The Honda Gold Wing, since its introduction as a naked 1000cc machine in 1975, has always represented the ultimate in two-wheeled travel. And it’s a motorcycle that’s been very much on its own journey, growing in physical size and displacement over the decades, all the while creating an enduring and unrivalled reputation for luxury, quality and comfort.
For 2018, in response to the evolution of demographics and the motorcycle market, it made a radical departure from what would have been a traditional update trajectory. The GL1800 Gold Wing and Gold Wing ‘Tour’* took a new direction and, brand new from the wheels-up, became sleeker, lighter and more agile – very much a rider’s motorcycle – while adding a host of new features to cement its reputation as a technological flagship, including the option of 7-speed Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT).
And, as a result, the Gold Wing’s appeal became instantly broader, reaching out to a younger generation of motorcyclists that may have overlooked – or simply not been aware of – the previous incarnation. In 2020, improvements to suspension and slow speed manoeuvrability further complemented the evocative, flat six-cylinder engine beating at the heart of Honda’s premium tourer.
For 2021, the Gold Wing gains an audio upgrade and head-turning new paint option, further underlining its standalone desirability.
The Gold Wing’s engine and chassis were designed in unison for the 2018 rebirth, to move the riding position forward and create a much more compact motorcycle. The aluminium beam frame is constructed around a double wishbone front fork, which allows the engine to sit forward in the machine – as the front wheel moves up and down in a more vertical plane – while providing high quality suspension control and front-end stability thanks to its stiffness and reduced friction.
Optimised for size, the 24V flat six-cylinder engine lost none of its power, avalanche of torque or addictive power delivery. The addition of Throttle By Wire (TBW) control brought with it 4 rider modes: TOUR, SPORT, ECON and RAIN; the operation of the Dual Combined Brake System (D-CBS) alters depending on the mode selected. Hill Start Assist (HSA) and (on the DCT option) Idling Stop offer ease of use and improved fuel efficiency.
The manual transmission is 6-speed, while DCT features 7 speeds, with clutch feel, shift speed and rpm range of up/downshifts tailored specifically to each riding mode. It also features a ‘creep’ forward and back function. The manual machine employs the same electric reverse system as featured on previous designs.
The Gold Wing offers a total sense of freedom, with sheer riding enjoyment and performance matched by stylish design. An aerodynamically efficient fairing channels air around the rider, while the electric screen adjusts for preference; the luxurious seats offer all-day comfort. The lightweight audio system and speakers show off newly upgraded sound quality. And features like Smart Key operation, Apple CarPlay™, Android Auto™ and Bluetooth™ provide modern-day convenience and connectivity.
The 2021 GL1800 Gold Wing is available in a contemporary new Pearl Deep Mud Grey colour scheme, with orange accents on the front fender, engine cover, headlight surround, fuel tank and rear section.
Styling & Equipment
- Taut lines with a contemporary edge show off the motorcycle underneath
- Electric windscreen adjustable for angle and height
- Cruise control operates smoothly via Throttle By Wire (TBW)
- Ample luggage capacity for weekend touring
- 7-inch TFT display provides riding, navigation and audio information
- Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™ allow smartphone use
- Full LED lighting and auto-cancelling indicators
- Smart Key control adds convenience for ignition and luggage
- Two USB Type-C sockets