Originally Posted by Unstable Rider
There are some bikes
that are more sensitive to the handling of weight. An early Gold Wing will do many things, but if you are not used to toting a passenger, get some current road time in to get used to what ever bike you choose, and get to know how it reacts in different situations (rain, road with sand on it, leaves... quick stops..). and the run the finest tires you can afford, and keep them newish.
Maybe a Gold Wing guy will chime in, but sometime around mid to later 1980's they lowered the weight on them and they were better handling in my opinion, not as tippy when rolling it out of the garage or parking spaces. They added the "reverse" feature about that same year as I recall.
For me, I used to ride two up all the time (it was the 70's and early to mid 80s, I had hair
). I got away from motorcycles for years to recover from a back injury, and got back on one in 2010 or so. I found I don't have that inner core lower trunk strength anymore to confidently carry or be responsible for a passenger. I would seriously consider a second bike for your partner, or a bike with a sidecar, but that's just me. I would worry myself crazy with a passenger at this point in my life. People did not have cell phones when I carried a passenger last.
That would really make me stop and think twice now days.
Thanks for this piece of info, I had not considered it yet, having two bikes with her as a pilot on one, at least not seriously. The Wing I was a passenger on so often was an 84 if I remember, and it had reverse. Maybe it is the year you are thinking of. I know its owner did not like to USE the reverse gear much, preferring to not get himself into the situation where it would be used, but it definitely had it. Seems it was pretty tough for him to control the bike well at engagement of that gear or something, I don't remember. It was almost 20 years ago, and you can imagine, memory fades...
I had not considered the sidecar issue either. I am not sure how I would feel about that at all. She is large enough that it would be tough to get in and out of one, I should think, unless it was designed from an SUV seat, and she said she would rather I was piloting so she could look around.
Oh well, time to refresh that look for a bike for me I guess, and she can start out on this 650!
Thanks, HugeMouth, Steve G., and Unstable Rider for the advice. I will go with two bikes, and get her going on the 650 until she is decided on what sort of bike she wants. It will probably be more fun with two bikes on the trip anyway! At least I don't have to worry about what she wants to pack in place of my rain gear and road tools! My old tools from my shop all got left when we moved 5 years ago, but a huge box of romance novels (that she tossed in the trash because she did not want them anymore at the new house) made it just fine. She will never live THAT one down, even though I forgave her 3 years ago...