Honda Gold Wing
For generations of touring riders, the Gold Wing—now offered in five versions—is king of the road.
For many motorcyclists, particularly those who enjoy covering great distances in comfort, often with a passenger, the Honda Gold Wing is synonymous with luxury touring. In fact, a strong argument could be made that Honda created—or at least revolutionized—the very concept of two-wheel travel in 1975 with the Gold Wing GL1000.
While that original liquid-cooled four-cylinder model was unfaired, kicking the door wide open for aftermarket companies to produce windshields, saddlebags, and other open-road amenities, Honda soon filled said void with the 1980 GL1100 Interstate, which had a fairing, saddlebags, top trunk, and an optional sound system.
Beginning that same year, production shifted from Japan to Ohio, where GL1200s, as well as the later six-cylinder GL1500s and GL1800s, were manufactured at the same facility that produces select Honda and Acura automobiles. The newest versions of this iconic motorcycle, the Gold Wing GL1800 and GL1800 Tour, are built in Japan.
Buyer's Guide: 2019 Honda Gold Wing
Tremendous costs associated with developing and manufacturing such an advanced motorcycle prohibits Honda from making frequent changes to the Gold Wing’s basic platform, namely the six-cylinder engine, twin-spar aluminum chassis with its double-wishbone front suspension, and all-encompassing bodywork.
For similar reasons, previous models also went largely untouched for years at a time. The GL1000, for example, had a five-year run, and the second-generation GL1100 was built from 1980–’83. The follow-on GL1200—also offered in GL1200 Interstate and GL1200 Aspencade trims, with the the fuel-injected GL1200 SE-i, the final flat-four, introduced in 1986—had a five-year life span too. And the fourth- and fifth-generation GL1500 and GL1800 sixes, introduced in 1988 and 2001, respectively, endured for a combined 29 years!
In the two seasons that the Gold Wing and Gold Wing Tour have been on the market, Honda has focused largely on improving electronics, including making available regular updates to the navigation system.
Honda manufactures five versions of the GL1800: Gold Wing ($23,800), Gold Wing DCT ($25,000), Gold Wing Tour ($27,000), Gold Wing Tour DCT ($28,000), and Gold Wing Tour Airbag DCT ($31,800). Two of those machines, the Gold Wing and Gold Wing Tour, are fitted with slipper-clutch-equipped six-speed manual gearboxes, while the Gold Wing DCT, Gold Wing Tour DCT, and the Gold Wing Tour Airbag DCT come with smooth-shifting seven-speed dual-clutch transmissions.
All Gold Wings with DCT gearboxes feature “Walking Mode,” which allows this two-wheeled land yacht to roll forward under power, making getting into and out of awkward locations easier—think uneven parking lots and tight U-turns—particularly with a fully loaded motorcycle. The Gold Wing DCT, Gold Wing Tour DCT, and Gold Wing Tour Airbag DCT are likewise equipped with a handy reverse gear with similar benefits. Two “smart” keys are standard-issue on every Gold Wing model.
The 2019 Honda Gold Wing and top-trunk-equipped Gold Wing Tour are powered by the same liquid-cooled, SOHC, 1,833cc flat-six. On the _Cycle World_ dyno, the super-smooth powerplant produced 97.9 hp at 5,550 rpm and 108.4 pound-feet of torque at 1,210 rpm at the rear wheel.
Picture yourself—and perhaps a passenger—seated on the broad, thickly padded saddle of a 2019 Honda Gold Wing or a Gold Wing Tour, gloved hands grasping the heated grips, boots resting comfortably on the folding footpegs?
After choosing from one of two available models—Gold Wing or Gold Wing Tour—and either a manual or $1,200-pricier dual-clutch transmission, you’ll need to select a color from the variety of candy, matte, or metallic options: Gold Wing (Darkness Black Metallic); Gold Wing DCT (Candy Ardent Red, Matte Majestic Silver, or Darkness Black Metallic); Gold Wing Tour/Gold Wing Tour DCT (Candy Ardent Red, Darkness Black Metallic, or Pearl Hawkseye Blue); and the two-tone Gold Wing Tour Airbag DCT (Candy Ardent Red/Black).
Honda also offers an ever-expanding variety of owner- and dealer-installed accessories—some seen, some hidden from prying eyes—to enhance the appearance, comfort, security, and even the user-friendliness of the Gold Wing riding experience.
|2019 Honda Gold Wing Specs|
|Price||$23,800 to $31,800|
|Engine||Liquid-cooled, SOHC, horizontally opposed six|
|Bore x Stroke||73.0mm x 73.0mm|
|Transmission||6-speed manual or 7-speed DCT|
|Seat Height||29.3 in.|
|Front Suspension||Double wishbone with shock; 4.3-in. travel|
|Rear Suspension||Electrically controlled damping adjustment; 4.1-in. travel|
|Fuel Capacity||5.5 gal.|
|Claimed Dry Weight||787 lb. to 842 lb.|
|Cycle World Tested Specifications|
|Seat Height||29.3 in.|
|Wet Weight||838 lb.|
|Rear-Wheel Horsepower||97.9 hp @ 5,550 rpm|
|Rear-Wheel Torque||108.4 lb.-ft. @ 1,210 rpm|
|Braking 30–0 mph||N/A|
|Braking 60–0 mph||N/A|