Honda has finally taken the wraps off the long-awaited modern update to
its venerable Gold Wing super-cruiser. At first glance, the technologically
advanced Wing, which features a new engine, new chassis and 21st century
electronics, is likely to attract great sales activity.
The new machine, unveiled at an invitation-only event at Santa Barbara’s
Museum of Exploration and Innovation on Tuesday evening, is still powered
by a six-cylinder engine. But new materials and technology have cut the engine
weight dramatically and overall weight by more than 80 pounds.
“It’s a great feeling to pull the wraps off the all-new Gold Wing and Gold Wing
Tour models here in Santa Barbara, a scenic town that itself strikes a balance
between its celebrated history and modern flare,” said Chuck Boderman, Vice
President of American Honda’s Motorcycle Division. “The impact of the GL line
on the motorcycling world can be seen in the community that has formed around
it, and we believe that in this latest version, Honda has produced a motorcycle
that will be embraced by not only the existing Gold Wing community,but a fresh
generation of riders seeking strong handling performance along with long-
distance touring capabilities. Lighter, more agile, and more sophisticated, the
2018 Gold Wing and Gold Wing Tour set a new standard for the touring category,
with groundbreaking features that enhance the riding experience and encourage
riders to get out on the road, creating more exciting stories than ever before.”
Honda’s liquid-cooled, horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine is a key element
to the Gold Wing’s rich character, and while the general layout lives on, much
has been done to make the power plant more compact, more fuel efficient, and
lighter. The engine is now 13.7 lbs. lighter when equipped with Honda’s six-speed
manual transmission, and 29mm shorter in the front section, and is placed
forward in the chassis for more ideal weight distribution, a key contributor to
the 2018 Gold Wing’s sporty handling and improved vehicle packaging.
Specific changes for 2018 include a smaller, 73mm cylinder bore, updated crankshaft,
and a Unicam® valve train layout that has been proven on the award-winning Honda
CRF450R motocrosser. Combustion efficiency is improved via the use of four valves
per cylinder, while friction is reduced through the application of a new molybdenum
coating on the piston skirts. Thanks to a lighter overall package and enhanced vehicle
aerodynamics, which led to improved fuel efficiency, engineers were able to reduce
the fuel tank capacity by 1.1 gallons while retaining the same great range as before.
This change is one of many aimed at improving handling via refined vehicle
packaging and weight reduction.
Additional changes include a new intake system for added responsiveness and torque,
as well as an updated exhaust system that highlights the bike’s livelier personality
through a deeper exhaust note.
The 2018 Gold Wing and 2018 Gold Wing Tour are available with both a new six-speed
manual transmission or Honda’s advanced, next-generation seven-speed automatic
Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT), which includes forward/reverse Walking Mode.
The sportier nature of the 2018 Gold Wing and Gold Wing Tour is underlined by the
bike’s sharper, more performance-minded shape, which also achieves a significant
boost in aerodynamic efficiency. Narrower at the front and with added emphasis on
such mechanical parts as the exhaust and lower engine, the bike offers the same
comfortable ergonomics as before, but with reimagined airflow for rider and passenger,
both of whom sit 36mm further forward. Thanks to new air-guiding ducts and an
electric windscreen that provides the rider with even greater control over airflow,
it is now more possible to feel at one with theelements,or to enjoy a windless-type
LED technology is used throughout, with the multiple-lens front lights forming the
new “wing lines” of this latest advanced performance touring model, and the LED
turn signals having a convenient auto-canceling feature. A user-friendly luggage
system bolsters on-road convenience while also contributing to the vehicle’s
compact dimensions, sporty appearance, and lighter weight. Each saddlebag
holds 30 liters, while the top case has a50 litercapacity, and high-quality lid
dampers are used throughout.