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).