinking would be wrong. Guhl developed a tune for the Goldwing and was approached and threatened to stop providing the tune by the EPA. Guhl obviously complied very quickly when presented with the potential fines.
 

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That would

That thinking would be wrong. Guhl developed a tune for the Goldwing and was approached and threatened to stop providing the tune by the EPA. Guhl obviously complied very quickly when presented with the potential fines.
So, if there is sufficient demand for Wing engine tunes, where are all the companies rushing into the market to fill in the void left by Guhl?

I’m not trying to be argumentative. I just believe the demand for 1833cc ‘tunes’ is so small, it’s not financially viable for anyone to spend the R & D time and money to develop a suitable product that can be profitable.

Tim
 

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So, if there is sufficient demand for Wing engine tunes, where are all the companies rushing into the market to fill in the void left by Guhl?

I’m not trying to be argumentative. I just believe the demand for 1833cc ‘tunes’ is so small, it’s not financially viable for anyone to spend the R & D time and money to develop a suitable product that can be profitable.

Tim
Fred shared many times, the Honda encryption is particularly tough. So, that directly increases the development costs and also limits the pool of potential vendors with the required skillsets. But the fact is, Guhl did indeed create a highly praised tune for a reasonable cost, and developed a good number of satisfied customers, and potential prospects prior to the EPA situation. So it is possible. However, with the EPA unfairly focused on the Goldwings for whatever reason, that no doubt is creating an unfair chilling effect for these models. Again, why did the EPA single out the tuning of Goldwings?
 

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Fred shared many times, the Honda encryption is particularly tough. So, that directly increases the development costs and also limits the pool of potential vendors with the required skillsets. But the fact is, Guhl did indeed create a highly praised tune for a reasonable cost, and developed a good number of satisfied customers, and potential prospects prior to the EPA situation. So it is possible. However, with the EPA unfairly focused on the Goldwings for whatever reason, that no doubt is creating an unfair chilling effect for these models. Again, why did the EPA single out the tuning of Goldwings?
Well, now the discussion has changed course from why aren’t there “tunes” available for Wings to why the EPA has done whatever they’ve done in the United States. I don’t know. I’m not a U.S. citizen or resident.

What I am aware of is the EPA didn’t “single out” Gold Wings, but they went after aftermarket suppliers of ECU “tunes” that resulted in engines breaching federal emissions standards (such as the numerous producers of diesel truck ECU remap programs.)

Tim
 

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Well, now the discussion has changed course from why aren’t there “tunes” available for Wings to why the EPA has done whatever they’ve done in the United States. I don’t know. I’m not a U.S. citizen or resident.

What I am aware of is the EPA didn’t “single out” Gold Wings, but they went after aftermarket suppliers of ECU “tunes” that resulted in engines breaching federal emissions standards (such as the numerous producers of diesel truck ECU remap programs.)

Tim
Tim - I've stated in virtually all of my posts on this topic today the question of why the tuning and performance mods of Goldwings has been limited as a result of this targeting, while Dynojet and all of the other aftermarket suppliers remain strong and viable with other bikes, particularly Harley's? Yes, they went after Harley themselves for engaging, but none of the aftermarket guys to my knowledge. Go to Dynojet.com and look yourself. You can buy Power Commanders with premade tunes for every bike under the sun - and most Harley's - even other Honda's, but not a Goldwing. So your point about not signaling out Goldwings is not based on fact. Look up Moore for the crotch rockets too. The listing of aftermarket tuners covering other bikes is almost endless.
 
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