It’s been several years since I’ve ridden a Goldwing. While it’s true the basic Goldwing introduced in 2001 hasn’t changed much since I last rode one, and there’s no 2011 model at this time, I felt it was time to take possibly the last ride on a GL1800. At this time, Honda is not offering a 2011 model. In fact, Honda moved all motorcycle manufacturing from Marysville Ohio back to Japan. The rumors I’ve heard which have not been substantiated by Honda is a 2012 model will be released in six or seven months from now. There’s been no word on what type of changes will be on the 2012 but my guess is, and this is just a guess that the motor will be increased to a least 2000cc and some type of automatic transmission will be offered.
As for the 2010 Goldwing, though it’s been produced for several years now, it’s still at the top of the heap of luxury touring motorcycles. Its only real competition has been the BMW LT1200. Honda now offers four separate Goldwing models. The Goldwing audio comfort package features an 80 watt stereo, heated grips and a heated seat; MSRP is $22,899.00. Next up is the Goldwing Audio comfort Navi XM. In addition to the premium stereo and heated seats, this model also offers XM radio, tire pressure monitor and a navigation system; MSRP $25,399.00. Next up is the Goldwing Audio Comfort Navi XM ABS model. ABS is of course, the antilock braking system; MSRP is $26,599.00. Last, but not least, the Goldwing Airbag model; MSRP is $27,999.00.
While this all may seem like quite a mouthful, Honda claims the packaging for 2010 actually simplifies the long list of options available. Keep in mind that even the basic Goldwing Audio comfort package model, the least expensive of the four, is a fully equipped touring motorcycle. This bike comes with a manually adjusted windshield, a wheel type adjustment for both the clutch and brake levers, an extremely comfortable rider and passenger seat, five-speed transmission and of course, the 1800cc flat six cylinder liquid cooled motor. This motor puts out approximately 100 hp and 120 ft. lbs. of torque. This makes the Goldwing the fastest, most powerful touring motorcycle one can buy. The six cylinders also happen to be the smoothest motor ever fitted to any two-wheeled vehicle.
Though fully loaded, the Goldwing weighs in at just over 900 lbs.; believe it or not, it handles as well or better than most Sport Tourers. In fact, the Goldwing has a 42 degree lean angle. For comparison’s sake, most cruiser touring type motorcycles are capable of about a 31 degree lean angle. What this means is on your favorite winding road, despite the girth of the Wing, it is a terrific handling motorcycle. Though you may think a bike of this size would be a handful at parking lot speeds, that’s really not the case since the flat six motor puts most of the weight very low on the bike. The Wing can actually U-turn in less than 18’.
Upon mounting the Goldwing and thumbing the starter, the Wing springs to life with uncanny smoothness. As you blip the throttle, the sound emanating from the exhaust, though subdued, will be music to your ears. Once at cruising speeds though, the exhaust is barely audible. The Wing does possess thankfully, quite a loud horn. The rider seat comfort of this bike is unparalleled. The same for the passenger perch. Not only will the passenger have a luxurious seat, the backrest is so comfortable, I’ve been told by some Goldwing owners that their passengers have fallen asleep while riding on the bike.
The ride is on the plush side of sporty and is even adjustable for ride height and firmness by a button on the dash. This comes in very handy with the Wing fully loaded with a passenger and luggage; as a touch of the button levels the bike in a matter of seconds. Although the seat is only 29” from the ground, it is on the wide side, so riders of less than 5’7” may find flat footing the bike is not possible. On most bikes, this would present a problem since backing up an over 900 lb. motorcycle would require super human strength. Fortunately, the Goldwing comes standard with a reverse. Again, simply press a button; hold the starter button and the bike backs up with ease. Fully loaded and going uphill in reverse isn’t a problem.
The acceleration provided by that smooth six cylinder motor has to be an experience to be believed. Regardless of what gear you’re in, the Goldwing is never wanting for passing power—that includes fully loaded with a passenger and luggage on board.
Out on the interstate, the Wing really comes into its own. You set the cruise control at 80 mph and the bike isn’t even breathing hard. In fact, it’s a good idea to keep your eye on the speedometer or you’ll creep up to 100 mph or more without even realizing it. The Wing is that smooth. This is a motorcycle that you can do an 800 mile day easily with the same comfort you’d experience in most four wheeled vehicles. With the windshield raised to its highest, the rider is enveloped in a cocoon of still air. If the weather turns a little too hot, you can open the fairing vents or the vent on the windshield and get a breath of fresh air. The Wing also has vents that open and allow the warmth of the motor’s hot air to keep your lower extremities warm.
As stated earlier, on the back roads and the twisties, the Goldwing is an absolute pleasure.
I’m very curious to see what Honda will do with the 2010 Goldwing as the GL1800 will be a very tough act to follow. While the MSRP may seem high, even for the base model, the Wing offers probably the largest array of standard features of any motorcycle. If you check around there are also some phenomenal deals on the 2010 models. For a closer look at the Goldwing, head on down to Performance Honda, 28009 Wesley Chapel Blvd., Wesley Chapel, FL 33543 or call them at 813-973-1888.
Copyright 2010 Jerry “Motorman” Palladino