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The bike-swap myth(?)

 
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IanJ



Joined: 21 Jul 2005
Posts: 52
Location: Seattle, WA, USA

PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2006 12:13 am    Post subject: The bike-swap myth(?) Reply with quote

I am posting this as a request for opinions.

I have this very functional and reasonably good condition 1982 Goldwing with an EML GT on it. I like the rig, and aside from drool-filled dreams of a Bandito or modern HPS (particularly with a good double-A-arm front suspension... Worship ), it fits my needs quite well. However, the bike itself has over 87,000 miles on it. The sidecar was added around the 10-12k mark. That seems like a lot of miles to run with a sidecar (even including the 13% speedo error from the smaller wheels).

I just found someone a few miles from me who's selling a 1983 Goldwing (same bike model, slightly newer) for $3500. My rig cost me $5000, and is in better condition than it reasonably should be for its age and mileage (previous owner did a ton of fix-up work before he sold it to me). The bike I just found only has 35k on it, and the seller is adamant that it's "mint" inasmuch as a 23 year old bike can be mint.

So, the question is, does it make any sense to buy this slightly newer and much lower mileage bike as a replacement mule? I have a feeling that with a couple of weeks of dedicated after-work wrenching, I could swap over all the bits and pieces from bike 1 to bike 2. Double or triple that time to swap stuff over and clean it up at the same time (which I would want to do, almost certainly). So call it a two month project. That's also two months that I'm restricted to solo bikes.

Am I properly anticipating the amount of time I'd have to spend at this project? Has anyone else done something like this? If so, did you ultimately think it was worth it? Does anyone have a Bandito for sale for around $10-12k? ( Big Grin )

I'd appreciate any input on this. I'm still a sidecar newbie, with less than a year on my Goldwing rig.
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Bandit Bill



Joined: 31 Jan 2005
Posts: 202
Location: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2006 2:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a big, BIG FWIW.. If you want a replacement mule.. keep looking for a better deal, down the road.. IMHO, even with 87,000 miles, i personally wouldn't be hitting the Panic button yet.. Properly taken care of, all consumables replaced in timely manner, all maintenance items, maintained as it should be.. and ridden reasonably sanely, even lugging a sidecar around, you really aren't stressing that Goldwing out much.

Goldwings can and will do easily 200,000 miles without major engine overhaul issues, as long as things are kept in good condition and in tune. Unless your motor is showing concrete signs of needing an overhaul (a compression/leakdown test on the present mule is certainly a lot cheaper than dropping $3500.00 on a new mule first!!) i wouldn't really be highly concerned about getting a new tug..

$3500.00 for an '83 seems a touch high to me, but i'm not really in tune for what the vintage 'Wings fetch (yes, i consider it vintage - a '78 Goldwing solo currently lurks in my garage) these days.. the one in my garage is essentially market-value worthless in my region, for desireability and saleability. An '82 might fare better, but as i said, i really don't know.

If you were to upgrade, wouldn't it make sense to buy something perhaps newer? I don't know about the '83s.. but when i went looking for a Honda OEM exhaust for the one that rotted off the '78.. I was left with MAC.. Honda OEM was near inobtanium..
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IanJ



Joined: 21 Jul 2005
Posts: 52
Location: Seattle, WA, USA

PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2006 2:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, Honda exhausts are no longer being produced -- at least the right side muffler and a couple of assorted bits. So weird.

Anyway, the point in buying another same-model bike would be that all the EML stuff fits on it. This is a GL1100-specific kit, including LL front end and wheels, so replacing the tug would mean getting another GL1100. Best guess is that none of this will quite fit on a GL1200, or I'd be looking there, no questions asked. If I want a newer bike, I would do far better to sell the current rig outright, and look around for a different setup.

I am encouraged by your words regarding the relative health of my tug. It's not showing any signs of engine trouble, aside from a newly balky starter -- but that's not a huge deal. It chatters a lot at low RPM, but it's not getting any worse, and I've read suggestions that it's normal (some oversize chain or another inside the engine). It's had a lot of recent work, addressing all the common wear items, like timing belts, water pump, bearings, etc. I have no records of the clutch having been replaced, so it may well be the original item.

I'm still interested to hear other opinions on this, but it's encouraging to hear that even 87k, mostly with sidecar, isn't a near-death age for this bike.
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bmcsheehy



Joined: 22 Jan 2005
Posts: 980
Location: Massachusetts USA

PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2006 2:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

IanJ,
I agree with Bill that seems like a lot for a 1983.
But I also agree with you that finding the same bike simplifies the swap if needed.
According to Kelly Blue Book, If you went to a dealer and could find a good use 1983 Goldwing.
Keep in mind that these prices include some sort of warranty because you are buying it from a dealer.
A Gl1100 is worth $2295
A GL1100 Interstate is worth $2450
And a GL1100 Aspencade is worth $2875
If you owned one and were going to trade it in it would be worth around $1950 for an Aspencade.
I have always split the difference and thatís a good fair price to pay.
So $2875 minus $1950 = $925 Split the difference = $462.50.
$2875 minus $462.50 = $2412.50 would be a fair price to pay for an Aspencade.
I would imagine that these 1983 goldwings in good low mileage condition are getting harder to find.

Quite a conundrum. Question
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High Performance Sidecaring... ...There is nothing "HACKED" about it.
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IanJ



Joined: 21 Jul 2005
Posts: 52
Location: Seattle, WA, USA

PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2006 6:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I agree with your prices for a normal condition GL1100, with expected mileage (around 70k, at a guess). But you're right, it's nearly impossible to find a really nice 1983 GL1100 (last year of the 1100, and with some good improvements over the 82) with low mileage. I've seen low miles and crappy condition, and good condition with crappy mileage, but the two converge only rarely.

Of course I haven't been to see this bike, and at this point I don't think I will. The more I think about it, the more I come to believe that for the actual amount of work involved (money more or less as a side issue), this rig isn't worth trying to upgrade. I know my time-estimation methods ("what, like 2 weeks maybe?") are usually between 2x and 10x too low in real life, so this would be a significant project.

My trend in other vehicles has been to get away from the old-but-cool and go more for the new-but-reliable. I'll probably do the same with sidecars -- I always knew that this GL1100 rig was a starter hack for me.

Not to say I won't change my mind in a couple of days, of course. Big Grin
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swaybar2002



Joined: 26 Jan 2005
Posts: 380
Location: Central Pa.

PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2006 11:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree that the milage on your presen twing is not drastically high. You may want to install ne wtiming belts as a precaution..an easy job. Also if the carbs on th e'82s did have a recall which may still be able to be obtained from some dealers. They fixed the slides tendancy to stick with teflon sleeves if I remember. Did hear of a guy who had a dealer who stil had th ekit to do this in stock and honored th erecall after all these years..amazing. If the carbs cannot be dealt with and are okay as is no biggie though. If, however, things get worse I do have a single two barrel weber conversion that I would be willing to part with. Email me if or when interested at cstanley@sunlink.net or call 570 837 5182.
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Claude Stanley

Founder: Internet Sidecar Owners Klub
http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/SCT/

2007
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First full weekend in August!! Thursday through Sunday!!
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IanJ



Joined: 21 Jul 2005
Posts: 52
Location: Seattle, WA, USA

PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2006 6:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the offer Claude. I don't currently have any problems with the carbs, so I suspect the recall work has already been performed.

Fortunately for me, the previous owner did a ton of work to the bike, including new timing belts. With the feedback I'm getting, I think I'll just keep plugging and stop worrying about it. Thanks!
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redrocket800



Joined: 14 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2006 11:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Keep riding it. It think it's got plenty of life left in it, and there wouldn't really be any sense in swapping it for another 23 old bike, just because the miles are lower. If your bike feels solid enough, I wouldn't change, unless I'm uprgrading to something more modern.
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LD Hack



Joined: 13 Nov 2005
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Location: Grand Marais, MN

PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2006 2:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have an '81 GW-EML rig, and I did a ton of work on it. Most of the work I did was upgrades. It also had a bad motor; low compression, which was a surprise somewhat. I did find a used motor with 20,000 on it for $400 and changed it one winter.

Was it worth it? For me, yes, because I didn't have any other resources for an EML rig. However, if the compression of your motor is fine, and it runs fine, then I'd just continue riding and not worry. Mine has 120,000 miles on it now, and I take it all over the country.

I wouldn't spend $3500 on another GW, for use as a parts bike. Individual parts aren't that expensive in the used market. Even if you spend $1,000 on a rebuilt used motor, you are still ahead.

I did have problems with the EML spoked wheels this summer. I broke welds on several of the tubular steel spokes. Evidently this is a problem that does show up on the tubular steel spoked EML wheels. I believe that's why they went to the comstar style wheel on later models. I ended up replacing the rear wheel with a Tarzain wheel.

The biggest problem with the older rig is the EML part of it. EML brake pads are not available. Nor are EML wheels. There are solutions, but not original EML parts.
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IanJ



Joined: 21 Jul 2005
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Location: Seattle, WA, USA

PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2006 1:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cool, good to know about the HT wheels. The prospective "new" Goldwing would have been a swap-in replacement though, not a parts bike. The particular one I found had 35,000 miles and was described as being "like new." We all know what that means but if it was really true, my thought was that it could have been worth the trouble of swapping the sidecar to the new bike, just to have a less-tired bike.

However, developing starter issues aside, my current GW is doing fine, so I stopped worrying about it.
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WLO48



Joined: 22 Dec 2006
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Location: Ft. Sill, OK

PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Having owned several GWs with sidecars I liked my 83 the best. The cast wheels on the 83 worked well. I had an 81 with the same style wheel you have and I too had trouble with the wheels. The rear wheel broke the spoke rivots that held the center. The ride was a little stiffer on the 83 with the cast wheel since it doesn't have the "flex" of a real wire spoke wheel or the modular wheel on the 80-82 GW. My 81 didn't like starters or regulators, never had any trouble with the 83 in this area. You didn't mention what model this 83 was. Is it an Aspencade, Interstate, or just GW? Big difference in equipment thus value. And I agree with all the others, 35K is low miles for a GW, and 82K is too. How long has it taken you to put the 82K on it? How long would it take you to run the 35K up to 82K? That's the "life" you can expect.

Enjoy either, Ride Safe and keep the wind in your face.
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IanJ



Joined: 21 Jul 2005
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Location: Seattle, WA, USA

PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2007 2:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, the vast majority of the miles are not my own. I bought it with 87 or 88k on the clock. I don't find myself riding it very much.

At this point, I'm not worried about it any more -- I actually think the GW is going to go up for sale soon, since I'm not riding it enough.
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swaybar2002



Joined: 26 Jan 2005
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Location: Central Pa.

PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2007 10:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just for the record the conversion to a car wheel on any oldwing with the comstar wheels is not that huge of a deal. Harry (H T Wheels) does a decent conversion using plates that bolt onto the stock hub and attach to a steel rim. Ours are a little different in that we use an aluminum wheel with similar plate system. No welded wheels in either system.
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2007
I.S.O.K Sidecar RON-DEE-VOO III ..
First full weekend in August!! Thursday through Sunday!!
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WLO48



Joined: 22 Dec 2006
Posts: 5
Location: Ft. Sill, OK

PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just "saw" your profile picture. Hard to tell what it is but I think I am relative safe in saying that it is NOT the GW you were talking about. How many do you have? If the answer is "more than 1" I am jealous. I only have one at the present time due to parking area. I hate to park any motorcycle outside, would rather not have it if I have to park it outside in the weather. Here at Ft. Sill, OK the Army doesn't feel like they have to provide me with indoor/covered parking for cycles so I only have one parked at a friends garage.
Glad you have done the hard part, made the decision.
Ride safe.
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IanJ



Joined: 21 Jul 2005
Posts: 52
Location: Seattle, WA, USA

PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2007 9:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, that is the GW in question. Take a look here:

http://www.obairlann.net/reaper/motorcycle/sidecar/goldwing+eml/

More pictures of the beast. I took the fairing off, which makes it look like just some burly motorcycle. Much more comfy for me -- I found the backpressure from the big fairing to be very distracting.
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