Goldwinging: learning to love the dainty elephant

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We look cold. We look happy. This is a real nice motorcycle we’re riding. What our family doesn’t see since we arrive in the dark are the caked on bugs in the fairings, windscreen and crash bars, along with nearly 1,500 miles worth of road grime. The 2012 Honda Goldwing may cost $27,000 and have heated seats, but this is no luxury vehicle that you have to pamper. In fact, it excels at making motorcycling enjoyable in the least enjoyable motorcycling conditions. A few days of navigating rainy Portland streets and muddy, gravel driveways are about to prove just that.

This is Part 2 of Ashlee and Sean’s Goldwing tour series. Read Part 1 here.

ashlee goodwin I mentioned before that my dad had a Honda Silverwing when I was growing up. When he bought that bike my dear grandmother threw a temper tantrum the likes of one you didn’t think a 65 year old woman could muster and then refused to speak to my father for 6 entire weeks. She was concerned, my mom later explained, that he bought this motorcycle so he could get ladies on the side (which I’m sure a Silverwing would really help with). Also, you see, she seemed to believe he was going to kill himself on this motorcycle. She has a bit of an overactive imagination when it comes to impending doom, so I don’t tell her much about my motorcycle riding ways. But seeing as how these two wheels are our way to Oregon and back, I don’t have much choice but to roll into their place sitting on the Goldwing. As we head into my grandparent’s driveway, this is all I’m thinking about.

sean smith Ashlee’s dad, as a former motorcycle owner, expresses concern about where I’m going to be storing the bike during our stay. He asks a lot of questions. What if it gets stolen? What if it gets rained on? What if it falls over in the gravel driveway while it’s parked? What if tree sap drops on it? I scrunch my face and retort, “This is a vehicle. It can stay outside.” I do think it’s cruel to leave your motorcycles out in the cold and elements, but seriously? The bike is dirty. It’s going to continue to be dirty. It can survive a few nights out in the cold and rain. And it does. The Goldwing isn’t meant to come out in the summer and immediately go back in a garage as soon as the temperature drops below 60 degrees and the rain comes out.

ag My dad’s questions don’t surprise me as much as they shock Sean. This is just how I grew up with motorcycles—stored safely in the garage until August when I watched my dad ride off (often in shorts—gah!), and I’d beg to jump on the back for a few fun minutes on the way to the market or around town. The helmets we wore were old. The gear? Long sleeves and long pants mandatory, that’s all. Turns out my grandmother probably should have been concerned. I’m telling you this because it’s the only way to accurately make you understand the mystified look on my brother Jeff’s face as he takes stock of piece after piece of riding gear that Sean and I pull off and throw aside in the living room.

ss Jeff doesn’t have friends with fast cars and fast bikes. He doesn’t own a fast car. While he’s played around with motorcycles and been exposed to them, he’s never experienced what motorcycles are truly capable of. With that in mind, I have him suit up in head to toe riding gear and throw him on the back of the Goldwing. While Jeff is on the bike, I push to the envelope of its speed, lean angle, acceleration and braking power for nearly 15 minutes at a level of riding which I do not usually engage in except for on a race track. Why expose myself as the aggressive street racing and sometimes reckless rider that I truly am? Well it’s because I have a point to make: this kind of riding is very special, and unless you’re capable of doing it yourself, it’s all but impossible to convey to people who have not experienced just what that is like.

ag It’s a thing I’m grateful to know well—how a motorcycle feels when being used to its fullest performance capacity, even though my skillset can’t really make the same thing happen yet. I learned how amazing motorbikes are long before I learned how to pilot them. The boys come back in the door, faces ruddy from riding in the cold, and plastered with the types of silly stupid happy expressions you can only hope the people you love have all the time.

ss Have you ever watched Randy Mamola take someone around a racetrack on the two seater Ducati GP bike? Randy is a world champion motorcycle racer and easily one of the greatest riders that’s ever lived. Still, even on a purpose built, high performance, two seat motorcycle he has serious reservations about pushing it to the limit with an inexperienced passenger who he has never ridden with and may or may not trust. I’m sure many of his passengers feel like they’re on their ride of their life and that the bike couldn’t possibly be pushed harder, but I know that’s not true because I’ve seen how much faster he goes when he has someone like Eric Bostrom on the back. It’s hard to show what a motorcycle can do when you’re riding a sportsbike with an inexperienced passenger.

ag This is another way that the Goldwing is unique among motorcycles: the combination of sporting performance, speed and comfortable, secure passenger accommodations makes it an ideal bike for giving others the experience of real speed on a motorbike.

ss The fact that it isn’t nearly as quick as a sportsbike and doesn’t lean over as far is irrelevant. I use full throttle from as early in the corner as I can all the way until I absolutely have to get on the brakes for the next corner. I turn in as hard as possible and scrape the pegs, then hustle the bike around what looks to be the proper racing line. Back on the gas and then I brake again for the next turn. This is more important than overall speed. This the feeling of the bike being pushed to the limit. This is what counts. Who knew a 938 lb touring motorcycle is an ideal tool for helping people understand why some of us are so passionate about racing and riding sport motorcycles? (If this is something you, too, think about I’d recommend this book.)

ag Fast motorbikes restore my faith in humanity a little bit. That there are giant corporations (as much as I may grumble about them) who hire engineers that think night and day about building a faster and better motorcycle, and that there are those few among us who have crafted the skills needed to exhaust the potential of such a machine is a truly inspiring thing.

ss This is also why MotoGP racing is so important, even if it is, sometimes, not the most interesting thing to watch. The world’s best engineers and riders push bikes to their limits and capture valuable data, and all of us benefit from their work. Racing delivers the environment for testing that consistently helps develop technology, whether it’s advanced traction control systems or specially designed Bridgestone Goldwing tires. Everyone who rides a motorcycle that has even the smallest amount of sporting DNA benefits from world championship prototype racing. Honda’s RC212V absolutely dominated at the highest level of motorcycle racing in 2011. I’ve heard people lament that Honda has lost their way, but when it comes to performance Honda is on their game. It’s no coincidence that the Goldwing is so amazingly good.

ag The motorcycle world is a very small place. Regardless of how popular racing is or how many motorcycles are sold or how many readers motorcycle publications have, comparitively speaking, this is a small club we’re in. And the people that work within the motorbike industry is an even smaller club. From the outside looking in, this may not be obvious, but the second you become involved in the motorcycle industry you start to understand that everyone knows everyone else. The internet makes our small club even smaller. Say, maybe the size of a highschool—one that’s spread out all over the country.

ss The internet introduced me to Wes and Grant, and got me a gig writing for Hell for Leather. I met Ashlee on the internet. I make a lot of friends on the internet. Alicia Mariah Elfving (Motolady) is one of those internet friends. Since I was in Portland, where she lives, I was excited to meet her and check out MotoCorsa, where she works. It turns out Portland’s Ducati dealership is really, really nice. Pro Italia and Santa Barbara Ducati won’t like hearing this, but MotoCorsa is the nicest Duc shop I’ve ever been to. Physically, it is absolutely enormous, but it doesn’t feel like a warehouse with motorcycles parked inside. Instead it’s more like a fantasy Ferrari dealership where there’s actually a remote chance of someday owning the vehicles they’re selling, making it all that much better. They’ve stocked Ducati’s entire line and quite a few Aprilias including a street legal RS250. I see an MV Augusta F4 under lights, posed by itself in a room with racing memorabila. Badass. There’s a good selection of gear, and a poster on the wall advocating the use of proper motorcycle gear. More than the usual Dainese and Ducati branded wares, they also have Puma boots and Rev’it’s full line. If you live in Portland and haven’t been there, go check it out.

ag The only travel arrangement I made in advance was a booking at Portland’s Jupiter Hotel for the night of the Journey concert. We asked Grant what the coolest hotel in Portland was, and he didn’t hesitate before recommending the Jupiter. Just like when he looked at me with a little smile as I’m disdainfully explaining I’m not fan of the Goldwing so far around LA, and says that the next time he sees me I’m going to be in love with being a passenger on this bike, he was right. The folks at the hotel are nice enough to let us park the bike right next to the stairs to our room (next to a no bikes sign no less), but not nice enough to let me in the bar without my ID (which, have I mentioned, I left at home in the pocket of my leather A-stars jacket that wouldn’t fit in the bike?) The bed side table has The Four Agreements (which you should read if you haven’t) instead of a Bible, and the outside of the door is a full sized chalkboard where you can write messages to other guests. This place is actually pretty affordable, too.

ss It’s no secret that I’m an HFL fanboy. Like a high schooler who sketches his favorite band logos all over his desk, when I realize that the Jupiter has chalkboard doors, I have to bust out the sheep’s skull.

ag We’re on a journey to see Journey which is so meta it makes me feel a little ill. And since this concert instigated all of these shenanigans, I’d be remiss not to tell you about it despite it having nothing to do with motorbikes. We are surrounded by lifelong Journey fans (who were probably there when these songs were new, who watched Steve Perry belt out Don’t Stop Believing while they were actually able to smoke joints because silly laws like no indoor smoking didn’t make them stick out like sore thumbs). We sit there at this ‘rock’ concert, appreciating nostalgia for the sake of nostalgia. Wal*Mart is mentioned on stage three times. A young Filipino man bounces around, accurately reproducing Journey songs note for note (the Cinderella story goes that they found him on YouTube). While everyone else sings along, I’m disturbed by the fleeting thought that the age of the rockstar has died. I’m only reassured by the fact that I’m in the middle of a motorcycle adventure and LiveNation doesn’t have access to my cool card.

ss It’s our last night in Portland and Thor from See See invites me to go to dinner, hang out and catch up. So I met up with him and I share the story of our trip so far while we have hamburgers and beers. Afterwards he invites me to come and meet some of the guys from his club. Being that he had never ridden one before and was hearing all about how I’m having a blast riding it, he’s definitely curious about the Goldwing. I happily swap for his Monster 800 on the way to meet up with the other riders. Thor gets on the bike and takes off, expecting, I think, for the Goldwing to be “okay” but still very limited and a lumbering beast of a motorcycle. I trail Thor as he makes a left turn over wet pavement, wacks the throttle open and spins the rear tire. Something clicks in the way he’s riding it, and I can tell that now he’s thinking: “Hey, this isn’t some big, silly toy. This is a fuckin’ bike.”

ag The Goldwing seems to surprise Thor in many of the same ways it surprised Sean. Thor races and does track days, uses motorcycles as transportation whenever possible, and is in every regard a motorcycle enthusiast. He also participates in the 5-5-5: essentially a cross country motorcycle adventure. Sure it’s on pre 1975 bikes that are under 500cc’s and cost less than 500 dollars, but at its core it’s not that different from this very trip. Get on a motorcycle, ride someplace really far away, live off of the bike. Eschew plans, and deal with reality as it unfolds.

ss This brings me to my biggest gripe about the Goldwing: why don’t riders like Thor and I know just how well this motorcycle performs? Thor loves to do the kind of thing that this motorcycle is designed to do. He even does this thing often on other motorbikes. And he knows about the Goldwing. He knows things about its weight, features, cost, engine architecture, who rides them. He knows everything about this bike on paper, but has no idea that this bike is lustworthy for someone like him and I. It’s probably hard to make Thor’s life more awesome, because it seems like See See is a pretty rad place to be, but here’s a motorcycle that just might be able to do such a thing. A Goldwing is just not something he even considers relevant to his life. If the product is good enough, all the marketing has to do is describe accurately, to the right people, what that thing is. If the product sucks you have to be a little bit more creative (A LOT of people bought camo Snuggies….). But the Goldwing doesn’t suck. It has the potential for all kinds of stories, and I wish Honda was telling them to an expanded audience.

ag Think about Apple’s marketing with the iPad. Did they market it to young people who want to be hip and cool? No. They plastered up giant billboards all around town picturing people who, while not unfashionable, certainly weren’t hip. And, while not old, certainly weren’t young. These facts weren’t blatant, but they were there. That sweater wasn’t one you would wear as a 22 year old, but it might be one your mom would wear. And those hands were still pretty, but they belonged to a 45 year old. And those shoes, well, they were anything but trendy. Apple wasn’t trying to convince young people to buy iPads because they didn’t have to. They convinced young people many years ago to buy iPods, and those loyal customers were sure as hell going to be buying an iPad. Apple had to convince older people to buy iPads. And it worked.

ss So the point is, they can probably stop trying to sell Goldwings to the guys who are already going to buy them. The guys who’ve been riding all their lives and have a lot of time, a lot of money, and a lifelong dream to head off into their retirement sunset on a Goldwing don’t need any prompting. The rest of us would sure like to know about how awesome this motorcycle is. Ride a Goldwing down dark, straight Highway 30 for the long 28 miles between St. Helens and Portland on a cold, wet night, and you’re in for an entirely different experience than on any other motorcycle I’ve ever ridden. Even other touring bikes like FJR 1300, the MotoGuzzi Norge or the Stelvio with a really tall windscreen are not even in the same ballpark. I find myself on a motorcycle, but the cold and the loneliness of being in the dark waiting to get somewhere I am going is gone. I turn the heat on, get rid of the cold, turn up the stereo system, and enjoy listening to some music. I sit behind the big windscreen and watch the GPS like a Grand Theft Auto map in front of me. Sure all these luxuries are nice but, more importantly, as it helps remove those negative parts, the joy of riding a motorcycle comes back. I’m not cold. I don’t wish I was there already. And I’m grateful there’s still another 1,500 miles to go.

For full Goldwing tour coverage click here.

  • JVictor75

    This is just awesome. Great, great write-up both of you!

  • Beale

    I’m hunting for a big touring sled right now so your timing is perfect. The problem is, I’m buying a 20+ year old bike because of lack of funds. I’m leaning towards an ’81-84 Wing or a Voyager. What ever it is, I want to be sure it’s one of the dancing elephants not the plodding ones.

    • Sean Smith

      Honestly, buy whatever you can and ride the wheels off of it. It doesn’t really matter. Just go out and have fun on a motorcycle.

      • Yuri

        Thank you for that, Sean. That really is what riding is all about – doesn’t matter what you’re on, it’s still an incredible experience that I’m grateful for every time I get to ride.

    • Gregory

      Get an old Kawasaki police motorcycle.

      -gce

      • http://www.mcfw.com/ quint7

        The fairing is crap at highway speeds. Ask any cop that has been on one. They are good for city duty and funeral escorts. Plus the cost/value isn’t there. $4000+ for a 50000 mile bike is silly.

    • http://www.TroyRank.com Troy R

      I would go with the wing over the voyager. The wing is a staple, lots of community support. The voyager was alot more rare, and probably harder to deal with when mechanical issues crop up for that reason.

    • Erik

      Kawasaki Concours, new in 86, virtually unchanged to 2006, so parts should not be a problem, shaft drive, bags, Ninja handling. 1200 wing if you must have a full boat touring bike, but it may be hard to find one with less than 100,000 miles on it.

      • http://www.mcfw.com/ quint7

        And you can swap a ZRX front end and Mean Streak rear wheel on it to fit modern rubber.

  • Jon

    I love it when y’all do long-form pieces like these. Really makes me want to go ride for a while.

  • ursus

    Don’t forget to try some wet leaves while you are here.
    Great story!

  • Scott-jay

    “I use full throttle …I turn in as hard as possible … feeling of the bike being pushed to the limit. This is what counts… ”
    Ahh, youth. I remember it well.

    • Sean Smith

      I’ve seen my dad (who turns 60 next month) hustle a car over Angeles Crest. I don’t think this is something that’s restricted to youth. Either you enjoy going fast and will deal with whatever consequences may come from finishing corners a little sideways or you don’t.

      • http://www.mcfw.com/ quint7

        I totally agree, but the only problem I have with that attitude is that I am never taken into the equation. “I” being the guy who has to risk his neck to go get you from the -ocean, -mountainside, -desert, -gorge, etc. I know we in the rescue business get paid to do it, but the rise in idiocy I’ve seen in the last 15 years on this job makes me think of the victim last because getting my guys home safe is the most important thing. Preaching a la Thom, I know, but the guy stuck on the side of Half Dome doesn’t consider the risk to the guy who is busting his ass to save him. That goes for the racers and stunters too. You can lay there and bleed while I treat the little kid in the car seat of the Altima you just nailed before I get to you. Choices=consequences. You may have your box of soap back now.

        PS, the rest of the country is lucky to get paid 1/2 of what the fire boys out there in California make. Just wanted to put that out before someone accuses me of being greedy with my $60000 a year job. Yes, 15 years here equals not much more than starting pay for the LAFD and I go to more fires in a month than they do in a year.

  • Scott-jay

    “… understand the mystified look on my brother Jeff’s face as he takes stock of piece after piece of riding gear that Sean and I pull off and throw aside in the living room.”
    Good example of what’s a little different than those golden days of yore, back when we were meetin’ the nicest people.

  • http://pinkyracer.com pinkyracer

    awesome! you’re so lucky you could stay at the Jupiter. I was kinda shocked by hotel prices in Portland when I was there. I stayed at the ghetto lodge across from the Jupiter, which was tolerable. But I did get into the bar, on Halloween weekend no less. That was fabulous. Portland does treat Halloween like a national holiday.

    • http://mansgottado.tumblr.com/ Andy Gregory

      I just booked a room here for the night of the Fastest screening in Portland: http://www.bluebirdguesthouse.com/

      About the same price as a “cheap” hotel (by Portland’s standards) but with the charm of a B & B. I’ll let you know how it goes…

      • Rob

        Cool, you can walk up to the Bagdad from there. Parking will suck (if you’re not on a bike). MotoCorsa has some “special” passes for the show, swing by & grab one if you can.

        • http://mansgottado.tumblr.com/ Andy Gregory

          Yeah, I was happy to see that the theater is so close! That made the decision to try it out easy. Unfortunately there’s no way I can get down to MotoCorsa before then to pick up the VIP tickets. Plus they had a fashion show there last night so I’m guessing those things are gone now.

  • http://pinkyracer.com pinkyracer

    oh and what became of Jeff?!?!? Did he survive the ride (emotionally)? you totally made a cliffhanger out of that.

    • Sean Smith

      He was a little dazed, but he had a good time.

      • http://pinkyracer.com pinkyracer

        yay!!!! a fresh convert! so when’s he getting his first bike?

  • Jon B.

    Makes me want to get on a bike and show up in time for dinner and drinks at the Bye and Bye tomorrow night.

  • Jim

    This is great writing – even better motorbike writing, thanks

  • http://rider49er.blogspot.com Mark D

    Beautiful country up there, eh? How cold does it get in, say, January? Tolerable even sans heated gear/touring fairings? Might want to take a couple days trip up to Portlandia after this semester is over…

    • CG

      Portland has ice storms that time of year, so be careful on that basis. Otherwise, Portland and Seattle are pretty much 300+ days a year riding as long as 46 degrees and raining doesn’t frighten you. No hov lanes or lane splitting make rush hours miserable. Stay out of town and take the train in.

    • Gregory

      My PDX rarely gets below freezing. It might be below freezing for, say, two or three days per year. But I-5 is always clear.

      Mostly, our riding environment between September and March here is 35-45 Fahrenheit with wet leaves and grey clouds. That’s acceptable: it lets you wear leather without sweating or being uncomfortable.

      I commute year-round on my KLR. Get good tyres.

      If it’s raining, or precipitating, it’s generally not below freezing. If it’s below freezing, it’s generally not precipitating. So you can always handle one of those two.

      Wear wool. And get gauntlets for your handlebars.

      And lane-splitting is culturally not allowed, but doable if in bumper-to-bumper. My commute usually includes lane-splitting sessions between mirrors on I-5.

      -gceaves

      • http://rider49er.blogspot.com Mark D

        Seems doable! New tires going on in a few weeks…

    • ike6116

      Mark, if your UJM is free of electrical gremlins (probably a big if) you need to do yourself a favor and put on some heated grips.

      You’re worth it.

      • Sean Smith

        +1 Your EX500 needs heated grips.

  • RocketSled

    Goldwings share a lot with Corvettes. They are exceptional vehicles that suffer from a bad demographic reputation.

  • http://mansgottado.tumblr.com/ Andy Gregory

    Another good story Sean and Ashlee! And I like the points you’re making about marketing. I’m guessing the $27,000 price tag has a lot to do with the sustained targeting of old guys with money. Most people our age don’t have that kind of money to throw around, and even if we did most of us would buy two or three other new bikes for that price, or seven or eight used bikes, or a combo of the two…you get the point. I guess what I’m saying is that I can’t imagine ever buying one, but I sure as hell would ride the shit out of one given the chance.

    I found this pretty interesting when I saw it a couple years ago at my brother’s house in Denver, had no idea Goldwings were made in the states:

    http://videos.howstuffworks.com/discovery-turbo/14010-twist-the-throttle-the-honda-goldwing-video.htm

    At the time I saw this on the discovery channel I was in the middle of a near 12,000 mile cross country (and up and down, and back) road trip on a DR-Z400S, and I remember thinking how nice it would be to be riding one of these giant beasts of comfort rather than my little dual sport. Sounded pretty freaking good. Then again, we wouldn’t have been able to do stuff like this:

    http://mansgottado.tumblr.com/post/7679057581/heres-a-video-i-took-near-the-top-of-pearl-pass

    Looking forward to Part 3!

    • Gene

      Not anymore… Honda stopped making bikes in the Marysville plant in 2009, and it’s cars-only now. No more Goldwings, VTXes, or Shadows.

      • http://mansgottado.tumblr.com/ Andy Gregory

        I was wondering if they were still producing them there. Bummer. Editing “are” to “were.”

        • http://www.mcfw.com/ quint7

          A financial thing, I don’t even know if the Gold Wing is available in Japan. Thank the mellonheads in DC for our worthless dollar.

    • Gregory

      Bravo to any man who crosses continents on a DR-Z400S.

      -gceaves

      • http://mansgottado.tumblr.com/ Andy Gregory

        I’d do it again in a heartbeat just to ride the backcountry of Southern Utah and Western Colorado. It’d be nice to switch to larger displacement though, maybe a DR650 or my XR650 (or your KLR) for the unavoidable giant portions of slab along the way. Incidentally, I did have to sell the DRZ in South Carolina (seized up) and pick up a cheap SV650 for the ride up to New York and back to Seattle, which made the trip back much more comfortable. Luckily we were done with most of the off road stuff we wanted to do at that point anyway.

  • Gene

    I love that pic from the side. That black one has got to be the best looking ‘Wing I’ve ever seen.

  • Gregory

    I always love your timing of new articles: late on a Friday afternoon. It hits the drunken hours perfectly and gets me through until the motorcycling hours begin again tomorrow morning. In short, with a pint of whiskey, a new HFL article is the best way to spend a Friday night: reading about motorcycles with my girlfriend cooking nearby.

    Great article. But I still prefer Cleveland CycleWerks instead of a GoldWing.

    -gceaves
    2008 Kawasaki KLR 650
    Portland, OR

    • ike6116

      no more milkcrate?

  • http://www.TroyRank.com Troy R

    As a mid twenties dude, under the obesity curve, that rides a (sport) touring bike, I really dig the take on the most venerable tourer of all time.

  • http://www.tripleclamp.net Sasha Pave

    Fantastic article Sean & Ashlee! It’s so refreshing to read something so holistic and personal.

    • RpM

      Yeah… lovin’ it!
      Thanks!

  • DoctorNine

    I took the Journey first time around, but I think I stopped believing, somewhere around 1982…

  • Archer

    What a fine piece. Really excellent job from both the authors.

    I will never own a GW, but I respect what a competent rider can do on one ridden at its limits. From experience I have to push at around 7/10ths on a tuned supersport to keep up with a well-ridden GW in moderate twisties, and to me, that is saying something.

  • Gene

    Dad… trollin’ for babes on his Silverwing… there’s an image!

    Every time I see a ‘Wing, I have to spend 20 minutes gawking at the massive array of buttons and switchgear. I haven’t found the ones marked “bomb release” or “targeting computer” yet, but I keep looking!

  • Brian

    Wes, the Four Agreements? Impressive!
    1. Always do your best.
    2. Never make assumptions.
    3. Be Impeccable with your word.
    4. Don’t take things Personally.

    • Sean Smith

      Ha, Wes wasn’t even there.

    • http://pinkyracer.com pinkyracer

      yeah, I downloaded the kindle version. looks interesting. In the Marriott I stayed at in Portland they had a bible & a book of mormon.

      • http://greatjoballweek.blogspot.com/ Case

        That’s handy in case you need two props to put under your kickstand.

  • http://www.postpixel.com.au mugget

    Awesome series here, great to read the dual perspective from the both of you, Ashlee and Sean.

    I have always thought that a Goldwing would be the way to travel if you have alot of distance to cover. If you’re gonna do it, do it right… but I never would have guessed that it could be such a fun machine as well.

  • Denzel

    What looks to be a vent in the windscreen is an awesome touch..

    • Sean Smith

      An adjustable vent. Works great.

  • ike6116

    How come these long form pieces aren’t laid out horizontally in it’s own window like they used to be?

    Too many people complain?

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant Ray

      The give and take nature of the dialogue isn’t conducive to the large layouts, which I created to be experienced as a singular narrative experienced similarly to the way one scans a horizon.

      • http://rider49er.blogspot.com Mark D

        I know those layouts take a ton of work, but they are seriously awesome, too. And unique. Next time you get an excuse to do one, we’d all appreciate it, I’m sure.

        • http://worldof2.com/ jpenney

          ^ This.

  • Thom

    The Goldwing

    IMHO the only M/C left in Big Red’s line up that can still be considered Best in Class . Everything else being decent to very good , but only the Goldwing truly standing out .

    Everyone I know that owns one loves them and rants endlessly about their virtues .

    The only mistake Honda has ever made with the Goldwing was dropping the Valkyrie

    Seriously Honda , what aspect of a flat six , killer cruiser based on one of the best platforms of all time doesn’t make sense to y’all ? Not to mention the extra money you’d make , basing a cruiser on an existing platform

    Oh … and great read and photos as well as some brilliant insight on the success of Apple’s marketing and design from Ashlee

    Too bad a M/C manufacture or two doesn’t learn a lesson or two from Apple , designing and building products that cross over almost any age boundary

    Lastly , Rock Stars

    They’re not dead , just morphing a bit . Forget the Old Farts still trying to do what they did 30 years ago . Go see the old guys who’ve come into their age with grace ( Robert Plant and the Band of Joy , Peter Gabriel’s New Blood Orchestra , David Sylvian’s recent material , Pearljam ) and the young guys doing it right like Wilco , Radiohead , Gabriel Kahane etc .

    The ‘ Business ‘ may be all but dead , but the genre and its musicians still ..

    ROCK ON !

    • Gene

      > The only mistake Honda has ever made with the Goldwing was dropping the Valkyrie

      +6xE10 on this. I wanted a Valkyrie really bad, and had finally saved up for one, when Honda discontinued them and new ones vanished overnight.

      However, a friend bought a Goldwing over a Valkyrie because they were the same price, and with a ‘Wing… well you get all the Goldwing stuff.

      Also, Honda did the usual naked-version “retuned for torque” bit (AKA cut its balls off) with new cams, so that’s the other reason. It wasn’t much of a difference, but it was the thought that counted there, as far as my friend was concerned.

      • Thom

        @ Gene

        So lets hope Honda gets its head on straight , makes a brandy spankin new one , with all the power , none of the body work and a lower price as it should be .

        Then watch folks like us line up at the dealerships while leaving ‘ The Motor Company ‘ and Victory crying in their soup

      • cjmmjc

        GENE, you Thom got your wish…

        Introducing the NEW honda Valk!!!! hope to see you soon on one!!!!

        ROCK ON!!!!

        http://powersports.honda.com/2014/valkyrie/performance.aspx

    • Sean Smith

      Nah, the rockstar really is dead. The internet killed them. Today, anyone can download any song they want to hear, for free. When the giants of stadium rock were doing their thing, this simply wasn’t the case. Radio was a big deal. Records were a big deal. There were very few successful bands, but the ones that did make it got filthy stinking rich.

      Thom Yorke may not be hurting for money, but I seriously doubt he has a mountain of cocaine and 40 hookers back stage. It’s just not the same when they’re sober enough to hold a conversation and no ones OD’ing.

      • Thom

        @ Sean S

        Too funny . Not true , but in fact too funny . We’re just weeding out the dead and drug addled wood to make room for the genuinely talented , the real deal new comers and those with timeless rifs , letting the Journey’s of the world succumb to their own inaneness

        Just like the Death of Books / Vinyl Records / Motorcycles / ICE’s etc etc the news of the Rock Stars imminent demise has been grossly exaggerated . What goes around – comes around , guaranteed .

        And honestly Sean , having a steady lady as you do , you probably already know this , or at least are becoming aware of it ;

        That ‘ mountain of cocaine and 40 hookers back stage ‘ routine is vastly over rated . Ditto on dating models . Trust me on this one ;-)

        • Sean Smith

          Ha, I’m not saying it’s good or bad, just that it’s the essence of rockstarness. No one pulls up to a show in a a Ferrari limo with a hot tub in the back. I suppose the closest thing would be rappers with diamonds for teeth cruising around in donk cars.

          • http://www.mcfw.com/ quint7

            You’re both on crack. Dave Grohl IS rock and roll. He has grown up enough to stop the drugs for drugs sake, makes music that people all over the world immediately recognize as rock and isn’t arrogant enough to not laugh at himself or consider his music ‘real’ music. If you have never listened to Howard Stern you really should try to find some of his recent (on Sirius) interviews with the likes of Dave. You might hate Howard (because you imagine he is something he isn’t, don’t know if anyone out west still listens to him) but he is the absolute best interviewer working today and when you hear him bringing out the real Dave Grohl, Lady Gaga, Chris Martin (Coldplay), etc. you realize that image is exactly that, a marketing tool. Good musicians make good music. Radio, records and concerts don’t mean jack.

            You don’t come here to fight, you come here to dance. http://youtu.be/Sl9GMOTaqtc

    • cjmmjc

      THOM… looks like yo got your WISH… Introducing the NEW honda Valk!!!! hope to see you soon on one!!!!
      ROCK ON!!!!

      http://powersports.honda.com/2014/valkyrie/performance.aspx

  • Brad

    Late in the game, but just had to give props to Ashlee for a great passage:

    “ag Fast motorbikes restore my faith in humanity a little bit. That there are giant corporations (as much as I may grumble about them) who hire engineers that think night and day about building a faster and better motorcycle, and that there are those few among us who have crafted the skills needed to exhaust the potential of such a machine is a truly inspiring thing.”

    Amen!

  • Lawrences

    Old Wings were expensive when they were new too so most owners looked after them. Nice well maintained GL1200 Wings like the one in our stable can be found for $2500 and up, generally reliable, lots of parts available, pretty easy to work on if they ever need it, (egad!carburettors!) -dry and warm to ride in poor weather…$260 for annual insurance and still have decent zoom factor on twisty roads, for the price…. When you are touring about what’s the hurry? With the extra $$ have a couple other purpose bikes too. In the end, pretty much any motorcycle is fun isn’t it?

  • Justin Dibene

    I have a crush on Sean Smith! He’s my all-American moto idol!