Honda Gold Wing: The full-dress tourer that redefined touring luxury

Honda Gold Wing: The full-dress tourer that redefined touring luxury

The Honda Gold Wing is not just the definitive ‘full dress’ tourer. Since the original in 1975 and successive evolution into through 1000, 1100, 1200, 1500 and 1800cc forms it’s been one of the Japanese marque’s most influential machines.

The Gold Wing was also so innovative and influential it helped create the whole full-dress tourer class.

Since 2001, when it evolved into 1800cc form as the GL1800, the Gold Wing has been the sole remaining Japanese full-dress tourer. Given a complete makeover in 2018 the Gold Wing is now lighter, more powerful and more luxurious and sophisticated than ever, has been successively updated since and remains one of the best touring motorcycles you can buy.

History of Honda Gold Wing

1975-1979GL1000999cc flat four78bhp83Nm
1980-1982GL11001085cc flat four81bhp88Nm
1983-1987GL12001182cc flat four94bhp105Nm
1988-2000GL15001520cc flat six100bhp150Nm
2001-2017GL18001832cc flat six118bhp167Nm
2018-GL18001833cc flat six125bhp170Nm

Honda GL1800 Gold Wing 2018

The Honda GL1800 Gold Wing 2018 is the latest incarnation of the legendary Japanese full-dress tourer, bristles with technology and luxury and remains the benchmark bike of its type.

It was first unveiled towards the end of 2017, and then went on sale in 2018. Although sharing the same name as its 2001-2017 predecessor and has the same flat six engine configuration it shares no common parts. The all-new engine is lighter, more compact and more powerful. There’s an all-new chassis with ‘Hossack’ style front suspension. Its overall dimensions are more compact and lighter, and it bristles with the latest sophisticated technology including riding modes and TFT instrumentation.

Honda GL1800 Gold Wing DCT 2018

Alongside the all-new GL1800 Gold Wing of 2018 Honda also launched a second variant complete with Honda’s pioneering, semi-automatic ‘dual clutch transmission – or ‘DCT’ for short.

This novel and so far still unique system employs twin clutches and clever technology to allow the machine to be ridden with either a manual, but clutch lever-free, ‘paddle style’ gearshift or as a full automatic, with a variety of different modes. In every other respect the Honda GL1800 Gold Wing DCT 2018 is identical to the standard version.

Honda GL800 Gold Wing 2020-

The latest generation Honda GL1800 Gold Wing has received a series of notable updates since its 2018 launch.

In 2020 it received some updates to its fuel injection, colour changes and modifications.

In 2021 it was available as two models (plus DCT variants), the standard Gold Wing, without top box, and the fully-loaded Gold Wing Tour, both of which received further updates.

While for 2023, the flagship Tour version received another raft of technical updates along with new colours.

Honda GL1800 Gold Wing 2001-2017

The predecessor to the current GL1800 Gold Wing was launched in 2001, was the first 1800cc model and remained on sale for 17 years making it (so far) the longest lived of all Honda Gold Wings.

Although lacking the current model’s more nimble handling, manageability and high tech, the Honda GL800 Gold Wing Luxury remains the classic luxury full dress tourer, received a series of updates over its lifetime and even spawned a naked, ‘roadster’ version, the 2014 Honda Gold Wing F6C.

Further updates have been made to the Gold Wing in recent years, while there have also been hints of new technological advances including radar controlled cruise control likely to happen in the near future.

And with Honda’s flagship tourer approaching its 50th anniversary in 2025, the Gold Wing is certain to be around for many years to come.