Touring Bikes With Low Maintenance Costs

Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by MHaz01, Mar 15, 2013.

  1. blue01

    blue01 Been here awhile

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    You're joking, right?

    MHaz01,
    I rode a fair bit with a guy that had an LT1200, me on a GL1800. The bikes are different but still had a lot in common. The Wing would definitely be the easiest switch for you.
    The Wing gets a little less gas mileage but burns regular gas. They have all the usual such as radio, intercom, heated seats and grips on some. The Beemer's a bit faster in the corners but the Wing has the straight line acceleration. For the average rider, that's not a big deal.
    Oil changes are easy, do it right on the centre stand.
    80,000 miles on mine and the only repairs have been blown fork seals, twice. I ride on rough roads.
    Other than that, it's routine maintenance: all fluids changed twice to date, tires every 15,000 miles. $300 for a set of 'Stones. Air filter pulled twice. Now that's a big, time-consuming job!

    The Wing isn't cheap to maintain either, according to my wife, but I have an independent mechanic do all the work on it. He charges about $100 to change the tires, on the bike. It's only been back to the dealer twice, each time for recalls.

    If you can't afford a new one, there's plenty of used ones around.
    Here's a good place to start:
    http://gl1800riders.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?21-GL1800-Classifieds-4-Sale-by-Owner

    Got any questions, let me know.
    #61
  2. stripple

    stripple Runnin' Hard

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    I didn't see anyone mention the Triumph Sprint ST/GT. I can't speak to the reliability of the Sprint, but I put about 20k on a 2007 Speed Triple and was very impressed with the reliability. Honestly, it was as trouble free as any Honda I've owned.

    So, what would you Sprint riders say to it's reliability?:ear
    #62
  3. JerryH

    JerryH Long timer

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    I don't know about the 1800, but the 1500 Goldwing is VERY cheap to maintain if you do it yourself. The biggest issues maintenance wise are replacing the cam drive belts, and tearing the rear drive apart to clean/lube the driveshaft splines, U joint, etc. Once done on a used bike with the right lubricant, it will only need to be done every 40,000 miles or so. Goldwing tires can be replaced without any kind of lift, just put it on the centerstand to take the wheels off. There are also a number of independent Goldwing shops around. There's one here, but I wouldn't trust them. They use the wrong grease on the final drive parts. It actually has to be a moly paste rather than grease.

    I find it surprising how many are recommending touring cruisers to someone who currently has a BMW, especially considering the way cruisers seem to be thought of around here.
    #63
  4. dhawker

    dhawker Adventurer

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    I have owned a 2005 Sprint ST since it arrived in North America. After fixing a few known issues with the first release (rectifier, poor designed luggage and sprag clutch) it was very reliable. All the above issues were handled under the warranty. When I totalled my Sprint in an accident last year, I considered buying about 12 different machines. BMW k1300S and GS1200 Rallye, MotoGuzzi Norge and Stelvio, Honda VFR1200 and ST1300, Kawasaki Concours 14, Ducati Multistrada, Yamaha FJR1300, Suzuki Hayabusa, Triumph new Trophy and Sprint. I needed a replacement and could have bought any of them, but ended up with another Triumph Sprint (GT model). It has one of the nicest motors in the business, great character and makes you fall in love with motorcycling. Definitely a sportier, sport tourer. Not the fastest, highest technology, or the best at any one thing, but as a combined package with all things considered, it is hard to beat.
    #64
  5. nbsdave

    nbsdave Been here awhile

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    Am impressed with the miles you get on your tires.
    Can you share how you do it?
    #65
  6. cb1313

    cb1313 Adventurer

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    I have a 2005 Venture Midnight for sale. Cb Contact if interested
    #66
  7. grelcar

    grelcar Been here awhile

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    I replaced the stock tires on my 2010 Road King at just over 21,000 miles, Rear tire could have made it a little longer, front tire had lots of tread and two plugs in it. Not uncommon to get these kind of miles out of tires on the newer HD touring models. Other than a brake switch recall, only fluid and filters for maintenance.
    #67
  8. Maggot12

    Maggot12 U'mmmm yeaah!!

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    I think the DL650 would be the cheapest to own and operate as a touring bike. Cheap to buy, great on gas, cheap to insure and cheap to maintain.
    #68
  9. nbsdave

    nbsdave Been here awhile

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    excellent, still curious-how do you do it?
    engine braking on downshift or not? front brake only, speed kept under 60, tire pressure, slow acceleration?
    I have never heard of 20000 miles on a rear and I want to do it too.
    #69
  10. Unstable Rider

    Unstable Rider Moto Fartografist

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    Outfit TWO new KLR's, replace the seats, and take the left over change and take a trip around the world.

    Twice.

    Can you get a new clutch lever for your Bmw for $5.90 at the dealer-parts counter?


    That's what Kawi charges for one, OEM. $5.90.

    Farm-equipment simple to work on.

    #70
  11. basketcase

    basketcase lifelong reject fixer

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    I didn't read every post so others may have already weighed in with thoughts similar to what I'll observe to the OP.

    Your observations about the obscenely high costs of maintaining a BMW describe exactly why I got off of my last one in 2005 and have been on a Gold Wing ever since.

    And the Wing matches your wished for criteria.

    While I am eying the 1800's with a view getting one in a couple of years, at present I own an older GL1500 that runs flawlessly and handles perfectly. It has long since been paid for and insurance on it and the DR run me around $300 a year. Annual maintenance costs are comparable with my annual expenditures on coffee with my riding buds.

    If I do the annual maintenance myself the cost is materials plus my time.

    If I have it done at the local shop it is ~ $250 to have the oil, hydraulic fluids, and coolant changed. Actually, at off-years it is less because the coolant and hydraulic intervals call for every other year under normal use.

    Given my riding style I get around 12,000 miles out of a rear tire, and 20,000 out of a front tire. I can mail order a new set, pull the rims myself, and have them mounted and balanced at a local independent for $35 a wheel. Total cost less than $500.

    On a different tact, sometimes we fall into the trap of thinking it is about the look and the "status" and not about the riding experience. Screw the look and status -- get something that supports the enjoyment of the moment. I ride with a group of friends on an eclectic passel of bikes that include a Wing, a Moto Guzzi, a Road King, an ST1100, and occasionally a VStrom 1000. Part of breaking free of the vogue BMW neurosis is reclaiming one's soul from the clutches of the "we're all individualistically just alike" group-think.

    Back to one of your comments, why is the front and rear suspension being replaced? I still have the stock springs in the front and the OEM adjustable rear shock in the GL and they work fine.

    Answering the question is not necessary, but reading your comment at that point again reminds me of why I left BMW and their "we're doing you a favor by selling you our expensive to maintain, chronically needs something repaired motorcycle" attitudes.

    Seriously, if you buy a GL you can look at 32,000 mile valve adjustments. And discounting the replacement of tires, which are dependent in part on the rider's style, you can look at annual costs of around $250 with the dealer servicing your bike.

    FWIW :thumb

    PS: and with an apologetic caveat -- I didn't start my response intending to lapse into a rant on modern the beemer crowd or their late model bikes. I know a lot of fine people who still ride them. And there are people riding every marque who embrace their own forms of neurosis... :lol3
    #71
  12. BanjoBoy

    BanjoBoy Been here awhile

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    ^THIS^ :D

    [​IMG]
    #72
  13. Cakeeater

    Cakeeater Long timer

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    Ha, yeah: I ride the latest greatest Dunlop HD touring tire. I'm blown away by their durability...and grip. When it came time to replace...I ordered OEM, and I've never done that before.

    Now...I rarely use my back brake unless I'm on gravel or really slippery stuff. Bad/good habit I learned as kid when I'd do stoppies all the time on my 10 speed...back brakes didn't do much when the tire was off the ground.

    I don't do burnouts, hard downshifts or things that would obviously wear the tires out. ABS keeps it from flat spotting.

    But...I do ride fast -- normally 80ish on the highway, 90-plus in the open west.

    Maybe 1500 miles of the 22,000 were two-up.

    Otherwise I check my air pressure, but I'm not slavish about it. I've heard of lots of guys that have this kind of mileage on their HD touring tires. No need to go darkside with this kind of wear.

    Cakeeater
    #73
  14. basketcase

    basketcase lifelong reject fixer

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    And another thing! :clap

    You mentioned that your bride will be riding with you.

    There is a prime reason, if not THE driving reason to look seriously at the GL1800.

    Until I bought a Wing in 2004 my wife never cared about going with me on any ride. Since then she has been with me annually on a trip to the twisties in north Georgia and the mountain areas around Tellico Plains, TN. And every once in a while she jumps on the thing with me for a day trip or ride across town.

    The comfort of the particular model line is unparalleled. And the intercom, sound system, and other co-rider support is second to none.

    One of my brothers in law has an '03 1800 that he and his wife have ridden for nearly 100,000 miles, all of them trouble free. Their longest trip was a month long and some 9,000 miles that took in nearly all of the US lower 48, and parts of Canada.

    If you are serious about her being with you, take her on the test ride with a fully equipped helmet to try out the audio systems before you pull the trigger on a choice.

    Finally, I will warn you that a trailer hitch and the trailering option is a hazard to your pocket book -- if not your back. Women are genetically predisposed to filling up any amount of discretionary storage space ... which creates additional work for the significant man in her sphere of existence. :huh

    If I want my wife to hear that I'll tell her. :lol3

    Seriously, co-rider comfort on a trip of the length you mentioned will be paramount to enjoyment. Make her a part of the test ride process. :thumb
    #74
  15. NonDairyCreamer

    NonDairyCreamer incomprehensible

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    A question for any Road King owner, present or past.

    I once owned a '92 FLHS, Electra Glide Sport Moco called it, Road King now. When cruising interstates, usually 80-85, I had the slightest bit of vibration in the front end which I thought was the wind pushing the windshield. It was very subtle. Is this something anyone has noticed on later models?

    Also the motor vibration had my feet always slowly sliding off the floorboards, I always wanted to find some of the boot scrapers found on bikes from many years past to mount, like stirrups.

    A great bike for exploring and touring though. I wonder now if a fork damper or just tightening up the yoke bearings would fix the first problem. Maybe for the other issue some boot magnets?:lol3
    #75
  16. grelcar

    grelcar Been here awhile

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    I have never noticed any vibration with my Road king other than at idle. I often cruise at 75-85 on the interstate. No vibration or buzzing in the footboards, seat or in the handlebars. I recently installed Progressive monotubes in the front forks that firmed up the front end eliminating nose dive issues, bottoming out and some noises I was getting in the front end.
    #76
  17. BigIron

    BigIron Tenured Prof - Leghump U.

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    Agreed. I've never had an 1800, but it would be hard to beat my 1500. 60k in three years and nothing more than oil, filters, and tires. All day comfortable, outstanding weather protection, and you can load it like a rented mule.

    There'll always be somebody suggesting that a GW doesn't count because it's like driving an Accord. If it doesn't work for you, that's cool. But I'll say it again: You'll never ride more thann when you have a GW.
    #77
  18. Jimmy the Heater

    Jimmy the Heater Dirt Farmer

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    I have a 02 BMW 1200LT and it is on the chopping block for the same reason. Great bike to ride, and normal maintenance isn't that bad but damn I never want to pay for the servo brake service.

    I test rode a '10 HD Ultra and if I was in the market for another touring bike that would be the one I'd get. (currently trying to sell the LT for a DS now tho) Only 2 downsides were the rubber mounted floorboards were too flimsy and my riding pants were getting toasted when I put my right foot down at lights. Other than that, perfect.

    You think the LT can eat miles in comfort, it has nothing on the Ultra. Amazing machine.

    Another thing to consider is when I did my last 2 bike tours about 90% of the bikes I saw out in the middle of nowhere touring were HD. A few Wings, a Strom or 2, some FJR's, and 1 other BMW is the only other type I saw. That has got to count for something.
    #78
  19. basketcase

    basketcase lifelong reject fixer

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    Re, seeing the HD's in the middle of nowhere. I have heard this from others who have done long trips and so I've considered going to a Road King or an Ultra when I trade, but I am so familiar with the GL line of Hondas that the knowledge reservoir is something I've not yet been willing to relinquish.

    Another snag for me is the notoriety factor of the Harley lineup. Perhaps it's different in other areas of the US (and the world), but in the south the Harley (any Harley) is high on the list for the bike thieves. I've stayed at motels where the Harley guys all have cables and chains inter-locked on their bikes to deter the thugs.

    My old Wing, on the other hand, gets about as much notice as the family garbage cart sitting on the curb on Fridays. I just lock the steering column, throw the cover over it, and go to sleep without worry.
    #79
  20. Kelvininin

    Kelvininin Been here awhile

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    The Victory Vision has been the best touring bike I have ever owned. I have only had to maintenance items to deal with, tires, oil, and one belt. Oil changes are cheap, tires are tires, and the Belt can be changed on the side of the road. Victory says to change the belt every 30k. I go 50K. I do carry a spare belt just in case.

    The Vision has excellent wind management, cruise, stereo, heated seats and grips, and is the most comfortable bike I have ever had the chance to ride. It handles very well. My only grip is, during slow parking lot maneuvers, two up, fully loaded, it can be a bear, but anything above 5 mph is fine.

    I have had GWs and test road HD, and for me, nothing matched the comfort and handling of the Vision. Maintenance is super cheap to boot, and its easy to do.
    #80