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.
I was excited when I learned that Honda was including tire pressure monitoring (TPMS) on the 2012 Goldwing ABS that I purchased in 2011. I was less excited when I learned that the system only alerts you when a tire is low, and does not inform you which tire is low. In addition, there is no indication of the actual pressure inside the tire. Yet another oversight by Mother Honda. I suppose the factory TPMS is better than nothing, but it is far from elegant. So, when the opportunity presented itself for me to install, video, and review the TPMS from Doran, I was pretty stoked.
Included in the Doran system is the monitor, which is a bit bulky, but feels and looks to be very well made. The monitor is the only piece of the puzzle that must be wired to the bike's electrical system. Basically, it is a receiver that monitors the two wireless transmitters and an LCD screen to display alerts and other information. A remote flashing alert light is also included. The kit includes two wireless transmitters that can be mounted either inside the tire using the provided replacement steel valve stems, or outside in place of your plastic valve stem caps. If your motorcycle has rubber or plastic valve stems, Doran recommends that you replace them with the provided steel valve stems before installing the transmitters.
The kit includes everything you need for a successful installation on virtually any motorcycle. A mounting ring and base plate are provided for motorcycles with round handlebars. Or, the monitor can be mounted using double-sided tape to any flat surface. There is also an external low tire pressure alert light that can be mounted anywhere allowing you to mount or store the main monitor out of site, say, in a saddlebag or glove box. Of course, you would only be alerted when a tire drops below a specified pressure, but then you could pull over and retrieve the monitor for additional information.
A well-written and illustrated user guide is included along with cable ties, alcohol wipes, etc.
If your motorcycle has rubber valve stems, or even valve stems with rubber mounts, they should be replaced with the steel ones included in the kit. The transmitters are just heavy enough to cause your rubber stems to flex and wear when the bike is being ridden. The transmitters can be mounted inside the tire, or on the outside replacing the valve stem cap. Of course, if you choose to mount them inside your tires, you will need to break down the tire so that you can replace the valve stems and install the transmitters. CAUTION if you use any sort of stop leak gel or liquid in your tires, this could ruin a transmitter. I use DynaBeads in my tires for dynamic balancing, and have never had a problem with the factory TPMS, so I assume there would be no problem with the Doran.
Since my 2012 Goldwing has factory TPMS, I already have solid metal 90º valve stems, I was able to simply remove my valve stem caps and screw on the Doran transmitters. Each transmitter has a unique 3-digit number code that must be used when you program the monitor. This is how the Doran monitor is able to distinguish between the front and rear tire.
The first step for me was to decide how and where I was going to mount the monitor. I decided to mount it using 3M hook & loop fastener which is stronger than Velcro and waterproof. Of course, you could use double-sided tape, but that is more permanent. I mounted the Doran monitor to a bracket which I made that mounts to the top of my clutch reservoir. There are plenty of aftermarket brackets that would work perfectly. A less elegant installation would be to simply stick the monitor to your fairing, not my idea of a good install. Another option is to install the monitor inside the glove box and mount the small red remote alert light in plain view. If you are alerted to a low tire, then you could pull over, pull the monitor out of the glove box and see which tire is low.
I wired the Doran monitor to the ACC terminals on my fuse box so that the monitor is only ON when the bike is on or in the ACC mode. There is no need for the monitor to be drawing power when the bike is turned off. I ran the wire along the left side of the bike up through the left glove box then up the left handlebar post to my bracket. I used cable ties to secure the wire to other wires. However, a simple installation could be to wire the monitor to the ACC power under the left glovebox.
Next, I installed the two transmitters on the valve stems. I did not install the remote red alert light for reasons that I will mention later. The monitor includes a red low-tire warning light, so the external warning light is really redundant when you mount the monitor where it is visible. However, if you were to mount the monitor in your trunk, or glove box, then the external lamp would be useful.
A cleaner installation would be to have the sensors installed inside the tires using the provided steel valve stems. However, that would require me to trash my factory TPMS, so the external mounting was my choice. If you do not have a factory TPMS, you could easily have the new valve stems installed with your next tire change and have the sensors mounted inside the tires.
The kit comes with some sensor "locks" which are rings that can be mounted to the valve stems to prevent someone from stealing your sensors.
One more thing to note: the transmitters are heavy enough that I suspect they could throw your wheels out of balance. I use DynaBeads in my tires, so this was not an issue.
Note for trike owners: Doran makes a system specifically for trikes.
The user guide does an excellent job of explaining how to program the monitor, so I will not go into the details here. You basically enter the 3-digit codes for each transmitter so that the monitor knows which tire is the front and which is the rear. Then, you can program the base PSI for each tire. Doran recommends that you use the factory recommended tire pressure, however, I keep my tires at 41/41, so that is what I entered. Whenever the pressure in one of the tires drops by 12% of the base pressure, a red "low tire" light will flash on the monitor. If you connect the remote alert light, it will also flash. In addition, the LCD will display the pressure and which tire is low. Very cool.
You can increase the battery life of the sensors (if you mount them externally), by removing them during extended periods when you are not riding your motorcycle. The sensors go into a "sleep" mode when they are not depressing a valve core, this saves battery life!
WHAT I LIKE
Very well made
Easy to install
Monitor lets you see the actual pressure in each tire
Monitor alerts you when a tire is too low
2-stage alert system
WHAT I DON'T LIKE
Monitor is thick and a little bulky
Buttons on monitor are hard to press with gloves on
Batteries in transmitters cannot be replaced*
*Doran claims the batteries are expected to last 3 to 4 years.
The Doran TPMS system is everything the factory TPMS should be. Even if you have a Honda factory TPMS, the Doran is worth the investment. If you do not have factory TPMS, it is a no-brainer.
Now that we are coming upon another elections, the lies will begin lying about lowering taxes. Some Republicans in Texas are already touting how they voted for the biggest tax cut in Texas history. Huh? I have lived in Texas for nearly 50 years and my taxes have never gone down. A few years back, when Rick Perry was elected, they voted in some bill that lowered the state property tax rate, but the counties simply re-valued the homes at a higher market value, so the net taxes never decreased. What a scam. These guys talk about wanting to lower taxes, which I agree is necessary to stimulate the economy, but they don't have a clue as to how to replace the lost revenue.
Granted, if taxes are truly reduced, the stimulative effect on the economy would result in more tax revenues down the road. We saw that happen under Reagan in the 1980s. The biggest tax revenue problem we face in the US right now is from outrageously high unemployment. There are fewer people making money from which to take tax dollars. Of course, these unemployed not only use the services of government that the rest of us pay for, they actually drain resources as they collect unemployment, welfare, disability, etc. It is a double-dip, of sorts.
But, there are ways to significantly cut taxes and increase revenues almost immediately, without having to wait for the stimulative effect of lower taxes to take effect. It is something I am surprised no politician has proposed. So, if you elect me as your Mayor, Governor or President, here is what I will do to lower your taxes. I like to call it, "naming rights."
Think of any major sports stadium in the USA. The owners usually use tax revenues through a bond election pay to build the stadium, then end up owning the naming rights, which they sell to a major corporation. There's 3Com Stadium, AT&T Stadium, American Airlines Arena, the list goes on. Corporations are looking for creative ways to extend their brand to consumers. So as your PresGovMayor, I will lower the cost of vehicle registration by giving you the option of having a license plate that bears a corporate logo. I will charge, say McDonalds, $35 per license plate to have their logo, or Ronald Freakin' McDonald printed on your plate. In turn, by having that logo appear on your license plate, I will reduce your cost (your tax) by $30. My county or state nets $5. We will have multiple corporate sponsorships from which to choose, or, you can pay the full price and have no logo. OK, that's one idea.
Next, why don't we sell off the national parks to private industry? Certainly Disney could do a better job of managing Yellowstone than the US Government. I would do a long-term management deal with Disney, Six Flags, you name it, to operate the parks under their brand. They would still remain under the ownership of the US Government, but let private industry run it, and pay for the right.
But, I am just getting started. Your child would not be attending Andrew Jackson High, or Alamo Junior High if I were governor. They would be attending AT&T High School! Why not let corporations pay millions to name a school, then reduce everyone's property taxes accordingly. Even if I did not give up naming rights to the school, I could have a corporate sponsor for the schools and allow them to put their ads for their products all over the school. Even the teachers would wear AT&T logos on their polo shirts. Why not? The kids are being bombarded with advertising anyway. Of course, in a perfect world, the schools would all be privatized anyway.
I will do the same with our roads and bridges. Why not have a section of highway re-named "American Airlines Way" instead of having it named for some crooked-ass politician? You let me do that, and I can further reduce property taxes and gasoline taxes.
You think this is crazy? This country is more than 17 trillion in debt, so their way is not working. Why not give my way a try. I am not only telling you that I will lower your taxes, I am telling you how I am going to do it. When was the last time any politician did that?
I have been very fortunate over the past few years to install, test, review and enjoy several aftermarket products for the Goldwing. So, I wanted to take the time to recognize those companies who have the products that I recommend every Goldwing owner purchase.
Best Safety Product
Kisan Electronics pathBlazer
I have been using the Kisan pathBlazer headlight modulators on my Goldwings since 2006. It is the one safety product that I know has saved my butt on more than one occasion. The pathBlazer will cause the high beams to flash rapidly whenever the high beams are turned on during the daytime. When it gets dark out, the high beams function normally. I use the pathBlazers sparingly, only when I am approaching an intersection where I see an oncoming vehicle in the left turn lane, or, if I see a vehicle about to enter the roadway to my right from a perpendicular roadway. I have seen vehicles start to pull out in front of me and as soon as I hit the high beams, they stop in their tracks! It is also valuable to use when in parking lots at slow speeds to increase conspicuity. In my opinion, the pathBlazer is one safety accessory I will not ride without. Kisan installation videos on YouTube.
Runner Up: Kisan tailBalzer brake light modulator, Muth LED signal mirrors
This category was a little tougher because I really do like my Utopia backrest. But, if I had to get rid of it or my Baker Hand Wings, the backrest would have to go. The Baker Hand Wings keep the cold off your knuckles in the winter, and direct airflow for better cooling in the summer. For the price, they are the best comfort product I have on my Goldwing.
If you are looking for a way to improve the nighttime visibility, the HID light kit from GoldwingHIDs.com is the only way to go. This is a true "plug-n-play" kit that is much easier to install than some other HID products on the market. The low-beams cast a bright white light much farther and brighter than the stock halogens.
The SuperBrace is a relatively low cost, easy to install way to improve the handling of the Goldwing. Anything you can do to stiffen the front forks is an improvement in my book. Some spend thousands on exotic aftermarket suspension systems, which are good. But, for the money, nothing improves the handling as much as a SuperBrace. SuperBrace videos on YouTube.
A Goldwing just does not look right without a rear spoiler. The integrated LED tail light is another safety item that no Wing owner should ride without.
The spoiler does take a little effort to install, but it is a job that anyone with an electric drill and a little patience can do on their own.
Best Summer Product
Veskimo Personal Cooling Vest
The Personal Cooling Vest from Veskimo makes riding in the summer heat cool and comfortable. I tested this product on a 700-mile ride to/from Midland, Texas in August. The vest circulates ice water through flexible plastic tubes pumped from an attached ice water chest. If you are looking for a way to cool off on those long, hot, summer rides, check out the Veskimo! Read my full review.
At some point, you are probably going to need to remove your seat. Maybe to install a new accessory. Whatever the reason, you soon learn that getting the seat bolts back in is a real chore and often results in cross-threaded bolt holes in the frame. Not fun! For about $15 you can make this task much easier. These bolts are tapered making them easy to "find" the threads on the frame.
If you are going to do your own brake and clutch fluid flush and bleed, and you don't have someone else to help, this tool is invaluable. The mini-bleeder has a one-way check valve so that it allows the old fluid to escape as you pump the brake/clutch lever without sucking air and old fluid back into the system in between pumps. This is a tool that has paid for itself many times over.
There is nothing more frustrating that having wind noise coming through the headsets when using the intercom on the Goldwing. Mic-Mutes is a cool device that lets you turn off the microphone when not in use. This is one of the coolest products for the Goldwing, and honestly, it should be built into the factory sound system. Watch my Mic-Mutes install video on YouTube.
The first thing I install on a new Goldwing is a belly pan. In my opinion, it is the cheapest, easiest way to protect your engine from serious damage. All it takes is for one rock or piece of road debris to attack the underside of your engine casing and you are out thousands of dollars. There are various manufacturers of aluminum and stainless steel belly pans and any of them are better than no protection. Read my review of the MacGyver Belly Pan.
Best Maintenance Product
Cruiseman's Garage - Goldwing Basics DVDs
Come on, did you really think I was not going to take this opportunity to plug my own DVD set? I am a big believer in working on my own bike whenever possible. First, I save the labor costs charged by the dealer, about $100 an hour. And, I get the satisfaction of knowing the job was done right. I just don't trust my bike to some 19 year old at a dealership. You can easily save $600 a year in labor costs by performing routine maintenance yourself. My DVDs are one purchase that will pay for themselves over and over again.
There are many other products that improve the safety and enjoyment of riding a Honda Goldwing. And, every owner has their own favorites. Here are some other accessories that, while not picked as "BEST" in any particular category, I would gladly recommend to others: Muth LED Signal Mirrors - I have had the Muth mirrors on every one of my 3 Goldwings, and I will have them on my next Goldwing too. Anything that increases the visibility and communicates my intent to drivers behind me is a good thing. I love the new Muth system that integrates the brake light (red) with the turn signals (yellow). www.MuthCo.com
Utopia Backrest - The Utopia backrest is one of the best things you can do to improve the comfort of your Goldwing seat, especially for long distance touring. The Utopia is a bit tricky to install (watch my YouTube video for assistance), but it looks like it came from the factory. It is well engineered and well made. www.utpr.com
AMA Luggage Rack - Honestly, I do not use my luggage rack very often. But, when deciding on one, I wanted the best one on the market. Unquestionably, the rack from American Motorcycle Accessories is the best one I have found. The rack is sturdy and the chrome plating is guaranteed. And, it is made in America. www.AmericanMotorcycleAccessories.com
Cruiseman's Garage has sourced some really cool Black Friday specials for our followers. Now is the best time to do your Christmas shopping and save big on motorcycle accessories and goodies. Check out these special deals.
I found a thread on GL1800Riders.com recently where everyone was talking about a new belly pan being made and sold by one of the forum members, Macgyver0856. Unlike my trusty Tulsa belly pan which is made from thin, dull aluminum, the Macgyver pan is made from polished diamond plate aluminum. Unquestionably, Macgyver0856's pan has a lot more bling than the ubiquitous Tulsa pan.