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Discussion Starter #1
The Dance

Many of you already know through some of my previous posts that I am less than completely satisfied with Goldwing ownership. I have had it for a short time, ridden it a lot, gotten used to it, and at times really enjoy it. But I find that the only time I really enjoy it is when the wife is riding with me. And that is fine with me as I bought the Goldwing because of the wife. She voiced that she wanted to spend time with me on longer rides so I got her something that is comfortable for her and she loves it. I love her, so the Wing will stay with us, for her. She deserves it.

The Wing is capable, no doubt; comfortable, quiet, smooth, low maintenance, dependable. So what is it that keeps me less than satisfied? I ponder this every time I ride it. Well I think I finally figured it out. It’s The Dance….I miss The Dance.

What is The Dance? Well I will explain it to you. Those of you who have experienced The Dance will understand what I am talking about. Those who have not experienced The Dance will poke fun at me. But that is okay. I’m thick skinned. I certainly would not post in this forum if I wasn’t. So back to the question, what is The Dance?

I used to describe this type of riding as flight on the ground. It’s a light, performance bike on a nice winding stretch of pavement. Leaning into the turn and smoothly laying the bike over and gliding through a turn, then transitioning to the next turn, then the next, and on and on. It is looking ¼ mile ahead down a stretch of S turns, instantly determining your line through that section, then nailing your line while listening to the hyper sound of your engine and exhaust as you keep your revs up for that hard drive out of each turn to the next. It’s listening to your exhaust echo off canyon walls while you dance. It’s entering into a blind decreasing radius turn and the thrill of laying the bike over farther and farther, while playing the throttle, and staying on your side of the center line, smoothly, then blasting out of the turn to the next. It’s the adrenaline rush of getting it right, and the adrenaline rush of almost getting it wrong but pulling it off. It’s exiting a turn on the throttle hard and feeling the front end get light and at times the front tire leave the pavement and claw at the air. It’s that very slight head shake as you throttle hard out of a turn with the front end light. It backing the bike into a turn, when the front end stays planted and tracking while the back end moves out ever so slightly while you are braking. I could go on and on but unless you experience The Dance you can’t appreciate the Dance.

I know that many of you will tell me that the Wing can also do The Dance, but I am just not willing to try it on the Wing, and it would not feel the same. It’s kind of like dancing with a woman who knows the steps, who is light on her feet, and follows your lead, without fault, then dancing with the fat chick that can’t dance, but is willing to let you try to lead. Not trying to offend with “the fat chick” comment, just no other way to describe it.

Will I remain a Wing owner? Yes. Do I love the Wing? No. But I do love the wife and I will keep the Wing in the stable so that we can spend quality time with each other, on the road. I am very close to retiring from my second career, my first being the military. So it is just not in the cards right now to buy a dance partner to share the garage with the Wing. I am going to relocate back to the Oregon Coast once I retire and want to keep the moving expenses down, so thinning out the toy box. But once settled back in Oregon I will go courting a new dance partner.

Thanks for lending me your ears (okay eyes) and I look I forward to your insights, both positive and negative. :lol:
 

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I'm quite familiar with the dance. For example, I have ridden Deals Gap on a VFR800, a Suzuki GS500F, and a Goldwing. I've also ridden in the Smokies near Deals Gap on a ZX-7, CBR1000, and assorted other bikes.

The dance I think you are describing is the one where the bike seems to disappear beneath you and you feel that you are just floating through the curves and up and down the rises. That would be the VFR and the ZX-7 dance. Exhilerating! However, sometimes it's nice to do another dance - more relaxed, laid back, just flowing along like a river --- that's the Goldwing.

I don't get to do a lot of mountain riding (I'm now in south Louisiana), so I'm not as good as I could be on the wing when I'm in the twisties, but it's still a lot of fun, just in a different way.

I suspect some of your "problem" may be that you are too hesitant to use the wing like it can be used. I've been passed on the twisties by folks riding wings. Would I ride like them? No. But it can be done. I've just started riding a wing again after a five year break, and it's taking some time to get used to the size and weight over my VFR and Wee-Strom, but I'm getting there.

Hope you discover that you can do a new and different dance with the Wing. And not only ride it for you wife's sake.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The dance I think you are describing is the one where the bike seems to disappear beneath you and you feel that you are just floating through the curves and up and down the rises.
You just described The Dance much better than I did. Your description put goose bumps on my arms. You are so right. Thanks for sharing that.

My best dance partners were my VFR and my 1973 Yamaha RD350. Those girls could dance.
 

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Coastie....

I have been through a CBR1100XX, Gixxr1000, SV1000, 07 Wing, 2006 Connie, 2008 Connie, ZX1400, KLR, Burgman, Harley....and many many more.

I know the dance and danced the dance. A lot of people have 2 or 3 bikes for this very reason.

Me...personally...it was that I had to make a choice. Of all the bikes I have owned in my short 30-ish years on this earth I decided to self evaluate which of the experiences each of the bikes I have owned provided me with the most enjoyment. Not 100% enjoyment but the highest percentage.

I went back to a 2010 Wing and while I am on a very twisty road putting down every metal part possible...and sometimes wishing at that very moment I had my Connie or XX or ZX1400....those tight fast sweepers end and there just isn't a road long enough to provide me with 100% twisty from home to end and back home again.

So...at the end of the day the Goldwing provides me with the best of everything although not providing me 100% satisfaction in all road conditions. But it gets me pretty darn close 100% of the time.

Good luck with whatever you decide.
 

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Oh....and.....I love your post.

Thanks for expressing it.
 

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Well described
The Wing can Waltz but it cant dance the BOOGIE
 

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I know that many of you will tell me that the Wing can also do The Dance, but I am just not willing to try it on the Wing, and it would not feel the same. It’s kind of like dancing with a woman who knows the steps, who is light on her feet, and follows your lead, without fault, then dancing with the fat chick that can’t dance, but is willing to let you try to lead. Not trying to offend with “the fat chick” comment, just no other way to describe it.
The Wing not only dances better than many other bikes that are supposedly built for The Dance, but also leaves one feeling much more satisfied and rewarded with the dance after the fact. The Wing is not fat - she's just big-boned. :)

To that effect - Ginger Rogers had ballooned up quite a bit by say... 1980 vs. how she was in 1950... but she was still a better dancer then than Paula Abdul at her prime. See where I am going with this?

Try dancing with the Wing... you will be quite satisfied and very much surprised. In fact - you will find that she wants to lead, once you tell her you want to dance. You will be left wondering why you didn't do it long ago.

If you don't at least give her a twirl to see what she is capable of - you are only short-changing yourself.
 

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If you think the Wing can perform like a 1000RR, 600RR, or a motard in the twisties then you have never ridden a bike on the track or pushed a litre bike close to it's limits.

That's the dance he is referring to.

But I do agree with you that most people (even owners) don't think it can dance well at all...so they don't even invite it to the dance floor.

I believe Yellow Wolf has proven it's a pretty great dance partner....although it's no Tony Manero.

 

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I understand

What the dance is. It is called a number of things. On a good day, I can make the Wing dance a little, but I do believe that it will never be as good at it as a good sport bike.
Those that think the Wing can do everything a sport bike can do, I believe, are wrong. Pretty difficult to ask a 900 lb bike to do what a 450-500 lb bike can do, all else being equal.
 

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Coastie,

Wonderful description of the dance. Perfect.

There are potential solutions.

While the wing will always be the fat girl (or Big Boned :lol:) , she can be taught to dance. You'll never make it into a 16 year old gymnast, but you can turn it into a 29 year old aerobics instructor..

The first "problem" with a wing is the fact that it's a 900 lb bike. You're not going to change that enough to make much difference, no matter how much money you throw at it. It just will never be a 400 lb sportbike, and never be that flick-able.
This weight also affects your power to weight ratio, which is another thing you can't do much about. There is no way to add appreciable power, and you can't dump enough weight and have it perform it's primary function well. A Goldwing is a large, heavy touring bike. It travels long distances better than any other bike made.

The thing you can do something about is the third part of the handling equation (power, weight, suspension, tires)
There are a bazzillion threads about the deficiencies of the Goldwing suspension. Do a search on Traxxion and/or RaceTech, you will get about 900 threads to look at.
The bottom line is that the Honda stock suspension components aren't really great when new, and degrade rapidly. The spring rates are too light, they use a damper rod wiith anti-dive in the left fork leg, and a so-so cartridge in the right leg, the anti-dive sticks, the triple tree is designed to flex a little (no gusseting) and the ball bearings in the steering stem are about the right size for a modern bicycle. Seriously.

Both Traxxion Dynamics and Race Tech offer solutions for these issues. As my Dad used to tell me, all it takes is money...
http://www.traxxion.com/hondagoldwing.aspx
http://www.racetech.com/page/id/58

The Wing can be ridden with abandon..
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nrMQ3QwyPo

(Dislosure: I am a Traxxion and Race Tech installer)


I would suggest you find a bike that is set up with one of these suspension upgrades, or preferably one of each, and test ride them. There are ATraxxion installers in Phoenix, and in Windsor CO. Most (or at least we) have bikes that are set up with the different suspension options, and we let people test ride them. If you can't find one locally, come to NH. We'll fly with you, Maverick!


=Dave=
 

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....but I am just not willing to try it on the Wing
Bingo!

I ride everything from crotch-rockets, cruisers, chuggers, sport-touring and touring bikes. Everyone of them has it's limitations/boundaries and I enjoy finding out what those are. I don't limit that to just motorcycles...it's fun to adapt to mechanized things regardless (back-hoe, track-hoes, bobcats, articulating fork-lifts, cranes, cherry-pickers, drilling rigs, bull-dozers, reverse trikes, etc.).

Agreed, it's no secret the Wing isn't going to perform like a sportbike that is specifically designed for that purpose and sailing into a corner on a 900+ lb. bike isn't the same as doining it on a 400 lb. bike. The exilaration on a Wing just comes at a lower speed than a crotch rocket. You have to nail your lines better on a Wing as it is harder to correct in a corner than on a light-weight crotch rocket with tons ground clearance and big, fat sticky tires. You, also, have to be in the throttle sooner exiting the corner due to power to weight ratio. It is easier to make up for lost time on a crotch rocket by twisting a handle, to make up time on the Wing, the rider has to do it.

In MotoGP, the strategy for the small displacement bikes is different than the liter-bikes. On the smaller bikes, you have to carry as much speed as possible through the corners due to the lack of horsepower beyond the apex. Lose that head of steam on the smaller ones and lose the race. Same race track, different approaches...different dances.

Much of the excitement on a Wing comes from "adrenaline rush of almost getting it wrong "when you know its less forgiving.

It takes bigger size kahunas to roll into a tight corner hot on a 900+ lb. bike and you can back it in to the corners which also uses those same kahunas. It is a slower paced dance but a dance, no less.

You just have to learn a new dance and never will if you don't try. If you have already ground your pegs to pieces, there are some suspension mods you can make that steps up the pace of the dance. If you are not using up all your available lean-angle, maybe its the bike that needs a new dance partner.

Look at it this way, the Wing makes a better sport-bike than the crotch-rocket makes a touring bike. The Wing comes closer to filling both bills than the crotch-rocket does.

Frankly, I can't imagine what you expected.

Z
 

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20 years of riding 600, 750 and 900 supersports, including tons of track time. Enjoyed it all immensely.

But even after taking all that into consideration - I find carving with the Wing to be far more rewarding. Some people won't get it or understand... but think of it this way...

We have all seen the Red Bull air-races, right? Think about how happy you would be if you were able to complete them in a C-5 Galaxy. Not necessarily win - but complete, and even hold your own, if not leave a few planes behind.

To me it is just more rewarding to make the Wing do something it isn't "supposed" to do - and quite quickly yet gracefully at that. Add to it that afterwards I can just sit back, relax, turn up the tunes and set the cruise without ever getting off the bike... just makes it that much more :)
 

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Excellent post. You, and other contibutors to this thread, described much better than I, what I tried to express in my recent post regarding the difference between riding my Wing, and my friends V-Strom. The differences are real, but the levels of enjoyment needn't be too different.

I, too, hope that you expand your dance repertoir with the Wing a little. I think you'll find she's a little more accomplished on the dance floor than you think. She might not be the best at the Lambada, but her Rumba, Cha Cha, Mambo and Tango are pretty hot! Don't be afraid to let her show you what she's got.
 

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I personally think the Wing dances just fine ... least for me. If I want a lighter partner I take my Wee out on the floor.

Maybe it's the tune that's playing rather than the dance itself? Give it a chance to learn the tune.

Good luck on finding the right combination.

Donnie
 

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What the dance is. It is called a number of things. On a good day, I can make the Wing dance a little, but I do believe that it will never be as good at it as a good sport bike.
Those that think the Wing can do everything a sport bike can do, I believe, are wrong. Pretty difficult to ask a 900 lb bike to do what a 450-500 lb bike can do, all else being equal.
You're right.. too much weight. But, the current wing was designed buy a sport-bike guy. While it's a big (really big) tourer, it is much more nimble and powerful than any other full-blown touring bike out there. Harley? Give me a break.. even poorer suspension than the Wing. Well, the new BMW looks interesting, but it's much closer to the sport-touring family than the all-out touring bikes, so I hear.. smaller, lighter, etc. A good competitor for the FJR, Concours, etc.
Once the sport bike guy designed it, somebody got in there and screwed up the suspension.. tried to give it the billowy ride of a '59 Caddy. Which might be OK for some. And, the suspension components they use aren't set up properly and wear out quickly. I don't know if it was marketing or bean counting, maybe they both got to it.
If you ever get a chance to ride one with an upgraded suspension, you will understand. As Paul Thede of race Tech said, "The best you know is the best you've ridden." The Wing can dance, it can even boogie. But it's not a break-dancer.

=Dave=
 

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Just a side note - every one of my riding pals who has a 600 or 1000 sportbike that has ridden my Wing has commented on how much more nimble it handles. That's an impressive comment to hear coming for a bike 2.5x the weight. Yes - it has more mass - and you have to put forth some effort to make sure it stays behaved when doing sharp transitions, but with that in mind it is indeed "flickable". It is extremely well balanced, and really lets the rider enjoy riding vs. working for it. You could slalom it all day long with just your right fore-finger and thumb and be perfectly in control the whole time.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Frankly, I can't imagine what you expected.

Z
Please don't misunderstand, I never expected that the Wing would be a replacement for a light agile dance partner. I knew exactly what I was getting into. And I knew why I was getting into it - quality time with the wife. Which is why the Wing will stay with me. I'm just saying that no matter what everyone says, she will never satisfy my dance partner needs, because I have experienced what a true dance is.
 

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It is a fine dance to be sure, however, I feel that dancing is best experienced on a dance floor. The street is not a place to dance. There are too many variable that can make it a dangerous pastime. I used to race an RZ350 and I can say that there is nothing quite like a spirited dance on the track. Spilled oil, antifeeze, car parts, oncoming traffic etc can all play havoc with a bike when you are pushing it close to its limits and my personal feeling is that the street is not a place to do it. Racing was one of the best highs of my life and the feeling of sliding the bike and pushing it to its limits cannot be described with mere words. It is a feeling that has to be experienced to be appreciated although the original poster does have quite a way with words.
 

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I just want to add a few things here, all good posts on "THE DANCE", I own a 2010 CBRr600RR, a VTX 1300 (a real pig on the dance floor) an and 05 Goldwing, they all have thier place in my riding life, but the wing can do a lot more than most people are willing to do, set the suspension at 25 good tires and right gear it can stay with a lot of sportbikes, you just have to go in on a better line, I feel I ride the CBR better for having the wing. She is by no means a fat girl compared to trying to get a harley or other cruiser through the line but she demands respect and confidence in her rider. I love to do the dance just getting harder to find the appropriate place anymore, riding a track and riding the street are two different dance floors and should never be compared, a track has only you to deal with, the street has all kinds of pitfalls and restrictions. Enjoy your bike to it and your fullest abilities no two are the same.....and Tony Monero was NOT the best dancer, he gave the trophy to the Puerto Rican lol:lol:
 
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