Sometimes after leaving the shop with a new bike things don't go quite as planned. Back in 1986 when I got home with my brand new Harley-Davidson Softail Custom I discovered that the engine side cover had cracked at a bolt hole and oil was leaking on my garage floor. What a quintessential Harley experience! I'm a patient man though and the H-D dealer made good very quickly as he did over the next couple of months when the fuel filler cap vent stopped venting, the battery died, the speedo stopped working, and the starter lay shaft stripped it's gears. I could find fault with the H-D quality but the warranty service was terrific. At least the bike made it home before it broke.
As I began to write a blog entry about my travails in trying to buy a new 2007 Honda Gold Wing the more I wrote the more harsh it got and the more I wanted to yell at someone for being... OK...there I go again. Breath deep, Doug. Count to ten...
Let us just say that I walked away from a brand new shiny red 2007 Gold Wing. I left it sitting in the dealer's driveway with the temporary registration still taped to the back because twice in a row, three days apart, the bike was rolled out to me with easily spotted electrical problems. I don't always catch on real fast but I was pretty sure that after the second time it was the right time to grab my check and run for it. So I did.
As I drove away I felt slightly sick at the sight of the gorgeous red 'Wing in the rear view mirror of the VW but I wasn't angry at that moment. Some things are just not meant to be and there comes a time when you need to just calmly walk away. That was the first time in forty years I've ever walked away from a bike sale like that. It shouldn't have happened and didn't need to happen if only a series of Honda people paid to be so had been thorough and conscientious about their work.
As I drove towards home thought about a very clean 2002, low mileage Gold Wing advertised for sale in Southern AZ. Maybe I'd call the guy when I got home and see if he still had it. It was a bunch cheaper than a new one and it was red. That seemed to cheer me up. So I called the fellow and he still had the bike and I made arrangements to drive south and look at it come Saturday.
Fast forward a few days. It seems I didn't actually need a brand new 2007 Gold Wing at all. A well kept 2002 is a very nice ride, thoroughly debugged, and even has a few extra goodies already attached to it.
After about 700 miles on the new-to-us 2002 'Wing I can say I'm extremely impressed with the bike. It was easily more comfortable after 300 miles than the Honda ST1300 was after 125 miles. I believe after much frustration and effort expended I actually got the machine that is right for me. Of course I still have the Aprilia Caponord because that's the right bike for me also. I'm quite happy to ride the big 'Wing but it's no Aprilia.
Below are a few pictures from last Saturday's 400+ mile loop through the Salt River Canyon. That excursion, originally planned to be 250 miles or so, turned into an easy 450 miles when I decided to just keep going. It was sure nice to get home and feel tired from the ride but not feel beat to death.
Also, special thanks to the redoubtable Stu Oltman for his invaluable advice on all things Gold Wing. Click here for info on Stu's Gold Wing maintenance video series.