Veteran Honda motorbike get its wings

Honda describes the new Gold Wing as having a more "honed, athletic ethos" than the outgoing model, which it describes as "relaxed".

It may have been around for over 40 years, but Honda is showing no signs of slowing down production of its distinctive Gold Wing motorcycle. "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".

The 1,833 cc flat six engine is 29 mm shorter than before, and now features a 1 mm smaller bore and 2 mm longer bore, at 73 mm x 73 mm.

Honda doesn't publish power numbers, but we've been told the new engine is 20 per cent more fuel efficient; its fuel tank is four litres smaller, at 21 litres, but provides the same range as before. Paired with a six-speed manual transmission it drops nearly 14 pounds, in fact, while the shorter length has meant Honda can push its positioning forward in the bike's chassis.

For 2018, the Gold Wing chassis has undergone multiple revisions to increase low-speed maneuverability and maintain high-speed stability. The twin-spar aluminum frame is paired with a single-side swingers, the pivot area structure of which has been redesigned. It's still the manufacturer's premium tourer model, but it has shed as much as 105 pounds compared with the previous generation bike. The rear has a Pro-Link suspension with progressive reaction; Honda says most models are expected to get electrically-adjusted suspension damping and preload.

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Brakes have been upgraded via radially mounted front calipers and larger, 320mm rotors. The manual version is six-speed. 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.

The new Honda Gold Wing also gets a full electronics suite including traction control, while ABS and linked braking are standard a before. The all-new 2018 Honda Gold Wing is more compact than its predecessor while also weighs about 40kg less.

The rider and passenger sit slightly more forward in the new one, Honda says. A top case adds 50 liters more. They also have an electrically-adjustable windshield, front and rear speakers, and electrically adjustable suspension. The Gold Wing Tour will be start at $26,700 and the Gold Wing begins at $23,500. Each will have the saddlebags but no top case, and will do without the rear speakers. HSTC, electric damping-adjust, center stand, and heated grips are not included.

All variants will go on sale in February 2018. The Tour is also available with the DCT ($31,999), and with the DCT and air bag ($34,599).

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