At Last! A Mainstream Motorcycle Without A Telescopic Fork

The Honda Gold Wing front suspension promises to eliminate sliding stiction of a traditional fork.

Back in the 1970s and ’80s, a high-level transfer of Formula 1 technology to motorcycling seemed imminent as a flood of alternatives to the telescopic fork were proclaimed as the future. Didn’t happen.

What has happened is that, as rumored, Honda has put a double A-arm strut front suspension on the 2018 Gold Wing. It is said to accomplish several things:

  1. Eliminates the sliding stiction of a telefork, reducing transmission of shock from road surface to handlebar by 30 percent. Although Honda's wording is unclear, it seems to say that rolling bearings are used at the A-arm pivots and steering head to reduce both suspension and steering friction.
  2. Because the A-arm suspension allows mainly vertical movement of the front wheel, rather than the diagonal up-and-to-the-rear movement of a telefork, it has made possible moving the engine forward, allowing rider position to move ahead 36mm.

Dual-clutch and manual gearboxes seek to provide smoother, quieter, more economical operation

2018 Honda Gold Wing Has Two Transmission Options
  1. Also claimed is a 40 percent reduction in steered mass. This tends to increase stability. The two A-arms project forward from the upper front of the motorcycle's frame to carry between them a pair of large-diameter steering-head bearings. A forked strut connects to the front axle at both its ends at the bottom and in tubular form passes up through the steering-head bearings. A linkage above the top steering bearing connects to the handlebars, which are pivoted on their own bearings a short distance to the rear.

It will be interesting to see whether in the future this suspension concept is adopted on other Honda models.