Honda’s GoldWing is one of the most iconic names in biking history, launching a whole lifestyle of tourers and a world of Wing social riding clubs when it was revealed back in 1975. It’s as much a lifestyle as it is a motorcycle.
With mint examples now fetching around £8000 at auction, the original GoldWing was quite different to what we have now. It was a naked, 1000cc, flat-four back then, quite some way from the new-for-2018 flat-six, with its massive 1831cc motor and which launches to the press next week.
As we fly off to Austin, Texas to ride the latest Honda GoldWing next week, we take a look at the key models over its 43-year history.
1984 to 1988 GL1200 GoldWing
The original GL1000 GoldWing was launched in 1975 with a 999cc flat-four engine, this increased in capacity to 1085cc with the 1979 GL1100, and finally the 1984 GL1200 with a 1182cc flat four motor.
These fully dressed bikes came in two versions – the base model Interstate, and the higher-spec Aspencade which got an LCD dash, a gear indicator and electronic air suspension.
- Price: £2,000 – £8,000 (Interstates are generally £500 less than Aspencades)
- Engine: 1182cc, liquid-cooled flat four cylinder, 8v
- Power: 94bhp @ 7,000rpm
- Torque: 76ftlb @ 5,500rpm
- Weight: 330kg
1988 to 2000 GL1500 GoldWing
Honda jumped from a flat four motor to their first flat six engine with the 1988 GL1500. Still using carburetors, and with a capacity of 1502cc, the GL1500 was the longest running version of the Wing, and it finally got that famous reverse gear. From the original bike, to the 1995 big styling changes, the Wing changed a lot during its life as the GL1500. The 1995 update uses a lower seat height, the frame was narrower too so that shorter riders could get to grips with the 360kg beast.
The standard GL1500 got electronic air-suspension as standard, and the 1990 GL1500 SE was the first Wing to have a CB radio fitted as a factory option, launching a lifetime of Wing Dingers on the world’s roads.
- Price: £4,200 – £7,500
- Engine: 1520cc, liquid-cooled flat six cylinder, 12v
- Power: 100bhp @ 5,200rpm
- Torque: 110ftlb @ 4,000rpm
- Weight: 360kg
2001 to 2017 Honda GL1800 GoldWing
The mammoth of the road, got even bigger with the new fuel-injected 1832cc motor and an all-new aluminium frame designed for better handling.
A radio, electronic air suspension and cruise control were all standard. It was further updated in 2012 with a new styling package, and also got larger panniers, an uprated on-board stereo, combined braking system and ABS as standard.
- Price: £7,000 – £25,000
- Engine: 1832cc, liquid-cooled flat six cylinder, 12v
- Power: 118bhp @ 5,500rpm
- Torque: 123ftlb @ 4,000rpm
- Weight: 421kg
2018 Honda Gold Wing GL1800
The first big change for six years comes as the GoldWing eases gently towards into its mid-forties. But rather than middle age spread like the rest of us, the 2018 Gold Wing now weighs some 48kg lighter than the outgoing model, as least without a top box as standard. For that, you’ll need the Tour version. It uses a new version of the flat six, coming in at 1833cc, and making 125bhp.
The bike gets a whole new aerodynamic restyle, twin wishbone front forks, traction control, an entertainments package that includes Apple CarPlay, electronic suspension, and a smaller 21-litre tank, though Honda say it has better fuel economy than the old bike, and a similar tank range. The whole bike is new from the ground up.
- Price: £25,000 (est)
- Engine: 1833cc, liquid-cooled flat six cylinder
- Power: 124.7bhp @ 5500rpm
- Torque: 125ftlb @ 4500rpm
- Weight: 365kg
We’ll bring you the first ride of the new 2018 Honda GL1800 Gold Wing live from Austin, Texas, next week.