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2006 Honda Gold Wing

2006 Honda
Gold Wing

Thanks to
Canyon Honda
for providing
the motorcycle

2006 Honda Gold Wing
Tubo V-Rod
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2006 Honda Gold Wing
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2006 Honda Gold Wing
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2006 Honda Gold Wing

Motorcycle Test Drive
Canyon Honda
2006 Honda Gold Wing

by Kirk Johnson
Dec. 2005

Price as tested $21,799

The 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.

In 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.

The 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.

The 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.

The 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.

Enough about all of the luxury items and creature features, I just want to ride

Road test

Riding 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 I did.

Also, 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.

This 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.

One 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.

After 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 bike.

One 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.

After 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.

Summary

Great 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.


Ride safe

Kirk

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without the permission of Kirk at phoenixbikers.com.