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Old 12-18-2011, 05:09 PM   #1
UncleDirt OP
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Who's got an old GL Silverwing?

'Cause I do now!

I have to admit that i have a real thing for old rice.
I don't want to go back and recreate my youth by buying bikes that I had;
but buying old bikes that I liked but never got to have sounds like a fun hobby.





Heard a few things about this model like the engine is dead reliable but when and if the stator goes, you have to pull the whole engine to get to it.

What other little secrets are out there about GL500. Are they getting rarer and rarer?
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Old 12-18-2011, 09:35 PM   #2
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A Silverwing!

Back around 1989 I rode with a guy who had a "Wing'. In fact, he ended up wearing out two or three of em!

My take on em is that they're nice looking, they make moderate power but every drop of it is usable, maintenance is pretty much a snap, they handle well for a period piece and the luggage works quite nicely.

IMO, the magic of then is that they're honest bikes that will allow a good rider to use all of the power, speed, handling and brakes available, without any bad characteristics to bite you when you have your neck stuck out.

If the one you have has been reasonably maintained and not abused, you should have a very enjoyable bike!
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Old 12-19-2011, 10:59 AM   #3
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Since all they are is a Honda CX they have all the good and (not so many) bad traits of one. FRom memory, I think some had stator problems but that is all I can remember as their bad traits. I do remember seeing them in a bunch of pictures from the UK being used as delivery bikes so that should say something about their reliability and robustness and cheapness to fix. I like it and can say people either love or hate that particular colour as well.
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Old 12-19-2011, 12:29 PM   #4
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Every now and then, one pops up on craigslist or cycletrader.....and I am so sorely tempted.

Have fun with it!
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Old 12-19-2011, 12:55 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Heyload View Post
Every now and then, one pops up on craigslist or cycletrader.....and I am so sorely tempted.

Have fun with it!
Same here on both accounts. I would love to have a jump on and ruin it bike like that in the stable. My GF would like it too because I could teach her how to ride a street bike on it.
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Old 12-19-2011, 03:34 PM   #6
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She's been pretty well maintained, and clearly not abused. But she spent a winter or two outdoors, that much is clear.

She rode really well (except for the carbs being a little gummy) and was alot of fun to throw around.

The only really bad thing was that when you let go of the bars, she tracks straight, then the front starts to oscillate back and forth. The longer you let it go, the worse it gets.

On examination at home, I have one blown fork seal, and the previous owner had no idea about the air shocks, so naturally there was no air in them at all. I'll put some air in the front and see if that clears up.

While I will take care of the bike, and maybe try to improve the cosmetics a little, she will be my default ride. One you can just hop on and hit the starter. Part of the fun I guess.
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Old 12-20-2011, 06:52 AM   #7
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When I started back riding again a few years ago, I bought an '82 GL500. I basically restored it and rode it for about a year and a half. Then had a chance to buy a BMW R100, so jumped at it. Youngest son wanted to move up from a 250cc to something bigger which would allow him to sit pretty much upright on the machine, so I sent it up to him in CO. Machine had plenty of power for one person. Don't think it would do for a long distance hauler for two; but for just one it worked well. I really didn't like the "pull-back" handlebars, though. Other than than it was fine. I've read that the only weak point on it is the stator.
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Old 12-21-2011, 04:36 PM   #8
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Not a fan of the handlebars either, but that is probably because I've been on dualsports my whole life.
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Old 12-22-2011, 06:47 AM   #9
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I don't have one, but sure would like one. Preferably the naked variety.
Bought one brand new in 81, loved it and abused it for 2 years and 40,000 miles. Then got into the bigger bikes and did a lot of 2 up touring. Now would love to get an old Silverwing in good condition and have some fun with it.
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Old 12-22-2011, 06:54 AM   #10
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Looks good. I had a naked version that I rode down to the Panama Canal with no problem other than having to replace the battery in Guatemala.

Is yours a 1982? If so then the stator is much more reliable.

Good forum at http://choppercharles.com/
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Old 12-22-2011, 06:55 AM   #11
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I always wanted one....then a GL650 popped up on Craigslist for $900.00 a couple years ago. I brought it home and installed some new fork seals and she was ready to go. Took a bit to get used to the high rev characteristics of the engine...I was always looking for "6th " gear, which of course, didn't exist.
Being a lifelong BMW rider, cornering on the thing was a little odd to get used to. I always felt like I was "driving it" rather than "riding it".
The seat sucked and always felt like it was sliding me forward. It was fine on a short ride but after 200 miles my ass was a hurt'in.
All in all a great little bike. I wish I would have kept it and hooked a side car to it.
BTW...a friend bought it from me and the stator went south a couple months later....he never has had it repaired.
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Old 12-22-2011, 07:50 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UncleDirt View Post
She's been pretty well maintained, and clearly not abused. But she spent a winter or two outdoors, that much is clear.

She rode really well (except for the carbs being a little gummy) and was alot of fun to throw around.

The only really bad thing was that when you let go of the bars, she tracks straight, then the front starts to oscillate back and forth. The longer you let it go, the worse it gets.

On examination at home, I have one blown fork seal, and the previous owner had no idea about the air shocks, so naturally there was no air in them at all. I'll put some air in the front and see if that clears up.

While I will take care of the bike, and maybe try to improve the cosmetics a little, she will be my default ride. One you can just hop on and hit the starter. Part of the fun I guess.
I have never seen a bike of this design that doesn't do what you describe when you let go of the bars.
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Old 12-22-2011, 07:53 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmwhacker View Post
I always wanted one....then a GL650 popped up on Craigslist for $900.00 a couple years ago. I brought it home and installed some new fork seals and she was ready to go. Took a bit to get used to the high rev characteristics of the engine...I was always looking for "6th " gear, which of course, didn't exist.
Being a lifelong BMW rider, cornering on the thing was a little odd to get used to. I always felt like I was "driving it" rather than "riding it".
The seat sucked and always felt like it was sliding me forward. It was fine on a short ride but after 200 miles my ass was a hurt'in.
All in all a great little bike. I wish I would have kept it and hooked a side car to it.
BTW...a friend bought it from me and the stator went south a couple months later....he never has had it repaired.
I hear the standard is actually much more comfortable on longer rides than the GL for some odd reason. Probably the seat thing. I'd love to find on of the first few years of the standard CX for a daily commuter. Or a loaner bike for buds who ride but no longer have a bike.
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Old 12-22-2011, 09:22 AM   #14
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There was a beautiful blue silverwing on the local CL about a couple years ago. The owner bought it used and thought it was too heavy so they wanted to trade for a 250cc scooter (which I had and wanted to get a motorcycle). Deal never worked out as that was right when my FIL passed. I ended up with the r65 so I certainly am not complaining, but I love the look of the old GL500s.
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Old 12-23-2011, 03:03 PM   #15
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Good stuff folks, keep it coming.

I looked for a while, but didn't see any dedicated GL500 threads.
Kind of hoping that this becomes a default thread along the lines of the XL600 thread.

As for the wobble bit Sniper, I wouldn't know since I've always been a dual sport rider, but I still find it hard to believe that wheel wobble is "normal" so to speak.

Got plates and insurance, then we had a big ass snow storm. I hope to get her out on the road Christmas day as my present to myself.

Glad to hear that the 82's are supposed to be more reliable IRT the stator. And I'll check out the forum, but I figure being an '82, she's a classic and deserves some ADV lovin'.

I've also heard that supposedly, our local boneyard had ONE buyer come in and buy ALL the GL500 / CX500 stuff they had, and shipped it to England. Allegedly. The rumor being that it is becoming a bit of a cult classic, especially among bobbers.
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