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Malakie

My first trip ever on a Goldwing.. and Sturgis bound - BUT not problem free....

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Malakie

Hi all, Well although I have been a Goldwing rider for about 25 years I have never had the chance to take any kind of long trip due to military service and career. I was retired last September due to my military injuries and so now I finally have some time to do things I have never been able to do. And so what did I do for a first time experience? Well I went big. I went to Sturgis with my fiance'. AND I did another thing I have never done.. pulled a trailer too!

 

I figured I spent all this money on my new 2012 Goldwing and so why not use it for what it is designed.. Long rides. I had also always wanted to see the Sturgis event and what all the hoopla was about. And so in a matter of weeks I went out and bought an awesome trailer and all the pieces for the hitch and other items and installed them and set things up myself.

 

We decided to tent it AND being new at this as well as military trained, I decided to take everything we needed to survive on our own. From first aid to tools to lights to cooking materials to a weeks worth of food, we took it all! I also figured it would be a lot cheaper AND as it turned out, much more convenient to eat when we wanted. We carried about 500lbs. of stuff in the trailer as well as another couple hundred in the side bags and trunk of the bike. (* see pictures) We kept the trunk for quick access items however like bug spray, sun screen, and other quick need stuff.

 

One thing I can say right off that I learned is to NOT use rubber type tie downs or bungies. They break way to much. Use instead the crank type tie down straps. Another lesson, electrical converters DC to AC you can buy for cars that plug into the cigarette lighter for example, do NOT work as the Goldwing does not supply enough power to run them. The plan was to use one to power and blow up our air mattress. I am next going to try a battery operated one instead for future trips. I was amazed at how the new 2012 Goldwing so easily pulls and handles a large trailer both at acceleration and at stopping.

 

In fact I have a couple stories to tell regarding this! The first happens to be about how powerful the 2012 Goldwing truly is with all the changes. Headed out to Sturgis we hit a 35-40mph headwind suddenly just into South Dakota. Being the first time I have ever done this I did not know what really to expect so when that wind just suddenly kicked in it felt like getting slammed from all sides. We crested up and over this bridge and were hit side on throwing the bike over like it was a toy. Although I have hit high winds before, this was the first time I ever had a moment where I had a fleeting moment of not being able to recover from leaning over sideways while going forward. One SUV in front of us almost lost it when his trailer picked up on him... thankfully it was heavy enough to sit back down on the road but he swayed big time until getting slowed down again.

 

After compensating for the wind things smoothed out. The new air wings I installed just before we left worked awesome in helping which shocked me. Even more so because I only bought and installed the small 4" x 5" air wings that mount under the mirrors. You would not think they would have that big an impact but boy do they.. not only for directing airflow at the driver and passenger but in that high wind they actually help reduce the lean I had to put on the bike to stay upright. I had to open and direct the flow straight back in that wind but it helped.

 

When we hit that wind I had just over 1/2 tank of gas. As drove on I remember watching that gauge and thinking I could see it drop. Well I was not imagining it. 20 miles after that wind hit, we were on empty and praying a gas station would come up. Little did I know we were not the only ones in that situation. As it turns out hundreds of other bikers ran into the same problem. At about the 26 mile mark we found ONE station at an exit and let me tell you at that point I had NEVER seen so many motorcycles parked in one station. We pulled in and waited our turn to fuel. After doing so I found a place to park for a bit so my finance' could get some nicotine. While sitting there I noticed 98% of the bikes were Harley's. Only two other bikes were not, mine and a BMW.

 

As I sat there I overheard one of the groups talking about something being wrong with their bikes speculating that the last gas stop might have been bad gas. Not only had their mileage dropped precipitously but they found they had lost massive horsepower as well and were having a lot of problems even getting up to speed. I walked over and said they were not the only ones experiencing the gas sucking issue. I told them about 25 miles or so back we hit that wind and I went from 1/2 tank to empty that quick in the wind.

 

HOWEVER I also mentioned that I had NO loss of horsepower nor any problem pulling my trailer nor maintaining 75mph. And this is where I learned that we really do kick butt over all others in horsepower. And it became VERY noticeable now when we got back on the road. It was funny to be honest. In areas protected from the wind, Harley's would fly past us even though we were doing 75mph on cruise control. But as soon as we got back into the open and the wind, it was like they all hit a BRICK wall!! I kept easily cruising even uphill with NO down shifting needed and yet they ALL struggled to even get up the hills.

 

Personally I was shocked because I always thought Harleys had not only the horsepower but the torque as well. I was obviously wrong in that assessment and the next time I stopped I was told as much by other Harley riders. I guess I never put two and two together before.. after all we are running a engine that is 6 cylinders and larger than MANY cars on the road today. It just never dawned on me about how much horsepower we are truly sitting on. In that wind we ended up averaging about 90-95 miles per TANK of gas. It sucked big time. Harley riders reported even less maybe due to tank size?

 

It was almost comical to hear all the Harley riders bitching about this and you would not believe the comments, compliments, questions and attention I constantly got about my bike over theirs. Even more surprising was how many times we were passed by Harley riders where they pointed at my wing and then at the trailer setup I created and gave a thumbs up!

 

Later on in Sturgis when the wind died down I averaged about 33-34 mpg WITH the trailer and about 42 without the trailer.

 

One other thing of note... Minnesota has the WORST FREAKING ROADS I have ever been on other than Chicago. The interstate through Minnesota is so bad it is not even explainable. Massive difference when you cross the boarder from Wisconsin into and then again out of and into South Dakota. Minnesota should be embarrassed by their lack of upkeep. I actually sent a letter to both their DOT and their tourism bureau and told them I would be driving around their state until such time as they saw fit to fix their roads.

 

From washboard rattling threatening to tear your bike apart to what I swear are actual SPEED bumps built into the highway every 10 feet to pot holes to actual sections missing, their roads are plain bad. At one exit I almost dumped the Goldwing as I started out from a stop because of a section that was about 6 inches wide and 20 foot long in the main road of which my front tire got caught in at the low speed. That scared the poopy out of me when that happened. If you are planning a trip and do not want to shake yourself or your bike apart, I recommend a different route until they fix their roads.

 

The second incident was worse... and almost cost me and my fiance' our lives. When I bought my 2012 Goldwing I almost changed my mind because I could not fathom ABS brakes on a motorcycle. The rear wheel I could see but not the front tire. When ABS kicks in you get that chatter, slide, release, slide, release etc. At the time I also did not know that Honda had also redesigned the front end AND the anti-dive system for this very reason. Well to put it bluntly... the 2012 Honda Goldwing and its redesign with ABS saved my life and that of my fiance'.

 

We were crossing over from Wisconsin to Minnesota about 10:30pm headed west. We had left my home earlier that day near West Bend Wi near lake Michigan but had made a few stops during the day as we headed out. Since we were both excited and just starting our trip, we decided to put in some night hours so that we would not have to feel we had to rush to get to Sturgis in time to meet my oldest daughter who was also headed there on Sunday.

 

As we crossed the border of Wisconsin and Minnesota we found ourselves headed down a large 6% grade on the I-90 corridor. Headed down the road had quite a few turns in it as well. Well as we came around one of those corners at 70mph I noticed up ahead tail lights. At first I did not think anything of it since they were normal brightness. They were in what would be the 'fast' lane and we were in the right hand lane.

 

As we approached I suddenly saw not only the brake lights of the SUV flair but SMOKE coming out of his rear tire wells. We had closed up on him to the point I suddenly knew we were in trouble... especially since I had no idea at that point WHY.

 

I also noticed ONCOMING headlights which meant I had NO way out because it was about that time the oncoming light illuminated the problem... a herd of deer right in the middle of the road and headed straight in front of me into my lane. I had no choice what so ever. I instantly sat up and nailed BOTH front and back brakes as hard as I could.

 

Now, keep in mind.... I had a rider AND a trailer that did NOT have brakes AND we were in a 70mph LEAN to the right going around a corner DOWNHILL!

 

The moment I hit the brakes that hard the bikes front end came UP, the bike tilted us UPRIGHT and the ABS then started squawking BOTH front and rear tires just like you hear when someone is squealing their brakes in locked up stop. Squawking release squawking release squawking release.... and so on...

 

We stopped UPRIGHT and in a straight line INCLUDING the trailer only 4 feet behind the SUV! The guy driving it looked back at us at basically went WHEW shaking his head at what just occurred. What shocked me the most was how the front of the bike came UP and the system brought us upright the way it did. Had it not done that we would either have gone down or worse.

 

And so now as of a couple weeks ago have become a very BIG advocate of ABS on the 2012 Honda Goldwing! And offer a HUGE thank you and kudos to Honda Engineers for the redesigned 2012 Honda Goldwing... because without ANY doubt that bike saved our lives two weeks ago.

 

Well eventually we got to Sturgis and on time. And what a thing to experience. The massive number of motorcycles is staggering. The events, the sites to see... none of it can be explained in words because there is just too much to do and see to even fit it in a two week period. We were there 7 days and had so much more we wanted to do but just ran out of time.

 

It was also pretty cool on the official first day watching the United States Air Force overfly right down the center strip and low altitude a B-1 Strategic bomber!

 

I was also so happy to have hauled everything we needed including food. There are so many people it boggles the mind. There are more shops and vendors and layouts and events that come in for this you cannot imagine. And traffic!

 

You do not dare drive anything but a motorcycle if you intend on getting anywhere. One thing that really really pissed me off though was these idiots that drive those massive bus sized RV's AND pull a huge trailer behind as well and then drive THROUGH town with the dam thing. How stupid can these idiots be???? Blocking up traffic, taking up more room than anything on those small roads..

 

They need to change things and make Sturgis town roads OFF LIMITS to any vehicle larger than a standard car or truck and NO TRAILERS. Or set up a specific route through town for those kind of vehicles because we sat in traffic the first day for god knows how long because of one of those idiots. Another thing that surprised me was this..

 

I could not believe how many Harley riders came but did not drive their bikes there. They trailered them behind RV's and trucks! It became the bane of highway driving coming in too because they push out so much dam air when they pass you doing 85mph. And with so many of them it was a constant headache to drive through.

 

Even so, what is the point of going to a MOTORCYCLE event such as this if you do not drive your motorcycle???? I only saw ONE Goldwing that was trailered in and that one I could understand because it looked to be a model from the very early years. It looked well worn so perhaps it would not have had the legs for a long drive.

 

I also learned first hand how many idiot motorcycle riders there are.. INCLUDING my oldest daughters boyfriend. I will not get into details but suffice it to say that right in the middle of a ride through the Black Hills, he and I had it out along side the road man to man. Putting my daughters life in danger was NOT a smart thing to do. And driving like a showoff is NOT smart. I pulled my Goldwing over and suffice it to say, as my daughter says, I put the fear of Todd into him. Ahhh someday's my military special operations training has its uses!

 

I was finally able to make it to Mt. Rushmore as well. And for those of you who are or were military you may understand when I say that for me it was a truly emotional experience.... and one I had no clue was to occur. Reading those plaques from Thomas Jefferson and others hit me to the point I had to fight to hold my emotions in. Reading those words made me feel that the 30 plus years of serving my country and the people of this great nation was all right. It is those words and the ideals of our constitution that I served for and no matter what the future holds, I will ALWAYS continue to fight for that one ideal - even against our own government if need be. Freedom!

 

There was another problem, major in fact, on the trip where my Goldwing was almost lost due to electrical fire but you can read about that under the product reviews section where I wrote about that incident. We did get home without any issues though and we cannot wait to go on our next trip now. We learned alot.. what to take and not to take. How to ride and so on etc.

 

The one thing I do want to work on though is comfort of the seat.. Although the seat is comfortable for both of us, I think it could use something more. I have been told a backrest is a big thing to try but the problem we both kept having was not soreness rather our butts kept falling asleep. Any ideas on that one? Finally the one other problem I ended up having was with my hands. Even with cruise control, I found my hands and fingers to be extremely sore and tight. Any ideas on this as well from you long distance guru's?

 

I included a number of pics.. hope you like them... * trying to figure out how to add multiple pics.. will edit and add this when I figure it out...

 

 

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Joep

Has to the seat.... the wooden beads do help.. and you can put sheepskin over them ral adjustable.... They allow air to flow around and under out.. the sheepskin will also keep the seat from being cold or too hot.. and fkeep the sweat rashes down... for the handle bars.. if the can be slightly adjusted or more... with a helper.. move them away from you out of reach if possible... and then sit on bike normally and with eyes closed, reach out comfortably.. and have your helper bring the bars to your hands... don't reach out for the bars where you expect them to be.. but reach out to where it feels good for you without overreaching.. At least they can be set to a compromise if not fully adjustable

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mespock

Nice read ... Now that you are broken in you are ready for a real ride ... LOL ...

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Malakie

[user=895]Joep[/user] wrote:

Has to the seat.... the wooden beads do help.. and you can put sheepskin over them ral adjustable.... They allow air to flow around and under out.. the sheepskin will also keep the seat from being cold or too hot.. and fkeep the sweat rashes down... for the handle bars.. if the can be slightly adjusted or more... with a helper.. move them away from you out of reach if possible... and then sit on bike normally and with eyes closed, reach out comfortably.. and have your helper bring the bars to your hands... don't reach out for the bars where you expect them to be.. but reach out to where it feels good for you without overreaching.. At least they can be set to a compromise if not fully adjustable

The problem is the 2012 has built in heaters for the seat. It is actually really comfortable even at long distance. Like anything though if you do not move something long enough it does fall asleep. Even in a car you find this. I should have specific more than the only thing that occurred was that my butt fell asleep after extended periods but that moving around even a little bit resolved that easily. The bike is so stable either myself or my fiance' could move without any major impact to the bikes stability while driving at speed.

I have heard about those beads but for the life of me cannot figure out how sitting on a bunch of marbles can feel good! :surprised:

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Malakie

[user=25]mespock[/user] wrote:

Nice read ... Now that you are broken in you are ready for a real ride ... LOL ...

Yea I am hooked big time now. Only been back less than two weeks and now I want to go again already... someplace, anyplace! :egypt:

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Joep

Truckers use them and I made a trip to Hannibal , MO from Dallas and to Colorado Springs.. and didn't feel like it was marbles..one factor on the bike as you change lanes and go around curves they move with you.. so I guess it is like a slight massage as you ride.. and it keeps you off the seat so your not totally oln the buttocks..

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Malakie

[user=895]Joep[/user] wrote:

Truckers use them and I made a trip to Hannibal , MO from Dallas and to Colorado Springs.. and didn't feel like it was marbles..one factor on the bike as you change lanes and go around curves they move with you.. so I guess it is like a slight massage as you ride.. and it keeps you off the seat so your not totally oln the buttocks..

I must have a bony butt. Did a poker run today and someone had one of those things for me to try.. I could feel every 'marble' It felt to me just as I imagined it would after about 20 minutes of riding.. Very hard on the butt. It felt like I was sitting on marbles and I also did not like how it moved side to side on steep turns for me.

Ahh well, no biggie. Like I said on the 2012 I can easily go a couple hours without any issues and so far just a bit of numb butt is all I have experienced.. and that was easily fixed while riding by just moving a small amount in the seat.

Wonder if they will start making seats out of that memory foam they make mattresses out of someday.. now THAT would be soft!

 

 

 

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74rider

Thanks for the write up, always fun and reminded me of my trip to Strugis. On the seat, absolutely THE most comfortable seat I've ever had was on my 1996 Royal Star. It had a Corbin and it was actually pretty firm to the touch, not smooshy like all the others I've had. I could last all day on that thing, but I cannot find one made for my '83 Interstate. I may try and "customize" one to fit. I think firmer not softer is the way to go, for me anyway.

 

Anyway, thanks for the write up... now I need to go back and resurect my pics from 2008, when I went. :banana:

 

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Malakie

[user=4444]74rider[/user] wrote:

Thanks for the write up, always fun and reminded me of my trip to Strugis. On the seat, absolutely THE most comfortable seat I've ever had was on my 1996 Royal Star. It had a Corbin and it was actually pretty firm to the touch, not smooshy like all the others I've had. I could last all day on that thing, but I cannot find one made for my '83 Interstate. I may try and "customize" one to fit. I think firmer not softer is the way to go, for me anyway.

 

Anyway, thanks for the write up... now I need to go back and resurect my pics from 2008, when I went. :banana:

I decided that instead of Sturgis for 2013, we are going to the WingDing on the east coast then perhaps up the coast into Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire.

 

Cannot wait already and this is only Sept 2012 yet.. The other bummer is fall just arrived here in Wisconsin.. Today it is only 52 after a cold night last night. Bike riding time is going to be over way to dam fast for me...

 

I still ride in this weather since on the 2012 we have nice heaters and I also spent some money on nice riding jackets. But once the snow flies....

 

 

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toomanyfumes

Thanks for the story, good read, I have an airhawk for my seat, it works great.

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