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Swamp Rat Rider
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Is there a comparison of touring bikes out there somewhere? Seems like a huge price difference and the goldwing seems to be mentioned a lot, but trying to figure out why the big price difference is confusing. Would be nice to get some sort of expert review of what's what in the world of touring bikes.
Might find this interesting including the comments below the Article ..

Rider Comparo: 2015 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Ultra Limited | 2015 Honda Gold Wing | 2015 Indian Roadmaster | Rider Magazine | Rider Magazine
 

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Very Famous Person
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Might find this interesting including the comments below the Article ..
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So much on these three are just minor things. I find the two most notable differences are the power (Hondas are awesome!) and leg position (Hondas are almost like a sport bike--pshaw!). Sure, the looks from the side are somewhat different, but when you're riding you'll never notice that.

The thing is, when you consider comfort on a trip, most of the physical pleasure originates from your conditioning, not the exact position of the handlebars or hardness of the seat. Also, if you are one to enjoy the surroundings and always looking at stuff, you don't concentrate on the little discomforts. Now on an Iron Butt ride, you would.

What's not considered here (and no disrespect to the authors or the o.p. on this thread) is that a lot of cruisers can give much of the same performance except for somewhat less passenger room. I take mine on long trips and frequently have over 550# of people weight on local 1-400 mile rides and get along fine. Also, while these three get around 40 mpg, today's ride for me (granted, alone and no extra luggage) even with some traffic time allowed 58 mpg.

Of course if you are considering money invested, then a ten year old non-Harley bike is well under $10,000.

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Honda Gold Wing Service Specialist
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I'm probably gonna get crucified for saying this, but I'd go Japanese for a tourer.

Most especially I'd consider a Goldwing. I LOVE my Harley Sportsters and admit there's something "je ne sais quois" about Harleys generally.

But every 'big' Harley I've ever rode has felt tippy and top heavy to me. I rode my dad's "glide" 5 miles last winter to put it into storage and even with 40 years riding experience, it scared the hell out of me. In all fairness, some of the Japanese tourers have the same issue. The "tippiest" bike I ever rode was a Voyager XII...

Nevertheless, it's hard to beat a Goldwing as a touring cruiser. Make fun of the "geriatric-set" bike all you want, but that boxer engine keeps your center of gravity low and your ride comfy.

Were it me, I'd be looking for a good used Goldwing 1200. The newer ones have got just a little too heavy and bulky, but the 1200 "Aspencade" type was a sweet-spot for touring power & comfort, I think.
AGREED! CONSIDER A HONDA GOLD WING. :grin:

They have been at the top of the list for best two-up, long-distance touring bikes for over four decades.

Now, if you have to have the Harley mystique and like the loud pipes and the looks, then by all means go for it.

But you will be hard pressed to find a better big touring bike than a Gold Wing. I've been riding them since 1984 and currently have three, a '76 GL1000, an '87 GL1200, and an '06 GL1800.

CaseyJones is right about the top heavy nature of a big V-twin touring bike. If you are not a big strong person and/or are short, you are not going to like it. The engine weight is way up high, and a big tank of gas is way up high, resulting in a top heavy bike. A Gold Wing, on the other hand has a much lower center of gravity and is not anywhere near as top heavy. It's much easier to handle at very slow speeds and in parking lot maneuvers. Reason is that the weight of the opposed flat engine configuration puts the weight of the engine down below your shins. Plus the gas tank is under the seat, not in what looks like the gas tank. I'm small, 5' 8" and 140 lbs., and I have no trouble handling my GL1800, even two-up with my wife.

If you're looking for a '13, or '14 Harley you have the money for a couple year old Gold Wing GL1800. Even though I love my '87 GL1200 I would not make it my cross country touring choice simply because of part availability. You might end up somewhere away from home waiting several days for a Honda dealer to order in a part for you. The GL1800s have been in production since 2001, so parts are in stock almost everywhere.

Also, now is a good time to buy a left over 2016 or 2017 at a dealer for a great price. They are being heavily discounted now because the newly redesigned 2018 Gold Wing has just hit dealer showrooms. Regarding the 2018 Gold Wing, it is no longer in the same class of bike. It is now a big sport touring bike, not the full-boat luxo-touring bike that it once was. I test rode one, and I like it alot, but it's not as well suited to my wife's and my style of riding. We go for week-long trips and carry four or five bags of on-board luggage when we do. The 2018 has significantly less luggage space, a deal breaker for us.

Do yourself a favor. Before you decide, go test ride a GL1800 Gold Wing. Take your SO with you. She'll love the back seat on a Gold Wing.

If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy! :wink2:
 

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AGREED! CONSIDER A HONDA GOLD WING. :grin:

They have been at the top of the list for best two-up, long-distance touring bikes for over four decades.

Now, if you have to have the Harley mystique and like the loud pipes and the looks, then by all means go for it.

But you will be hard pressed to find a better big touring bike than a Gold Wing. I've been riding them since 1984 and currently have three, a '76 GL1000, an '87 GL1200, and an '06 GL1800.

CaseyJones is right about the top heavy nature of a big V-twin touring bike. If you are not a big strong person and/or are short, you are not going to like it. The engine weight is way up high, and a big tank of gas is way up high, resulting in a top heavy bike. A Gold Wing, on the other hand has a much lower center of gravity and is not anywhere near as top heavy. It's much easier to handle at very slow speeds and in parking lot maneuvers. Reason is that the weight of the opposed flat engine configuration puts the weight of the engine down below your shins. Plus the gas tank is under the seat, not in what looks like the gas tank. I'm small, 5' 8" and 140 lbs., and I have no trouble handling my GL1800, even two-up with my wife.

If you're looking for a '13, or '14 Harley you have the money for a couple year old Gold Wing GL1800. Even though I love my '87 GL1200 I would not make it my cross country touring choice simply because of part availability. You might end up somewhere away from home waiting several days for a Honda dealer to order in a part for you. The GL1800s have been in production since 2001, so parts are in stock almost everywhere.

Also, now is a good time to buy a left over 2016 or 2017 at a dealer for a great price. They are being heavily discounted now because the newly redesigned 2018 Gold Wing has just hit dealer showrooms. Regarding the 2018 Gold Wing, it is no longer in the same class of bike. It is now a big sport touring bike, not the full-boat luxo-touring bike that it once was. I test rode one, and I like it alot, but it's not as well suited to my wife's and my style of riding. We go for week-long trips and carry four or five bags of on-board luggage when we do. The 2018 has significantly less luggage space, a deal breaker for us.

Do yourself a favor. Before you decide, go test ride a GL1800 Gold Wing. Take your SO with you. She'll love the back seat on a Gold Wing.

If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy! :wink2:
I just happened to be at the local honda dealer last week and saw the newly-arrived 2018 goldwing. They really slimmed it down, at least visually. Much less 'behemoth barge' than they'd become in the last few years. Nice job.
 

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American Legion Rider & sub-Administrator
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Or test ride a Indian Roadmaster and get the best of both worlds. Most will think you just have a new model Harley at a Honda price.
 
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Aging & Worn
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...........Also keep in mind that HD is a love it or hate it brand.....
I had to stop and think about that one for a minute. I have owned two Japanese bikes and I’ve owned two Harley Davidson’s.

Three out of the four bikes were cruisers, and one was a touring bike (the last Harley I owned).

It has become clear to me, over time, that the choice of bike, has a lot to do with not only the “way” you want to use it, but how adaptable it is TO that use, and being realistic about what you as a rider, want to take on.

The folks who have chimed in so far, are right in saying that there are a number of different bikes that would be fine as touring bikes. Not just a Harley.

So it boils down to cost, “realistic” expectations, and personal satisfaction.

“Cost” Is pretty much self-explanatory, from two points of view. One is, “what you can afford,” and one is, “what you’re willing to pay.” What you can afford, has to do with more than just the initial cost, but also the maintaining of that bike. What you’re willing to pay, is determined by your freedom to spend whatever you want, and whether or not you feel that you’re getting the best bang for your buck.

As to the topic of realistic expectations, I’m referring to what you believe the bike should be able to do, and what you want to do to it or with it. Relying on other people’s experiences with that particular bike that you’re interested in, will help in that regard, along with your own previous experiences and how you apply them to the bike you’re looking at.

Personal satisfaction is not something that you’re necessarily going to get after-the-fact although you will build your own opinions as time goes on. It also has to do with any previous experiences you have had that you will bring to the table, and also making the right decision upfront, with the right bike.

I won’t repeat here, what I’ve said in other threads already, (you’ll have to look around and see my thoughts on the matter), but I will simply say that, “sometimes lesser is more,” depending on what your goals are. It is not always the biggest and best, more fully equipped bike, that is the best choice.

These days, just like in my religious preferences, (without going into detail about THAT), I walk a middle road. Neither Republican nor Democrat; neither Protestant nor Catholic; neither Harley advocate or Harley detractor. About the only thing I stubbornly can’t shake off, is my particular distaste for mopeds. (lol)

It has been my experience with cars and trucks, bicycles and lawnmowers, chainsaws and wheelbarrels, and motorcycles too, that you can buy the best loved item out there........ and still get a lemon!

If you are the kind of individual who can make only one big investment, and that investment is going to have to last you a whole lot of years, then walk carefully, grasshopper.

On the other hand, if you have unlimited resources, and you think you might be buying a new motorcycle every couple years, then just investigate what you think you might like, plunk down the cash, and try it out. You can always replace it.
 

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I have not been on any of the modern cruisers. I do read the reviews tho. Harley has compared well to the other cruisers in recent years, and that is worth noting.

Unkle Krusty
 

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Honda Gold Wing Service Specialist
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Indian Roadmaster = 29K

Harley Ultra Classic = 25K

Honda Gold Wing = 23.5K
Actually, $23.5K will only get you the bottom end new 2018 Gold Wing model (was called F6B for bagger). No travel trunk and missing many top end features. A fully loaded Gold Wing Tour model with airbag has an MSRP of $31.5K.

Here's the spread:

Gold Wing 6-speed manual = $23,500
Gold Wing 7-speed DCT = $24,700
Gold Wing Tour 6-speed manual = $26,700
Gold Wing Tour 7-speed DCT = $27,700
Gold Wing Tour 7-speed DCT with Airbag = $31,500

My buy, if I had the cash, would be the Gold Wing Tour 6-speed manual.

Think I'll go get me a Lotto ticket! :grin:

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American Legion Rider & sub-Administrator
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Indian Roadmaster = 29K

Harley Ultra Classic = 25K

Honda Gold Wing = 23.5K
You missed slightly. The equivalent Harley to a Roadmaster is their CVO model. At least it used to be. Not sure about 18's. There really is a feature and price war going on. Hands down Honda wins but then all you have is a Honda.:smile_big:
 
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You don't have to have a "touring" bike to go touring. A 750 Honda Shadow? Probably not many people would consider it a "touring" bike, but I have done it. Enjoyed it too. Going 2 up? Look at the 1500, 1600, or 1700 Kawasaki Vulcan. The 1300 and 1800 Honda VTX's. Not touring bikes but add luggage rack and saddle bags and hit the road. Yamaha and Suzuki also make cruisers of various sizes that will work.

About any accessory that comes standard, or even optional, on a full boat touring machine, can be added to any of the above cycles. Find any of the above machines for less than $10,000 and even better, someone else has already added everything you need to "tour". :)
 

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You might want to expand your options. Personally, I have a 2012 Goldwing. Very comfortable, had power to spare, excellent storage and good range. Also, they hold their value well.


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I would agree as I have had 3 harleys and some 100 plus other bikes of various brands the GL1800 is the only bike I would tour on. They require no maintenance except for an occasional oil change and will not make you deaf. I currently am down to 3 bikes, a GL1800, Valkyrie and BMW K1200lt. The Valk is my favorite all around ride and the GL is the tour pick. The Beemer is for sale.
We are going on a 9000 mile trip in a couple weeks and the GL is the pick for sure.
 

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Swamp Rat Rider
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2009 Harley Davidson Ultra Classic Stage 2 .. 70,000 Miles .. Had a Few Warranty Issues but never stranded .. 2012 Victory Cross Country Stage 2.. 80,000 Miles Totally Trouble Free and Handled like a Ride Half it's Weight, even at slow speeds .. NO Longer Make Victory but wouldn't be scared to buy one if in the Market ..
 

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You don't have to have a "touring" bike to go touring... About any accessory that comes standard, or even optional, on a full boat touring machine, can be added to any of the above cycles. Find any of the above machines for less than $10,000 and even better, someone else has already added everything you need to "tour"
This is my kind of shopping. I’ve ridden, three HDs – the last, an Evo Ultra, was near bullet proof and never saw a dealer in the 100K miles I had on it… I do my own oil changes; brakes, bulbs and the like. I also had a Nomad for about 100K miles, it wasn’t quite a bullet-proof but certainly never left me stranded anywhere and both bikes have done 1000-1300 miles days with me… For my money, the Evo was the best Harley ever produced – would tolerate egregious abuse and keep on going, but they are getting too elderly for many modern riders.

What I do like about the often-derided cruiser style bike is that most everything is in the open – there is no excuse not to keep an eye on things, nor is it much bother – and generally they are among the easiest to ride tolerably well. Never rode a Wing, nor do I know anyone who owns one, but I hear they are the best of the Tupperware brigade. I always buy used and in several 100K miles (50-plus years), have never paid more than $10K for a bike – usually well less. My most recent toy came in below $2K – too many good used bike out there…

-- Larry
 

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I've had 4 Goldwings in my past. Only time I came close to getting stranded was my own fault. They are very dependable and with just routine maintenance, they will go a long, long ways.
 
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