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2001 Honda Gold Wing: MD Ride Review – Part One

We will be evaluating Honda’s totally new 2001 Gold Wing for a few weeks. This is a brief first impression. A more thorough analysis will appear in Part Two in a few weeks.

I picked up the new Gold Wing from Honda’s Torrance headquarters in the late afternoon, and did not relish learning to ride the 800 pound machine while negotiating rush-hour traffic through Los Angeles on my way back to Temecula — in the dark, no less!

How do you make an 800 pound motorcycle handle nearly as well as a modern sportbike? The agility of Honda’s new Gold Wing seems to defy the laws of physics.

It is this handling magic that dominated my thoughts until I had the chance to twist the throttle hard . . . WOW! . . . so this is what happens when you give a motorcycle the engine displacement of a small automobile (1832cc) and the inherent smoothness of a horizontally opposed six-cylinder!

As I deal with the heavy traffic through an L.A. freeway at night, four things nevertheless give me great confidence: 1) I am so comfortable, I can concentrate fully on my riding; 2) the agility of the Gold Wing will allow me to quickly avoid a careless automobile driver; 3) engine power is a great asset if you need to squirt ahead of someone changing lanes into you; and 4) the road feel through the bars (yes, Honda chose good feedback from the front tire over isolation) gives me a feeling of total control. I relax and turn up the stereo. I think I am going to like this new Gold Wing.