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Discussion Starter #1
A few years back I decided to get a bike with a fairing so that I could extend my riding season (live in Wisconsin). Looked for a GL650 for months without success so I purchased a GL500 and love it. Kept my eye out of a 650 and last fall purchased one thinking I would keep one or the other. Now I am having a hard time deciding which one to keep and find it hard to justify keeping both since they are designed to fulfill the same purpose. So, all of you that own both bikes or those who have swapped from one to the other, why do you keep both or why did you select one over the other?
 

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These are old bikes. My intention is to spread the miles between the two.
My GL500 is my commuter
My GL650 is for trips. Because it is new to me, I ride it primarily right now.
Also, @DavidInWisconsin really put the 650 in good shape. I have it to ride right it now so I can get the 500 in similar shape.
If you have two, you can always work on one while riding the other.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for your thoughts. Dave is a good friend of mine from whom I purchased my GL 500.He is my go to person for parts and help with repairs. Consequently, both bikes are in very good shape. My problem with having both is the insurance and maintenance on two very similar bikes. I feel confident in being able to ride either bike for the next several years with nothing more to do but general maintenance. I also have a Honda Hawk GT so there is always something to ride if a bike is down. I know that I have a "good" problem and can keep both bikes this summer and see if I can discover which bike is best for me.
 

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Have both, took the top heavy fairing off both, both get the same gas mileage, the 500 is smoother, the 650 has more power as expected, for me it is a coin flip, but also have other 500's for in town fun so I would keep the 650 if I had to choose.
 

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My winter machine started out as a CX650E but it has been gradually turning into a GL500 over the years (the latest part of that was changing to a GL500 engine a couple of years ago).
Yes, the 650 has more power and that might make a difference if you spend a lot of time on superslabs but I refuse to drive a bike on a highway that takes the joy out of being on a bike so I only notice the decrease in power on long hills (I can gear down for those if I need to) and when pulling away with a heavy load in the sidecar (even that isn't too bad because of the 500's lower gearing).

If I had to choose between a GL500 and a GL650 I would choose the 500 for one simple reason: better availability of certain critical parts. The 500 takes the same head gaskets and has the same camchain tensioner setup as the CX500 so they are easier to find for the 500 and will continue to be well into the future.
 

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I know that I have a "good" problem and can keep both bikes this summer and see if I can discover which bike is best for me.
If I had to choose between my 650 and 500, I would keep the 650. It does everything the 500 does and more. But I am keeping both. I looked at other Hondas for travel. I wanted just a little more power for touring and the GL650 fit the bill better for me than the others. I think the NT700 Deauville was the closest and I might consider one if the perfect one showed up.
 

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I used to ride a naked GL500 and liked it. Then acquired a cx650e and liked it more. With the 500 first ride on the highway in the spring, I would do the 'search' for 6th gear. But with the 650 its like--hey wait a minute, I have another gear!
 

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Funny, I don't remember ever not reaching for another gear on the highway on any of the bikes I've had except the '83 GoldWing when it had the '79 engine (they changed the final drive ratio between model years so '79 transmission + '83 FD = more than a gear higher than stock).
 

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I used to ride a naked GL500 and liked it. Then acquired a cx650e and liked it more. With the 500 first ride on the highway in the spring, I would do the 'search' for 6th gear. But with the 650 its like--hey wait a minute, I have another gear!
Yes. You don't have to be on a freeway to need to go over 60mph. I was doing a little over 5,000 RPM at 65mph and if you crank the throttle you just take off.. I don't need that for commuting but it is appreciated on a longer trips.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Have both, took the top heavy fairing off both, both get the same gas mileage, the 500 is smoother, the 650 has more power as expected, for me it is a coin flip, but also have other 500's for in town fun so I would keep the 650 if I had to choose.
Thumper, Thought about taking the fairing off the GL500 and using a aftermarket windshield for summer use. Can you give me an idea of what is involved in doing this and what parts did you use for headlight and turn signals? Did you use the wiring harness out of the fairing or something else?
 

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The sub harness that plugs into the fairing can be unplugged inside the wiring box and with that removed everything plugs directly into the harness (you'll need to unplug everything inside the wiring box and plug it all back together inshde the new headlight shell). You will need a headlight and signals (preferably 3 wire type so that you can retain the marker light function) and a way to attach them to the bike.
The standard GL500 headlight mount has the headlight ears attached to a frame that is rubber mounted to the triple clamps and the signals are attached to the lower triple by special stays but most people use universal fit headlight ears that attach to the forks and come up with their own brackets for the signals.
 

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I've had a '79 CX500C, '83 GL650, and now an '82 GL500. Since 99% of my riding is solo, backroads, and below 55mph, I prefer the 500 which seems to rev more easily than the 650. If I had more highway two up riding then I might prefer the 650. Keeping it in the 'Wing family, i also prefer the twisted twin on gl500 to the boxer4 on the gl1100's I've owned.
 

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My regular rides are 650s (usually the GL650i). I own and have spent time aboard various 500s. I like the 650s better, but not by a lot. I do enjoy interstate cruising, I think one reason Canadians don't think they like superslab is they almost don't have any. :) When you want to get somewhere 300 or 1200 miles away it's nice IMO to watch the miles slip beneath you at a more relaxed engine rpm. But it's not necessary and 500s are great bikes with few compromises. I think "superslab" gets a bad name because of the congested areas. Once I "get outta Dodge" I find the open highway exhillarating at an easy 70-75 mph. For bikes of substanatially the same weight and fuel mileage I'll take the 650s noticeably higher power and torque. I think the reason this question keeps coming up is because there are two right answers.
 

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Traffic is one reason I don't like superslabs but not being able to enjoy the scenery is part of it too.
As for "wanting to get somewhere 300 or 1200 miles away", where I live is one of the nicest parts of the world so that rarely happens and when it does I'd still rather enjoy the trip (& even then I'd take the GoldWing).
If we need to burn miles we can take the car

In an ideal world I think I'd prefer a 650 too (waiting for Randall to post a report on converting one to manual camchain tensioner) but as long as no head gaskets are available that don't need multiple re-torques I'll stick with a 500.
 

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Thumper, Thought about taking the fairing off the GL500 and using a aftermarket windshield for summer use. Can you give me an idea of what is involved in doing this and what parts did you use for headlight and turn signals? Did you use the wiring harness out of the fairing or something else?
I've done this with several bikes. On the GL's, as I recall, the wiring was not complicated, just use logic to get the old harness to feed the headlight and turn signals. I stuffed the wiring in the GL provided ugly steel box under the headlight, but made the box smaller by shortening the side straps. Haven't decided what to do for headlight yet on the 500 but on the 650 I got a complete rectangular headlight assembly from a first gen. Magna. It bolted right on the triple tree with no problems.
202649
 

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I think, overall, the power of the 650 better matches the weight of the GLs.
I am happy I have both. Someday, I want a sidecar. I don't know if it will be on the 500 or if it might be easier and more cost effective to get a BMW or Goldwing with a side car on it already. That might mean I get rid of the 500. But I might be able to fit all three in the shop. I would have to get used to making pottery in a smaller space, but that isn't too difficult to do.
 

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On the standard all the wires fit inside the headlight shell.....
I've just "finished" creating a mongrel of a 500 (damaged frame, low mileage engine) and 500i (good frame, higher mileage engine). Once you remove the sub-harnesses with the Interstate's fairing the wiring harness is the same between the two models.Agreed that the remaining wiring will fit within a normal bucket, although I left some of the connectors outside the shell since they had rubber coverings. Due to damage of the original parts, I used aftermarket signals and mounts, along with a bucket from a different 80's Honda. Final configuration shown below.
202659
 

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Just an interesting side note. The GL/CX650 is actually 674cc while the newer twins that are labeled 700cc (NT/NCx/CTX) are lower ccs than the GL/CX650
 
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