Cruiseman's Beef Jerky Reviews

Beef jerky is one of my favorite things to eat when on a long road trip!

GL1800 Videos On Demand

Cruiseman videos now available On Demand!

Doran TPMS Review

Cruiseman reviews the Doran TPMS

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

ECU Reflash

Boosting your Goldwing's performance


If you own a 2012 or newer Goldwing or F6B you may already be familiar with the annoying "stumble" that can occur when your bike is cold. Basically, this is a loss of power that can occur before the engine is completely warmed up. It is not only annoying, but potentially dangerous. Imagine leaning in to a turn, applying the throttle and nothing happens. Without the momentum necessary to maintain gyroscopic integrity, you could drop the bike. And, some owners have reported doing just that!

Even though scores of owners have complained to Honda, they apparently are not going to do anything to address the issue. Since this problem really only began showing up on the 2012 and later Goldwings (and F6B) it was surmised that Honda must have altered the programming of the ECU (Electronic Control Unit), most likely to meet stricter EPA standards. I don't claim to fully understand everything the ECU does, but it basically is the computer brain that controls the fuel/air mixture of the fuel injection system, ignition timing, and other stuff.

The ECU on the Goldwing is technically non-programmable. However, Don Guhl of Guhl Motors recently figured out a way to "hack into" the ECU and re-program it with modified maps that can alter the way the bike performs. Guhl offers three different program options for the 2006 and later Goldwings. The first option basically gets rid of the stumble and is the most modest program, the second choice is a bit more aggressive and should deliver performance gains along with better fuel mileage. The third is the most aggressive offering the highest level of performance. However, Guhl recommends the use of Premium fuel with the third option.

WARNING! Having your ECU modified will void your Honda factory warranty. Of course, it would only void your warranty for damage to your engine that could be related to the re-flashed ECU. So, if your final drive fails, that would still be covered.

If you decide to have your ECU re-flashed, you will have to remove the ECU from your bike and ship it to Guhl Motors. Once they receive it, they should be able to ship it back to you the same day. The cost of the re-flash includes overnight shipping. In my case, I shipped the ECU overnight on Tuesday and had it back in the bike on Thursday evening. The cost for the service is $375. Also, Guhl promised to return your ECU to the factory program for free if you decide you do not like the performance.

To remove your ECU, you will have to remove the left side of your shelter. The ECU is located on the left side of your center glove box unit under a rubber strap. I have a video that shows how to remove the top shelter on my DVDs or, you can rent a single On Demand video showing how to do this (see below). I have a free YouTube video showing how to remove the ECU (watch YouTube video).

RESULTS

After spending nearly two weeks with my new re-flashed ECU from Guhl Motors I now feel qualified to report on how the Goldwing performs. I just returned from a 738 mile trip to West Texas (and back). And, while the bike does not perform any differently cruising down the highway, I wanted to know the impact on highway mileage, if any.

I should point out that I only have about 80 miles of in-town riding on the new ECU, not really enough to give meaningful mileage figures.

PERFORMANCE

Let's get one thing out of the way right up front: The low-speed stumble is gone! The re-programmed ECU drives a stake through the heart of one of the most annoying, and unsafe, characteristics of the 2012-2014 and F6B Goldwings. I have the Level 3 reflash, which is the most aggressive program.

For the first time since I have owned my 2012, my bike felt like my beloved 2007. Throttle response is greatly improved and it just seems to pull stronger throughout the RPM range. I have seen charts that show a 3 to 5 horsepower increase, but it feels more like a 10-15% improvement.

Even with the most aggressive program, Guhl claims that very conservative modifications have been made to preserve the reliability of the engine.

GAS MILEAGE

Guhl Motors recommends Premium (93 octane) fuel with the Level 3 program, mostly for increased performance and mileage. On my recent ride to West Texas, I decided to run Premium (93) on the outbound leg and Regular (87) on the return leg, then compare the results.
 

Premium Gas (93 Octane)

Fill Up Miles Gallons MPG
1 139 3.44 40.36
2 103 2.40 42.83
3 115 2.72 42.28
Average 41.82


Regular Gas (87 Octane)

Fill Up Miles Gallons MPG
4 116 3.09 37.54
5 103 2.58 39.98
6 148 3.69 40.06
Average 39.19

As you can see, there is a 2.63 mpg increase with Premium fuel. However, driving conditions on the return leg (Regular gas) were a little different. It was about 10 degrees hotter outside and I had a much stronger headwind.

I went back into my Fuelly (Fuelly.com) records to compare with my March trip to Amarillo. The ride from Dallas to Amarillo is roughly the same distance and similar road conditions. On that trip I averaged only 38.92 MPG. So, even after the Guhl re-flash with Regular gas, my mileage has improved.

Granted, this is not a scientific mileage measurement, so I am not prepared to say that you will improve your gas mileage with the ECU re-flash. But, I am prepared to say that I don't think my mileage is any worse than before, and performance is definitely improved. If you are looking for better mileage with only a modest improvement in performance, you may want to consider the Level 2 program from Guhl.

CONCLUSION

Because a modified ECU has the potential to void your Honda factory warranty, I cannot in good conscious recommend the modification. However, I am glad that I did it on my 2012 Goldwing. I am convinced that the low-speed stumble is a dangerous characteristic of the 2012+ Wings that Honda refuses to address. The ECU re-flash from Guhl Motors definitely solves that safety concern. For more information, contact Guhl Motors at www.guhlmotors.com. Make sure to mention that you read about it from Cruiseman's Garage!

If you have had your ECU modified, please post your results to my Facebook page.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Twisted Core vs LDComfort

What you wear can affect how well you ride


Staying comfortable not only adds to the enjoyment of the ride, it may also increase safety. When you are focused on your body's pain or discomfort, you are distracted from paying attention to traffic or road conditions. Motorcyclists spend a ton on aftermarket seats, backrests, highway pegs, etc., in an effort to improve the comfort of the ride.

There is a growing number of clothing products that claim to increase rider comfort. I wanted to see for myself if any of the claims were true.
 

The Testing Environment


Each of the products below was tested during a 738-mile roundtrip ride from DFW to Midland, Texas, in July 2014. Ambient temperatures ranged from 79 degrees in the morning to 96 degrees in the afternoon. I should also mention that I am 6'-2" tall with 35" arms, a 42" chest and 33" inseam. I weigh 178 lbs. During this test I was wearing an Olympia AirGlide 3 mesh jacket, Olympia mesh riding pants and an HJC SyMax III helmet. My 2012 Goldwing is equipped with Baker Hand Wings which I use in temps above 90°F to increase airflow to the arms and chest. I also have a vent in my V-Stream windshield for additional airflow.
 

LDComfort


Since I first became involved with the Goldwing forums, I have read about how LDComfort products could keep a rider cooler in summer riding. My first experience was a few years ago when I received a pair of the LDComfort riding shorts for my birthday. Last year, I also acquired the LDComfort long-sleeve mock turtleneck undershirt and helmet liner.

The LDComfort products are made from a stretchy "spandex-like" material and only come in black. The shorts are unique because they have very few seams in places that could cause discomfort when seated. LDComfort is designed to be worn tight against the skin, acting sort of like a second layer of skin. The company claims that the design of their products can regulate the body temperature in any type of weather. The theory is that they can keep you warm in the cold and cool in the heat.

As temperatures increased during the ride, I used a spray bottle to wet the sleeves and chest of the mock turtleneck during a fuel stop. When the air flows through the mesh jacket, there is a definite evaporative cooling effect. In fact, if you wet the garment in temps under 90 degrees, you may get cold. You can get the same cooling effect by wetting your skin, but moisture on your skin will evaporate very quickly. The LDComfort material holds the moisture longer, extends the evaporation time, and allows the cooling effect to transfer to your body.

As the material begins to dry, the cooling effect will wear off. However, even when completely "dry", the material does the job of wicking perspiration which will then evaporate and provide some cooling. So, even without wetting the garment, it will increase rider comfort in hot weather. In 93-degree temperature, I found the wetting technique to last roughly 35 minutes before the garment dried out. Of course, these times will vary based on humidity and how much air passes through your riding jacket.

My only complaint with LDComfort is the fit of the mock turtleneck. The sleeves on my size Large are at least 2 inches too short (see photo above) and no Tall sizes are available. This becomes an issue when arms are outstretched reaching for the handlebars. Of course, if you do not have ape-like arms like me, that would not be an issue.

The LDComfort Long Sleeve Mock Turtleneck sells for $56.98. The Men's Riding Shorts sell for $44.94. The Helmet Liner style I have sells for $24.50.

For more information, go to www.LDComfort.com
 

Twisted CoreTwisted Core


Unlike LDComfort, Twisted Core offers both Summer and Winter base layers. They also offer full-length "pants" which I wore underneath my Olympia mesh riding pants.

Twisted Core claims to combine multiple fabrics with strategically placed melt-resistant zones, technical mesh to maximize air flow and help regulate body temperature, moisture wicking, anti-microbial and UV properties that protect and keep you dry. Flatlock seams and tagless technology eliminate irritation by reducing interior fabric bulk and unnecessary tags.

The construction of the Twisted Core products is impressive. The material is much lighter than LDComfort but offers good compression. I tested the Summer Base Layer Shirt and Summer Base Layer Pants. The Large shirt fit perfectly, and had longer sleeves than the LDComfort.

The shirt has compression material in the forearms to improve circulation. A lighter material is used in the upper arms and shoulders to maximize airflow. I'm not sure if it is a gimmick, but it seems to work. I found the Twisted Core garments to be very comfortable. As soon as I put on the Twisted Core long-sleeve top, my skin felt cooler. It is actually kind of strange, but nice. Unlike the LDComfort, the Large long-sleeve shirt fit me perfectly with enough sleeve length to cover my wrists (see photo at left).

The wicking properties of the material did keep me cooler, and I felt like the compression properties were quite impressive.
The Twisted Core Long-Sleeve Summer Base Layer Shirt sells for $59.99. The Summer Base Layer Pants sell for $49.99.

For more information, go to www.TwistedCore.com
 

IS THERE A WINNER?


Both products helped me stay cooler in the Texas heat. Wetting the LDComfort material provided extra cooling for up to 35 minutes before drying out while the same effect with Twisted Core only lasted about 20 minutes. However, once the material has shed that moisture, I felt cooler in the Twisted Core. I should also mention that Twisted Core does not recommend wetting the material to improve cooling. Also, the Twisted Core was all-around just more comfortable. And then there's the sleeve length issue with LDComfort (for me).

Both LDComfort shorts and Twisted Core full-length pants were comfortable. The LDComfort helmet liner is a must-have to keep the head cooler and prevent perspiration from soaking the helmet padding.

For my money, Twisted Core is the way to go. I will be wearing their summer wear on all my warm-weather rides from now on. The LDComfort helmet liner is also a permanent part of my gear regardless of temperature.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Brake Service Update

Brake Service Update

For those of you who own my Goldwing Basics Maintenance DVDs or subscribe to my On Demand videos, you are probably aware of the MotionPro™ Mini Bleeders that I use in the video to bleed the brakes and clutch.



The Mini Bleeder is a great tool because it is three-tools-in-one. It is a socket, a wrench and a one-way check valve. When the bleed valve is opened (¼ turn), it allows air and old fluid to exit the valve when the brake or clutch lever/pedal is depressed, but will not allow air and fluid to return when the lever is released. This makes bleeding the system a one-man job. However, the Mini Bleeder is not without its problems. The attached socket wrench handle makes it difficult to attach to a bleed valve in a tight location. For example, on the right side of the Goldwing, you have to remove the brake caliper in order to attach the Mini Bleeder to the top bleed valve. Also, when bleeding the clutch, you have to remove the canister bracket to have enough space to attach the Mini Bleeder socket wrench.

Another option is the MotionPro Hydraulic Bleeder (shown below). This is a one-way check valve that sits between two pieces of clear tubing. This is a better solution as it does not require that you remove the right-side caliper to place the hose over the upper bleed valve, a big time saver.



However, this tool is also not without its problems. I found the tubing included with the tool to be slightly too large (inside diameter) to remain in place on the bleed valve tip. There is an included metal compression clip, but it is virtually impossible to access the clip in tight places to work it over the bleed valve nipple. One solution is to rig a smaller diameter flexible rubber hose in between the check valve and bleed valve. Why MotionPro does not include a smaller diameter hose in the first place is a mystery.


Here you can see the larger hose is almost read to slip off the bleed valve. A smaller I.D. flexible hose will correct this issue. MotionPro should include a smaller I.D. hose in the kit.

There is another solution that many Goldwing owners swear by; Speed Bleeder.



The Speed Bleeder is basically a replacement bleeder valve with a one-way check-valve built into it. Why all bleeder valves are not made this way to begin with is a mystery. To use the Speed Bleeder, you must first replace your existing bleeder valves with the Speed Bleeders. I have added a video on YouTube that shows how to install these (watch the video).


Watch the video

Once the Speed Bleeders are installed, you simply attach the rubber hose, which is supplied with the optional Speed Bleeder catch bag, open the Speed Bleeder ¼ turn, and pump away. Unlike the Motion Pro Hydraulic Bleeder, the hose that is supplied with the Speed Bleeder catch bag is the perfect size to fit snugly over the bleed valves.

After testing all three tools, I have come to the conclusion that the Speed Bleeders are the easiest way to bleed the brakes by yourself. It will cost about $50 to replace the eight bleeder valves on your Goldwing, but well worth the investment in my opinion.

You can order Speed Bleeders online from Shinhopples. You will need to order 8 Speed Bleeders. I also recommend that you order the Speed Bleeder Recovery Bag and Hose.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Becoming An Ambassador For Motorcycling

Like it or not, people judge the entire sport of motorcycling by how they observe you when you are out riding. Whenever you throw a leg over your bike, you become a representative for the entire two-wheel community. Are you a good ambassador for the sport, or, not so good?

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Veskimo Personal Cooling System Review

Staying Cool When You Ride

Veskimo Personal Cooling System

I don't personally buy the whole "man-made" global warming notion. But, when I am riding in the summer, especially in the South, I begin to wonder if there's not something going on! Riding in 95+ degree temps is not only uncomfortable, it can be dangerous. A rider can quickly become dehydrated leading to disorientation, dizziness, or worse. On two wheels, that spells disaster.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Tips on Buying A Used Goldwing GL1800

One of my most popular YouTube videos! This guides you through the process of what to look for when you are in the market for a used Honda Goldwing GL1800

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Preparing For A Road Trip

Prepping For A Road Trip

Is Your Bike Ready?

We are getting ready to take the Wing on a multi-day road trip from Dallas to Las Vegas, and perhaps on to Lake Tahoe. We could be gone for two weeks or longer, so we want to make sure the bike is ready for the long journey.