Honda's flagship caused a bit of a stir when it was introduced. From conventional 750 to a water-cooled 1,000, opposed-four, shaft drive, dummy fuel tank, and all the rest seemed like a lot of change all at once. Soon as the shock wore off, though, and the touring riders had a chance to learn just how nice it is to cruise for hours in smooth silence, they began buying the GL in large numbers. By the end of the 1977 model year, seemed like every other bike you see on the open road is a GL with fairing, bags, CB radio, and two relaxed people. Honda's planners saw this coming. The GL is a complex machine. Critics contend the GL's number of systems, that is, all those pumps and circuits and thermostats and rheostats make the Gold Wing more like a two-wheeled car than a motorcycle. Something in that. The GL is complicated and Lord knows it surely is big. The defense is that the systems work. The low gearing and water-cooling and mild engine and low center of gravity all mean the GL will run hard and run fast and apparently will run forever. During the model year, we had three of the friendly giants in and around the office, for road tests and evaluation of various add-on items, and the GLs always went on and on with a minimum of care. The suspension isn't perfect and the factory could usefully provide more load-carrying capacity, especially in back, but that can be taken care of by the owner at reasonable cost. Make the changes you want, buy the touring gear you like, and you'll have the best touring bike on the market for the money.