Hot on the heels of the last of Honda’s 2011 model announcements comes the first of Big Red’s 2012 lineup and it couldn’t come at a more critical time. With BMW’s pair of six-cylinder touring models—the K1600GTL and K1600GT—on the way, Honda quickly squeezed the trigger and announced its restyled and upgraded 2012 Gold Wing. For years, the Gold Wing has stood on the top of the podium in both sales and accolades, winning Cycle World’s Best Touring Bike an amazing 20 times.
For 2012, a long list of items have been upgraded to increase creature comforts, meet consumer demand for electronic gadgets and interface and freshen the bike’s appearance. The onboard GPS navigation system has more user-friendly programmability, while also allowing routes to be shared with friends online via computer. The GPS is preloaded with complete U.S. and Canadian maps and points of interest (including Honda dealers, fuel stations, etc.) Built-in MP3/iPod interface is now incorporated into the SRS CS surround-sound system which also includes XM satellite radio/XM NavTraffic and NavWeather.
Other upgrades include increased luggage capacity (7 liters more), better wind and weather protection for the lower body and legs, revised suspension settings for improved ride compliance. Styling changes include a new fairing with more integrated styling, reshaped taillights, updated instrumentation and clear-coated wheels for easier cleaning.
As before, various packages are available that include Navi, ABS and airbag with pricing only increasing a minimal amount over those of 2010 (the GW wasn’t sold as a 2011 model); MSRP ranges between $23,199 to $28,499, with the bike available in dealers this May.