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I recently brought my 2013 Airbag to Marc Connelly in Lake George to do the “Full Monty” on my bike. I would like to tell anyone who is on the fence about this upgrade to absolutely do it.

I have been riding for 15 years, all types of bikes, and wanted a true touring machine last year. I did all the research and the bike that fit me the best was the gl1800. I’m thrilled with 99% of the bike, but was never fully satisfied with the handling. The CG is spot on (not like the BMWs) and the ride is comfy and quiet, but since I bought this bike, I could never hold a solid line in a turn. I pick my spot, pick my apex and pick my exit, and never hit it with consistency. I feel like I’m constantly putting input into the bike to get it to go where I want it to go. I’ve never had this with any bike I’ve owned or ridden, from mopeds to Road Kings to BMWs and everything in between. The bumps and potholes are rigid, with seemingly no compression or rebound dampening in either the front or rear shock. I’ve tried all combinations of preload, but it just slightly masked the symptoms, and never truly fixed the problems. The problem, as I discovered through research and talking with many an expert, is twofold.

First, the bike is under sprung, SEVERELY, with inadequate dampening, both rebound and compression. This manifests into a few symptoms. First, poor handling in a turn that has bumps, where the bikes likes to change bank angle on you. Second, a rougher, more jarring ride on any road that isn’t glass, which leads to rider fatigue. Third, the inability to get the bike where you want it to go during braking, especially hard braking. I know, Honda put an anti-dive device in the front shock. It’s like them advertising that their front shock sucks and well put this band-aide on it to fix a symptom. So when you brake hard, you have NO travel in the front. God forbid you hit a pothole during a hard stop for a deer, you better hold on tight. (Ask me how I know)

Second, the triple tree (piece of metal that joins the front fork to the frame and pivots to provide steering, is, I believe, pot iron. If you were to place this OEM triple tree in a vice, you could flex it by hand. VERY SCARY to those who understand a little about gyroscopic precession. When the bike is traveling at more than 30-40 mph, the spinning wheel and tire act like a gyro, with all their characteristics. The basic principle of a spinning disk (gyro) is that any force applied to said disk will NOT result in the disk moving the same way if it were stationary. It will, in effect, move as if you placed said force 90 degrees AHEAD of the direction of rotation, and in the same direction. Example, if you have a spinning wheel in front of you, spinning in the same direction and orientation as a motorcycle wheel would, and you apply a force to the rear most part of the wheel, the part closest to you, and the force is applied in the direction from left to right. (Imagine you, while riding, are able to reach out with your left hand and push on the rear most part of the rim, pushing it to the right) This is the same force applied if you were to steer the handle bar to the left, (the back of the wheel goes to the right). Follow that force, 90 degrees ahead of the plane of rotation, so now you’re at the top of the wheel, and the force is in the same direction, left to right….THAT is how the wheel will react….so the wheel will bank to the RIGHT. This is basic counter steer theory, and many of you know it, and most know why. Push on the right as if you are steering left, and the bike banks right. Simple right….only if you have no flex in the steering.

This gyro needs complete stability in its mounting to be able to not wobble. Herein lies the problem, the mounting. The triple tree simply has too much flex to allow any precision of steering. This manifests itself in two main ways.

One, when leaning into a high speed turn, you have to apply force to the handlebars, which SHOULD IMMEDIATELLY transfer that force to the spinning gyro and start your bank. But when you have the OEM triple tree, it’s like having a spring attached to that gyro. The first bit of force you have to build up the flex in the triple tree, then next bit of force you are transferring that force to the wheel, and begin the turn. While in the turn, there is a constant flex in the triple tree, resulting in varying force on the gyro, which isn’t good when trying to hold a line with a stead input of force. The worst part, is that the spring is essentially unpredictable, with many variables affecting its “springiness” if you’ll pardon my term. Crosswinds, changing pitch of the asphalt, changing texture, changing speed, shifting body weight, and more all affect the “springiness” of the triple tree. Most of us can compensate for some of these variables, like shifting body weight and changing speed, without even thinking about it on a bike with a STIFF fork. But when there’s an element of unpredictability, you start wandering from your set line in the turn.
Two, the transition from the tire to a “stationary” disk to a gyro. I’ll spare you the technical, engineering terms, but suffice it to say, there is a changing of forces associated with this transition. This transition from “stationary” (and by stationary, I don’t mean actually stationary, I mean a wheel that is spinning too slowly for the laws governing gyros to be in effect) happens around that 20-40 mph range. When these forces start to transition to the gyro phase, the fork is too flexible to hold it steady. Hence the very well known “Goldwing Shuffle”. Hang on if you’re cruising around 25-30, as the handlebars wobble a ton. This is why.

I would also like to mention this. Dealing with Marc Connelly, both on the phone and in person, was a pure delight. He is completely knowledgeable, thorough, and professional. It is rare one comes across someone with this much knowledge, who is willing to share it and teach. He’ll let you stand in his shop and let you see and learn what’s happening to your bike. It’s no small chore, but he makes it look easy. If you are in the northeast, and thinking about doing this mod, I suggest you call Marc and talk about it. He can answer any and all questions, as he’s done more of these mods than anyone in the world. His number is 518-668-5589. (I’m not a paid advertiser, just a very happy and knowledgeable customer..lol)

I did the Aluminum Triple Tree
All Balls Bearings
AK-20 cartridges
Bushings (already shown wear at 5000 miles)
Rear shock and steel braded line.

Without embellishment, I noticed a difference before I got to the end of Marc’s street (100 feet). The best way I can describe the new bike is that it doesn’t ride as much as it GLIDES. Every aspect of handling is a world better. Turning, braking, cruising, acceleration, twisties, etc. I wish I did this when I got the bike new, but I’m glad I rode it on a few long trips before I did to really see the difference. It truly is like a new bike. If any of you have questions, I implore you to either PM me or call Marc. It’s worth every penny and then some.
 

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Thanks for all of your input. I'm planning on getting the Full Monty on my 2005 Wing with 38k on her before the end of Summer in time for a run through the Ozarks this fall
 

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Finally a write up from someone who gets it. You are spot on
 

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There may be room for a little more improvement. Get on your bike, look at your handle bars, then try to pull them together. They are metal, but you'll be able to SEE them flex. HeliBars are much stiffer.
 

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Almost spot on; you got the Mega Monty. Full Monty is/was sans the tree.

I am also NOT convinced that the "Honda shuffle" (if what you are referring to is big bike decal wobble) is due to or, maybe better stated allowed by, the excessive flex of the OE tree. I say that because there are numerous examples of OE bikes that do not wobble and there may well be some Mega Monty bikes that still do, albeit the Traxxion upgrades do quell the wobble, after all they include the tightly pre-loaded roller bearings to act as dampers. I suspect the owners that care enough to make such a serious modification are also more inclined to be the ones that search-out and correct some of the vibratory input sources that excite the decal wobble.

Further, the flex of the lower bridge of the OE system is more of an engineering flaw than a matter of inferior material. I am not sure of what pot iron is, but I bet the OE bridges are of a specific cast steel product. I do not know if Honda desired the damned thing to flex some or if flex is an undesirable side effect of their effort to save weight or $; anyway, we can agree that getting the bridges more ridged is a very good thing.

Mr. Traxxion, Max, stated very early on that the majority of improvement in their system comes from the most basic and least expensive part of the system, that each additional stage of improvement yields progressively smaller improvement at progressively higher cost. A very honest and true observation! My personal experience was spot on with his restatement of the law of diminishing returns. My OE rear spring was woefully inadequate right off the dealer's lot. My OE springs up front sacked-out by 12,000 miles. This was before we (or at least I) were aware of Traxxion. So I added Progressive's front and rear springs and refurbished the front OE forks. Huge improvement! Low cost! Then at no cost I got another huge improvement; I disconnected the anti-dive (AD). Simply keeping quality tires on the bike is a very low cost improvement in "suspension". Then I added a fairly expensive fork brace from Kuryakyn. The brace offered almost no improvement for me, mostly better very low speed response. But for little money, the bike was really pretty good with those collective changes.

Then I got the Full Monty. Hugely more expensive and a little better; but the amount of better compared to the cost was just as Max had explained, diminishing returns for sure. Then Max brought out the billet tree package and I added that to my system, hey, its only money. Again, its a little better, but the price was pretty high (a good bit lower now).

Now don't take me wrong. Traxxion is a GREAT system and I am well pleased. My bike was not a wobbler, if it had been and had this "cured it" or "masked it", I would have been elated (even more elated?). If I were to get a new GL, suspension mods would be accomplished ASAP. And, now there are competitive choices to consider as well. Life is good!

prs
 

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Last year I had it installed on my 05 and I feel exactly the same way you do about it, it's one of the best things I've done to the bike. I just installed a set of the Heli bars and they are great also this year at the Wing Ding I'm having RoadSmith install there comfort controls and that will complete the bike for being comfortable to its passengers
 

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:lol: I dunno......back in the day when one day the deceleration wobble hit my bike I tried a few things. New tire, this and that, new head bearings......

What fixed it was very simple, stronger springs in the front forks, along with an 1/2 inch spacer cut from a piece of pipe. Increased the trail just a tad. Problem solved.

I wonder if that new Valk has head shake, it does have a longer wheelbase.
 

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Nice review. Like you, when I first got mine done (6 years ago now), the difference was amazing. I recently had the lower tree installed and the bike is now perfect.

Glad you're happy with the results. :thumbup:
 

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Very good right up!!

The Traxxion setup completely changed my riding experience!! I will never own another GL1800 without it!!! :thumbup:
 

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Pretty good write up but its also pretty sad that Honda hasn't fixed the bikes to just be this good right off the hop.....jer
 

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the best way to show that it is worth every penny from my point of view is,,,,its easy to say something is great and worth the money,,,it really hammers it home when you spend the money a second time!!!!!!


2nd 1800 wing and second time ive done traxxion!!!!!!!


or to go to great lengths to swap a brand new susp. on a brand new bike for the older traxxion on the bike your getting rid of!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks for the comments.

I did leave some tidbits out, such as the ball bearings vs roller bearings (which I'm sure contribute to the "Goldwing Shuffle") My ball bearings, after only 5000 miles started scoring the race, and even left a small detent where the ball sits during straight riding. This makes the steering want to rest in the low spot created by the point pressure created by the ball bearings. The roller bearing distribute the pressure over a much greater area, lessening the wear and chance for an imprint to be formed. Obviously it also makes for much smother and more precise steering, which is the main theme here.

I may have mis-stated "monty" terms. I always thought mega monty included the fork brace, which I couldn't get due to my airbag model. (Someone makes one for the airbag, but there were issues with it that Marc explained to me.) If I got the "monty" term wrong, I apologize, but as long as you folks know what parts I upgraded, that's what I care about.

I used the term "pot iron" as a colloquialism to mean low cost, low melting point, cheap metal. Which , IMO, describes the OEM triple tree to a T.

I agree that quality tires also make a big difference, along with proper tire pressure.

I too wonder why Honda doesn't market the bike with"Traxxion Suspension" much like many bike makers market with Fox, etc. They could probably add this to the bike for cheaper than we would pay to have it done aftermarket. I think people would be willing to pay the extra to get the best. I know I would. If my bike were to blow up tomorrow, I'd pick up my new one and drive it directly to Marc's. I don't think I could bear to own one without the monty ever again....OK OK I know I'm spoiled, flame away...lol
 

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Traxxion

I did did exactly that....bought a 2010 and rode it home where my mechanic friend was taking all the Traxxion stuff off my 2007 to swap out. I sold it with brand new 2010 forks, rear, spring. I will always keep my bike Traxxionized and my Tom Simmons seat on any bike I own!


the best way to show that it is worth every penny from my point of view is,,,,its easy to say something is great and worth the money,,,it really hammers it home when you spend the money a second time!!!!!!


2nd 1800 wing and second time ive done traxxion!!!!!!!


or to go to great lengths to swap a brand new susp. on a brand new bike for the older traxxion on the bike your getting rid of!!!
 

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Traxxion Fork Brace

You can install the Traxxion Fork Brace on an AirBag Wing, by grinding off a metal bos that is in the way, this info is from Traxxion. The shop manual also says that could interfere with the AirBag impact sensing. Dave B. Denver
 

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If you did the Trax triple tree then you got the MEGA MONTY. The Full Monty is minus the tree. I had the Full Monty done 2 years ago and just added the Tree last weekend. I had the work done by Adam owner of Rocket Moto in Hollis NH. Great guy and he is meticulous! The first thing I noticed when riding home with the Full Monty is, I could hold my line in sweepers. Prior to that I had to correct to hold my line. Not sure I noticed any difference with the Tree but wanted to know I had the best and stop wondering what the tree addition would do. Money well spent. Problem is, if I buy a new Wing, if Honda comes out with something really nice, I would most likely not be satisfied with the OEM suspension and have to spend another 3500+- for the Trax like you did.
 

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I am glad the OP is happy with his full monty. I on the other hand was not. I was promised it would solve a handling problem, and it did not make any difference. I was promised that if I wasn't happy, I could have my bike returned to it's original setup and money returned. I asked and was refused, this after taking the bike back long distances twice and paying more money each time to get things fixed that were supposedly fixed the first time.

I have no doubt that the Traxxion setup helps some bikes in some situations, but my installer in Evansville, IN knew from day one what my problem was and that I am not an aggressive rider. I wanted a stable Cadillac and NOT a sports car. What I got was not any worse, but not any better than stock and for sure not worth more than $3000 without the new triple tree option.

I am convinced that my bike (a 2004) had a bad frame that would not be fixed by ANY suspension modification. (not a cracked frame, but one out of alignment somewhere) I traded that bike for a nearly new 2010 and within the first 100 feet I knew the new bike had no handling problems, and now 40,000 miles later I am still thrilled with the stock setup.

FYI
 

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I am glad the OP is happy with his full monty. I on the other hand was not. I was promised it would solve a handling problem, and it did not make any difference. I was promised that if I wasn't happy, I could have my bike returned to it's original setup and money returned. I asked and was refused, this after taking the bike back long distances twice and paying more money each time to get things fixed that were supposedly fixed the first time.

I have no doubt that the Traxxion setup helps some bikes in some situations, but my installer in Evansville, IN knew from day one what my problem was and that I am not an aggressive rider. I wanted a stable Cadillac and NOT a sports car. What I got was not any worse, but not any better than stock and for sure not worth more than $3000 without the new triple tree option.

I am convinced that my bike (a 2004) had a bad frame that would not be fixed by ANY suspension modification. (not a cracked frame, but one out of alignment somewhere) I traded that bike for a nearly new 2010 and within the first 100 feet I knew the new bike had no handling problems, and now 40,000 miles later I am still thrilled with the stock setup.

FYI

so............

this is jmho and not worth much

you wanted cadallac smooth and went with traxxion?I would have told you to get progressive springs if all you wanted was plush

you complained traxxion did not help your problem but then go on to say it was most likely a frame problem?

we all make choices and sometimes they are wrong,simple as that
 

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so............

this is jmho and not worth much

you wanted cadallac smooth and went with traxxion?I would have told you to get progressive springs if all you wanted was plush

you complained traxxion did not help your problem but then go on to say it was most likely a frame problem?

we all make choices and sometimes they are wrong,simple as that
:agree: I don't care what year Wing you have, that thing just will not hold the line in a sweeper. The Wing already has a plush ride and keeps it with the Trax. The Trax just makes it handle like a whole different bike. If by plush you mean like a '58 over weight Caddy that bounces up and down over the bumps, no Wing is like that.
 
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