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Looking to buy a 2009 Goldwing with 54k miles. It would be my first GW although I've ridden over 50 years. I know owner and it has been taken care of. Question is, I've read a lot on forums about Goldwings needing new suspensions. Is this true with all year models, something that randomly fails or is optional depending on individual bike? Just kind of wanting to know what I'm getting into if I buy used. If I don't purchase this one, I'm probably looking at '06-'10 year models. Thanks in advance for help and info on this subject.
 

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First off, Welcome from SE Idaho!!! As to your question, suspension issues don't manifest themselves on every Goldwing. Many riders find the stock suspension to be just fine. Others are a bit more particular about the ride and handling, and as such opt for upgrades such as Traxxion, Progressive, springs, monotubes, ect. In very few cases, there are real issues that require very thorough investigation in order to find a fix. An 09 with 54K on the clock is next to new for a Goldwing. Ask your friend about his bike. Any issues, how does it ride, does he have the service records, or how are the tires. Check the rear suspension preload system. There should be a switch on the left dash panel that operates the preload pump. Drop it all the way to zero, then increase the load. If the pump changes tone right at zero, she's golden. If not, the pump will need to be serviced and bled. If you're reasonably mechanically inclined, it's an easy service to perform on your own. That's probably the most common suspension issue you'd find, but nothing most would consider a deal breaker. Unless he panics when you ask about it, or wants an insane amount of money for it, I'd jump on it. Good luck, ride safe, and keep the shiny side up. ?
 

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First off, Welcome from SE Idaho!!! As to your question, suspension issues don't manifest themselves on every Goldwing. Many riders find the stock suspension to be just fine. Others are a bit more particular about the ride and handling, and as such opt for upgrades such as Traxxion, Progressive, springs, monotubes, ect. In very few cases, there are real issues that require very thorough investigation in order to find a fix. An 09 with 54K on the clock is next to new for a Goldwing. Ask your friend about his bike. Any issues, how does it ride, does he have the service records, or how are the tires. Check the rear suspension preload system. There should be a switch on the left dash panel that operates the preload pump. Drop it all the way to zero, then increase the load. If the pump changes tone right at zero, she's golden. If not, the pump will need to be serviced and bled. If you're reasonably mechanically inclined, it's an easy service to perform on your own. That's probably the most common suspension issue you'd find, but nothing most would consider a deal breaker. Unless he panics when you ask about it, or wants an insane amount of money for it, I'd jump on it. Good luck, ride safe, and keep the shiny side up. ?
Thanks Brother, former Infantry type here. The advice is much appreciated. Hope to ride through your vicinity someday if I can make it to the much anticipated retirement date.
 

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We'd love to have you out here. If you're ever out this way, drop me a line, I'll show you around. Thanks for your service, just like bikes, "It's not what you ride, it's that you ride", "It's not what you did when you served, it's that you served". Much respect , Brother.
 

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With 54,000 there will probably be a need to replace the bushings in the front suspension sometime soon. My first Gold Wing went 69,000 before it starting leaking. It should have been serviced well before that!

At that time I did the service myself ... that is not something I feel like tackling again since I know of a couple people here in Arkansas that can do the work for pretty reasonable prices.

Like was said early, 54,000 is sort of broke in for one of these bikes. The stuff I would be more concerned about would be the service intervals of everything else, like coolant, brake fluid, engine oil, rear end, etc.
 

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Question is, I've read a lot on forums about Goldwings needing new suspensions. Is this true with all year models, something that randomly fails or is optional depending on individual bike? Just kind of wanting to know what I'm getting into if I buy used.
When new, most riders are very impressed with the ride and handling. However, as the miles rack-up, our springs soften and begin to cause poor ride. If one OHs the front forks and puts OEM springs back in, it again, at least up front, has that impressive new ride. Basically, front and rear needs something done by 50k. Many will then go to aftermarket springs.
 

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I would put aftermarket springs up front as a minimum when I had the front end serviced. Progressive rear shock too unless you are an aggressive rider. Then Traxxion might be a thing to check out. Are you riding two up? Are you both a bit fluffy? Then getting springs and shock for the load makes sense too.

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When new, most riders are very impressed with the ride and handling. However, as the miles rack-up, our springs soften and begin to cause poor ride. If one OHs the front forks and puts OEM springs back in, it again, at least up front, has that impressive new ride. Basically, front and rear needs something done by 50k. Many will then go to aftermarket springs.
Honda gives minimum spring length in service manual and easily measured at fork oil change or other service. Are you saying that you typically see springs at less than minimum spec length by 50,000 miles? Mine measured in spec at 75,000 miles and my ST1300 measured in spec to last check at 174,000 miles. Honda springs in other bikes stay in spec basically the life of bike. I'm surprised to read that GW springs collapse early.
 

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Looking to buy a 2009 Goldwing with 54k miles. It would be my first GW although I've ridden over 50 years. I know owner and it has been taken care of. Question is, I've read a lot on forums about Goldwings needing new suspensions. Is this true with all year models, something that randomly fails or is optional depending on individual bike? Just kind of wanting to know what I'm getting into if I buy used. If I don't purchase this one, I'm probably looking at '06-'10 year models. Thanks in advance for help and info on this subject.
Like many forums there are folks that won't ride around the block without putting $2000 in the suspension and many folks that ride the bike and enjoy it for many miles just as it came from the factory. The GW comes out of the box with a lot of sag in the suspension and typical for Honda seems to be undersprung for typical weight solo riders and all two up couples but as for outright failure of components that is very rare. Honda has no service requirements for fork oil change and I think most bikes benefit from changing the fork oil at 15 to 20,000 mile intervals.
 

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Like many forums there are folks that won't ride around the block without putting $2000 in the suspension and many folks that ride the bike and enjoy it for many miles just as it came from the factory. The GW comes out of the box with a lot of sag in the suspension and typical for Honda seems to be undersprung for typical weight solo riders and all two up couples but as for outright failure of components that is very rare. Honda has no service requirements for fork oil change and I think most bikes benefit from changing the fork oil at 15 to 20,000 mile intervals.
Now my springs always measured in spec. Heck I just serviced my daughters 85 rebel and they measured good too. But it dove faster than someone with lead shoes on. My Goldwings after about two years started diving under heavy or sudden braking coming into a corner or just scrubbing off speed suddenly on a straight road. Put in aftermarket springs and problems are solved. My 84 wing has two air shocks on the back. In the 90's it felt like it had a hinge in the middle of the frame while going around corners. I put progressive air shocks on the back and what a difference! In sweepers going to work I maxed out at 60. After the swap I felt I was going to fall over and I give it gas and am doing 65 comfortably and still does to this day. My 91 dove terribly and I put progressive springs in it. I no longer was scraping my lower cowling. After 8 or 10 years I rebuilt the stock air shock and put progressive's shock on the other side. Wow, again what a difference. 65 to 75 around the corners going to work where 65 was pushing it before. Haven't changed the 2012 1800 because it was totaled 3 years into it but was planning on it. Bought a 2015 with 1900 miles on it last spring. 65 around the corners going to work. The thing scrapes. I'm tall and 270# wife is 180# while touring last fall we were bottoming out. Wife told me to fix that problem. Traxxion is going to be going on in a year or so. Goldwings are expensive and most riders go in a straight line and don't carve corners or want to carve corners. So Honda has to save money where they can so I believe suspension is one area that they do. All depends upon how you ride...

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I recently upgraded from a 1500 to an 1800. I changed my 1500 over to Progressive (front and rear) years ago and it was a noticeable improvement. Progressive makes a quality product at a reasonable price. I've heard good things about the Traxion products, but they do come at a higher cost. I jchose to go with Progressive because I still got significant improvements in ride and handling, at a reasonable cost. The first thing I did when I bought my 1800 was upgrade the front springs to Progressive; I felt the front was a little soft and dove when braking. At first I was just going to upgrade to the Progressive springs for $110 like I did with the 1500. However a few people told me about the Progressive Monotubes ($350). I ended up going with the Monotubes because it's basically gas shock technology like on your car; and you don't have to worry about leaky fork seals or changing the fluid, Monotubes don't rely on fluid for dampening. Hopefully the Monotubes will pay for themselves with the money I save on fork maintenance. One thing to note, Progressive comes with a lifetime warranty. You can save some money by pulling your forks and taking them to a dealer or mechanic to have the Monotubes installed; the local Honda dealer charged one of the guys I ride with $50 to install the Monotubes.

Another suspension issue on the 1800 is the anti-dive system. The anti-dive valve is activated by the brakes and basically stiffens up the left fork and is supposed to reduce nose dive when braking. The problem is when the anti-dive valve activates the pressure in the left fork increases, which I've read is responsible for premature fork seal leaks. If you upgrade your front fork springs, you can disable the anti-dive by installing a shim on the valve, you can get the shim on eBay for about $20. Aftermarket springs/Monotubes provide more support, thus less dive.

In my opinion you cant go wrong with a 2001-2017 GL1800, it's not a perfect bike, but it comes pretty darn close. The power and handling is awesome, it's by far the best bike I've owned. Good luck with your new Wing. If you feel like lightening up your wallet on goodies, take a look at www.cyclemax.com.
 

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Honda gives minimum spring length in service manual and easily measured at fork oil change or other service. Are you saying that you typically see springs at less than minimum spec length by 50,000 miles? Mine measured in spec at 75,000 miles and my ST1300 measured in spec to last check at 174,000 miles. Honda springs in other bikes stay in spec basically the life of bike. I'm surprised to read that GW springs collapse early.
You are totally correct about Honda printing minimum spring length, and yours, as well as most, at least on GL1800s, still being within that spec even in later miles. However, you are totally incorrect interpreting what I wrote. I'm referring to ride quality and hopefully that will not be confuse with spring length.

For example, at 50k, I've OH forks and removed OEM springs on a GL1800 and installed new OEM springs. I might add that with the springs removed, and stood next to new ones, old and new were the same length. However, the change in ride quality was very noticeable. Probably like you, I'm not sure I understand how that can be. However, my guess says that the bonds in some metals can break down in a way, or probably to a point, where spring length is not shortened.
 

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You are totally correct about Honda printing minimum spring length, and yours, as well as most, at least on GL1800s, still being within that spec even in later miles. However, you are totally incorrect interpreting what I wrote. I'm referring to ride quality and hopefully that will not be confuse with spring length.

For example, at 50k, I've OH forks and removed OEM springs on a GL1800 and installed new OEM springs. I might add that with the springs removed, and stood next to new ones, old and new were the same length. However, the change in ride quality was very noticeable. Probably like you, I'm not sure I understand how that can be. However, my guess says that the bonds in some metals can break down in a way, or probably to a point, where spring length is not shortened.
You don't understand how ride quality changes over time and miles?

A spring is a simple device used to store energy and they don't really "wear" out if made correctly out of the correct materials. If the spring measures to the original specification then it's rate or resistance to compression is unchanged. Physics and metallurgy don't allow it. That is why Honda gives fork springs only one specification to meet and if the spec is met the spring is servicable and can be returned to service. It doesn't need to be replaced, unless the owner desires an alteration of original ride quality.

When we overhaul a fork we should change the stuff that does wear out with use. The fork oil breaks down, the bushings wear, the seals wear, grime and grunge in the various orifices oil flows through may alter the damping characteristics of the fork. Replacement of the wear items is what restores the ride quality, not replacement of springs.

So this is where you go wrong and misinterpret what you are doing during the fork overhaul. You attribute the restoration of ride quality after OH to the replacement of springs that were perfectly OK and not to replacement of the items that wore out and needed replacement.

Honda does not suggest a regular fork oil change but if one does this regularly it pays benefits in two ways. It keeps the damping qualities of the oil working well during the service interval and the cleaner oil and fork internals wear bushings and seals less so they last longer and the original ride qualities last longer - the ride quality doesn't degrade in the predictable manner that a never-touched until leaking or creaking fork does.
 

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Like many has said here, the stock suspension is fine for a lot of riders, But any motorcycle can benefit from a upgraded suspension. A lot of factors come into play. Personally all of my Goldwing riding is two up and loaded with luggage, and much of it in the twisties. I was fine with the stock suspension but it did began to sack out with less than 20,000. (Dragging when going over small curbs) Since I had to replace the suspension anyway I decided to upgrade, the difference was pretty dramatic, but I never felt the need to replace a suspension that was doing its job.
 

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You don't understand how ride quality changes over time and miles?

A spring is a simple device used to store energy and they don't really "wear" out if made correctly out of the correct materials. If the spring measures to the original specification then it's rate or resistance to compression is unchanged. Physics and metallurgy don't allow it. That is why Honda gives fork springs only one specification to meet and if the spec is met the spring is servicable and can be returned to service. It doesn't need to be replaced, unless the owner desires an alteration of original ride quality.

When we overhaul a fork we should change the stuff that does wear out with use. The fork oil breaks down, the bushings wear, the seals wear, grime and grunge in the various orifices oil flows through may alter the damping characteristics of the fork. Replacement of the wear items is what restores the ride quality, not replacement of springs.

So this is where you go wrong and misinterpret what you are doing during the fork overhaul. You attribute the restoration of ride quality after OH to the replacement of springs that were perfectly OK and not to replacement of the items that wore out and needed replacement.

Honda does not suggest a regular fork oil change but if one does this regularly it pays benefits in two ways. It keeps the damping qualities of the oil working well during the service interval and the cleaner oil and fork internals wear bushings and seals less so they last longer and the original ride qualities last longer - the ride quality doesn't degrade in the predictable manner that a never-touched until leaking or creaking fork does.
I totally agree with everything you say. I to have taken engineering material classes thus my comment "I'm not sure I understand how that can be." However, if I OH a set of forks at 50k, test ride it down a known road, come back and install a new set OEM springs, and test ride it again down the same road, I will get better ride quality similar to a new Wing, at least up front.

Honda's static measurement is 12.94". Probably a better test would be measuring the spring under load like they would if it were a car. If it were a car, a measurement is usually take from the ground to a frame point. Your wording "correct material" is probably key to what we are really talking about here. To me Honda's spring quality seems poor, or possibly my observations are due to a variable rate spring. However, I believe it is due to impurities in the metal quality. The reason I say that is this. Never have I pulled out a set of springs measuring below 12.94 with rare exception ... even with say high mileage. Some of the best example of sagged springs, but still in spec are seen on trikes. To test ... put your fist between the fender and the headlamps. Remove the springs, and verify they still measure with Honda's spec. Now install new OEM springs, and remeasure with your fist.

The exception ... this again will be seen on some trikes. Occasionally I will remove a 1" spacer sitting between the spacer tube and the spring. Those springs will measure below the "sack" point. However, those springs need to be measure quick. Let 30mins go by and they'll extend almost back to 12.94".

Are those observations due to poor metal quality, or because of them being variable rate ???
 

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I too had progressive suspension in my 1500, that IAS rear shock was a godsend. When I got the used 1800. I rode it to Mount Rushmore for a test run weekend and learned what wallowing was after all day in the heat at speed. I also learned about the stock windshield too. The bike has everything Traxxion recommends and rides so much better that I would do it again if needing to replace this bike with another pre ‘18 wing. No question. Helibars also perfected the ride for me too. I guess my needs for riding are different than others that run just fine with stock.
 

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Unexplainable, particularly the part about extending to spec after sitting 30 minutes. Maybe they are ED springs, good one time as good as they every were.

Variable rate has nothing to do with springs that act contrary to physics. It just describes a spring that changes rate during compression.

We do have a way to measure the difference in spring rate under loaded configuration. I've done it with every bike I've upgraded suspension on. Any tuning guide or article on suspension tuning oulines the basics. Measure unladen sag then measure sag with rider(s) and cargo normally carried. These two figures are indispensable to figuring out where we are starting from and what we are going to improve. It could be just stock springs with a change in preload, preload plus oil weight, preload plus oil weight plus level of oil height, or new springs. In your case you could measure sag with the old springs, replace just the springs and measure again to see if sag changes.

I suspect that most DIY and all pay the man to do it people just buy into the "buy new springs" instead of going the route of measuring sag and figuring out what they want to improve. With a bike as common as the Goldwing there are common suspension improvements and it's not necessary to do the measuring and homework, in other words it's not necessary to reinvent the wheel.
 

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I think the suspension set up on the pre 2018 are really lacking for a bike that cost a lot of money . Had the traxxion full Monty done on a 2015 at 600 miles . Bike rides like it is on a rail . They gave me a tour of there shop and explained every detail of the set up . Brought her in at 3 pm got her back at 2 pm the next day .
 

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Looking to buy a 2009 Goldwing with 54k miles. It would be my first GW although I've ridden over 50 years. I know owner and it has been taken care of. Question is, I've read a lot on forums about Goldwings needing new suspensions. Is this true with all year models, something that randomly fails or is optional depending on individual bike? Just kind of wanting to know what I'm getting into if I buy used. If I don't purchase this one, I'm probably looking at '06-'10 year models. Thanks in advance for help and info on this subject.

For a 2009, the answer is Traxxion. See Fred Harmon in AK and you wont recognize the bike's handling with Traxxion upgrade.
 

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Personally, I prefer to keep the bike loaded as lightly as possible and I think you will find that if you stay under Honda's maximum weight limitations and distribute the load evenly a properly working stock suspension will probably work just fine. Never-the-less, I did have to replace my fork seals last spring, there seems to be no getting around that every now and then.

So my advice would be to ride the Wing as it is initially, then decide what if anything you want to change.

Additionally, Wings seem to ride noticeably better with new tires, and I can think of no better way to start a long trip then to mount a fresh set of tires, and check the brake pads before you go too!
 
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