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Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

2018 Honda Gold Wing Tour: MD Ride Review – Introduction

Justin reported from the Gold Wing press launch for us, giving our readers the perspective of a relatively inexperienced rider of large touring machines, including the Gold Wing. I immediately asked Honda for a test unit for a longer term evaluation by a much more experienced rider (me) that had ridden every Gold Wing iteration since the bike was introduced (I even owned a GL1100 at one point).

I picked up the bike from Honda yesterday. I asked for a blue Tour model (which includes the integrated trunk and passenger back rest) with the DCT (Honda’s dual clutch automatic). I left Honda’s headquarters and immediately navigated five miles of surface streets to the 91 freeway for the trip from Torrance to Temecula, California.

Obviously, we have a lot more testing to do, but after putting roughly 80 miles on the new Gold Wing, I wanted to pass on my initial impressions.

In a word, “Wow”! This is the most comfortable highway speed motorcycle I have ever ridden. It easily eclipses the prior Gold Wing that we tested when it was last thoroughly redesigned back in 2000 (for the 2001 model year), as well as several full-dress tourers MD has evaluated since then from other manufacturers.

Within 10 minutes on the bike, I knew the seat comfort was superb (thick, dense padding offering just the right balance of support and cush), and the new, electrically adjustable windscreen created the most buffet-free, quiet zone at helmet level that I can recall experiencing at speeds exceeding 70 mph.

Handling at highway speeds is rock solid, as you might expect, and the feeling of refinement and composure is seemingly without peer. The new Gold Wing tracks beautifully at elevated speeds, lending the rider supreme confidence.

This is still not a perfect motorcycle. Although we like the DCT (and, at this point, would prefer it over the traditional manual transmission also offered by Honda), it is clear that it has a ways to go when it comes to “reading the mind” of the rider. We left the transmission in Tour mode (there is also Sport and Rain), and we could feel when it attempted to adapt to our needs by holding a gear longer, or downshifting earlier, for instance. At times, it did not kick down to a lower gear for passing the way we would have preferred, but overall it did a good job. We will have much more to say about this as we continue to evaluate this bike.

The front end feel from the new front suspension/steering system is definitely a bit odd at lower speeds for a rider who has spent essentially his entire life riding motorcycles with traditional, telescopic forks. At low speeds, combined with the DCT (which, obviously, prevents an experienced rider from feathering the clutch), there is definitely a learning curve and an awkward stage. We will see how our comfort level develops over time and miles.

The big, flat-six 1,833cc engine is still a gem, and even more refined. Elevated highway speeds are effortless, and the massive torque should make hauling a passenger and luggage equally effortless.

Those are enough thoughts, for now. Stay tuned for further reports on the 2018 Gold Wing.

See more of MD’s great photography:



  1. mickey says:

    I rode the new Wing today (Tour 6 speed manual). Nice bike. Still too large and too much tour and not enough sport for me ergo wise, but wow what a motor. Whole lotta buttons and switches on that thing lol.

    • Grover says:

      All the buttons and switches on these big tourers look gross to me. It kind of takes away from the purity of motorcycling. It’s the way of the future, I guess.

  2. Jim says:

    I’ve had an Africa Twin DCT for 2 years now. If the GW’s DCT is anything like it, you’ll find S1 to be the best every day mode for non-aggressive riding. The high sport modes downshift quickly, good for quick acceleration but not good once you’re up to speed and want to lope along in a high gear as they’ll want to downshift.

    If I’m not in S1 mode, then I’m usually in manual mode, which lets me choose my shift points precisely and still is a great labor saver compared to a traditional manual gearbox as you only have to operate the paddles. It’s really the ultimate quick/blip shifter and is my go-to mode when I’m riding for fun rather than running around town.

  3. Tom R says:

    Wow, so many opinions about DCT, fuel capacity, and luggage capacity. And here I thought tank seems was the most relevant issue in motorcycling.

  4. CrazyJoe says:

    Proving my ignorance but since people are complain about the range of this bike, and most bikes, could honda get this engine to run on three cylinders in some sort of economy mode. I have no idea what improvements in fuel economy you would get or if it would be acceptable to have a reduction of horse power even when cruising. My truck supposedly has this feature and there’s no way of telling when it’s running on 4 cylinder or 8. It happens automatically and no way to set it.

    • joe b says:

      Of all the manufacturers, Honda is more than familiar with this type of cylinder cut off. That is one of the many items that could be added, but along with it comes the initial price. Your truck would wasted much more than this engine, so the improvement in MPG would be negligible. Have you not looked that the myriad of other electronic gadgets this has already? Did you see that its smaller, lighter, Faster?

      • CrazyJoe says:

        I did see it was smaller, lighter and faster. It’s also more fuel efficient. Besides cylinder cutoff, there’s direct injection HCCI turbo charges. I’m not putting down this bike and know how good it is. I was asking a question since alot of people are into electric vehicles, would there be an interest in a more efficient version of this bike with a longer range.

        • joe b says:

          Yes, certainly. Honda utilized the cylinder cut off predominantly in their racing engines, its a mapping excercise. Can you explain your concern more, about the economy? I’m sure Honda has done a lot, within the confines, of production, to enable this to get the best fuel economy with best drivability. (I understand there may be distances without fuel available, and there are some who just want to be on the bike all day) I’d bet you are also familiar with how long a battery charge lasts, and how long it takes to recharge it. Unlike fuel, which takes minutes to fully recharge. I am not sure why Honda doesnt use cylinder cut off, I can only assume its not of any advantage. Just guessing, I dont know.

          • CrazyJoe says:

            Don’t get me wrong I’m not some pot smoking, yoga practicing, granola head who believes I can consume 30 times more than someone in the developing world does and cut off their coal supply because I care about the grand children.

            No I’m cheap and hate stopping for gas every few miles.

          • joe b says:

            Having run out of gas a couple of times myself, I see what you are saying…

          • Dave says:

            Cylinder cut-off is much more complicated than cutting fuel and spark. In order to gain any efficiency, pumping losses must be mitigated since these pistons are still moving in their cylinders. In the case of a 1.8L 6-cylinder, the frictional & pumping losses might be too great to gain any benefit over.

    • Bubba Blue says:

      The range is fine. People don’t know what to complain about.

  5. ApriliaRST says:

    > The front end feel from the new front suspension/steering system is definitely a bit odd at lower speeds for a rider who has spent essentially his entire life riding motorcycles with traditional, telescopic forks.

    Just a guess, but from my experience with an early ‘Wing vs a newer BMW with an alternative front suspension, the problem of spooky low speed handling is not due to the forks, but due to the low center of gravity designed into the ‘Wing. The majority of motorcycle designs today avoid the quest for a low cg, just as Honda learned in the 19080s when it experimented with placing the gas tank under the engine on their racers to lower the cg. Honda would move the ‘Wing’s cg upward if it could, but it can’t because the ‘Wing has become synonymous with an opposed engine, just as Harley-Davisdon is locked into v-twins of a certain design.

    It’s pretty, though.

    • mickey says:

      I was just up at the local dealer an hour ago. Talked to the mechanic who set up their Goldwing and he said the front end felt “disconnected” at low speed when he pulled it out of the shop and around front to the sales floor (he rides a 2010 GL1800). He also said at 6’5″ his knees hit the fairing.

      I’m supposed to ride it next Tues or Wed weather depending. It’s been raining here for days and days. Lots of flooding right now in Ohio valley.

  6. Jack says:

    I’d also like your impression of the manual as that is what I ordered.

  7. ABQ says:

    I wish that Honda would make a factory trike of the Goldwing. With the DCT they would put Canam out of business.

    • dude says:

      canam is doing that themselves.

    • BoxerFan says:

      I have wanted the NeoWing since the minute it hit the press, much more than a non-tilting Spyder F3. Pare this new ‘Wing down to F6C Valkyrie specs, and convert the front to tilting-control-arms with two front wheels like the NeoWing concept showed… give it some less angry-transformer styling than the concept… perhaps a bit of fresh thinking like Vultus, but better executed, and I’ll be in line to buy it.

  8. Rick Petrus says:

    My 2006 FJR1300ES has pushbutton shifting which helps my wonky left hand. It has removable sidebags and top box which the Honda does not. I can go 300 miles on a tank of gas. While I love the styling (reminds me of the new, now discontinued ST1300), I’ll keep my FJR. Maybe my hair’s not gray enough…..😀

    • dude says:

      My Concours 14 has SCT (Single Clutch Transmission) with 6 manual gears and a F.I.M. to control the fuel flow. when i want to go faster i rotate the F.I.M. (fuel input mechanism) rearward which sends more gas and air to the engine. when i want to cruise i rotate the F.I.M. forward a little bit and the mileage goes up dramatically. works great.

      • Dino says:

        My favorite blend of control systems. My Vstrom has the same, and has worked great for over a decade. And the range is probably better than this Goldwing. (Nowhere near as nice, but better range)

  9. joe b says:

    My VFR1200 has DCT. I feel your pain brother, when you say you are still in the awkward stage with its DCT. Hint, unable to ‘feather the clutch’, try manual mode, and drag the rear brake, the brake then becomes the ‘feather’, to keep the bike upright in tight turns, or sensitive hilly conditions. And for the trans not downshifting when passing, try using the downshift paddle on the left grip. It took me a few months to become familiar with the peculiarities of the DCT (riding mc for 50+ years), so I can see your anticipation as what to do, doesnt come natural, as it would with a regular trans. Good thing for the traction control, as I still reflex into grabbing for the clutch lever (which is not even there), to keep the front end from going over, as the TC stacatto brings the front end down instead.

    • VFR Marc says:

      Yeah, so maybe it’s not about how bad the DCT is but about learning to ride with it. Good input, joe b.

      • joe b says:

        Yes. Dont get me wrong, with a manual transmission on a motorcycle, I more than most use the clutch all the time, and in ways others wrinkle their eyes and respond, “I don’t do that”. It was difficult to relearn what worked on the DCT. I would often simply shift to neutral before coming to a stop, and often clutched when coming out of a turn in a higher gear (an old MX pro technique, that just makes it smoother, especially if a passenger is on board), and always used the clutch when shifting. NO way, on the DCT. One peculiar feature, is you cant put it in neutral when rolling from previously being in gear, and you cant put it in gear if you start rolling (like leaving on a hill). After a while, one learns to use the paddle shifters, they are your friends (they work both in manual and in automatic, much like my car). Another is make sure its in neutral, if you want to rev it at a light, or like any car with automatic in gear, it goes (and like right now). I have learned to really like mine. I really dont think its an asset for beginners, sadly i see so many long time enthusiasts berate it, without ever riding one. Starter buttons had the same resistance, now no one wants a bike with only a KS.

        • ApriliaRST says:

          > One peculiar feature

          It sounds to me like there are quite a few peculiar features. I have a VW with a dual-clutch auto and while it works fine with four wheels, there is no way I’d ever opt for one on a motorcycle just because of low-speed idiosyncrasies. On the VW, putting the car up onto ramps to change out the oil is a skill to master, that never can be fully mastered.

          • sliphorn says:

            Quite a few peculiar features? No way. Low speed idiosyncracies? No way. Drag the brake. I bought my NC700 DCT last spring and put 13,000 miles on it in one riding season in Chicagoland. I think a lot of you guys might be over thinking this whole DCT thing. If you’re a gear head minded individual, you’ll figure it out in no time at all. I think it’s brilliant. And yes, the paddle shifters are your friend. Easy peasy!!

          • joe b says:

            Yes, using the engine power to power the bike up a ramp, is more difficult than a simple manual transmission with hand clutch. Its the engagement and disengagement of the power, that one cannot control. In a riding environment, the DCT proves to be unfamilar in possibly 5% of the time. One begins to learn what is needed and adapts. One feature, in that it will downshift seamlessly in a turn without disrupting the lean in, or turn in, during a turn, is fascinating to experience. Something a manual transmission is impossible to accomplish. I should point out, talking about the 5% of peculiar unfamiliar situations, leaves the other 95% of good stuff, out of the conversation. Saying they cannot be mastered, is leaving out the fact that this, full mastering, cannot be accomplished either with a manual transmission.

          • todd says:

            Joe, I have often down-shifted seamlessly mid corner without disrupting lean-in or the turn or anything using a manual transmission. I don’t understand why you think it’s impossible. Have you ever heard of rev-matching? Or double clutching when in a car to rev match?

          • joe b says:

            Yes, “rev matching”. You make it sound like you never rode a DCT? With the DCT, its instantaneous, not like when you hand clutch and it takes seconds. Thats what I mean my seamless. Sure, many can master the downshift, and get it done without disrupting the turn. The dct does in much less time, up or down, its a completely different level of shift. You would have to ride one to understand, it seems.

          • joe b says:

            Poor word choice, me saying “impossible”, many will think they are really good at it, and probably are. Its different with a DCT, when entering a corner, and you tap the front brake, and all you hear is a different tone of the engine, as it smoothly downshifts (in a microsecond). I should not have said impossible, the DCT is different. Its not for everyone.

          • todd says:

            It takes much less than a second to blip the throttle and downshift a manual seamlessly. It is done easily and second nature to those who have been riding for some time. No need to squeeze the front brake in the corner to get it to shift either, that would upset the lean and traction – even on a dct.

      • Dave says:

        Why all the talk about the dct. I think it’s a nice option but it is an option you can buy the bike with a manual 6 speed transmission. If I bought on I would pass on the dct but I know they work great and if that is what you want you have a choice.

        • todd says:

          Because we’ve already seen this in the automotive market. Now, hardly anyone offers a manual transmission – and if it is, it’s only available on the stripper versions with the little engines. They say it’s because automatics sell more but have you ever seen a manual for sale at a dealership? The dealers might have one but you’d have to give up the turbo or the AWD, the navigation, no moon roofs, or “sport” trim packages. The dealers and manufacturers are killing off the manual and blaming it on the customers. The number one selling car of all time was the VW beetle at over 20 million sold. None of them were automatics (well, they offered an automatic in ‘68 and it failed to sell).

          • mickey says:

            My son drives a 2018 manual 6 speed 2.0 turbo Accord.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            It’s not the manufacturers or dealers. Consumers killed off manuals. We are probably about the same age, and I certainly recall when even in the late 1990s nearly every trim of nearly every vehicle could be had with a manual. People just stopped buying them. I remember reading a few years ago that over 3/4 of 911 buyers want an automatic. If that isn’t telling, then nothing is. Hell even F1 teams don’t want their drivers losing valuable fractions of seconds fiddling with a clutch. They can’t do it as well as the car came.

            We saw the movie in the automotive world, and we will almost certainly see it with motorcycles too. We’re a conservative lot, so it will take a bit longer. But it will happen.

            Automatics in the auto world perform better than humans. There is no denying that. One day, probably soon, it will be true of motorcycles, too. I don’t know if I will ever be a fan, but I know it is coming.

  10. Rick Petrus says:

    As long as the luggage bags are not removable, this is not for me. My FJR1300ES fills the bill for my wonky left hand, and I can carry the bags into the hotel after a wonderful day of touring with the missus. And with our trunk bag with backrest, we have the same luggage space. Throw in the tankbag and I think we got this bike beat. Love the evolution of this bike though. Maybe if my hair was a little grayer…….?

    • ApriliaRST says:

      > I can carry the bags into the hotel

      Why would you carry the bags into the room when you can just remove the liners and carry them in?

      • Rick Petrus says:

        Personally don’t like liners but that’s my choice. I figure they take up some precious space. Just my perception. I also like the look of my bike without the bags on for day trips. That way, the bags aren’t subject to the constant barrage of bugs we have in Northern Ontario. So that’s why I’d hesitate getting a wing. But, having said that, I’d still consider it.

        • foster says:

          Bag liners are the ONLY way to go. Why hassle removing the hard bags, carrying the extra weight, possibly banging them on something as you make your way into the motel? Not to mention the ease of packing the liner and just dropping it into the hard bag, where it will conform to fit. Been using them on my ST1100 since 1995.

    • My2cents says:

      The level performance would shock and if you test rode one you might just buy in.

  11. Don says:

    People saying that they’re not bothered by the lack of luggage capacity are obviously not touring with their wife/girlfriend. If I was touring alone why would I want a Goldwing with a trunk/backrest at all? FJR1300, BMW 1600GT/Bagger & 1200RT all come to mind first.

    • mickey says:

      My wife has gone nearly everywhere with me for the last 44 years. She knows how to pack light too. I give her 2/3 of the available space and I take 1/3. We are not adverse to doing a load of laundry in the evening at the hotel, or in the summer washing our light weight hi tech stuff including shirts, shorts and socks in the motel sink and letting it dry over night. 3 outfits is more than you need for an indeterminable time on the road. Weeks.

      • My2cents says:

        Agree completely too much extra stuff being hauled along “just in case”. Phones have replaced cameras, textile gear has 3 season rating, heated seat and grips extend that more. Two up with camping gear might require a trailer, but was true with the previous unit. Freedom to ride implies leaving at least some of your crap at home.

        • warprints says:

          Phones have replaced cameras!!! The horror! I still wag around a DSLR, appropriate glass, filters, etc.

          • My2cents says:

            I carried a two SLR cameras on trips and spent considerable time waiting to develop and then sort and set into albums. Then once or twice a year haul those pictures out for friends to see. My phone allows me to do all that internationally in seconds.

          • Bob K says:

            Actually that is horror. Phones take such crap pictures IMO I would never trust my long term memories to one. I still use a point-n-shoot digi-cam with a much more acceptable lens array. Not DSLR quality for sure but very acceptable for viewing even on a 4k TV.
            It’s those crap lenses in phones and so-so modes that keep me from using it for pictures other than for pics of friends so their faces show up when they’re calling.

          • joe b says:

            Bob K, you need to look at the better phones that have the newest camera specs. I think you would be impressed. Especially if you dont shake the camera when pressing the button.

  12. My2cents says:

    Had my first look at the new GL and I am so impressed. There is nothing that Honda hasn’t refined and the package is like a slightly oversized ST 1300, but with more passenger room and much lower CG. Anyone finding fault in this touring motorcycle simply isn’t cut out for this segment or level of spending. Honda has defined touring for 38 years and this unit is clearly the best of the best.

  13. Bob says:

    I scrutinized one of these in a dealership this past weekend, and I have to say I was shocked at how beautifully refined this bike is. Every piece of it has a perceived quality of material and design unlike anything I’ve ever seen on a motorcycle. Amazing.

  14. ben says:

    I personally don’t give a rats ass about smaller tank and luggage capacities. The touring capability of this bike is still second to none. Leave the kitchen sink at home.

    I knew there was no way I would ever buy the previous GL1800 because it looks like a barn door on wheels, a mammoth, pregnant musk ox of a bike. I hear people say it handles great and feels much lighter but I never got past the behemoth appearance, and really did not want to get past it. This new GL1800 I can say with absolute certainty will be in the garage sooner or later. To me, it has been nipped and tucked just enough.

    I just hope Honda continues to offer the manual transmission for those of us who prefer to ride the motorcycle in a normal way. I do not care at all about auto transmissions, and will never , ever buy a bike with an auto trans

    • Gham says:

      I don’t really care for the DCT version myself but if that’s what it took to let me or anyone else keep riding for an extra couple years then kudos to Honda for the continued development.

      • joe b says:

        Dont be fooled into thinking the DCT is for someone who cant use a manual clutch. I have been riding mc for over 50 years now, untold number of brands models, my VFR DCT is not inherently for someone who cant shift anymore, Think of it more like paddle shifters on a F1 or Indy Car, with the DBW blipping when you shift. Its smooth as silk.

  15. mickey says:

    while I’ve only got to sit and play with the buttons and levers on one in the showroom I will test ride one when it’s no longer February in Ohio. Don’t mind getting my personal bike dirty but not going to do it to the dealers bike. I was surprised how easy it was to lift off the side stand and how easy to put it on the center stand. Much easier than my current ST 1300 in both cases. There are a ton of buttons and switches on this thing. I was surprised how much travel there was on the windshield since it’s reported to be about 1/2 of that on the ST but it went up really high. I thought the windshield was kind of squared off and could have been shaped more attractively but maybe it works great square. The trunk lid was fiddly and didn’t want to close easily. I’ve seen that happen in videos too. I had plenty of room to sit, but then I’m a munchkin. The set up man at the dealer is 6’4″? and said his knees hit the fairing when sitting on it (he rides a 2010 GL1800). I’m not bothered as many are with the reduced gas capacity and luggage capacity. I know how to pack light, and as long as it will go 200 miles there will be gas available. I suppose old wingers will still pull their trailers with a bunch of crap in them, like grills and lawn chairs and cleaning supplies.

    Really looking forward to a test ride, however I don’t know that I am mentally prepared to spend $30,000 for a motorcycle.

  16. WSHart says:

    Cool. Smaller luggage and fuel capacity will keep me from buying one. Of course Honda made the tank on the Africa Twin too small the first year and now you can get a “special edition” AT with a larger tank. Go figure.

    And yeah, I am aware of the 20% better fuel economy claim but really now, other than “making the bike lighter”, why would they reduce the size of the tank? Same with the bags. Smaller bags? What? I don’t want to buy stuff on a tour? Most Wingers are fat folk and to be honest, they could stand to lose more than a few pounds. The bike is lighter but I don’t carry the bike, it carries me. I think that 1.5 gallons of fuel is approximately 9 or so pounds and if you got 45 mpg that would’ve taken you another 67.5 miles. Out here in the west, that is called peace of mind.

    Maybe within a year or two Honda will have a “special edition” Goldwing with a 7 gallon tank and bigger bags/trunk. If not, I will just get a convertible car for spring/summer tours and ride my other bikes. Others can buy and enjoy this new ‘wing. Good for them.

    A loaded Miata (to name just one vehicle that can easily replace the new Wing) will do the same and more as a Goldwing. No, it ain’t a bike but when there’s a monsoon in the Arizona desert I won’t mind that at all.

    • xootrx says:

      The Honda website claims the total luggage capacity is 110 litres. I tour with 100 litres of luggage, and it’s plenty, with room to spare. If more is needed, you could bring along a soft, weather proof duffel, and lash it to the seat, or to the optional top case rack. 5.5 gallons at 45 mpg will get you over 240 miles. There’s absolutely no where “out west” where this shouldn’t provide peace of mind. If you actually rode somewhere, you’d be aware of this. Get out there and get some saddle time, and quit making judgments by what you read in the motorcycling press.

      • Bob K says:

        I’m guessing you’ve never traveled east to west the length of the Canada/USA border and even a couple hours south of it. Plenty of times that I rolled into gas stations only to find they closed for the day. Not just at 5 or 6 pm. Some days, they apparently don’t don’t open up at all. And a few needed pump repairs, so no gas for the week.
        Same with the coast from Maine to the tip of Nova Scotia and definitely across Newfoundland. Stations close early or don’t open at all and even the pumps are shut off, so no using the debit card to fuel up even if the store is closed. Labrador, you need 350 solid miles per tank for peace of mind even when stations are open.
        I made a habit of carrying a few MSR fuel bottles after these experiences and knowing what I was up against, having done Houston to Anchorage and Fairbanks 3 times and the Trans-Lab. I even had to camp out in Texas to wait for fuel once. Nothing was open between El Paso and Ft. Stockton and when I got into Ft. Stockton, the only station with a working pump was closed for the night (but that was a long time ago). And that was 240 miles…so 1 tank and all 3 of my MSR bottles.
        South of the border, forgetaboutit. Better strap on a 5 gallon can to the rear rack. Having been all over Central America as far as the Panama Canal, sometimes you need to wait til the end of the week for a family in the middle of nowhere to drive back from town with 100 gallons that they use for their generator so they can have very limited electricity for the month.

        • mickey says:

          I have ridden 42 states (including all the western ones), 2 Provinces of Canada and 5 countries in Europe and never come close to running out of gas, or not finding it, within a 200 mile range. I did turn around once in Washington state heading into Oregon and rode back to a station to fill up because there was a sign that said next gas 77 miles and I was down to 1/2 tank.

          Never been south of the US border so can’t speak about that.

          What bike has a 350 mile range? My ST 1300 doesn’t even have that and it has a 7.7 gallon tank. At 40 mpg you’d need almost 9 gallons to do 350 miles. I can’t think of a single bike produced that has a 9 gallon tank. If you need that kind of range you need to pack a bunch of those MSR bottles.

          • Tom R says:

            I’m guessing you never had to cross Siberia to fetch a new kitchen sink for your former Soviet gulag hut. Let me tell ya’, I was glad to have the previous version Gold Wing at the time.

          • ATBScott says:

            I have run well over 300 miles per tank on my ’97 R1100RT, once clicking in 361 miles when I tippy-toed into a gas station in Montana. Planned on getting gas at a previous town about 70 miles earlier, but they were closed. I still had .4 gallons of my 6.6 gallon tank left, but the light had been on for quite a while. That last 70 miles was run at 55mph but the previous 290 or so had been at fun speeds. This old bike still amazes me what type of mileage it gets.

          • mickey says:

            Scott, that’s almost 60 mpg. Few touring bikes get 60 mpg. R1200RT owners on average report 45 mpg.

          • Tom R says:

            Perhaps it was downhill with a tail wind.

          • Bob K says:

            My Guzzi Stelvio NTX had a 8.5 gallon tank and I could get up to 370 per tank if I’m conscious of my speed. I regularly got between 41 to 47 mpg with the hard cases.
            I also stated that I carried a few MSR bottles just-in-case.
            Also, in all those states you’ve ridden, it really depends on what roads you’re taking. If you’re on every single stretch of popular pavement, then, no, you won’t run out of stations. I tend to stay off the major roads once I’ve gotten the hell out of Texas. I get through it as fast as possible, then I explore. Try going anywhere north in central Canadastan. Lots of places go nowhere as I discovered trying to get as close to Nunavut as I possibly could.

    • Tom R says:

      Why would you want a Miata when a Chevy Suburban has a bigger fuel tank and much more luggage capacity? 🙂

    • LordBeal says:

      So, what bike do you take touring?

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “when there’s a monsoon in the Arizona desert I won’t mind that at all.”

      don’t fear the reaper OR the monsoon. it’s all part of the adventure.

  17. Jodyz says:

    This model (Tour with DCT) is at the top of my list for a summer purchase along side a BMW R1200RT. Looking forward to test riding both this Summer when I get back Stateside.

  18. Provologna says:

    Sorry this is only barely related. Last night she who cooks and I watched “6 Days” movie about a terrorism event in the Iranian Embassy, London, circa 1980. In one still non-action scene, for a solid few seconds, an absolutely gorgeous London Police BMW R100RT was center screen, parked on its side stand.

    Ages ago I owned a nice BMW R90/6, black/white stripe, with color matched rear trunk and Don Vesco designed Windjammer SS fairing. Even with sky high gearing, IIRC <3k RPM @ 70mph, top gear torque with my giant self on board was phenomenal, flying by cages on the freeway like they dropped anchor. Suspension was exactly like Cycle Magazine of the era described, the plushest money could buy, exceeding that of the same era's Gold Wing by a country mile (the usual Japanese culprit of the era, stiction).

    That R90 always exceeded 50mpg, even flying from SF to Disneyland 2-up with camping gear. And believe me I considered it a personal challenge to break that barrier.

    I presume I'd prefer an R1200RT more than that old R90/6, but that old ride still conjures fond memories.

    Re. this new GW: once in a while Honda really shocks the senses with their engineering might and bravado, and this is definitely one of those times.

    I’m reminded of something like the old Jensen Interceptor GT cage, but of course this Honda has state of the art engineering which no British car ever had. Stunning!

    • mickey says:

      I think you might be mistaken about one thing. Don Vesco never designed the Windjammer fairings, they were designed by Craig Vetter. As a matter of fact Don Vesco’s own line of Rapid Transit fairings were designed by Matt Guzzeta I believe.

    • steveinsandiego says:

      i couldn’t determine whether “cooks” applied to the kitchen or bedroom….or both 😉

      yep, the new wing’s a looker alright, but i’ve never hankered for long-distance cruisin’. a hundred miles a day two or three days a week easily satiates my riding desires.
      during my two decades of mc’ing i never threw much dough into the hardware….with a couple of add-ons my 05 kawi vulcan 1600 cost new, givertake, $11k otd. the other four scoots, new or nearly new, subtracted from my checking account between $4500 and $8200.
      these days, as i’m pushing 70, the 2018 kawi ninja 400 is quite enticing, or maybe the z650.

    • Tim Rowledge says:

      I’m rather avoiding “6 days” (yay Netflix) because I was there and I’m not sure I want to see how much they break the story. If I remember rightly they do have The Hero blasting through London on a Harris. Almost accurate.

      • Provologna says:

        Fireman in a big busy city for 28 years. Fictional on-screen fire scenes are, well, fictional. Strangely, to your point of authenticity, the fire scenes in that movie were among the most accurate I’ve seen.

        What’s it like inside a fire building? Cover your closed eyelids with your hands. It’s often pitch black even at noon on a sunny day. For persons lacking SCBA, every mucus generating facial orifice drains like a wide open faucet.

  19. 5229 says:

    As have ridden the New Gold Wing myself I would be inclined to agree with Dirk’s report. I might add the ride quality on the new Wing is spectacular. The weird feeling of the front end goes way once you have ridden the bike for a bit. At that point it feels normal, no big deal at the end of day. Honda is going to and currently is going to sell a lot of these New gold Wings. Great Job.

    • Bob K says:

      Having owned 3 BMWs with telelever and duo-lever, I’d likely say I would enjoy the new GW’s steering. Of course, It’s all in the execution, not the concept.
      That said, if there ever was a weird feeling front end from Honda, it was the one on the Rune. Fine in a straight line but steered like crap, even on a long, lazy sweeper. But man! I really liked the look of it.

  20. Grover says:

    Too bad about the transmission. I would still rather select my own gears than have a computer decide for me. Other than that, it looks to be the premier touring matchine of 2018.

    • Dirck Edge says:

      Manual transmission models are available.

      • Hot Dog says:

        Dirck, I’ve got a VFR w/DCT and I like the sport mode the best. I’m looking forward to your long term report.

    • sliphorn says:

      You can select your own gear at any time by either over riding the system when in automatic mode by using the paddle shifters or by putting the system in manual mode and using the paddle shifters exclusively.

      • Bob K says:

        You still don’t have a clutch to slip for low speed maneuvers such as u-turns.

        • LordBeal says:

          The DCT Wing has a “walking speed” mode specifically for that. It even works in reverse!

          • TimC says:

            Cool but I’m still really skeptical about this without a clutch….

          • mickey says:

            I was skeptical for a long time about having a motorcycle that didn’t have a kick starter. Honestly. It all worked out ok in the end though.

          • todd says:

            How is dct related to kick starting? To me, being able to completely control the power delivery on a motorcycle is a benefit. Paying extra for something that tries to replicate that – poorly – is a deficit. Why would you ever put up with a transmission that isn’t in the gear you want it to be in when it’s so easy to do with an immensely less complex and extremely more practical manual transmission?

            One day, throttles will become controlled by the computer too. The bike will determine the most appropriate power output for the road conditions and do it all for you so you won’t have to suffer with twisting your wrist like “in the old days”. Won’t that be awesome?

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            What makes you think that you can’t choose the gear you want? Yes, you can run the dct in full auto if you want, or you can handle gear selection yourself.

          • mickey says:

            todd..Tim said he was skeptical about not having a clutch.. when bikes came out without kick starters we were skeptical about not have one of those too

            it worked out not having a kick starter, it will work out not having a clutch.

        • sliphorn says:


          Right, but as near as I can tell my DCT equipped NC700 seems to do that (slip clutch) at very low throttle input. There is an area of engagement, if you will, that allows you to creep along at next to nothing m.p.h. with no bucking, hiccuping, or other unpleasant behaviors. I have never been able to do low speed maneuvers as smoothly on any of the standard transmission bikes I’ve owned over the years as compared to my DCT. I imagine the 7 speed DCT in this new Wing is even more refined than my 6 speed DCT. It takes more than just a quick ride or two to fully know how to best utilize the DCT to its max, and to fully appreciate it. I have become a believer in the Honda DCT and think it is great.


        • Jeremy in TX says:

          You can drag the brake. Same result.

          • sliphorn says:

            You are correct Jeremy. Thanks for pointing that out; that is exactly what I do.

          • joe b says:

            Yes, that seems to be the key to slow speed turns, using the rear brake to “feather”, rather than the clutch. Works for me. I have gotten into the habit, of sizing up where I am, before i end up in a difficult exit path. this often only requires me to go round the gas pumps, first coming in, with a more thoughtful exit path, than stopping at the first convenience, then realizing the exit is difficult. (much like one does when riding with a passenger, or driving a car pulling a trailer).

      • Grover says:

        Quote- “it is clear that it has a ways to go when it comes to “reading the mind” of the rider. We left the transmission in Tour mode (there is also Sport and Rain), and we could feel when it attempted to adapt to our needs by holding a gear longer, or downshifting earlier, for instance. At times, it did not kick down to a lower gear for passing the way we would have preferred, but overall it did a good job.”

        It seems to me that the bike is making decisions that would bother the rider, especially on a motorcycle. I really don’t want a bike holding a gear longer than I want or not kicking down a gear when I need it to (that’s even irritating in a car!) I’m sure I would get used to it’s idiosyncrasies, but one thing I really enjoy about motorcycling is shifting. I know, kind of hard to believe anyone would like to shift but that’s me. Glad there is a manual shifter available as this looks to be a great tourer.

        • joe b says:

          It has paddles, one for upshift, one for downshift, with the DBW doing the blipping. I would downshift twice, and back up, with a DCT, by the time you could downshift once, and if you were a passenger on the bike with me, it would not jerk you around, us hitting helmets. (more likely it would when using a manual trans). Think F1 or Indy car, ever watch them coming into a turn and blip, blip, blip, blip, smooth as silk. Same on the upshifts… the paddles override the auto, or can be used in manual mode. You decide when it shifts. I think with time, you or anyone, especially this tester (let Mr. Ivins trash it) will begin to see the advantages…

  21. Tom K. says:

    I could probably find the answer to this on Honda’s website, but are the “sportier” Gold Wing derivatives (F6?) also redesigned, or will those come later? I always wanted to test ride the old naked Honda Wing (Valkyrie) but never got the chance. Over the years, there have been some good looking prototypes of a new naked Gold Wing, but I guess there wasn’t enough enthusiasm to bring it to market.

    • Stuki Moi says:

      They sell a regular “Gold Wing,” non-“Tour” that is basically a new version F6b: No “tourpack”/backrest, and a shorty windshield.

      I believe; and perhaps Dirck knows the answer to this; that the whole “tourpack” section of the “Tour” version can be dismounted on this iteration. Effectively turning the Tour into a bagger as well, for when that is all the luggage and passenger accommodation you need.

      No Valkyrie yet. Based on experiences with K BMWs’ similarly configured front end, and on comments suck as Dirck’s, I’m not sure such a thing is really what Dr. Honda should prescribe for a bike intended as more of an urban, short haul “barhopper.”

      • Bubba Blue says:

        This site alluded to that in a prior article, but it was either misspoken or the author declined to elaborate on that feature, if it exists.

        I’d like to know.

        • Bill says:

          I was told it is a four hour job to remove or add the tail trunk because of the electrical connections.

  22. downgoesfraser says:

    You should also say that pictures don’t do it justice.

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