Honda Gold Wing
Honda Gold Wing
Honda Gold Wing
2006 Honda Gold Wing
by Kirk Johnson
as tested $21,799
new Honda Gold Wing has come a long way from the 1975 GL1000.
The new 1,832cc engine delivers more power and is more luxurious
than ever before. If you like cruising and luxury, then you must
check out this new Gold Wing. While style might be a given for
the Honda Gold Wing, the performance and handling of this machine
was a true find that I did not expect.
2001, they completely redesigned the Gold Wing from the ground
up. The whole look of the Gold Wing has changed from big comfy
tourer to a sportier long distance machine designed to appeal
to the younger rider as well as existing Gold Wing owners.
GL1800 for 2006 comes in four variations. The first is with the
Premium Audio package, which has six speakers and an 80 watts
per channel external amplifier. The Gold Wing Audio/Comfort package
model adds (in addition to the audio package mentioned) heated
grips and a heated saddle (separate controls for front and back)
and warm air flaps in the lower exhaust cowls. The Audio/Comfort/Navi
package adds a flash-card based GPS system to the other options.
The top of the line model is the Audio/Comfort/Navi/ABS package,
yes even an ABS braking system. An airbag system is promised during
the 2006 production run. Other changes include larger radiators
and cooling fans, better rubbers between the engine guards and
exhaust cowls, new rear trunk and saddlebag lights, face lifted
meter panel and instruments, and bigger rear speaker pods.
1832cc liquid-cooled horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine
has a bore and Stroke of 74.0mm x 71.0mm. The Compression Ratio
is 9.8:1, Valve Train is a SOHC; two valves per cylinder. This
power plant that powers this machine is pretty impressive. Now
you add the 5-speed transmission, overdrive and electric reverse
with a rear wheel shaft drive and you have a pretty nice package.
This is one fast and smooth running cruiser.
Honda Gold Wing may weigh a little more (832 pounds) than the
Harley Ultra Classic Electra Glide (788 pounds), but check out
the specs on the performance side.The
Harley Ultra Classic has an 88 cu or 1,450 cc motor with 86 lbs
of torque. The Honda comes in with the 1832 cc motor and 125 lbs
of torque with 118 HP at the rear wheel.
about all of the luxury items and creature features, I just want
the Gold Wing up to Bartlett Lake was a real treat. I found the
cruiser to be very light on its feet. Underway, this bike drives
like a middleweight sport bike. The bike is no lightweight, but
with the low center of gravity the bike is very agile. While in
traffic you can change lanes and move in traffic at will without
thinking about it. The day that I road the Gold Wing it was a
bit chilly. The first thing that I did was turn on the handle
grip heater and the seat heater. Wow, this helps a lot. Yeah,
I know, you iron butts out there must think I am a wuss. No, I
am now older and know better. I get along just fine without these
luxuries, but, if available, I will use them and I was glade that
Navi features a fully integrated, flash-card based Honda Satellite-Linked
Navigation system along with an optional CD and changer. About
the only feature that I did use was the awesome stereo. I listened
to some great tunes while headed north to the lake for a great
afternoon on the new Honda.
motorcycle had more buttons
then the Piper Arrow that I used to fly. All of the features are
almost overwhelming, but the performance and ride were straightforward
and it was a great surprise. I am sure that after spending time
with the bike, all of these features would become second nature.
With the short time that I had with the ride, it would be too
time consuming to play with all of the features. I wanted to play
with the bike as a motorcycle.
thing that did stand out right after I got on the bike was the
seat. It was not only comfortable, but the seat back had great
support. I wish the chair that I am sitting in now had that much
support. A person could sit all day in that seat without having
to squirm around to find a way to get comfortable. When I pickup
the bike I told Aaron Genger, the GM at Canyon Honda, I would
return it in March. At the time I was only joking. Now I wish
I had it for rest of winter.
getting familiar with the bike I pushed it a little on some of
the corners. This bike is no Buell, obviously, but it would sure
run circles around any showroom stock touring Harley. The bike
is solid with turning and stopping and would blow any stock Harley
touring bike away. 125 lbs of torque really gives you a great
low-end response. From a standing start, you can lite up the rear
tire and smoke it. It does flat move out. I just did a search
with Google and found some numbers that seem realistic. They had
a stock 1800 Gold Wing turn a 12.78 et at 103 mph. It should fit
in around a number like that. Now remember, this is a stock touring
big difference with this ride was the sound. There is no thunder.
The sound of the engine and exhaust sounds like an exotic foreign
sports car. The 6-cylinder engine is very smooth and solid. It
has a great sound that you can get used to very easily. About
the only down side that I could see with this ride was the seat
height. It is 29.1 inches. I am a little guy, 5’ 8”,
and I find that I am on my toes at the stoplight. But should I
have to back it up – It does have a reverse gear.This reverse
gear makes this bike great for moving it around for a little guy
like me. I am sure you have at some time or other parked your
ride with the front wheel in a down slopping position. You know
what a pain it is to back it out of there.
returning from the lake I headed west on the 101. And yes I was
looking forward to that great on-ramp. What a treat, this thing
just moves out so nice. Three digits, on the on-ramp, were easy
for this beast. Didn’t seem like any effort at all. Just
the sound of the six cylinders singing like an expensive import
screaming down the on-ramp.
Cruiser, fun to ride. A bike that you could spend the day on with
ease. In fact you want to spend the day on it. It is very fast
and smooth! Price is not out of sight for all that you get. The
down side is no thunder. You do not really want that with this
ride. Although I have heard some custom Honda’s with after
market exhaust that sounded pretty good. But, no you can’t
get the low rumbling thunder that you get from a Harley. Plus,
if chrome is important, then you will not have all of the option
that you would have if you had a Harley. The Honda is heavy, but
with the reverse gear, this should not be much of a problem. You
could live on this bike with all of the storage, heating systems,
GPS and on and on.
Do not over look this ride if you are in the cruiser market.