Have u ridden an 1800 Goldwing? It's a 850 pound sport bike. Quite amazing. we ride with a mostly Harley group. Those that have tried my Wing just shake their head in amazement (of course they wouldn't be caught dead owning one)
I owned one until a 70mph deer strike in Sept/08...totaled it.
If u want handling, performance, wow factor, reliability, headlights (4 of them) that will light up the road, comfort (in my opinion and my wife's). She has ridden on the back of friends Ultra Classic (but a few yeasr old one). She said it was very uncomfortable.
There are pipes available for the Wing. Never heard them. More of a Formula 1 type sound I have read.
Water cooled. Engine last hundred of thousands of miles before any thought of overhaul.
Much less heat issues. The radiator fans blow forward
when in traffic < 10 mph & stopped. The Harley's I've ridden really radiate heat on my legs when stopped & in a traffic crawl
Looks...that's a personal choice. I personally love the high tech look of the Goldwing If u want more classic looks it's not your bike. (I also own a Vulcan Classic cruiser for that classic looks & pipe noise. Now for sale since I got the VTX).
Beware.... I spend my Wing accident insurance $ on a VTX 1800. The Wing is due for a new model/design in 2011 (perhaps an early release since they're moving production to Japan from Ohio). either you can wait and get the latest. Or I suspect you would be able to buy the current model at a bargain. I would suspect many recent used Wings will be available when manby upgrade to a new model (why I waited).
I'm average height (5'9, 32 inseam). If you're tall, the Wing may feel cramped for u. Larger Wing riders do find solutions, but it costs them xtra $. It is quite a different riding position than the floorboard, foot forward. I prefer the Wing position for long rides. And the foot position is better for cornering performance.
Be sure u do a test ride of both, then decide. Go thru some twisties & 'get on it' with the Wing. It will throw your head back in several gears...even 2 up.
Just my thoughts & opinions. Not Harley bashing in any way. Just observations.