2012 Honda Gold Wing® – Top Seller Gets a Fresh Look

Aug 15, 2011 View Comments by

For 2012, Honda has given its popular Gold Wing® GL1800 series a moderate makeover. Now in its 36th year, Honda reports that about 640,000 Gold Wings have been sold worldwide since the model’s introduction as a 1975 model, making it a top seller and perennial favorite among touring enthusiasts.

Styling revisions for 2012 replace the previous GL1800 model’s curvy shapes with more angular edges and straight lines. This is especially noticeable in the saddlebags and fairings, and Honda says these changes improve wind protection on the rider’s legs and torso. Suspension tweaks are limited to new, plusher settings in both the fork and single rear shock. These changes are said to provide added compliance for a better ride. Seating has also been upgraded for more comfort.

The 1,832cc horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine and five-speed manual gearbox are unchanged, and the electric reverse system is still standard. Weight remains over 900 pounds, at 903 to 944 pounds, depending on options.

One of the complaints from owners of the GL1500 was that the GL1800 saddlebags held less than the prior model. With this redesign come an extra seven liters of storage space, and the new bags, combined with the standard trunk and fairing pockets, offer more than 150 liters of capacity.

Updated instrumentation gives the Wing rider a fresher view in the cockpit. The dash incorporates some next-generation electronics, including a brighter screen using the latest version of Honda’s Satellite Linked Navigation System. There’s also an updated audio system, with SRS CS Auto surround-sound, MP3/iPod connectivity, along with AM-FM and XM satellite radio.

Standard on all Gold Wings are a heated seat and handgrips, plus a passenger backrest. Honda’s combined braking system is standard, while ABS is optional. The airbag – Gold Wing is the only motorcycle to offer this safety device – is still an option; non-airbag models use the empty space for a handy extra storage compartment.

Manufacturer’s suggested retail prices for the 2012 Gold Wings range from $23,199 to $28,499, depending on options. Honda’s Gold Wing faces stiff competition from the all-new BMW K 1600 GT and GTL, powered by a potent inline six. While the base Gold Wing lists at a virtually identical MSRP as the similarly equipped BMW K 1600 GTL model, the top prices on the Wings are higher than the BMWs. We’ve tested the new K 1600 series in this issue, and we plan to have a long-term test of the Gold Wing for a comparison, so stay tuned for more.

Tags: Categories: Chronicles, Motorcycles