Just about a year ago I bought my first Goldwing, a new 2016 ABS model. Now, 7000 miles and a year later, here are some observations. I'll just start with the fact that I have been riding for about 35 years, I am a former MSF instructor, and I have owned about 8 bikes in those years.
1. The Goldwing is an even better bike than I thought it was when I first got it. In terms of comfort, performance, reliability and versatility it is by far the best motorcycle I have ever owned.
2. While initially it took me awhile to get used to the size and WEIGHT of this bike (about 200 pounds more than the bike I owned just before the Goldwing), I find now that the size and weight are totally non-factors to me. When I first got this bike I loved it, but thought maybe I should have stayed with a lighter bike. Now I see no advantage whatsoever with a smaller or lighter bike.
3. There is no need for a 6th gear. Coming from a few bikes with 6 gears, at first I thought that this was the biggest weakness of the Goldwing. A year of riding now has convinced me that a 6th gear is not needed; the 5th gear handles speeds of everything over 45 mph, up to my highest so far of about 110 on the speedo, with comfort and without strain. I've yet to hit redline and see no need to.
4. I bought the ABS model because I am a big believer in ABS for those rare but real panic situations when even an experienced rider might grab too much front brake too quickly. But to get ABS I had to get the full "audio comfort" features. I was always dismissive of listening to music while riding, seeing it as an unnecessary distraction. Now I use the SiriusXM radio almost everytime I ride, with the soft soothing tunes of the Spa channel (6
my most commonly used channel. I'm really glad that I have the radio set up that I have.
5. Cruise control is not a luxury, but a necessity. Past bikes have had throttle locks added, and they work for a few moments of shaking out a numb or tingly or just tired throttle hand. Cruise control makes any trip other than one in traffic with constant speed changes and starts and stops into a more enjoyable ride. I know absolutely that I will never buy a bike without cruise control in the future.
6. There is no better bike for riding two up. My wife and I ride together alot. I am blessed to be married to this wonderful woman for 51 years now. Our hobbies or interests are not very much alike, so once the kids grew up and moved away there was less and less for us to do together. We spend alot of time with family, traveling and related to our special little dog, but having a comfortable bike for her ride on with me has kept her in my motorcycle lifestyle and I am more than pleased. We demo rode a number of bikes, including the BMW K1600, the Harley Street Glide Ultra, the Victory Cross Country and the Triumph Trophy. She would have tolerated any of these (well, maybe not the Triumph which puts the passenger pretty high up above the rider) but the Goldwing she found really comfortable. And maybe just as important, she finds that her knees are not digging into my back as they were on some of the other bikes. The Goldwing has certainly extended the time that she will still ride with me and for that I am grateful and appreciative.
At 74 I know that I am not likely to get many years out of the Goldwing, or at least in its current form. But I think this is a really, really great ride right now, and with Landing Gear added someday, should serve me well until riding in any form is no longer possible (hopefully that will not happen while I remain on the green side of the grass).