Well I know its about time. I have been out on some suspension and check rides to make sure nothing was wrong. 100mi or so. And I have done a few local Goldwing Club rides of 100mi or so. Tuesday the North Cascades Hwy was opened for the season and yesterday the wife and I did the Cascade loop which is 410mi door to door for us. Sun was out, traffic not too bad and a lot of Motorcycles on the road. -- We did a east to west direction going over Stevens Pass, up 97 through Chelan, 153 to Twisp/Wintrop and the North Cascades back.
My thoughts are:
1. Me at 260 and the wife a buck less than that, then add riding gear we are over the max load capacity of the GL1800 as it is much less loaded up for a long multiday ride. So we can use the extra spring rates.
2. Note I did the rear suspension a few weeks before doing the front. So both are changed.
3. This is firmer suspension and you get a firmer ride, plain and simple. This has its pro's and con's.
- Just slabbing it and on the small stuff, expansion joints and tar snakes etc. You feel this stuff a bit more. Its not bad, but you notice this more. If this is where you ride 90% of the time, stock might feel good to you. Or something in the middle between stock and 1.1 springs.
- On the flip side it soaks up the bumps a lot better. Things like dip in the road where the rear used to really compress as the weight dropped down into the dip, is now just a little blip and your thinking how nice that was.
- The front has a lot less brake dive and soaks up bumps nicely.
- On Hwy 20 over the North Cascades we had our share of road surface changes and pot holes with some sharp hits to the suspension. This too was not bad on the front and holding the bars. Seems like a bit less rattle of the shield albeit a firmer ride, still seems pretty compliant on the fast fork movements.
- On the rear the wife liked it. Our first few local 100mi rides were not a big test. Wife commented on the firmer ride and when I pressed for details she just said it was firmer. yesterday after doing the North Cascades she commented on how much better the ride was. I asked it I should put it back to stock and she said something to the extent of , not if I wanted her to keep riding back there. I take that as a NO.
- Handling seems better in that we pushed a few 30mph and 40mph curves a little faster than the sign advises. Not too bad as I try not to get too crazy with the wife back there. Any case very little suspension movement as the cornering forces push on the suspension. Here bike has less movement, and gives a stable and more sure footed feeling, controlled feeling. I passed one slow car at a little over the speed limit ( not too much of course, he says with a straight face ) and applied the brakes to scrape off speed before letting off and pushing into a slow curve. We pushed this one more than I would have liked and I was fully expecting to hear the sounds of scraping metal as the suspension compressed from cornering forces and little travel we used to have. Now we have more suspension travel and have less drama. To my surprise I cranked it over, brought in the throttle and exited without any unwanted sound effects, movements, or whatever. As we go down the small straight for the next curve, the 2 guys on sport bikes went passed. The first guy gave a thumbs up, and the other guy just stared back as he went by, while I was busy checking to see if I pee'd myself.
- Overall it was a great day, and I am quite pleased with the results. But yeah there are some pros and cons. If you weigh a 100+ lbs less than wife and I, ride the slab 90% of the time or ride the speed limit right on the nose, you probably get by with stock. I can see some thinking this is too firm. For the wife and I who ride a little spirited albeit not near the top guys reported here, its a nice overall improvement with cons that I can accept ( being feeling the light stuff more ). And its there for you when you get caught with your pants down.
2005 GL1800ABS 61,000mi
2003 ZG1000 132,000mi