It hurts when people say mean things, and when Honda's people read that BMW's people were calling its new six-cylinder touring bike a "shark," and dissing Honda's not-so-new six-cylinder touring bike by calling it a "whale," well, it wasn't nice. "Oh, yeah?" said Honda's people, "Well, the Gold Wing is a killer whale," and they invited us to Malibu for a ride on the upgraded 2012 version to prove it.For those not familiar with the area, there's more to Malibu than beach: Inland, you'll find all sorts of classic canyon roads (Mulholland Highway, etc.) and classic stops (the Rock Store). The Gold Wing might not have been the bike of choice for the typical canyon squid 20 years ago, but now that he is us, it's semi-amazing how well a bike that weighs 900 pounds can make its way through those tight canyon confines. (I still contend there's something Weeble-like about bikes with longitudinal crankshafts.)Mainly, the 2012 upgrades involve revised bodywork and electronics, but the Gold Wing's ride also benefits from new fork bushings that reduce stiction for a more compliant ride, and from the fact that Bridgestone Exedras are now used exclusively (on the bike's now-clearcoated wheels, for easier cleaning). On top of that, a new seat adds a bit more "compliance" of its own. (I'm still shrivelled from the lack of heat from the allegedly heated Gold Wing seat I rode upon last year, the result of a complex ambient-temperature system Honda says hasn't changed.) In any case, it's a 900-pound motorcycle, but you'd never know it based upon the 'Wing's light steering effort and Joe Frazier reflexes.