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Discussion Starter #1
Tried google, searched here, can't seem to find anything.
The front end is one of the three things I really wanted to see Honda update (other two being a six-speed and weight reduction...got all three).

To be honest, I was expecting a conventional USD fork, but I am fine with the wishbone deal. Although, looking at drawings, the thing I keep asking myself is, with all those pivot points, are there grease fittings at each one? A swingarm only moves in one plane, and has one pivot point (plus shock linkage points) and those are frequently overlooked, with results being dried out bearings, wear in bearings and alloy parts, and sloppy clearances.

The front end moves in two planes (steering pivot and compression/extension, and it looks like there are quite a few moving parts. The consequences of a sloppy front end stand to be more serious than the rear...so I hope the fittings are accessible and the maintenance manual emphasizes regular grease replenishment.

If not, in 50k miles, there may be a world of hurt going on.

Can any owners give me some insight and encouragement?

Thank you, Rich
 

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The front end moves in two planes (steering pivot and compression/extension, and it looks like there are quite a few moving parts. The consequences of a sloppy front end stand to be more serious than the rear...so I hope the fittings are accessible and the maintenance manual emphasizes regular grease replenishment.
My wishbone has absolutely zero compression/extension.

If I put ratchet straps onto the Goldstrike tie down brackets, I can compress the body "shocks", but not the wishbone.

Maybe we're talking about the same thing but with different terms, IDK.
 

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Got test ride a 18+ wing
 

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The bearings for the wishbone arms are similar to the ones used on the rear shock link and are needle bearings built into the arm that ride on pivot collars. There is no service required for them since they are sealed up in the arm, and you can't even buy them from Honda, you just have to buy the complete arm. Honda instructs you to use some grease around the seal lips and pivot collars when you take the front end apart, but that is it. Given the reliability of them in the rear shock linkage, my guess is that they will last the life of the bike without having to mess with them. I haven't tried this, but you might be able to take out the pivot collars and carefully regrease them manually, but I really doubt that will be needed until some SERIOUS high mileage is on the bike (>200K).


The steering stem and handlebar stem bearings are similar in design to the old bike, and can be serviced and replaced if needed.
 

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This front end is near bulletproof. The head bearings are so well isolated from the fork forces they should be good for at least 200k miles. The pivot bearings and mounts should also be good for 200k miles. Everything is so over built and isolated. The only parts that might need to be replaced are the tie rods. But in the big picture they just move and loads from handlebar input and feedback from the wheel are light. The tie rods are not seeing loads like on a car or lawn mower for that matter. The shock is even isolated from unwanted loads and twisting just like the rear shock.

All the loads traditional telescopic forks see are broken up and dealt with independently of other functions thus isolating the loads and forces seen by normal forks.

I think it's brilliant! And mechanical art at its best!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Okay, maybe my terminology is incorrect.... SOMETHING is certainly moving in a vertical plane--I can see two black things moving up and down in front of the bars. In this pic, that would be the "Steering tie rods".

The "Upper arm" and the "Lower arm" each pivot in the frame and at the "Front fork holder"--that is eight individual bearings. And the "Front cushion" has a pivot at both top and bottom (bottom looks like it may have a pin with two more bearings).

That is before we get to the steering head bearings that look relatively conventional.




Fred--
Thank you for the detailed explanation--I need to understand the suspension better. I rode the 19 (two actually, a DCT and a manual) back-to-back at Mid-Ohio Vintage Days early July.

I work on all of my bikes, tend to buy and sell when the urge strikes, and in the olden days (twin shocks) greasing the swingarm pivot was a simple task--one grease fitting and done. Every time I take apart a "modern" single-shock bike, there are no zerk fittings, multiple needle bearings (swingarm pivot/linkage/etc.) and all of them are dried out and often rusty.

I would bet that most previous era GL1800s have never had their steering head bearings greased (except for the ones who have replaced them with All Balls or had a Traxxion front end mod--I greased mine when I had the forks off due to seal leaks, so add that to the above list...)

If it is truly maintenance free, then genius move. Again, I need to do some more homework.
 

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"If it is truly maintenance free, then genius move."

The jury is still out on this. And your concern is valid. But knowing how Honda and others have went about doing multi link this is a ultra heavy duty application of said technology. I'm sure the wear on this system can be greatly enhanced with riding in surf spray, striking out across fine sand and blasting the bearings with a high pressure sprayer. And if maintenance is needed down the road I would rather get into this system than the stuff I have had to work with my whole life. I'm so tired of putting maintenance time and money into standard forks and bearings. Most telescopic forks need rebuilt long before the fork seals start leaking. And Honda front ends are notorious for flex and stiction issues on everything they have made except the top end sport and motocross bikes. Believe me,,, being a beta tester for Honda's new front suspension is a lot better than being a beta tester for Harleys M8. :)
 

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The "motion" of this front end is sort of similar to how a front wheel on a car or truck may mount. There are considerably greater loads and in many cases thousands of more miles and it is still rare that you may need to rebuild those suspension parts. So, having them on this machine and me putting 20-25K miles a year on motorcycle..... I am not concerned about it. Honda would have really screwed up the implementation of the design or used unhardened bearings and races for there to really be a problem. As long as the bearings are allowing rotation, all of the energy from the "shock" of road imperfections are absorbed in the spring and shock absorber easily passing through the bearings to get there. Only any energy not absorbed by the shock/spring end up hitting the bearings being dissipated there and in the frame.


This front suspension was one of the bigger reasons I was interested in this bike. I was intrigued many years ago with another non-telescoping front suspension design with the "front swing arm". I don't remember which bike maker put that one out. That one did have some huge drawbacks concerning width and turn rotation limits. But this one eliminates those issues and may even improve the "springer" style where this shock action is done only at the axial and the dampening components are placed up the fork legs. I also have to say that this front end is indeed one of the things I do like about this bike and one of the reasons keeping me riding it in spite of its deadly horn button.
 
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