The grandest of grand tourers will be updated for 2018, with Honda unveiling an all-new version of its iconic GoldWing tourer at this week’s Tokyo Motor Show. While still a gargantuan machine, the new ‘Wing is significantly lighter than the outgoing model and features sharper styling, more power and a raft of technology that wouldn’t be out of place on a space shuttle.
At the heart of the GoldWing, or GL1800 to give it its proper designation, is a heavily revised version of the flat-six cylinder motor that displaces 1833cc. It now features four-valves per cylinder and comes with four-riding modes, selectable traction control and hill start assistance. Honda’s highly acclaimed DCT (Dual Clutch Transmission) gearbox will also be available as an option on higher spec models, while the new chassis is also new and features electronic damping. At 365kg, the GoldWing remains a heavyweight in the true sense of the word but has a wet weight some 48kg less than the model it replaces.
Speaking about the concept behind the new super tourer, Yutaka Nakanishi, project leader for the model said: “We wanted our new Gold Wing to maintain its luxury but to be a much more ‘rounded’ motorcycle. A machine as useful to its owner around the city as it is out on tour. And more exciting to ride than ever. So we started from a blank piece of paper and made the Gold Wing sharper and lighter, and added all the technological hardware and software the modern rider could wish for. Now, just as in 1975, it remains a flagship model for Honda – and we are very proud to start this new chapter for such an important name.”
Honda claims the new GoldWing is aimed at a younger rider. The new bike has a much smaller screen than the previous version and looks more stripped down with the front suspension, engine and exhausts all on display, when previously they were wrapped up in the expansive bodywork.
Three versions will be available, with the standard model coming with a six speed manual gearbox and silver paint. The ‘Tour’ version comes in Candy Red and adds a top box to the spec, with the top spec model has two-tone red and black bodywork, an air bag and a new seven-speed (plus reverse) version of the DCT transmission.
No prices have been announced yet (the old version retails at £25k in the UK) but, regardless of the version, they’ll cost a pretty penny. The specification list remains phenomenal with new features including a smart key system, compatibility with Apple’s CarPlay technology and a 7” TFT display for sat-nav and audio information. It goes without saying that the plush seats and vast fairing have been designed to deliver the kind of comfort normally only found inside a branch of DFS.
All lighting is LED and the overall luggage capacity has been cut slightly, based upon research that confirmed most GoldWing riders only took their bikes on short tours. The result is a still impressive combined luggage capacity of 110 litres on the Tour version. Also adding to the GL1800’s diet is a smaller fuel tank which, at 21 litres, holds four litres less unleaded than its predecessor. Despite this, Honda claims a range similar to the old bike due to improved fuel consumption, which they say is in excess of 50mpg.
While the new GoldWing looks less imposing than the outgoing model, it looks to be less intimidating too. The GL1800 is an icon in the Honda range, with the new model looking to keep it ahead of competition from the likes of BMW’s K1600GTL and the Harley-Davidson Road Glide Ultra.
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