The Goldwing returneth

Rumours of its death have been greatly exaggerated

Despite the fact Honda stopped making Goldwings in its Ohio plant more than a year ago, it's still got enough of those 2009-built bikes in stock to satisfy the demand expected in the first part of 2011.

However, the firm has confirmed that production of the Wing will restart next year as, confusingly, a 2012 model.

The extended break in Goldwing production, which came about when the firm decided to stop making bikes in America last spring, had led to speculation that the Goldwing might never be reintroduced, but Honda now says that the next generation Goldwing will start to emerge from the production lines at its new Kumamoto factory in Japan during 2011. Surprisingly, though, the firm has also dismissed speculation that the Goldwing – which is now a decade old in its current form – will be replaced with an all-new model when the new factory is up and running.

Honda America says that all the original tooling for the Goldwing has been shipped to the new factory, so the Japan-built 2012 machine is likely to use the same basic platform as the current bike – retaining much the same flat six engine and aluminium chassis, although some bodywork modifications are expected.

The confusion over the firm's decision to brand the next bike as a “2012” model, despite production starting in 2011, means it's unclear when the firm will show the revised bike. It can't leave it until the shows in late 2011, as sales are expected to start next summer, but if it shows the bike at the Milan show in November this year, it will struggle to sell the stockpiled, 2009-built “2011” models.