Goldwing compared to Harley Road Glide

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  • 2012+ Goldwing compared to Harley Road Glide

    One of my friends, and a member of this forum, recently traded his Wing for a 2015 Road Glide. He put together a nice video where he shares his thoughts on why he moved from a Wing to a Harley.

    Last edited by Cruiseman; 06-16-2015, 09:15 AM.
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  • #2
    I have had a few Harleys and I like them but I like my Wing better especially for 2 up riding long distances. A lot of that techy stuff does not appeal to me but that is just my opinion. I much prefer my saddlebags opening sideways rather than the top opening on Harleys. Those handle bars would get real old after a few miles in my opinion too. Again, two completely different bikes, the Wing is bigger and better for the open road but again that is my opinion having had both for years.
    Dave - High up in Arizona - 2012/GL1800

    Comment: (For off-topic replies)


    • jmohme
      jmohme commented
      Editing a comment
      I agree on the saddle bags, but I think I prefer the side opening of the Harley top box to the forward opening of the Wing, but that is the only thing that appeals to me about the Harley over the Wing.

  • #3
    great job chris,be ready for all the flack, I am in agreement with a lot the poster said,i don't do bike or equipment evaluations as they are too objective and it always ends with the"penis envy"posters gettin' their panties in a wad a mistake I made last year was selling my 09 road glide to buy this indian I have now working a deal now to try and trade it on new RG, still have my American made GL1500,it will never be sold,leaving it to grand son. I luv American made anything,especially when and IF I ever hang any type patriotic flags on it professing my love of country,honoring AmericanPOW-MIA servicemen, or riding in a parade honoring a soldier who died in defense of America, I guarantee when ya see me doing any of the above it will be on a American made bike anyway chris,thanks
    "I live my life like a dog,I smell it and if I can't eat it or screw it,i just pi$$ on it and walk away"

    Comment: (For off-topic replies)


    • #4
      Nice review.
      I was a bit surprised that he thought that the Honda navigation was easier to use and read than the Harley version.

      Comment: (For off-topic replies)


      • #5
        Good review Chris. I also looked very hard at the Roadglide before my buying my 2015 level 3 Goldwing. Your critique of the Goldwing seating position is spot on. I am wrestling with that now to try and get a good cruising position for my legs. I definitely have to move to the cruiser pegs several times each hour to relieve cramping of my old knees. I am impressed with the Goldwing's handling though (for such a large bike).

        Comment: (For off-topic replies)


        • #6
          I don't think this is Chris's review. Just one of his friends.
          It does prove that motorcycles are not a one size fits all product. While this guy and several others feel cramped or find the seat uncomfortable on the Wing, others of us find it to be a perfect fit as is. Same goes for the Handlebar comments. I never could get used to bars with even a medium rise, but other apparently like them high.

          I do wonder about his comments on power and handling. Low speed handling maybe, but once out of the parking lot, that advantage is over. At least as far as my experience with the Harleys and other metric V twins that I have ridden.

          The main thing is that this rider is happy with his new bike.

          Comment: (For off-topic replies)


          • #7
            Finding the right bike is a compromise. I personally agree with Max that for me, at 6' 2" tall, the Harley offers a more comfortable seating position. But the negatives outweigh the positives, for me. I like the reliability of the engine, the lower cost of maintenance and I am sort of over the Harley culture thing.

            That said, if there was a "perfect" bike, everyone would be riding it. They make lots of different bikes for a reason. Ride what you like and what makes you enjoy the sport.
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            • #8
              I really enjoyed his thread- good, honest opinions delivered in a civilized and educated manner! I enjoy my Sportster for up to an hour, but my 'Wing is my distance machine. The only thing I will disagree with (politely) is that supporting our armed forces, past and present, can be done honorably by anyone riding any machine from any country of origin

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              • #9
                I have had both at the same time - Ultra classic CVO and 1800 Wing the cloest thing to the GW is the road glide as it has the same (type) fairing placement as the wing - I perfer the GW Wide Engine as it won't lay you down flat on the road traping your leg or your passanger (if you have one) under it - That;s the only difference for me that matters.

                All bikes are nice no matter what you chose.
                Whoever said money can’t buy happiness, never paid for a divorce


                IBA # 40576

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                • #10
                  There's nothing wrong with liking any type of bike, because we are all different. I own a Kawi Vulcan 1500 and my 08 level 3 wing. Both unique and both different. I like HD because of the comfortable seating, for shorter guys, and that they seem to have every aftermarket mod known to man. However, for me I like riding them, not being stuck stranded or fixing them. This is why I chose the bikes I have. I ride back roads, and when possible all over the place. I'm very confident my water cooled iron horses will get me there, and haven't been stranded once. Although the HD have come a long way, I'm still gun shy. That and many ( not all ) HD owners keep drinking the made in America kool aid....I prefer that you are a cool person rather than care about what you ride

                  Comment: (For off-topic replies)


                  • #11
                    Nice Bike!

                    I do however question vibration and heat. No comparison there! Some of my friends won't ride a Harley in temps over 85* in stop-n-go traffic. Sounds like your friend loves loud pipes, the image and the clothing.

                    Just sayin'

                    Comment: (For off-topic replies)


                    • HBarlow
                      HBarlow commented
                      Editing a comment
                      I agree. To me that's all a HD has to offer.

                  • #12
                    To me there is not much of a comparison between Wing and HD Touring models. It's sort of like comparing apples and oranges. The Harleys are okay, but for comfort and smooth riding the Wing is "King''. I keep a Ultra-Classic around for giggles and riding with some Harley friends, but when we head out for a Tour-Ride of any distance it's always on the Wing.
                    Jim Jackson, Smiths Station, AL
                    My Week Has 6-Saturdays and One Sunday. 2012 GW, 2011 H-D
                    "We're all travelers in this world. From the sweet grass to the packing house. Birth 'til death. We travel between the eternities"….Prentice Ritter, Broken Trail

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                    • #13
                      As one who currently rides an Electra Glide, I can offer my take on this comparison even though this is a Road Glide. Before buying this bike I test rode every touring bike available at the time and even rented a Wing and rode it for about 300 miles. I ended up on the glide for several reasons, NONE of which had to do with the whole Harley Thing. I've never been drawn to that at all, I simply liked the motorcycle. At the time, I pretty much rode one up. A Glide is a great touring machine for this. I am now doing two additional things that the Wing is simply superior at. Riding two up and towing a trailer. I'm hoping Honda will release a redesigned Wing soon. In the mean time, Here's a short (very much MHO) on the how the two bikes stacked up (to me...)

                      I had more buffeting on the wing than the harley. I know a lot of people change out the windshield on the wing but with the stock windshield, no matter where I adjusted it, my head was slapped around far worse than behind the batwing fairing/windshield. I also really enjoy the lower fairings and the floorboards as opposed to the pegs on the wing.

                      I could not seem to get comfortable with the wings cramped riding position? I really think a wing is an acquired taste and I needed to give it more time, but in my short 300 miles, I could not get comfortable. On the glide, with an air ride seat and leaning back on the back rest, stretched out on highway pegs, I seriously have to watch falling asleep. I do a thousand miles a day easy this way. Then take a shower and ride out to eat, then take a cruise around whatever new area I am in. :-)

                      I liked the wing's smoothness! However, the glide is very smooth WHEN MOVING! It shakes at idle. This is neither the FEATURE harley guys seem to think it is nor is it a deal killer for me. It's simply the way it is. On the highway, the two bikes are almost indistinguishable from each other. I think both bike's rear suspension sucks! Please Honda, give us an electronic suspension like the K1600.... that is SWEEEEET!!!!!!! :-)

                      The six speed transmission and fuel range make a difference. This bike has great range. When riding with any other bikes, I am the last person hunting for a gas station. In fact, I usually have to set a trip odometer up and remember to look for a gas station for the other bikes in the group or I'll forget and freak everyone out. The down side, it must have 93 octane. It hates everything else.

                      There is NO WAY this air cooled engine will last as long as the wing engine. I am under no false pretenses about this. I simply don't keep bikes long enough to wear out an engine. Even an air cooled HD engine. :-) This bike has 30K on it and I will sell it next year and get.....something... (Yeah, I'm looking at YOU Honda!!!! Stop screwing around and get that new Wing out the door!!)

                      That being said, I don't see the higher maintenance costs associated with HD. This bike has been the most reliable vehicle I have ever owned including some Honda cars. All I have ever done is replace oil in all three holes and put tires on it. Couple of air filters and spark plugs. There's no final drive oil to change and the drive belt lasts the life of the bike for most people. Speaking of tires, I always get about 20K out of the front tire and about 18K out of the rear. It just doesn't eat tires. I have a theory about HD reliability though. My bike is pretty much stock. HD bikes are probably the most customized, changed up, bolted on, good and crappy aftermarket collection of this and that I have ever seen. I think the farther you get from stock, the more problems you can expect and honestly, that's a majority of HD's out there.

                      I love the throttle by wire on my bike. I loathed the push-pull cable on the wing. In addition to great throttle feel with the TBW, the cruise engagement is seamless. At least on the wing I rode, engaging cruise caused the bike to surge and decelerate to try and take over at the right speed.

                      There are other comparisons I could make but that's the main points. I love ALL motorcycles!!!! I even hang out on some Goldwing forums! Ok, only ONE forum... :-P I'm really thinking I'd like a Kawasaki Versys 1000 too but two bikes are simply not in my budget right now. This was the right bike at the right time for me. Soon it will become one of those bikes I used to own and enjoyed. I have had many happy memories and adventures on this big blue monster. I will be sad to see it go but I always look forward to what's next!

                      In the mean time, I'll keep waving to you Wingers on the highway! You don't have to wave back but it's nice when you do! :-P

                      Comment: (For off-topic replies)


                      • #14
                        Originally posted by Pat Countryman View Post

                        I had more buffeting on the wing than the harley. I know a lot of people change out the windshield on the wing but with the stock windshield, no matter where I adjusted it, my head was slapped around far worse than behind the batwing fairing/windshield. I also really enjoy the lower fairings and the floorboards as opposed to the pegs on the wing.

                        I agree. I had to replace my windscreen with a V-Stream SE to get the buffeting down. Stock windshield is a joke. I have ridden a bike with an F4 Customer +4 and it was MUCh better too.

                        I could not seem to get comfortable with the wings cramped riding position? I really think a wing is an acquired taste and I needed to give it more time, but in my short 300 miles, I could not get comfortable. On the glide, with an air ride seat and leaning back on the back rest, stretched out on highway pegs, I seriously have to watch falling asleep. I do a thousand miles a day easy this way. Then take a shower and ride out to eat, then take a cruise around whatever new area I am in. :-)

                        A modified seat can help with this. My WingSoft Large moved me back 2" and up about 2" higher, which increased my legroom a bit. Highway pegs help too, but the legs are splayed and inside of calves rub the fairing.

                        I liked the wing's smoothness! However, the glide is very smooth WHEN MOVING! It shakes at idle. This is neither the FEATURE harley guys seem to think it is nor is it a deal killer for me. It's simply the way it is. On the highway, the two bikes are almost indistinguishable from each other. I think both bike's rear suspension sucks! Please Honda, give us an electronic suspension like the K1600.... that is SWEEEEET!!!!!!! :-)

                        The six speed transmission and fuel range make a difference. This bike has great range. When riding with any other bikes, I am the last person hunting for a gas station. In fact, I usually have to set a trip odometer up and remember to look for a gas station for the other bikes in the group or I'll forget and freak everyone out. The down side, it must have 93 octane. It hates everything else.

                        The Wing could benefit from a 6th gear, or a Dual-Clutch transmission.

                        There is NO WAY this air cooled engine will last as long as the wing engine. I am under no false pretenses about this. I simply don't keep bikes long enough to wear out an engine. Even an air cooled HD engine. :-) This bike has 30K on it and I will sell it next year and get.....something... (Yeah, I'm looking at YOU Honda!!!! Stop screwing around and get that new Wing out the door!!)

                        That being said, I don't see the higher maintenance costs associated with HD. This bike has been the most reliable vehicle I have ever owned including some Honda cars. All I have ever done is replace oil in all three holes and put tires on it. Couple of air filters and spark plugs. There's no final drive oil to change and the drive belt lasts the life of the bike for most people. Speaking of tires, I always get about 20K out of the front tire and about 18K out of the rear. It just doesn't eat tires. I have a theory about HD reliability though. My bike is pretty much stock. HD bikes are probably the most customized, changed up, bolted on, good and crappy aftermarket collection of this and that I have ever seen. I think the farther you get from stock, the more problems you can expect and honestly, that's a majority of HD's out there.

                        One lower cost item is the extended warranty. I bought mine for $500 and it gives me 4 additional years of protection.

                        I love the throttle by wire on my bike. I loathed the push-pull cable on the wing. In addition to great throttle feel with the TBW, the cruise engagement is seamless. At least on the wing I rode, engaging cruise caused the bike to surge and decelerate to try and take over at the right speed.

                        My cruise surged for the first 5,000 miles, then it eventually went away. Only happened on my 2012. My 2007 was buttery smooth.

                        There are other comparisons I could make but that's the main points. I love ALL motorcycles!!!! I even hang out on some Goldwing forums! Ok, only ONE forum... :-P I'm really thinking I'd like a Kawasaki Versys 1000 too but two bikes are simply not in my budget right now. This was the right bike at the right time for me. Soon it will become one of those bikes I used to own and enjoyed. I have had many happy memories and adventures on this big blue monster. I will be sad to see it go but I always look forward to what's next!

                        I am seriously looking at a Versys 1000 as a second bike.

                        In the mean time, I'll keep waving to you Wingers on the highway! You don't have to wave back but it's nice when you do! :-P
                        Good comparison! My thoughts in blue above

                        GOLDWING AND F6B MAINTENANCE VIDEOS
                        Save $1000 a year in labor by doing your own maintenance!

                        Website | YouTube | 2001-2017 Videos | 2018+ Videos

                        Comment: (For off-topic replies)


                        • #15
                          It is so nice to see objective comparisons without all the brand bashing.

                          Building a car that fits drivers of varying sizes and shapes is easy compared to a motorcycle.

                          I am very fortunate that the Wing happens to fit me perfectly. Yes, I even like the stock seat! I didn't even have a problem with the shield other than that I hated looking through bug guts and road grime! My wife however, did get beat up by wind so I just replaced the sheild that I could look over that also cleared up air flow for the boss!
                          I think that Harley has an advantage in that it is an American company and builds a bike to fit the average American and Honda just didn't quite get that right even if they did well for me.

                          The six speed thing keeps coming up and what people fail to realize, or accept is that gearing has to be matched to engine performance. Just adding a gear or altering final ratios does not always help and sometimes actually has negative effects on performance and fuel consumption.
                          It works for Harley's mainly because HD can alter the horsepower and torque curves with Stage XX kits whereas altering gear ratios and spacing on a Goldwing would require changes to the engine and controls that are just not easily accomplished.
                          Maybe the next generation Wing will have a six speed and an engine designed to work with it although I don't really want to do more shifting, so my vote is for a four speed dual clutch behind a flat six with direct injection and throttle by wire.




                          Originally posted by Pat Countryman View Post
                          As one who currently rides an Electra Glide, I can offer my take on this comparison even though this is a Road Glide. Before buying this bike I test rode every touring bike available at the time and even rented a Wing and rode it for about 300 miles. I ended up on the glide for several reasons, NONE of which had to do with the whole Harley Thing. I've never been drawn to that at all, I simply liked the motorcycle. At the time, I pretty much rode one up. A Glide is a great touring machine for this. I am now doing two additional things that the Wing is simply superior at. Riding two up and towing a trailer. I'm hoping Honda will release a redesigned Wing soon. In the mean time, Here's a short (very much MHO) on the how the two bikes stacked up (to me...)

                          I had more buffeting on the wing than the harley. I know a lot of people change out the windshield on the wing but with the stock windshield, no matter where I adjusted it, my head was slapped around far worse than behind the batwing fairing/windshield. I also really enjoy the lower fairings and the floorboards as opposed to the pegs on the wing.

                          I could not seem to get comfortable with the wings cramped riding position? I really think a wing is an acquired taste and I needed to give it more time, but in my short 300 miles, I could not get comfortable. On the glide, with an air ride seat and leaning back on the back rest, stretched out on highway pegs, I seriously have to watch falling asleep. I do a thousand miles a day easy this way. Then take a shower and ride out to eat, then take a cruise around whatever new area I am in. :-)

                          I liked the wing's smoothness! However, the glide is very smooth WHEN MOVING! It shakes at idle. This is neither the FEATURE harley guys seem to think it is nor is it a deal killer for me. It's simply the way it is. On the highway, the two bikes are almost indistinguishable from each other. I think both bike's rear suspension sucks! Please Honda, give us an electronic suspension like the K1600.... that is SWEEEEET!!!!!!! :-)

                          The six speed transmission and fuel range make a difference. This bike has great range. When riding with any other bikes, I am the last person hunting for a gas station. In fact, I usually have to set a trip odometer up and remember to look for a gas station for the other bikes in the group or I'll forget and freak everyone out. The down side, it must have 93 octane. It hates everything else.

                          There is NO WAY this air cooled engine will last as long as the wing engine. I am under no false pretenses about this. I simply don't keep bikes long enough to wear out an engine. Even an air cooled HD engine. :-) This bike has 30K on it and I will sell it next year and get.....something... (Yeah, I'm looking at YOU Honda!!!! Stop screwing around and get that new Wing out the door!!)

                          That being said, I don't see the higher maintenance costs associated with HD. This bike has been the most reliable vehicle I have ever owned including some Honda cars. All I have ever done is replace oil in all three holes and put tires on it. Couple of air filters and spark plugs. There's no final drive oil to change and the drive belt lasts the life of the bike for most people. Speaking of tires, I always get about 20K out of the front tire and about 18K out of the rear. It just doesn't eat tires. I have a theory about HD reliability though. My bike is pretty much stock. HD bikes are probably the most customized, changed up, bolted on, good and crappy aftermarket collection of this and that I have ever seen. I think the farther you get from stock, the more problems you can expect and honestly, that's a majority of HD's out there.

                          I love the throttle by wire on my bike. I loathed the push-pull cable on the wing. In addition to great throttle feel with the TBW, the cruise engagement is seamless. At least on the wing I rode, engaging cruise caused the bike to surge and decelerate to try and take over at the right speed.

                          There are other comparisons I could make but that's the main points. I love ALL motorcycles!!!! I even hang out on some Goldwing forums! Ok, only ONE forum... :-P I'm really thinking I'd like a Kawasaki Versys 1000 too but two bikes are simply not in my budget right now. This was the right bike at the right time for me. Soon it will become one of those bikes I used to own and enjoyed. I have had many happy memories and adventures on this big blue monster. I will be sad to see it go but I always look forward to what's next!

                          In the mean time, I'll keep waving to you Wingers on the highway! You don't have to wave back but it's nice when you do! :-P

                          Comment: (For off-topic replies)


                          • Cruiseman
                            Cruiseman commented
                            Editing a comment
                            Don't you think the Wing has enough torque to handle cruising (70mph) at 2,700 rpm instead of 3,000?

                          • jmohme
                            jmohme commented
                            Editing a comment
                            It certainly does have enough torque to do it, but every engine has a "sweet spot" where horsepower and torque work together for peak efficiency. Lowering RPMs at a specific speed does nothing if the engine RPM falls outside that sweet spot and has to work harder to maintain that RPM.

                            A good demonstration of this is the use of taller rear tires. I ran 70 series tires on previous 1800s and saw no change in fuel mileage. The increased load canceled out any benefits of lower RPMs.

                        • #16
                          Sufficient torque to pull a higher top gear is not the issue. Yes, I'm confident the big flat six could maintain road speed at a lower rpm but will the engine be more or less efficient at a lower rpm?

                          What matters is the torque curve which is a factor of many components of engine design. The manufacturer is well aware of the torque curve of the engine and knows whether is will provide greater fuel economy at a lower rpm or not.

                          If the engine runs (usually more than 300 rpm drop) at a lower rpm while carrying the same load and wind load it will most likely require a larger throttle opening which will result in greater fuel consumption. Engine efficiency at a given rpm is a complex subject which I am not capable of explaining well. Here's a reference to the basics: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brake_...el_consumption.

                          A lay person can't simply assume that shifting up one gear/slowing engine operating rpm will result in an increase in fuel economy.

                          The Goldwing's engine loafs along at about 3000 rpm at about 70 mph which is a significantly lower engine speed than any other motorcycle. I don't understand what the big deal is and why other forum members are always talking about how Honda should add a sixth gear.

                          I've read that HD motorcycles with a sixth gear have to be downshifted on long grades when loaded and in order to accelerate to pass a slower vehicle on the highway. I surely don't want that with my Goldwing.
                          Harvey Barlow
                          Crosby County, TX
                          2010 Goldwing Level II Pearl Yellow (sold at 93,000 miles)
                          2014 Goldwing Level II Pearl Blue (sold at 27,000 miles to forum member)

                          Comment: (For off-topic replies)


                          • Cruiseman
                            Cruiseman commented
                            Editing a comment
                            A fair point.

                          • kwthom
                            kwthom commented
                            Editing a comment
                            Originally posted by HBarlow View Post
                            I've read that HD motorcycles with a sixth gear have to be downshifted on long grades when loaded and in order to accelerate to pass a slower vehicle on the highway. I surely don't want that with my Goldwing.
                            Um, I can and will do that when I want to get around someone *now* with my 1800. Of course, approach and passing speeds might be a bit faster at times... :D

                        • #17
                          Something I LOVED about the Wing, it is mostly gear agnostic. :-) With such a flat torque curve, the gear shift seemed to only change the rpm of the engine for a given speed while torque remained plentiful. :-) I think my desire for a 6th gear on the Wing has more to do with fuel economy than frenetic highway cruising. I think this is one area Honda could really improve the current bike. I wonder if cylinder deactivation could be successful (make a big enough mpg difference running on 4 instead of 6) on a flat 6 without undo vibration. I drive a Chrysler 300 with a Hemi and going from 8 to 4 cylinders is mostly seamless. Just spit balling of course. Variable valve timing? Honda certainly has that down. A better paint job? Now that's just crazy talk! :-P

                          Comment: (For off-topic replies)


                          • #18
                            Re the price $2300 + S10,000 extras so its cost was $33,000? I think I heard sticker price there.

                            I think you should ride whatever you want, without having to justify it to anybody.
                            Me its what matches my ride of the day or week and what makes my heart go boom when I enter my bike shed.
                            GL1800 8A - TRIUMPH SCRAMBLER 900

                            Comment: (For off-topic replies)


                            • #19
                              Nice vid and surely one based on personal preferences as with any bike. Will it do this, what it has or doesn't have, how I sit on the bike, what are my expectations for use, etc, etc. Got an '03 that I am happy with and have optioned out to my tastes. Before jumping to another bike, I'd like to see what's new for the Wing. Stop in at my local Honda shop - world's apart from a Harley shop - and the salesman always comes up and ask if I am interested in buying a Wing, since I always stop every year to see what's new for the bike. I just tell him no and that there is no reason to up date just for some cosmetic changes. I'll wait. Wife got a new kitchen, so when its my turn to spend money I will have to choose wisely which bike to spend it on - I keep bikes forever it seems.
                              "I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except for few public officials." (George Mason, 3 Elliot, Debates at 425-426)

                              Comment: (For off-topic replies)


                              • #20
                                A nice bike for bar hoping I hope he enjoys it but I disagree with most of what he said in the video.

                                Comment: (For off-topic replies)

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