2018 Honda Gold Wing: Raising the Bar on Uber-touring Models!

Jan 23, 2018 View Comments by

Honda Gold WingHonda has finally unveiled its long-awaited flagship 2018 model motorcycle—the Gold Wing—and it’s definitely a looker!
Lighter, leaner, and meaner, with highly sculpted styling cues, the new Gold Wings look more like large sportbikes than touring models. Along with this model change, Honda has dropped the F6B model designation from its lineup, and instead brought that “bagger” version under the Gold Wing banner. What was formerly known as the Gold Wing, with the combined tail trunk and passenger backrest, is now called the Gold Wing Tour. The basic Gold Wing designation now applies to what would have been the F6B, which has no standard tail trunk (but it can now be retrofitted if desired).

Honda Gold Wing

Virtually every part of the new model has been changed, although the basic flat opposed six-cylinder boxer engine layout has been retained. Known for its smooth silky torque, reliability and long life, the 1833cc powerplant has been upgraded with four valves per cylinder for better breathing. A new SCM44OH material allows the crankshaft and hence the engine to be more compact, and aluminum cylinder sleeves further reduce weight. Shortening the engine by 29mm allowed the rider to be moved forward slightly. The previous model’s dated five-speed manual has been replaced with two new choices, a six-speed manual gearbox, or a seven-speed Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) which allows semi-automatic gear changes. The DCT features Walking Mode, which allows the rider to creep forward or backward while maneuvering in tight spaces and parking. Both the Gold Wing and Gold Wing Tour will offer both transmission choices.

The entire bike was put on a diet. Overall weight has been reduced nearly 90 pounds, certainly a welcome change. One of the weight-saving features is a combination starter-generator which cuts 5.3 pounds. Lower weight and improved powertrain efficiency result in 20 percent better gas mileage, which allowed fuel capacity to be reduced by a similar amount without reducing range.

A unique double-wishbone front suspension replaces the conventional fork of prior models. It’s designed to reduce road shocks and steering effort. Gold Wing Tour models feature electric preload adjustment to easily vary suspension settings as load varies. Tour models also have front and rear electrically adjusted damping force, with a stepper motor controlling oil-flow rate to mode-specific settings. There are four preload adjustment settings; solo rider, rider and luggage, rider and passenger, and rider with passenger and luggage. Standard Gold Wing models have manually adjustable rear preload.

Front brakes are now six-piston radially mounted Nissin calipers with twin 320mm rotors, with Combined Braking System and ABS. Tires and wheels have been specifically designed for the new models, with a wider 200/55-R16 rear tire and a 130/70-18 front.

A new electric windscreen allows the rider to vary height and rake in a stepless manner. An airbag will be offered on the Gold Wing Tour. All 2018 models use LED lighting technology and have heated hand grips; the Gold Wing Tour models also have standard heated seats. Seat height is 29.3 inches, and weight is a claimed 842 pounds on the heaviest Tour model, 787 on the lightest model.

The electronics package has been updated as well, with a new throttle-by-wire system and multiple riding modes: Tour, Sport, Econ, and Rain. There’s also Hill Start Assist, and an optimized cruise control. A Smart Key feature allows the rider to keep the fob in a pocket, and the bike unlocks when the fob is nearby. Walk away and it locks. Vehicle Viewfinder helps locate the bike in a large parking lot by activating the hazard flashers and horn. The tire pressure monitoring system has been updated and now indicates tire pressure continually.

All Gold Wing models are now compatible with Apple CarPlay, which enables riders to access Apple Music and Maps, make phone calls, and send messages through the bike’s TFT display by voice commands via Bluetooth headsets. A 7-inch full color TFT display provides infotainment-related visuals, including audio and navigation app icons. Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC), which is available on Gold Wing Tour models, calculates rear-wheel slip and intervenes if spin is detected by reducing power. An optional Home Link System enables riders to program a built-in garage opening and closing transmitter.

The luggage has been redesigned with both saddlebags offering 30 liters of capacity, and on Tour models, the rear trunk offers 50 liters capacity. Honda states it was designed for two people traveling for four days and three nights.

Colors include Candy Ardent Red, Pearl White, and Pearl Hawkseye Blue. The Gold Wing Tour ranges in price between $26,700 and $31,500 while the Gold Wing between $23,500 and $25,000. Available in February. Honda indicated that test models will soon be available for our riding impressions and evaluation. Stay tuned for a full report!

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