First look: 2018 Honda Gold Wing

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You’ve seen the pictures that were leaked a few weeks ago, but we now have all the details of the new Honda Gold Wing, and it has been redesigned from the ground up. It’s the first major overhaul of Honda’s flagship touring bike since the GL1800 was introduced 16 years ago.

Starting with the styling, you’ll find a sleeker, sportier silhouette. The fairing, which now houses an electrically adjustable windscreen, is 200 mm narrower than before, which contributes to an almost 12 per cent reduction in aerodynamic drag. New luggage includes 30-litre saddlebags and, when equipped, a 50-litre top case.

Beneath the bodywork is an entirely new chassis, with a unique double-wishbone front suspension system. This new front suspension is said to reduce steering effort by 40 per cent and the resonating shock at the handlebar from sharp bumps by 30 per cent. Electrically adjustable preload and damping for the suspension is now available. Wheel sizes are 18 inches in the front and 16 in the rear, with a wide, 200-mm tire mounted in the rear.

The 1,833 cc flat six engine is 29 mm shorter than before, and now features a 1 mm smaller bore and 2 mm longer bore, at 73 mm x 73 mm. It utilizes ride-by-wire throttle control and a single 50 mm throttle body. Also new are the Unicam four-valve heads, a design originally introduced on the CRF450R motocrosser.

Honda doesn’t publish power numbers, but we’ve been told the new engine is 20 per cent more fuel efficient; its fuel tank is four litres smaller, at 21 litres, but provides the same range as before.

One big new feature within the engine is the integrated starter generator system. With this new system the same component acts as a starter and an alternator, reducing weight while also providing seamless starts. It’s possible this system can, in the future, be used to provide a fuel-saving start-stop function.

Two transmissions will be available: a six-speed manual, and a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT), both coming with a reverse. The DCT also has a “walking mode” that allows the bike to crawl along either forward or in reverse to ease low-speed parking manoeuvres.

The new front suspension and shorter engine have permitted engineers to move the engine forward in the frame, and subsequently the rider’s seat is moved forward by 36 mm, factors that should really sharpen up the Gold Wing’s handling. Oh, as will the almost 40-kg loss of weight compared to the outgoing model.

All models have a standard 7-inch TFT display that includes a navigation system with 10 years worth of free map upgrades. It also features Bluetooth connectivity and Apple CarPlay. Some of the new electronics will include four ride modes (Tour, Sport, Econ, and Rain), a hill-start assist, Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC), which is a form of adjustable traction control, and a smart key for keyless operation. ABS and cruise control are standard.

Four models will be available in Canada, arriving at dealers in January. The base Gold Wing ($26,999) essentially replaces the F6B and features a blackout paint treatment, an abbreviated windscreen and comes without a top case.

The Gold Wing Tour comes with a taller screen, a top case, and includes the HSTC, electrically adjustable suspension, heated grips, rear speakers, and a centre stand. The Tour is also available with the DCT ($31,999), and with the DCT and air bag ($34,599).

10 thoughts on “First look: 2018 Honda Gold Wing”

  1. pretty content with the gl1800 in terms of power, handling, high speed stability, and comfort but as usual whenever honda introduces another revamped model with a boost in power, better centre of gravity, less weight,state of the art suspension, with style amenities thrown in it sure looks like a winner. I look forward to getting one out for a test ride.

  2. Looks like a fantastic bike.I sat on a 2005 Wing yesterday, even though you know how heavy it is it didn’t feel that bad, all the weight is down low, shedding that much weight would make for a really attractive bike. I also think the front end is the way to go for large bikes, but I’m a fan of the telelever type front end (and not much else) on BMW’s.

  3. Actually looks good, and I’m sure it’ll be a great mile eater. But IMO they didn’t address its greatest need – HP! The motorcycling equivalent of a BMW 7 series should have some serious HP, esp. at 35 grand! They should have attempted to at least match the GTL1600, rather than giving up 40hp!

    I know where I’m going for my next bike, sorry Honda.

    1. Peak torque is only 4 lb.-ft. shy of the K1600GTL, at 125 lb.-ft., and it peaks about 1,000 revs sooner on the Wing, placing power where the majority of Gold Wing riders will need it.

      1. I hear you but that’s the v-twin argument, and this is no lazy classicly styled cruiser with bags. The new wing should be the uber motorcycle, Honda’s tour de force. The GTL gives you a real kick, like 10.8@124 I believe – that’s like in a different stratosphere!

        1. Very very few people will care about top end horsepower and quarter mile numbers for an 800 lb touring bike that has monster torque and can go 130 or more mph. And it likely would be perfect as an Uber motorcycle, since you could taxi people around in great comfort.

    2. The 2018 Goldwing does not have 40 less HP. In fact, reports are that it has increased by 5. Indeed a paltry increase, but the bike is 90 pounds lighter, so it should definitely be quicker.

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