Gold Wing: How Necessary Is Reverse?
Q: Got a question for you Gold Wing owners out there. I'm getting ready to buy my first Gold Wing, and am trying to decide between a '96 Interstate with 3700 miles and a '96 Aspencade with 37,000 miles, both for $10,500. I'm tempted to buy the Interstate because it's had so little wear of any kind, but I'm thinking I might find myself fervently wishing I'd bought the Aspencade the first time I have to maneuver the bike on an incline and don't have that reverse gear. Do those of you riding reverse-equipped Gold Wings find you use that reverse often? Conversely, do you guys who don't have reverse find yourselves missing it? Inquiring minds want to know before they spend their money.
A: I don't have reverse, but my 'Wing is 100 lbs. lighter ('84 Interstate). Anyway, I've never needed reverse (but I do 520 lbs. on the "calf aka toe-raises" machine ;-) Pay attention to how you park and you'll be fine. OTOH, the Aspy has some nice amenities that I would seriously consider. Also, don't fall into the trap of "less miles equal less wear" because it just isn't so...... consider that 10k city miles is probably equivalent to 80 - 100k highway miles, plus the machine with miles was probably better maintained. IIRC, the manual recommends changing the oil every 3k or every 3 months (due to acid build-up), whichever comes first - which bike do you think had the oil changed more often?? It's not. At least you can live without it if you practice a little care and common sense when parking the bike. Make sure you never park with the bike pointed down hill (like angled into a curb) and never park in a position where you might have to back the machine if you're parking on a loose surface like gravel. Unfortunately, sooner or later, you're going to find yourself in one of these situations or something else where you have to back the motorcycle on a surface of up an incline that, simply because of the weight of the machine or the lack of traction on the surface, will keep you from getting anywhere. It's in those times that you'll fully appreciate that reverse. Remember, you're talking an 800+ lb motorcycle!