Some days road testing motorcycles you wake up in a hotel room 500 miles from home with rain pouring down and forecast for your entire ride, and your heart sinks. Other days, you wake up in the same situation and can't wait to get on the bike. The rainy day we woke up smiling was the day there was a Honda Gold Wing Tour parked outside.

Best Touring Bike
The 2018 Honda Gold Wing Tour wins Best Touring Bike by being the most luxurious and easy-to-ride tourer on the market.Jeff Allen

So it goes with the 2018 Honda Gold Wing Tour. Just as any world-class touring motorcycle should, the completely redesigned Honda Gold Wing offers performance and amenities to keep the rider going—and smiling—in nearly any conditions.

The very notion of high-tech luxury touring exists because of the Gold Wing. This touring Honda in various displacements and designs has taken a Cycle World Ten Best Bikes win 21 times since our first awards in 1976.

From highway to winding two-lane
From highway to winding two-lane, no bike is more comfortable for the long haul.Jeff Allen

The 2018 Honda Gold Wing Tour is a worthy successor. If you want to forego the top trunk, the standard not-Tour Gold Wing rolls with bagger style. Naturally, we picked the Tour model to get the full-rig effect.

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1,833cc six-cylinder engine
The 1,833cc six-cylinder engine makes exceptional bottom-end torque and is one of the smoothest powerplants on the road.Jeff Allen

Admittedly, shrinking the bags to help make the new Wing more compact and lighter was a polarizing change, but 110 liters of storage is nothing to sniff at and we laud the reduction in the Gold Wing’s girth. Nothing but good comes from minding weight and size, but the luggage volume reduction remains a big debate. Pack a little lighter, we say, and reap the benefits.

Shrinking saddlebags
Shrinking saddlebags and top trunk was a controversial change, but the lighter, more compact Gold Wing is worth the trade.Jeff Allen

Long trips are, of course, the Honda Gold Wing’s forte. The neutral riding position is all-day (and all-night) comfortable. Suspension damping is taut and controlled but offers excellent ride quality. The dual-link, Hossack-like front suspension dances before your eyes at you watch the steering links follow road imperfections without transmitting any of that motion to your hands. Nonetheless, steering feel is good and the Gold Wing can hustle down a back road. The electronically adjustable suspension makes it easy to alter the bike to load or road, while overall chassis stability is excellent. Although the Gold Wing isn’t as sporty as BMW’s K1600GTL, we favor the overall chassis balance and feel of the Gold Wing for most touring riders.

7-inch TFT display
Crisp, easy-to-read analog instruments flank a beautiful 7-inch TFT display with Apple CarPlay.Jeff Allen

All the comforts are there: electric windscreen, heated seats and grips, Apple CarPlay integration, great-sounding stereo, and crisp, modern styling that results in excellent wind management. The 7-inch TFT display is crisp, bright, and easy to read, the cruise control works great, and linked brakes with ABS are phenomenal. As for passenger accommodations, the typical response of the second-seat rider is that they never want to ride on another bike again.

Gold Wing
Ride modes, traction control, ABS, heated grips and seat, and an adjustable windscreen help the Gold Wing perform in all conditions.Jeff Allen

The signature 1,833cc horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine makes a 108 pound-foot torque peak at 1,200 rpm and 98 hp at 5,500 rpm. It is a smooth, deep well of power that laughs off load and makes shifting gears more optional on this bike perhaps than any other. Or you can let the bike do the shifting for you with its optional automatic Dual-Clutch Transmission.

LED headlights
LED headlights shine from a redesigned fairing that offers great protection from the elements.Jeff Allen
Honda Gold Wing Tour
There is no better luxury traveling companion in 2018 than the Honda Gold Wing Tour.Jeff Allen

As a touring, commuting, daily riding motorcycle the 2018 Honda Gold Wing Tour is more comfortable, better performing, easier to handle, and ready to go where you lead it. You won’t stop smiling, no matter the conditions.