The Honda Gold Wing GL1500 was an era of the Gold Wing made between 1988 and 2000. Like other Gold Wings, the GL1500 is a big behemoth of a comfortable touring motorcycle, with more creature comforts than many mid-range cars!
The Honda Gold Wing needs almost no introduction… but here goes. It’s a big, heavy, comfortable mile-munching machine that is well known for its longevity and reliability. The Honda Gold Wing has legions of fans, and has existed in many engine generations for decades since the mid 1970s.
The GL1500 Gold Wing is the 4th generation of Gold Wing. powered by a 1520 cc liquid-cooled flat six with two valves per cylinder. It has hydraulic valve lash adjusters and just two carburettors, and a final shaft drive, which makes maintenance easy.
The Honda Gold Wing GL1500 was replaced by the 5th gen Gold Wing, the GL1800.
Here are all the generations of Gold Wing for which we have maintenance schedules:
- 1988-2000 4th Gen Gold Wing GL1500
- 1997-2005 Gold Wing Valkyrie GL1500C
- 2001-2017 5th Gen Gold Wing GL1800
- 2003-2004 Honda Valkyrie Rune NRX1800
- 2014-2015 Honda Valkyrie GL1800C
- 2018+ Sixth Gen Gold Wing GL1800
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Overall Service Intervals for the Honda Gold Wing GL1500
Overall, the GL1500 has 8000 mile or 12000 km recommended service intervals between oil changes and most major items on the inspection schedule. However, Honda does recommend servicing some safety or emissions-related items more often, every 4000 miles or 8000 km
The good news is that the Gold Wing GL1500 has self-adjusting hydraulic tappets that very rarely need servicing. In the event of valve noise, though, through long-term wear (and these bikes are getting old), they might need some attention.
Replace the spark plugs at every oil change, too. Since the GL1500 has a shaft final drive, you do need to attend to shaft drive oil changes periodically.
There’s more detail in the detailed maintenance schedule below.
Maintenance Schedule for the Honda Gold Wing GL1500
Below is the maintenance schedule for the Honda Gold Wing GL1500.
The GL1500’s maintenance schedule looks like this below in the manual.
But this is impractical, because the Gold Wing GL1500 is relatively old — most examples have done well beyond the end of mte maintenance schedule. And the break-in service is a little redundant.
So instead, I’ll present it this way, with regular 4000 mile / 6-month checks, then major 8000 mile / 12-month inspections, and long-term service items.
- We’ve omitted the break-in service for obvious reasons.
- Follow the earlier of time-based or distance based intervals.
Every 4000 miles / 6 month Check
Below is the regular 4000-mile or 6-monthly check.
|Every 4000 miles|
|Carb idle speed — Check / adjust|
Target idle speed: 800 +/- 80 rpm.
Adjust knob in fuel strainer compartment.
|Brake fluid — Inspect level|
|Brake pad wear — Check|
|Clutch fluid — Inspect level|
|Battery — Check|
|Crankcase breather — Check|
Every 8000 miles / 12 month Service — Major items maintenance
Below is the major items maintenance schedule for the GL1500 Gold Wing.
Note that Honda recommends many items on a time basis that you might not need to do if you haven’t riddent he bike much.
Also note that Honda does not recommend any valve inspections on the GL1500 Gold Wing.
|8 k miles / 12 month service|
|Engine oil — Change|
Honda recommends a 10W-40 multi-grade engine oil that meets SE, SF, or SG requiremenst. Most modern oils do, e.g. Mobil 1 10W-40. You need about 3.7L / 3.8 US qt.
Tighten oil drain plug to 40 Nm / 29 lb-ft.
|Engine oil filter — Change|
Use an HF303RC from Hiflofiltro for ease of replacement.
Tighten to 10 Nm / 7 lb-ft.
|Spark plugs — Replace. Use NGK DPR7EA-9 standard plugs, or DPR6EA-9 for cold climates. You need six (one per cylinder).|
Gap should be 0.8-0.9 mm (0.031-0.035 in)
Tighten to 1/8-1/4 turn past seating for an existing plug, or 1/2 turn past seating for a new one.
|Carburetor sync — Check / adjust|
|Fuel lines — Check condition|
|Throttle operation — Check|
|Carburetor choke — Check|
|Radiator coolant — Inspect level|
|Cooling system — Check|
|Final drive oil — Check|
|Brake system — Check|
|Brake light switch _ Check|
|Headlight aim — Check|
|Clutch system — Check|
|Reverse gear operation — Check|
|Side stand — Check for smooth movement, lubricate with lithium soap-based grease.|
|Suspension — Check no leaks, smooth operation|
|Air drier — Check|
|Nuts, bolts, and fasteners — Check|
|Wheels / tires — Check|
Minimum tread at front: 1.5 mm
Minimum tread at rear: 2.0 mm
|Steering head bearings — Check|
|Secondary air supply system — Check|
Other longer-term items
Below are longer-term items that you should do on your Gold Wing GL1500. This includes replacing brake fluid, air filters
|km x 1000||Every|
|Brake fluid — Replace (Honda DOT 4)||12k mi / 18K km / 2 years|
|Clutch fluid — Replace (Honda DOT 4)||12k mi / 18K km / 2 years|
|Air filter — Replace (HA-8088)|
Note: The K&N air filter is washable and re-usable, but you need a K&N air filter cleaning kit to maintain it.)
|12k miles / 18K km — Or more often if riding in dusty or wet areas|
Note: Manual also recommends replacing it every 18 months, but this is not conventional wisdom
|Air pump element — Replace||16K mi / 24K km / 2 years|
|Radiator coolant — Replace (Honda Coolant)||24K miles / 36K km / 3 years|
|Final drive oil — Replace. (Hypoid Gear Oil SAE 80)|
Make sure sealing washer is in good condition.
Use ~140 ml (4.7 US oz) of final drive oil.
Tighten drain plug to 20 Nm / 14 lb-ft.
|24K miles / 36K km / 3 years|
|Cruise valve element — Replace||24K miles / 36K km / 3 years|
Below are maintenance torques for common service items on the Honda Gold Wing GL1500.
|Engine oil drain bolt||40||29|
Tighten to 1/8-1/4 turn past contact for existing plugs
Tighten to 1/2 turn past contact for new plugs
|Final drive drain plug||20||14|
|Front axle bolt||90||65|
|Front caliper mounting bolt, upper||23||16|
|Front caliper mounting bolt, lower||12||9|
|Front axle pinch bolt||22||16|
|Rear Axle nut||110||80|
|Rear Axle pinch bolt||32||24|
|Shock absorber bolt, upper||23||16|
|Shock absorber bolt, lower right||23||16|
|Shock absorber bolt, lower left||70||51|
Tire Sizes and Pressures
Below are the tire sizes for the GL1500 Gold Wing, and recommended pressures. Of course, adjust these according to your load, riding style, and so on.
|Wheel||Tire size||Tire pressure (cold)|
|Front||130/70-18 63 H||225 kPa / 2.25 bar / 33 psi|
|Rear||160/80-16 75H||250-280 kPa / 2.5-2.8 bar / 36-41 psi|
The GL1500 Gold Wing rund tubeless tires. Stock it shipped with Dunlop K177 front and rear, but it’s safe to say you can move on from that spec…
About the Honda Gold Wing GL1500
The Honda Gold Wing GL1500 is an iconic model in Honda’s line of touring motorcycles, the Gold Wing, that they’ve been producing since 1975. Like all the models before it and succeeding it, the Gold Wing GL1500 is powered by a flat six engine and has a shaft final drive.
But the Gold Wing GL1500 was the most committed to the “touring” philosophy of the Gold Wing since the brand’s inception. In fact, the early models in 1975 weren’t designed as touring bikes at all; it was just how people liked to use them.
The Honda Gold Wing GL1500 stands as a testament to Honda’s commitment to excellence in the realm of touring motorcycles.
At the heart of the GL1500 lies its engine, a robust 1520 cc opposed boxer. This six-cylinder marvel, with its single overhead camshaft (SOHC) and 2 valves per cylinder, ensures a low center of gravity and an even distribution of weight, providing stability and confidence, especially during long rides.
The engine makes peak power of 73 kW or 100 hp at 5200 rpm, ensuring that the rider has ample power at their disposal, whether cruising on highways or navigating mountain passes.
Fueling the beast are 2 x 36 mm Keihin CV carburetors, meticulously tuned to provide a seamless power delivery and optimal fuel efficiency. The induction system, combined with the engine’s design, ensures that the GL1500 offers both performance and reliability, hallmarks of the Gold Wing series.
The transmission is a smooth-shifting 5-speed gearbox, designed to handle the bike’s power and torque with ease. Whether you’re accelerating onto a freeway or downshifting into a curve, the transmission ensures that the right gear is always at your fingertips.
One of the standout features of the Gold Wing GL1500 is its suspension system. The air-adjustable forks and rear pro-link suspension provide a ride quality that was second to none for the period. Whether you’re riding solo or with a passenger, the suspension can be tailored to ensure maximum comfort.
Safety, as always, is paramount. The front braking system comprises 2 x 296 mm discs with 2-piston calipers, ensuring rapid and controlled deceleration. With a dry weight of 360 kg or 794 lb, the GL1500 is undoubtedly a heavyweight, but its braking system is more than up to the task, providing confidence-inspiring stops even under load.
With a generous fuel capacity of 23 liters or 6.1 US Gal, the GL1500 is built for the long haul. This ensures that riders can cover significant distances between fuel stops, allowing them to truly enjoy the journey and the scenery.
The electric reverse gear, a rarity in motorcycles, is a testament to Honda’s innovative spirit, making parking and maneuvering the hefty bike a breeze. Add to that the electronic cruise control in an age long before ride-by-wire, and you have a motorcycle that is not just powerful but also packed with conveniences that make long rides a joy.
For those looking at variations, the Gold Wing GL1500 came in two other versions: the Aspencade and the Interstate. While the Aspencade mirrored the standard in terms of features, the Interstate offered a slightly different package — a more budget model. It lacked the electric reverse gear, and the cruise control was optional, catering to riders who prefer a more streamlined experience. The Interstate was discontinued after a few years
The Honda Gold Wing GL1500 is more than just a motorcycle; it’s a legacy. Many are still on the road, a testament to their reliability.
The Honda Gold Wing GL1500 was replaced by the 5th gen Gold Wing GL1800 from 2001.
References — Screenshots from the Manual
Below you can see screenshots from the manual as references for the above.
The schedule didn’t change materially along the course of the Gold Wing GL1500’s lifespan.
You can download manuals for most Honda motorcycles from Hondamotopub.