After five generations and 43 years constantly in production, Honda has rolled out the sixth evolution of its flagship tourer, the GL 1800 Goldwing. Based on a redesigned six-cylinder boxer, the new model sheds a lot of weight, shrinks in dimensions and introduces a new double-wishbone front suspension.
Retail prices in the US start from $23,500 (534.5 mil VND) for the standard model and $26,700 (561 mil VND) for the Tour. Both can be ordered with DCT transmission, and the Tour variant can also be outfitted with the optional airbag system.
The Goldwing has always been a special model in Honda’s line-up, ever since the first generation was introduced in 1975. Starting out as a naked roadster with a 1,000-cc four-cylinder boxer, it gradually grew to a 6-cylinder, 1,800-cc grand tourer. Always equipped for luxury and comfort, it wasn’t shy to technological evolution either, becoming the first motorbike outfitted with Honda’s prototype airbag system.
The large windscreen has also gone, replaced by a smaller, electrically adjustable screen, although a large screen will be available, as well an adjustable wind deflector for the arms and fixed deflectors for the lower legs.
The new Goldwing has a fly-by-wire throttle, which brings a host of new features along with it. The throttle has four rider modes (Tour, Sport, Economy and Rain) that alter the power delivery and those modes are also linked to the traction control, suspension damping and braking system. For city riding, the new engine has an Idling Stop system
Paired with the new engine are two new gearboxes: a 6-speed manual and a 7-speed DCT. Both bikes also have Hill Start Assist, which uses the ABS system to hold you when stopped on a gradient. The DCT features a ‘walking mode’.
The Wing’s new aluminium twin beam frame is 2kg lighter than the old frame and has shuffled the new engine 40mm further forward, to make the ride more stable. The really big change though is new front suspension. The new Gold Wing uses a double wishbone suspension unit, with a central monoshock and a separate pair of steering rods. The suspension is now electronically adjustable. The rear preload has four settings (rider, rider and luggage, rider and pillion, rider and pillion with luggage) and both the front and rear damping changes to match the riding mode selected.
All these changes have added up to a significant weight saving over the outgoing model. The previous Gold Wing weighed 413kg wet while the new Gold Wing weighs 365kg wet. The Gold Wing Tour weighs 379kg wet and the DTC airbox version weighs 383kg.
Slap bang in the middle of the new dash is a brand new 7” full-colour TFT screen that houses all the infotainment, while most of the bike information (fuel, tyre pressure, riding mode etc.) is on various little screens dotted either side of the clocks. The connectivity itself has moved on too, so both Bluetooth and USB are supported, while iPhone users can now connect to the Gold Wing with Apple CarPlay. The audio system has been improved for increased clarity and passengers can control their own music with buttons on the top of the pannier. The GPS system has been updated too, so it now includes a gyrocompass so guidance even works inside tunnels, and basic GPS commands can be input too such as selecting ‘Home’ as a destination.
The Gold Wing is now completely keyless. A fob is used to activate the bike and unlock the luggage – thankfully there’s a button on the fob, so you don’t need the ignition on to open and close the luggage.