A spoiler

No, not a racing car air dam, not a sentence that gives away the who-dun-it, a spoiler that mounts on the trunk of the Goldwing and has an led brake light in it. They are a fairly common add-on to Goldwings, mainly because of the brake light. Any time you can add more visibility to the rear of a motorcycle it’s a plus for safety. The downside is that the Honda factory spoiler is almost $300. I got a good deal on a yellow one, because the owner never mounted it and subsequently sold the bike. I took the brake light out and then went to Mr. Wizard, the paint guy at Black Magic Customs. He knows how to make yellow paint black and he worked his magic, flawlessly as usual. The rest was up to me.

Following the directions, which curiously say “not to be attempted by do-it-yourselfers”, I marked the trunk lid for the required 5 holes. I double checked to be sure the 5th hole was on the side for the wire leads and then drilled through. It’s nerve-wracking when you’re irrevocably drilling holes in a trunk lid that will cost several hundred to replace if the holes aren’t correct, so double and triple checking seemed reasonable, not paranoid. Drilling the holes to the proper size was easy with a step bit, and the spoiler fit just fine. Whew! I cleaned everything up, reinstalled the inner lid, and put the tools away.

It works great and really adds to visibility. Some folks have used add-on modules to make a running light/brake light or run/turn/brake light out of it, but I think it garners more attention when it’s on only as a brake light. Hopefully the cager following me will see it and avoid rear-ending me. That’s what I want to prevent – along with pretty much all encounters with other motor vehicles. Things are just more enjoyable that way.

Received my Garmin 478 gps

I sold my Garmin 2730 and purchased a Garmin 478 to replace it. Why, you ask? Mainly because I am getting tired of being rained on at least once on every long trip. I understand that rain is inevitable, I would just prefer not to ride in it if I have that option and I think the 478 may provide that option.

It has XM radio like my 2730, which is great while riding. But it also offers something the 2730 does not – the ability to receive and overlay NEXRAD weather radar on my route. Now I will be able to outrun, outflank, wait out, or in other ways increase my chances of staying dry. You don’t get too wet behind the Goldwing’s fairing, but the loss of traction, increased braking distance, and reduced visibility are the major problems. And if those issues (traction, braking, and visibility) affect me, they are also affecting the cars and trucks as well.

The subscription for NEXRAD from XM is the “Sailor” package, and it is pricey at $29 monthly. I have been assured that they are quite happy to suspend the subscription during the non-riding months and reactivate it when you will actually use it. Time will tell if the information helps to keep me dry, but every report I’ve read from people that use it paint a very positive picture.

Baker Air-Wings installed

Wow! These work GREAT! I wish I had these installed on my last trip to southern Indiana and Northern Kentucky, because it was HOT! These would not have reduced the temps but they certainly move air around. Sitting behind the fairing with a full-face helmet on was hot, and though I was sorely tempted to ride sans helmet, I did not.

Installing these was fairly simple, but I made some changes to the mounting hardware. I replaced the supplied zinc-coated screws with stainless metric cap screws (M5 x 30mm) and stainless washers. I also tapped the 10/32 holes in the mounting plates to M5 and then used M5 x 12mm cap screws that I ground down to the correct length so they wouldn’t hit the trim strip, also with stainless washers. Now, the bolts can all be removed with a single 4mm allen wrench and they are all using the same thread pattern. 10/32 threads are so close to M5 threads that I just ran the M5 tap into the 10/32 holes and it was fine.

The supplied patterns for drilling the trim strips placed the holes a little too far to the top, so I used a dremel to elongate the holes so that the nylon inserts were sitting properly. It all went together quite easily.

The lower section can direct the radiator-warmed air to the rider, or deflect it out and away. Independently, the upper section can direct the ambient air over the rider or deflect it away. Although I haven’t yet had occasion to try it, I would think that using both upper and lower sections to deflect air away from the rider would help in the rain. When I get my Garmin 478 installed, I hope to never test the rain deflection properties – the 478 with Nexrad radar should help me to avoid getting rained on in the first place. Time will tell.

So far, a big THUMBS UP!

Washing and waxing may require removing the air-wings, I will know in a day or two.   Hopefully it won’t be more than a minor inconvenience if it’s necessary, and the way the air-wings work makes it a worthwhile trade-off.

XM antenna installation complete

I finally finished mounting the GXM30 XM antenna/receeiver for my garmin 2730 gps. I wanted it to be out of sight, and yet in a position where I would get a minimum of signal dropouts.

I picked the trunk. For a trial run, I used blue painters tape to cover the center top of the trunk and then taped the antenna there. Rode around a bit to be sure that location was going to work and it worked fine. 3 full bars and no dropouts – that’s the place.

I got some industrial strength velcro and put the fuzzy part on the inner trunk lid. I cut a circle out of the sticky part and put it on top of the gxm30 “puck”. Pushed it together and twisted a bit, but decided the wire needed to exit to the side rather than the front. Pulling it loose was not easy – this won’t come loose any time soon. Now the wire exits towards the right side of the bike.

Drilled a hole through the trunk in the front center, about 3/4 inch down from the top. In that location the lip of the lid will cover the hole and should prevent water entering the trunk. Because of the lid’s proximity, I used the flutes of a drill bit to make an “angled” hole so the I could route the wire from right to left and by doing that prevent a sharp bend. Once in place I covered both sides of the hole with closed cell foam weatherstripping to seal it back up.

My garmin 2730 came with an extension for the antenna, so I wrapped the connection with vinyl tape to keep water out and ran it along the left side of the frame. because the plug is larger than the cable, I wound up running it down by the alternator under the left side cover. There is a cable tie I loosened to get the connector through and then retightened it. The wire then runs up, behind the wiring harness, up past the left glovebox, and out by the triple tree. I removed the top shelter to get this wire routed properly.

There are three wires to the gps – power in, xm antenna in, and audio out. The audio out is a special unit I had Electrical Connection make for me, it is a ground loop isolator with the 3.5mm plug on a 36″ wire and the other end plugs into the aux input under the left glovebox. The factory wire is only 12″ long and really only works inside the glovebox. With the longer wire I can reach the gps and not worry about pulling it too tight during full-lock turns. I could have used a headphone extension cable but since this will get wet if it rains I decided the fewer connections the better.

I need to cover the three wires with spiral loom to make it neater, but the install is clean.

Front fender extension version 2

Well, my neoprene front fender extension on the Goldwing didn’t work so well – somehow it rubbed the front tire and that pulled it up between the fender and the tire. I heard the squealing and felt the odd vibration in the handlebars and stopped quickly. It was obvious that it was going to have to be removed, so I got out the tools and did just that. Crap.

When I got home from the ride, I emailed cyclemed from the GL1800 forums and ordered a fender extension from him. He shipped it out on Monday and I got it on Thursday. I removed the rear section of the front fender and matched up the extension so that I could rough up the mating areas for the ABS cement. Since I had already drilled holes for the neoprene extension, I covered them with blue tape so that the ABS cement didn’t get on the outside of the fender. Grabbed a couple of clamps and put the ABS cement on boths parts and pressed them together. Checked the alignment (quickly, as you don’t have much time) and then clamped the sides to hold it all in place. Let it sit for a few hours and then took the clamps off and drilled out the holes. I re-used the bolts, washers, and nuts but I cut the bolts down to the minimum necessary length before tightening them up. I reinstalled it and it looks nice, fits closely to the tire but not too closely.

I certainly hope this extension works better than my attempt.

UPDATE 17 July: It does work better. I just got back from a 1000+ mile ride and it worked great. Unfortunately I can attest that it works well in a deluge although I had no intention of testing it in those conditions. I guess that’s just part of biking.

QD gps mount

I received a QD gps mount from Mounting Innovations and it works very well. One of the annoyances with the RAM mount system is that to remove the gps you must loosen the clamp. When you do that you lose the positioning that you so carefully adjusted last time. I’ve wired power and audio to be easily unhooked when I need to remove the gps, but I was still having to readjust the gps after remounting it each time.

I found the QD bracket and ordered one with a universal bracket. The bracket moves the RAM ball to the bottom which does allow for more flexibility in positioning and once it is set you’re ready to go. Now, when you remove the gps you simply flip the safety catch and open the lever. The gps comes off and the mount itself stays in position. When it’s time to go, just hook the back part of the mount and rotate down a bit, that releases the lever back to the “secured” position. Flip the safety catch and you’re ready to go. No more readjusting after every stop.

UPDATE 17 July: I’ve gone back to the center RAM mount after installing the QD bracket. Since it relocates the RAM ball to the bottom of the gps instead of the back, the short arm works well and seems to cut down on vibration. In my line of sight, the gps now pretty much covers up the lcd, which is OK, as you typically don’t really need it a lot. The gps has a clock and I don’t look too much at the odometer or tripmeters except when stopped. Now I have to work out the routing for the 3 wires (power, XM antenna, and stereo audio out) so it is neater.

On the 1000+ mile trip, the QD mount worked flawlessly, making it simple to put the gps away and out of sight. When saddling up again, there was no need to fiddle with the mount, just click, flip the safety, plug in, and go.

Traxxion fork brace for the GW

I received a fork brace from Traxxion Dynamics. The Goldwing front suspension is in need of some help, especially if you are a rider that pushes the envelope and demands sure-footed handling. The brace is very well made and finished, and fits perfectly around the top of the sliders. It is straight across between the forks, and does not interfere with the front section of the front fender. The factory fork cover does not fit over the brace, and I used a dremel tool on mine to cut the factory one into two pieces to make it fit. When I’m satisfied with the fit, I will have them painted black and that will be that.


That’s an odd collection of characters, but the meaning is perhaps equally odd in the motorcycle world. When it seems like every motorcycle owner wants to add more chrome goodies to their bikes, LIMNCS members are moving in the opposite direction.

Less Is More No Chrome Society members are dedicated to erasing the chrome fetish that some bikers have and that accessory manufacturers are only too happy to satisfy. I’ve painted the caliper covers on the Goldwing black, and will do the same to the engine maintenance covers and the lower front cowling as well. Take a look in the Goldwing photo gallery, especially the first picture and the last one. There you will see a LIMNCS member at work.

Goldwing seat updates

I sent my seat to Bike Solutions to have the stock seat modified by reshaping and replacing the factory foam with better quality foam. From removal to return of the modified seat, the process took longer than I had hoped, but that was not their fault. My seat didn’t get to the shop before they left to attend Americade and the Honda Hoot, so they handled it when they got back. They offered to ship it around the country to try and get it back to me sooner (which they did not have to do) but I had another bike to ride so it wasn’t necessary . It was handled the Monday after they returned and I received it three days later on Thursday. You can’t do better than that.

I’ve now reinstalled it and there is a definite difference between it and the factory seat. John asks that you give it some break-in miles (as do most all custom seat manufacturers) so I will do just that. Hopefully I will be able to take some longer rides to get the break-in miles out of the way.

I also made a seat cover from a beaded automobile seat cover I bought at walmart for less than $10. I bought some 50-lb test fishing line to re-weave it and it fits the Goldwing seat perfectly. I used some parachute cord and barrel adjusters to hold it in place – with the barrel adjusters I can move it to other bikes easily. As there are companies selling beaded bike seat covers for upwards of $35, I thought that spending about $12 plus an hour or so was a pretty good deal. I’ve used it on different bikes and when it’s hot you really notice the airflow. Remember sticking and sweating on a hot car seat? Same thing on a hot bike seat, but no more. This will definitely improve the comfort on a long ride when it’s hot outside; fresher and more alert on a motorcycle is definitely a plus.

More Goldwing updates part 2

After reassembling the bike, I went for a short ride to check out the changes. The power connector for the GPS works just fine, no surprise there. Mounting the GPS on the dash does prevent a lot of vibration, but I will have to experiment with the various mounting arm lengths to get the right position. Because it is closer to you and lower, it needs to be tilted up more and that makes the sunshield less effective. The audio cable works fine and the stereo XM radio sounds really good.

Now for the really important mod, the turn signal cancel mod. Going down the road at about 45 mph, hit the right turn signal button and it blinks 10 times and cancels. OK. Stop at an intersection, hit the turn signal, and make the turn – the signal cancels when the bike is upright again. OK. The previous functionality is still there. Now, going down the road at 45 mph, hit the signal button. But when it has blinked 7 times, briefly hit the foot brake. It continues for 10 more blinks and then cancels. PERFECT. Now for the real world test. Going down the road at 45 mph coming up to an intersection, hit the turn signal well in advance. Now, apply the brakes as you normally would, turn signal still blinking. Stop, and release the brakes. Turn signal still blinking. Make the turn, it cancels when the bike is upright again.