RoadWing FAQ

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.

HOW DO I ORDER A ROADWING?

 

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: Is the RoadWing Air or Hydraulic?
A: The RoadWing is (electric or manual) hydraulic over remote adjustable pre-load. I have heard BMW owners refer to it as an oil head since the pre-load is at the top of shock and is hydraulic.

Q: What year Road Star does the RoadWing fit?
A: The RoadWing will fit on any year Road Star (1999-2014), Roadliner (all years) or Stratorliner (all years)

Q: Where can I purchase a RoadWing?
A: I  convert and sell RoadWings starting at $350.00 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 dry weight of a Roadliner/Stratoliner is between 704-757 lbs. The stock rear mono-shock on a Road Star is rated at 742 lbs. and the Roadliner/Stratoliner isn’t much more than that. 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: Will the RoadWing cause damage to my Road Star shock mount welds?
A: I have a 2004 Yamaha Road Star Midnight Silverado. I experienced minimal bottoming out before installing my RoadWing at around 20,000 miles in the the Spring of 2021. I have driven over 17,000 miles on the RoadWing without issue. The only times you should be concerned about your shock mount welds is if you ran a bad shock and experienced a lot of bottoming out and/or your weld mounts have excessive rust or previous damage. Under normal driving conditions, you have nothing to worry about pertaining to the shock mount welds, with the RoadWing installed.

Q: How much does the RoadWing change the max weight on the Road Star?
A: None! The weight limit on a Road Star is what it is not so much because of the shock but because of the frame, which has its limits. Sure, the frame can handle more than the stated limit (ask me how I know), but I am not going to recommend anything more than the owners manual indicates for your year and trim Road Star. With that said the RoadWing will do what the stock shock never could, even when new. It will keep the bike at the proper height, even in the turns and will keep you from bottoming out. The added bonus of the RoadWing is the pre-load which will stiffen up the ride, if you add extra luggage and/or a passenger.

Q; What is the advantage of upgrading to a 1100 lbs. or 1200 lbs. Spring on my RoadWing?
A: The linear springs on a used Gold Wing shock are just that: used. When new, the Gold Wing spring is rated for 900 lbs (GEN1) or 1000 lbs (GEN). Most of the springs I buy are GEN1. They are sufficient to increase payload and stability for these bikes 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. Every spring is different. If you use the pre-load when adding a rider you will extend the life of the stock spring.  I normally suggest a new spring for the Roadliner/Stratorliner if you ride with a passenger. The Linear Spring is brand new.  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 new linear spring is highly suggested to solo riders who are over 300 lbs, especially if you are going to add bags and a passenger.

Q; What is the advantage to upgrading to a 825/1250 Progressive Spring on my RoadWing?
A: 
The linear springs on a used Gold Wing shock are just that: used. When new, the Gold Wing spring is rated for 900 lbs (GEN1) or 1000 lbs (GEN). Most of the springs I buy are GEN1. They are sufficient to increase payload and stability for these bikes 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. Every spring is different. If you use the pre-load when adding a rider you will extend the life of the stock spring.  I normally suggest a new spring for the Roadliner/Stratorliner if you ride with a passenger. The progressive spring is brand new. It will provide progressive support as you add weight to the bike. The new progressive spring is highly suggested to solo riders who are over 300 lbs, especially if you are going to add bags and a passenger.

Q; Which spring upgrade is better for me?
A: 
Either spring is an upgrade and will yield benefit over a USED one. The biggest difference between the two is that the progressive will increase the support it provides (progressively) as you add more weight. The linear spring will provide consistent support no matter how much weight is on or added to the bike. The used spring on a RoadWing is a linear spring and it has been the only solution for many years no matter the riding scenario. Here are my suggestions on the matter.
– If you only ride solo then a linear spring is a good solution for you.
– If you mostly ride solo and add a passenger on occasion then either will work for you.
– If you ride solo sometimes and add a passenger most of the time then I would suggest a progressive spring.
– If you mostly ride with a passenger and almost never ride solo I would suggest the linear spring.

Q: Will the RoadWing work with the flip and grind” method to lower the Road Star.
A: No, you can have one or the other.

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 new Linear or 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 adjuster?
A: RAP stands for Remote Adjustable Pre-load. 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: Why is the electric RAP adjuster RoadWing Cheaper than the manual RAP adjuster version?
A: The Goldwing shock is sold as one part. Honda doesn’t offer the components separately. In most cases, the electric RAP adjuster comes with the shock. The manual RAP adjuster is purchased in addition to the shock, which explains the additional cost. Some of the newer Goldwing shocks (Valkrie and F6B) have a manual RAP adjuster but those shocks normally cost more than the electric RAP adjusters since they come from a newer bike.

Q: Can I install the RoadWing without using the RAP adjuster?
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 adjuster or the Manual RAP adjuster?
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.

Q: My Electric RAP adjuster will not turn no matter which way I try to go. (video below)

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.

Video instructions

Q: What is missing here?

 

 

 

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 adjuster 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 adjuster?
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.

1999-2007 Models

2008-2014 Models

Q: Where can I mount my manual RAP adjuster?
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 on the Road Star. Here are instructions that I have compiled from my research and experience to install it on any year Road Star. There is also a video that was made by Jason John Cowart on the Road Star install. Here are instructions on how to install it on a Liner.

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.

Includes:

  • Insured priority shipping both ways. ($100 ins to me, $300 ins back to you)
  • Test the shock/RAP adjuster to make sure it adds/removes pre-load.
  • Inspect the shock for leaks
  • Inspect the RAP adjuster 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 adjuster, hose and pre-load with 5w fork oil.
  • Do a final test on the shock/RAP adjuster 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.
  • Shocks and springs with excess rust can be sanded and sealed for an additional cost.

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.

Q: How do I order a RoadWing
A; Reach on Facebook or use this order form.