First gear. You gotta slip that clutch a little when you take off in second. Luke was said above by Doug , if you didn't need first it wouldn't be there. And first is not geared low. Get it up around 5 grand and look at your speed.
I start in second gear a lot as you said on level ground or downhill. I've had 7 GL1800's
and it never seemed to do any harm. Never started in second when two up or pulling a trailer.
I weigh 180 lbs.
Unless you're putting 250K miles on all 7 of them, the fact that you've went through 7 wings is somewhat irrelevant at best or actually undermines your argument as a worst case scenario. Point being...if you put under 100K miles on them before you trade them off, you're probably never going to reap the consequences of any harm you are doing.
I'd put more credibility that it doesn't cause any harm from someone doing 250-300K miles or more on one Wing.
I think we all know that you have to slip the clutch more to take off in 2nd than you would in 1st. Maybe not a lot, but definitely more and so it does wear the clutch more. It may not really be an issue on this bike as clutch failures are rare, but it certainly does wear the clutch more than taking off in 1st.
Me...I use all the gears. I don't shift out of first until about 3K RPM or around 20 MPH. First only seems to be geared low if you think you need to shift at 2K.
Interesting conversation, always wondered about that second gear thing. If I'm starting out form a down hill, I'm doing second, otherwise from a dead stop, first gear. Like some of these posts, Mother Honda must have put that gear there for some reason.
I'm a 200+ guy and normally start off in first gear. I'm shifting to second at relatively low rpm but have noticed that if I run her up to 3000 in first, she likes it a lot and seems to perform a bit smoother.
I normally start in 1st but then go to 3rd. The revs are up and makes a smoother shift. I sometimes I'll go straight to 5th. Who needs a 6th gear when 3 will do? Actually it just fun as **** to go thru all 5 with a lot of heat!
You only have to brush the ones you want to keep
Second when slow speed maneuvering in a parking lot or making an immediate turn coming off a light. Second gives better throttle control. First is too jerky at low speed.
This was going to be my "add-on question". Glad to hear that I am not the only one that does this. I'm sure I've looked like a real twit when attempting some slow maneuvers in a parking lot. Going from no throttle to too much throttle in the middle of a very tight turn isn't too smooth, even with working the friction point as carefully as possible. 2nd makes it much smoother. I just need to remember.
You should be able to start out in first gear and shift all the way up to fifth without your passenger noticing it. There should NEVER be any helmet bumping and you shouldn't feel the person on the back move and back and forth. IF you do then learn to shift!
One of the Parking Lot Practise sessions we ran was to start from a dead stop on a long curve (marked with cones), within the curve, shift up to 2nd, then back down to 1st and stop. With a passenger and focus on the passenger not moving back and forth. You learn to slip the clutch as you go in and out of the gears but it is MUCH more comfortable for your riding partner.