RoadWing Frequently Asked Questions
If you are new to the RoadWing then it is likely you have questions. Here is a list of Frequently Asked Questions. Please read through these and if you don’t see your question reach out (Bill Kingsley) and I will help you out and add the question to the list, if needed. If a question is answered on this page I will refer you to it first.
I created this page because these questions get asked a lot and having to answer them over and over again is time consuming. I am busy working my day job and converting shocks on nights and weekends. I also need to make time to ride.
- What’s a RoadWing?
- Is the RoadWing Air or Hydraulic?
- What year Road Star does the RoadWing fit?
- Where can I purchase a RoadWing?
- Is the RoadWing a new shock:
- What advantage does the RoadWing offer over the stock shock?
- What is the advantage of upgrading to a 1000/1200 Progressive Spring on my RoadWing?
- Will the RoadWing work with the flip and grind” method to lower the Road Star?
- Will the RoadWing work on a bike lowered using the lowering dog bones?
- What’s a RAP?
- What is a pre-load slave and what does it do?
- Does the shock come ready to install?
- Can I install the RoadWing without using the RAP?
- What’s better, the Electric RAP or the Manual RAP?
- My Electric RAP will not turn no matter which way I try to go. (video below)
- What is missing here (on my electric RAP)?
- What manual RAP can I use with the RoadWing?
- Where can I mount my electric RAP?
- Where can I mount my manual RAP?
- Why is my hose stiff?
- How hard is it to install a RoadWing?
- Can I send you my Gold Wing shock and have you convert it?
- Can I convert my own Gold Wing shock?
Q: What’s a RoadWing?
A: A RoadWing is a Honda Goldwing GL1800 rear mono shock (2001-2017) that has been modified and converted to fit on a Yamaha Road Star, Roadliner or Stratoliner. It is the brainchild of Chris Jones (aka Gonzodad on the Road Star Clinic). The RoadWing will eliminate the bottom out issue that is notorious with the stock shock. (read more)
Q: Where can I purchase a RoadWing?
A: I convert and sell RoadWings starting at $340.00 shipped in the continental USA. Kris Koehler also converts and sells them.
Q: Is the RoadWing a new shock?
A: No, (but maybe). The Gold Wing shock that can be converted is from a 2001-2017 Gold Wing GL1800. Most of them are used but sometimes I can source a new take off. There are also some brand new shocks available but the new ones are upwards of $1000. I installed a new take off from a 2015 on my bike and was able to acquire two other brand new take offs in times past. While most of the RoadWings are used, they are sufficient and are an upgrade compared to the stock shock. Over 1000 RoadWings have been produced.
Q: What advantage does the RoadWing offer over the stock shock?
A: The dry weight of the Yamaha Road Star is between 677 – 743 lbs. The stock rear mono-shock is rated at 742 lbs. The dry weight of the Honda Gold Wing GL1800 is between 800-937 lbs. The stock rear mono shock is rated at 920 lbs – 1000 lbs. So just adding the RoadWing to your Road Star boosts your weight capacity 178 lbs+. In addition the RoadWing has a pre-load slave, which allows for increased load limit.
Q; What is the advantage of upgrading to a 1000/1200 Progressive Spring on my RoadWing?
A: The springs on a used Gold Wing shock are just that: used. When new, the Gold Wing spring is rated for 900 lbs (01-10) or 1000 lbs (12-17). They are sufficient to increase payload and stability for the Road Star but will only last so long. Unless we get a new take-off we rarely know what year bike the used Gold Wing shock came from. We do know what generation they came off though. The condition of it gives us a good idea but not always. The Progressive Spring (01-1179B) is brand new and designed for a Gold Wing, which is a heavier bike. Since this is the case, it provides excellent support on the Road Star and will last much longer. It will give you a stiffer ride when you are solo and improve handling over the stock Gold Wing spring whether you are solo or riding two-up. The progressive spring is highly suggested to solo riders who are over 300 lbs, especially if you are going to add bags and a passenger. Kris Koehler has Progressive Spring each of his Road Stars and loves them.
Q: Will the RoadWing work on a bike lowered using the lowering dog bones (adjustable or otherwise)?
A: Yes, but it is highly recommended that you acquire a new take-off or upgrade to a 1000/1200 Progressive Spring. The springs on a used Gold Wing shock are just that: used. Even when used, they are a great upgrade for the Road Star but when you lower the bike it changes the dynamics and the spring can only do so much. The Progressive Springs is brand new and provides the support you need.
Q: What’s a RAP?
A: RAP stands for Remote Adjustable Prel-oad. The RAP allows you to adjust the pre-load slave. An electric pump (RAP) is part of the set up on a Gold Wing GL1800. When I purchase used shocks, I most often get the electric pump (RAP) with the shock (not always).
A manual RAP can also be used with the RoadWing. The manual RAP from a BMW 650, 1100, 1150 or 1200 motorcycle is a direct fit on the RoadWing. When I have them I offer them at an additional cost. They can be found on eBay or you could check your local motorcycle junk yard. Kris Koehler produces and sells a manual RAP.
Q: Can I install the RoadWing without using the RAP?
A: Yes, but it is not advisable. The advantage of the RoadWing is the Remote Adjustable Pre-load. It allows you to put more tension on the spring so you can add cargo, etc.
Q: What is a pre-load slave and what does it do?
A: Essentially the RAP/Pre-load Slave allow for increased payload. The pre-load increases the tension on the spring which will stiffen the ride and allow for an increased payload. Once increased it can then be decreased and adjusted to the desired stiffness. The stock shock on a Road Star has a pre-load adjuster as well but it is increased by using the wrench that is included in the tool kit.
Q: Does the shock come ready to install?
A: Yes, but if your RoadWing came with an Electric RAP, you will need to make or purchase a harness to use the RAP. The key component of the harness is an (on) off (on) switch to control the direction (increase/decrease) of the pre-load slave. There are two types of harness that you can make/purchase. Check out this page for details on making your own or purchasing one.
Q: What’s better, the Electric RAP or the Manual RAP?
A: It depends on your preference and the year of your bike. The Electric RAP can be operated at a touch of the toggle switch and can easily be adjusted as you ride (as long as you locate the switch in a spot that is accessible with your left hand). The Electric RAP motor needs to be located somewhere on the bike. The best place I have found is in the side cover on the right side of the bike. You will need to remove a bracket and move some relays around in there but it will fit. This can only happen on the 99-07 Road Stars. The Fuel Injected models do not allow for this. With the 08-14 the Electric RAP can be located on the rear fender (right side) right next to the saddle bag. IMHO if you have an 08-14 Road Star I would suggest you invest in a Manual RAP.
A: If the the mechanism that pushes on the RAP is backed all the way out, there is a chance that it could get hung up and stay all the way out. It is an easy fix. You will need a 5mm allen wrench to remove the three bolts that are circled in the picture below.
Once you get that off there will be a black thing on a threaded rod like in the picture below, only it will be bottomed out (on the other end of the threaded rod) .
Take a pair of pliers or vise-grips and turn it (lefty loosey). It shouldn’t take much force to free it. Now make sure the notch that is circled in the picture is lined up with the shaft in the pump. The three bolts will only line up one way. There are two shorter ones and one long one. Also be sure that the rubber gasket goes back in the slot. They all have washers. Just be sure you don’t back it all the way down.
A: The Gold Wing uses a gauge to display how much pre-load is being used. The gauge is part of the cluster and it is not feasible to use it on the Road Star. A connector was in this location (as seen below). It was removed becuase it is of no use and gets in the way when attempting to mount the RAP under the side cover.
Q: What manual RAP can I use with the RoadWing?
A: You can use a RAP (pre-load adjuster) from a BMW 650, 1100, 1150 or 1200, Suzuki Burgman AN400, or 03-09 Honda 1300. You should be able to find one on eBay or at a local junk yard. THE SHOCK FROM THESE BIKES WILL NOT FIT THE ROAD STAR. JUST PULL THE HOSE FROM THE SHOCK AND SCRAP THE SHOCK.
Kris Koehler makes a manual RAP from the electric RAP. Last I heard he is only selling the manual RAP with the RoadWing he produces.
Q: Where can I mount my electric RAP?
A: On the 1999 – 2007 carburetor models you can easily hide the electric RAP inside the right side cover. You will have to remove a bracket and move a couple relays but everything tucks in nicely.
On the 2008-up fuel injected models there is no room to hide it in the side cover. One option is to place it on the right side of the fender right in from of your bags (picture below). If you have a 2007-up fuel injected model I suggest you go with the manual RAP.
Q: Where can I mount my manual RAP?
A: There are a few different options when mounting your BMW Manual RAP. Here are some pictures of a few suggestions. The routing of the hydraulic line is key as you don’t want to feed in though a location that it will be exposed to too much heat or moving parts.
Q: Why is my hose stiff?
A: The hoses I send are used. They come with a protective wrapping on the outside which protects them. It can also become stiff and brittle over time. There may be cracks and breaks in the protective wrapping but if your hose does not leak then you are good to go. You can get the hose to loosen up a bit by using a hair dryer on it to get it to flex.
Q: How hard is it to install a RoadWing?
A: If you are mechanically inclined and have the right tools you can install it. I have installed three myself. Here are instructions that I have compiled from my research and experience. There is also a video that was made by Jason John Cowart.
Q: Can I send you my Gold Wing shock and have you convert it?
A: Yes, please send me a PM and we can chat (Bill Kingsley) . Here is a description of what I will do.
- Insured priority shipping both ways. ($100 ins to me, $300 ins back to you)
- Test the shock/RAP to make sure it adds/removes pre-load.
- Inspect the shock for leaks
- Inspect the RAP for leaks – check gaskets. Advise replacement as needed.
- Dissemble and clean the entire shock (absorber left intact).
- Inspect the shock to rebound when disassembled and make sure no leaks.
- Disassemble and clean the pre-load.
- Inspect the seals and gaskets in the pre-load. Advise replacement as needed
- Push out the old bushing on shock.
- Sand the inside of the collar, install new bushing and sand the inside of the new bushing.
- Drill the new mounting hole in the fork flange, cut the excess off and clean up the edges.
- Reassemble the shock.
- Fill the RAP, hose and pre-load with 5w fork oil.
- Do a final test on the shock/RAP to make sure it adds/removes pre-load without issues or leaks.
- You will receive back what you sent me – converted to a RoadWing.
- I will reach out after inspection and testing to advice any repairs, etc.
- Once the conversion is complete I will send pictures and invoice.
Please contact me for current pricing
Q: Can I convert my own Gold Wing shock?
A: Here are some detailed instructions that I have compiled from my research and experience.