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Gold Wing vs. Road King ??? (maybe Triumph as well)

  1. #1
    Lifer SteveM's Avatar
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    Gold Wing vs. Road King ??? (maybe Triumph as well)


    Riding bio...

    57, riding for 20 years, owned VFR's, ST1300's, Triumph Rocket III Tourer, Honda GoldWing F6b and currently a VFR1200X.

    I keep a cheap 2000 VFR800 for fun and that is staying.

    Every summer my teaching job gives me the time for long tours. I've been cross country, through the south, around the Great Lakes and up into Northern Quebec as example. Duration is at least a week if not 2. When not on a tour, I'll get away to Maine for a few trips each year and also grab the ordinary weekend / end of weekday ride.

    Done a SS1000 and last year's day 1 to get out of town was Boston to Toledo on the VFR1200 in a day. I was never much for ripping up the twisty's, but I can ove at a reasonable pace and cover a lot of ground in a day.

    With that as background, I'm thinking of rolling out of the VFR1200X because of the height. It gets the job done for me, but it's a bit of work.

    I was waiting on the new Gold Wing, but the price is YIKES!!!, so just for laughs I looked at the HD site and a 2018 Road King is <$20K and I won't spend any money on doo-dads. I've loved to look of the Road King, and I know they are technological apples/orange compared to the 'wing. On a bit more of a sport-touring thing, the Triumph Trophy 1200 looks nice, but Triumphs give me concerns about reliability far from home (and yes I know I'm also looking at an HD).

    So....

    Can the community here clarify my thinking and choices, or just tell me to 'busa and be done with it@

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  2. #2
    Lifer Chippertheripper's Avatar
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    Re: Gold Wing vs. Road King ??? (maybe Triumph as well)

    I just saw a headline this morning about how HD sales are down, and how it’s effecting share prices. Maybe this could lead to a decent buy.
    I’ll reserve comment on comparisons on bikes I have no experience. Internet chatter has people absolutely gaga over the 18 heritage, which looks just like a rk to my untrained eye.

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    Where is my fast? GixerJockey's Avatar
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    Re: Gold Wing vs. Road King ??? (maybe Triumph as well)

    Goldwing is the finest motorcycle ever created... Thread/

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  4. #4
    Senior Member MUZ720's Avatar
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    Re: Gold Wing vs. Road King ??? (maybe Triumph as well)

    Hds are very reliable ,own an 04 that's a been awesome. Test ride them, both are Hugh chucks of steel and plastic.

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  5. #5
    Lifer loudbeard's Avatar
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    Re: Gold Wing vs. Road King ??? (maybe Triumph as well)

    I wouldn't thumb my nose at a Road King, although for my money I'd just buy a Multi.

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    I went to MMI I know what Im doing here chief

  6. #6
    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: Gold Wing vs. Road King ??? (maybe Triumph as well)

    I've ridden a GL1800 as well as a couple later model Road Kings. I loved both. I think both are equally solid choices for big mile touring. This is largely a vanilla or chocolate ice cream kind of argument.

    If the word "sport" shows up anywhere in your reqs, avoid the RK. It may be capable of going fast, but it is not enjoyable to do so. The GL will do whatever you ask and likely more. The RK doesn't want to go fast and doesn't give a shit what you want. The RK is immensely pleasing to ride at the speed limit. This, in my opinion, is a big part of its appeal.

    My co-worker traded a '13 RK classic for a '14 RK standard. The '14 has the 'rushmore' treatment and the '13 did not. I would hold out for a '14+ as the rushmore bits are nice. The classic had the wire-wheels and the leather-look hard bags. I'd pass on both and stick with the easier to keep alloy wheels and plastic bags.

    I view the RK as the 'value' proposition in the HD touring lineup. Price an Ultra and you'll see it well into new GL1800 territory. Fortunately for me, I don't need the radio, passenger speaker system, or on-board GPS. So the RK appeals.

    You can get a 'tourpack' top case for the RK that makes it almost an Ultra. It's money, but its nice. It puts the luggage capacity of the RK almost on par with the GL.. almost.
    My coworker has a tool-less attach 'batwing' fairing with a shorty screen. He alternates between this screen and running the bike naked, almost never using the factory police style plexi screen. I would make this same mod.
    It pisses me off that you cannot get a full-face helmet in the RK bags. Harley knows its demographic never wears such a thing anyway. I think the tourpack case can hold 2 full-face helmets just like the GL top-case.

    The RK is very agricultural in nature. The motor vibrates too much. The shifter has waaay too much travel. The switch gear is simplistic and minimal. It's like a tractor. And it's very satisfying to ride.

    The GL only revs to 6k.. but my gosh does it do a lot with those revs. The chassis is amazing. The handling is superb. After just one weekend with it I had a hard time obeying the speed limit and was getting impatient behind slower vehicles.


    I think the Trophy 1200 was something of a flop. IIRC National Powersports is practically giving them away. Seems everyone would rather have an R1200RT or something.

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    Last edited by nhbubba; 01-30-18 at 01:19 PM.

  7. #7
    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: Gold Wing vs. Road King ??? (maybe Triumph as well)

    Quote Originally Posted by Chippertheripper View Post
    Internet chatter has people absolutely gaga over the 18 heritage, which looks just like a rk to my untrained eye.
    Heritage Classic? Isn't that from the Softail line?
    Smaller, less capable frame. Lesser suspension. Way more forward control 'cruiser' ergos.
    The FL lineup is an honest to gawd touring bike. Real-world, function over form suspension. Neutral feet under you ergos. I think the seating is much more generous.

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  8. #8
    Lifer Imbeek's Avatar
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    Re: Gold Wing vs. Road King ??? (maybe Triumph as well)

    Love my road king (custom), bought it new in 05 and won’t be selling it until forced to, someday. It’s probably the last bike I’d sell out of the six or so in my garage. The only thing I’d do differently if I were ordering it again is I wouldn’t “upgrade” to spoked wheels (hassle to clean) and I’d leave the quiet pipes on it. I will probably re-install the stock pipes to quiet it back down from the Vance and Hines true duals that are on it now. More airflow thru the engine is the easy pickens for cheap increased power, stage one type kits are well documented.

    Can’t comment on gold wings, never rode one. The new one looks cool.

    Regarding the similarity between the road king and heritage mentioned above, I’m not current on the new models but for a long time and as recently as I checked, the biggest difference between touring (road king, ultra glides, road glides, etc) and soft tail (heritage, fat boy, springer soft tail, many others) was, as the name suggests, the rear suspension. In plain English, the softails look a lot better when no saddlebags are blocking the view (rare anyway!), but they ride ten times worse due to extremely limited travel. Stick with the touring bikes if your goal is lots of long distance use. The touring air shocks work well enough even for ridiculously spirited riding, given the inherent limitations of touring tires and less than ideal ground clearance, but the other end of the bike is probably my biggest gripe: the forks are poor. Easily rectified for about 800 with gold valves and springs, and that’s something I should’ve done when new. Still should do it...they haven’t let me down in a literal sense, but they are harsh and dinosaur tech. Every winter I tell myself I’m gonna send them to Kates for the gold valves and service. I’m sure the 13 year old stock fork oil in them isn’t helping anything...

    I’ve said before and I will repeat, with a decent rider, the touring bikes perform much, much MUCH better for spirited riding thru twisty roads than I would’ve predicted before I rode mine a bunch. I would’ve had more fun thru deals gap with my track prepped SV, but not THAT much more, and certainly a hell of a lot less if I had to ride the SV all the way down there like I did the Harley.

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  9. #9
    Senior Member OneCheekRider's Avatar
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    Re: Gold Wing vs. Road King ??? (maybe Triumph as well)

    I believe the Trophy shares an Engine with the Tiger 1200 (Explorer) which I own. Zero issues with it mechanically in 30,000 miles so I wouldn't be too concerned if you go the Triumph route. However, I'd probably be more inclined to go with an FJR if looking at sport-tourers.

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  10. #10
    Jamnuts jhawley's Avatar
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    Re: Gold Wing vs. Road King ??? (maybe Triumph as well)

    wanted a trophy as a sort of goldwing lite. but im 34 years old. and the F6B seem way more appealing

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  11. #11
    Lifer Chippertheripper's Avatar
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    Re: Gold Wing vs. Road King ??? (maybe Triumph as well)

    Quote Originally Posted by nhbubba View Post
    Heritage Classic? Isn't that from the Softail line?
    Smaller, less capable frame. Lesser suspension. Way more forward control 'cruiser' ergos.
    The FL lineup is an honest to gawd touring bike. Real-world, function over form suspension. Neutral feet under you ergos. I think the seating is much more generous.
    Yeah, I think so. I know it looks just like a rk now with “leather” lockable bags, and just got a “makeover” this year.
    That’s the complete extent of my knowledge.
    I defer to Oxx.

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    Lifer PhilB's Avatar
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    Re: Gold Wing vs. Road King ??? (maybe Triumph as well)

    You might, in looking at bikes in this field, take a testride on a BMW K1600. It's a heck of a bike also.

    PhilB

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  13. #13

    Re: Gold Wing vs. Road King ??? (maybe Triumph as well)

    Quote Originally Posted by SteveM View Post
    Riding bio...

    57, riding for 20 years, owned VFR's, ST1300's, Triumph Rocket III Tourer, Honda GoldWing F6b and currently a VFR1200X.

    I keep a cheap 2000 VFR800 for fun and that is staying.
    Just curious what made you pass on the F6B?

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  14. #14
    Lifer SteveM's Avatar
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    Re: Gold Wing vs. Road King ??? (maybe Triumph as well)

    The fixed windscreen (I had 3 different screens) was a hassle and the fake-ADV bug bit me. Otherwise, the F6B was fabulous.

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    Super Moderator TheIglu's Avatar
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    Re: Gold Wing vs. Road King ??? (maybe Triumph as well)

    Get the wing. I want to ride a new one.

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    Lifer SteveM's Avatar
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    Re: Gold Wing vs. Road King ??? (maybe Triumph as well)

    As my thinking evolves, I’m moving off the Road King and looking at The Triumph Trophy 1200 harder as well as the Yamaha FJR 1300. I’m leaning sport touring with luxury, electric windscreen is highly desirable.

    I also don’t want to drop a lot of cash in n my way out of the VFR1200X

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  17. #17
    Your Father csmutty's Avatar
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    Re: Gold Wing vs. Road King ??? (maybe Triumph as well)

    Quote Originally Posted by SteveM View Post
    As my thinking evolves, I’m moving off the Road King and looking at The Triumph Trophy 1200 harder as well as the Yamaha FJR 1300. I’m leaning sport touring with luxury, electric windscreen is highly desirable.

    I also don’t want to drop a lot of cash in n my way out of the VFR1200X
    Adam Butler is selling a FJR.

    http://www.nestreetriders.com/forum/...6035-rada.html

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    Angry Gumball RandyO's Avatar
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    Re: Gold Wing vs. Road King ??? (maybe Triumph as well)

    To me, it's a choice of paying the cake for the extra do-dads you get with the wing, will you use them,

    the HD has more soul

    the Wing is a vanilla bar in a bright wrapper

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  19. #19
    Lifer 01xj's Avatar
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    Re: Gold Wing vs. Road King ??? (maybe Triumph as well)

    I've ridden a 2014 road king and a 2011 GL1800. Put about 300 miles on the RK and about 1,000 on the GL. RK was around CT for a week and the GL was down in Florida going back and fourth from Ocala to Orlando. As bubba said, if you plan on doing even a second of spirited riding, the Goldwing gets the nod. When the wing gets going I feel like it carries it's weight better and you aren't fighting it. On the RK there isn't a moment you don't notice it's weight. Ground clearance is lower and it's heavier and harder to move around. That said, the HD provides a smooth, comfortable, capable ride AT the speed limit. With the increased weight and work of throwing the bike around, you don't want to or feel any need to rail a corner at 3x the speed limit. The RK I rode had a tour pack which honestly is a disgusting amount of storage. I don't know what the volumes are side by side but the RK's bags felt larger and so did the side bags. The RK I rode was 100% stock and even in that state it vibrates like hell at a stoplight. I know a lot of people are into that big rumbling V twin thing but having the mirrors be shaking so bad I can't see what's behind me doesn't have any appeal to me.

    If I was gonna go full on touring nerd old guy bike it would be the Goldwing. I know the HD has more character or soul or however you want to say it but I think the Goldwing is a better overall bike that handles better and is easier for day to day use.

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    Last edited by 01xj; 02-02-18 at 08:35 PM.

  20. #20
    Lifer Chippertheripper's Avatar
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    Re: Gold Wing vs. Road King ??? (maybe Triumph as well)

    You goons are really making the case for a rk here, as far as I’m concerned.
    Duly noted.

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  21. #21
    Lifer loudbeard's Avatar
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    Re: Gold Wing vs. Road King ??? (maybe Triumph as well)

    This 2014 RK saves $5k off of a similarly equipped new model so that doesn't suck.

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  22. #22
    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: Gold Wing vs. Road King ??? (maybe Triumph as well)

    That black '14 at National is about how I'd do it. I may have sat on that bike a couple times. It has the rushmore updates and everything. But be careful, they had a black one with sillyass apes on it for a while. Not sure if it's that one or not.

    My other concern with an RK is that it would gradually discourage me from gearing up. Full face + stitch does not seem right on that bike. Does on a 'wing.

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  23. #23
    Lifer loudbeard's Avatar
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    Re: Gold Wing vs. Road King ??? (maybe Triumph as well)

    Quote Originally Posted by nhbubba View Post
    My other concern with an RK is that it would gradually discourage me from gearing up. Full face + stitch does not seem right on that bike. Does on a 'wing.
    I wouldn't worry, I'm sure if anyone can geek the fuck out of a Harley, you're that guy

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    I went to MMI I know what Im doing here chief

  24. #24
    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: Gold Wing vs. Road King ??? (maybe Triumph as well)

    Wait 'til you see my dope DIY GPS mount.
    Maybe I can fit some SW Motec brackets to mount my pelican cases.
    Which way to the discussion of calculating the optimum windshield height?

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    Last edited by nhbubba; 02-03-18 at 07:44 AM.

  25. #25
    Lifer SteveM's Avatar
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    Re: Gold Wing vs. Road King ??? (maybe Triumph as well)

    Photos - Videos: 2018 Indian Springfield - Thunder Black

    Indian Springfield Dark Horse looks like a RK killer

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