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HONDA GL1800 GOLDWING (2001-on) Review

Published: 23 November 2006

Updated: 21 November 2014

"The kitchen sink, bells and whistles touring motorcycle"

HONDA GL1800 GOLDWING  (2001-on)

"The kitchen sink, bells and whistles touring motorcycle"

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

The Honda GL1800 Gold Wing is the kitchen sink, bells and whistles touring motorcycle. Looking for the best comfort for rider and pillion, max luggage space and a motorcycle that’ll make kids point and stare? You want a Honda GL1800 Gold Wing. Evolved from the late 70s GL1000 into the current intergalactic-cruiser incarnation. Plus there’s a huge social scene of Honda GL1800 Gold Wing owners too.

 

Watch the Honda Goldwing take on the Victory Vision, BMW's K1200LT and Harley-Davidson's Electra Glide

 

Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5

A high-tech aluminium chassis and less weight than the appearance might suggest means contrary to what you’d expect, the Honda GL1800 Gold Wing handles well. Yes a well ridden sportsbike will still crucify it but it’s still right nifty for a big girl. Brakes are linked and very effective. ABS on later Honda GL1800 Gold Wings is worth having.

Engine 4 out of 5

The Honda GL1800 Gold Wing is unique in the current mass-production motorcycle market in having six cylinders. It’s an opposed flat six arrangement which is smooth and never short of power. The Honda GL1800 Gold Wing may look like a barge but it’s got enough poke to shame plenty of sports cars and more mundane two-wheelers too. But be warned, fuel consumption can be quite high on the Honda GL1800 Gold Wing

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

Honda flagships with £17K price tags should be well put together. And the Honda GL1800 Gold Wing is. The engine’s pretty unstressed but corrosion can build in hidden areas so if buying used be prepared to lie down and have a good poke about underneath. Loads are big so the Honda GL1800 Gold Wing's chassis bearings can wear.

Insurance, running costs & value 4 out of 5

If you want a Honda GL1800 Gold Wing, not much else will do. If the new price tag’s too high, there’s a used Honda GL1800 Gold Wing for anyone with a couple of grand or more to spare. BMW’s K1200LT and R1200RT are cheaper but aren’t quite playing in the same ball park as the class-of-one Honda GL1800 Gold Wing. Find a Honda GL1800 Gold Wing for sale.

Insurance group: 15 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 5 out of 5

If you want it, a Honda GL1800 Gold Wing has it. Plus more. 147-litre luggage capacity. Six way adjustable heated seats for pillion and rider on the latest ‘comfort’ version Honda GL1800 Gold Wing, warm air vents for your feet... Official options on the Honda GL1800 Gold Wing include six CD stereo. Lists of unofficial ones fill phone books. An airbag equipped Honda GL1800 Gold Wing is on the way.

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2001
Year discontinued -
New price £24,999
Used price £8,000 to £34,000
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 15 of 17
Annual road tax £91
Annual service cost £400
Performance
Max power 116 bhp
Max torque 123 ft-lb
Top speed 120 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 12.1 secs
Average fuel consumption 38 mpg
Tank range 205 miles
Specification
Engine size 1832cc
Engine type 12v opposed flat six, 5 gears
Frame type Aluminium twin spar
Fuel capacity 25 litres
Seat height 740mm
Bike weight 363kg
Front suspension None
Rear suspension Preload
Front brake Twin 296 mm discs
Rear brake 316 mm disc
Front tyre size 130/70 x 18
Rear tyre size 180/60 x 16

History & Versions

Model history

2001: Honda GL1800 Gold Wing introduced.
2004: ABS model Honda GL1800 Gold Wing introduced. Power down to 116bhp from 119bhp.
2006: Lower emissions, new cruise control, ‘comfort pack’ available for Honda GL1800 Gold Wing.
2011: Honda refine range to offer only GL1800A Goldwing Deluxe

Other versions

None.

Owners' Reviews

9 owners have reviewed their HONDA GL1800 GOLDWING (2001-on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your HONDA GL1800 GOLDWING (2001-on)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.3 out of 5
Engine 4.8 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.1 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3.7 out of 5
Equipment 4.3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Compared to previous model Gold Wingless than useless.

02 November 2018 by Tony Brewin

The 2018 gold wing compared to previous model, frankly is a joke, and not fit for purpose. I’ve owned both machines. If Honda think they have built a better “touring machine” they are living in Cuckoo land. 1.Two people off for say a two week tour? the luggage capacity is woefully inadequate. 2. Can’t even get two helmets in this bike stored up. 3. Weather protection compared to previous model less than useless. On previous model I never even got hardly wet once over 30mph. The new model pathetic. 4. Comfort? On previous model I did many 1,000 and 1,200 mile day rides. (Yes, in a day) irodeback from Scotlandon 2018 bike to Sussex600 miles it so? I could have cried. 5. Sat Nav useless. Had to fit a Zumo. BikeSst Nav seizes up, works, doesn’t work. You could not possibly rely upon this Sat Nav to do a long tour. 6. Electronics on bike, fuel gauge, TPMS, and other items mostly don’t work. 7. Two new tyres needed and brake pads at 6,200 miles!!!!!! I’m 60 years old, a ten your old kid would pass me on a by cycle!!! On previous wing I averaged 10,000 from a tyre. 8. All this hype ref front suspension, is it any better? If it is I can’t detect it. I’ve done 8000 miles or so, I find it no better whatsoever. 9. Apple car play? Mostly useless. Got so tired of it just”dropping out” I’ve stopped using it. 10. Electric screen. Why does it not have a quick release mechanism so it’s easy to take off and wash clean both sides? 11. Locking mechanism for a helmet to side of bike franklynis a pathetic joke. DCT I love on my 2018 machine. The rest of it is no where near as good as previous model. I will (100% sure) return to earlier model. Check out Ebay and other places where they sell second hand bikes, loads of 2018 models already. Mine will be one of them shortly. I would never recommend this bike to my friends.

Ride Quality & Brakes
3 out of 5
Don’t find the ride (seat) as comfortable as previous model. Brakes are excellent. Overall ride is worse, seat and terrible weather protection.
Engine
5 out of 5
Engine like previous wing seems bomb proof, solid a class bit of kit
Build Quality & Reliability
3 out of 5
No corrosion or anything like that but continual electronic failures. It’s too early to see about corrosion
Value & Running Costs
1 out of 5
I have two years free servicing. However at 6,200 miles I needed two new tyres and new brake pads? You could run faster with a decent pair of shoes on than I ride. This is ridiculous and doesn’t even get me from One service too another. That said I got10,000 miles out of tyres on previous model wing. On this basis a hell of an expensive machine to run
Equipment
2 out of 5
Sat Nav, and general electronics less than useless.
Buying experience

I bought from my regular dealer. Great service nothing ever too much of a problem. 10/10. I’d return to buy other machines.

2 out of 5

Honda Gold Wing 2018: after 7400 miles

29 October 2018 by Tony

I have the 2018 model wing and had the previous 2012 model. After 7400 miles I am ready to let me new 2018 model go and replace it with a 2012 model. It’s no where (I mean no where as good as previous model) Luggage capacity is worthless Ride, weather protection less than useless compared to 2012 model Electronics unreliable Having spent a small fortune to buy it, it was a mistake, it is not a good touring machine and if Honda think they have made an improved machine they live in cuckoo land and don’t ride their own machines. I’ll end up losing thousands on getting rid of my 2028 machine. Compared to previous model It’s pathetic. That said the DCT? Is a love hate thing. Personally I love the DCT.

Ride Quality & Brakes
3 out of 5
Brakes are great. Ride quality not anywhere near as good as 2012 model. Not as comfortable (did 1200 mile days on previous wing) even 600 on this new 2018 model was a killer. Weather protection is useless compared to 2012 model.
Engine
5 out of 5
I have the 2018 model wing and had the previous 2012 model. After 7400 miles I am ready to let me new 2018 model go and replace it with a 2012 model. It’s no where (I mean no where as good as previous model) Luggage capacity is worthless Ride, weather protection less than useless compared to 2012 model Electronics unreliable Having spent a small fortune to buy it, it was a mistake, it is not a good touring machine and if Honda think they have made an improved machine they live in cuckoo land and don’t ride their own machines. I’ll end up losing thousands on getting rid of my 2028 machine. Compared to previous model It’s pathetic. That said the DCT? Is a love hate thing. Personally I love the DCT.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
DCT is fabulous.
Buying experience

Bought from a dealer who always look after me. Great dealer no gripes with them at all. They sell the bikes they don’t make them. Once again nonissues, no complaints, no gripes with me dealer. I’ll continue to buy from them.

5 out of 5

26 September 2018 by Adrian

Having had a 1500 and 2003 1800 this new one is in a different league . - handles and performs brilliantly with a host of great additions

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Can ride all day with no discomfort - effortless - the best touring bike ever - I also have a BMW1200RT
Engine
5 out of 5
DCT box a bit odd after 40 years of manual but having it on the new Wing would hate to go back to manual on a luxury touring bike. It performs brilliantly in all the driving modes
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
So new have not had service yet - a bit surprised at the insurance rate compared with my previous wing despite having Datatag and Datatool fitted - took insurance companies over a week to give me a quote probably because it was so new on the market.
Equipment
5 out of 5
Favourite features are the set up modes and the built in blue tooth
Buying experience

Bought from dealer at advertised price PX old Gold Wing

5 out of 5

Great experience

23 March 2018 by BenCon

After having had a gl 1800 for 10 years the new Goldwing is far superior in handling and ease of getting underway from a stop gone is the 1st gear surge in the throttle the riding modes enhance the motorcycles ability to deal with changing road and weather conditions overall very much pleased as bike feels much lighter and is easier to ride at slow speed due to good throttle control versus the older version.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Much smoother and has 30 mph head shake common on older models.
Engine
5 out of 5
Very smooth and powerful.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Only have owned a few weeks but everything works as it should.
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
Good stereo and GPS.
Buying experience

Very good knowledgeable staff.

2 out of 5

A great dissapointment for Honda's "Flagship" bike

10 June 2015 by Keith S

After only 12 months old and 5,000 miles ridden on the road the the bike is due for its 3rd set of wheels. Condensation marks on the inside of the headlamps, the reverse gear plays up especially after being ridden in the rain or being laid up for a month or so. The £3,000 radio system is not without its faults, poor reception in areas where I get great reception in my car. The intercom does not work it does not have a bluetooth facility.2 years on and there is still no GPS updates. The heated grips and seat take ages to warm up and Honda customer service UK is the poorest I have come across. I would not recommend this bike to any one, Honda are living in the past with this model when you compare it to the BMW GTL 1600. The only good points that come to mind are the engine and the comfortable seat

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
1 out of 5
scored down mainly for its poor quality
Value & Running Costs
2 out of 5
Air bag needs to be removed to change the air filter????? so a lot of thought put in to the design???
Equipment
3 out of 5
Plenty equipment to choose from but the most used is of poor reliability
Buying experience

bought from dealer

5 out of 5

Posted on behalf of Tony Brewin

22 October 2012 by MCN LiamM

I have read the MCN review of Honda Goldwing 2012 gl1800. I found it interesting and informative. I have just bought a new 2012 Goldwing myself and thought I would write my own review. Firstly I am new to Goldwings. Been hankering after one for some time and have now taken the plunge. My previous bike was a triumph rocket 111. I mention I am new to Goldwings just to convey the point I come with an open fresh mind without any ideas of what they have made good or destroyed from the past. In short I am brand new to the bike and come with an open mind. Size and Handling. Many will view a Goldwing and dismiss it on the point of size. It’s as simple as that. However, it really is quite startling how easy it is to ride and manage a Goldwing. It is NOT a difficult bike to handle throw around and or manoeuvre. It is startlingly easy. Too be frank I have ridden bicycles that are more difficult to ride. I was shocked to the core just how much you can throw this machine around. It goes exactly where it’s pointed with out any surprises. The quality of ride I feel has to be the best bike ride on the planet. It’s the first bike I've had with no sign of spine jarring or anything un-pleasant at all. A pure dream to ride, it really is a great dimension to this bike. Power and delivery of power. The six-cylinder engine is a well-tried and tested platform. Honda have used this again in the 2012 model for one simple reason. It works perfectly. It’s not broken why fix it. The delivery of power through the whole range and the ease at which it delivers the power….smooth as silk is I feel as good as it gets. I’ve never had a bike that delivers power through the whole range as silky smooth as a Goldwing. Gear change. Silky smooth, accurate no mistakes…it’s great. Seating and Comfort. Ten out of ten for both pilot and co pilot. Just great a fabulous comfortable bike. You can eat the miles on this bike eat them up easily and still be comfortable. Brakes. For a bike of this size (any size actually) the brakes do the job. I ride mine hard from time to time and like everyone else need stopping power. You have it, and also the stopping power is delivered in a controlled fashion. Screen. Some have whinged about the lack of a motorised screen. I guess nowadays this is asked for. For me, to be frank I find that once I found the position I want, the screen is left in that place. Accordingly the lack of a motorised screen for me is no big issues. None the less it’s easy and quick to change position if you so wish from time to time. Lighting. I had additional front lights fitted to mine. I find the lighting up to the job with the option of altering the angle of lighting very useful. Lights work, they do the job. Sat Nav. Works perfectly and works quickly. I have many sat navs that seem to take forever to trace satellites. Mine on the gold wing seems to be almost instant Intercom. I love an intercom on a bike and have fitted one to every bike I’ve had for years. To be able to talk clearly and easily to co-pilot is great. Music systems. Not much to say, works does the job, IPOD connectivity etc. Works fine. All the normal options, mute volume etc. Not much to say other than it works. Quality of sound is good. Lets not forget it’s a motorbike and not your lounge listening to classical performances. Styling. A lot of mentioned that they do not like the re-styled re-end. Personally I come new to the Gold wing and don’t view it as changing the past but bringing in the new. I really don’t have a problem with it. Panniers/Luggage holding. It’s about as good as it gets and as big as it gets. Too be frank when touring never have enough but this is as good as it gets. Central locking actually is great, quick easy effective. Now… the bad points. I am delighted that I can think of few. I have to say welcome to the world of 2012 and blue-toothed bikes (bikes of this budget quality) really, really should be blue toothed. This is a big let down by Honda. Big let down. Overall impressions. I think this bike depending on what you do for pleasure tear around town or long tours is the business. The Goldwing is great at both. It is a startling easy bike to ride around town and for long tours I just don’t think it gets any better. The power, the smoothness, the delivery of power through the range is as near to perfect as possible. This coupled with just the most comfortable ride is just incredible. In parts because it is just so good, it runs the risk of running of becoming a little bit too easy to ride. It just works so well. If I had a complaint, it’s a stupid complaint, it’s just that the bike is so smooth so easy to ride it’s actually a “Bit Scooterish” Bizarre that may sound but this is not a monster of a bike to control it’s a real pussycat. I’m no pro writer; these are my own scrawlings with my own experience of a new wing. Anyone who says they don’t like a gold wing or don’t rate them as a great machine could not have ridden one. You may argue about price and that is a matter for us all to debate. No argument it’s a lot of money. However, the pleasure and life expectancy the mileage these machines can do, for many make it a must have. Other machines will come and challenge and that’s the way of the market place, that’s how things get better. However, don’t go writing the Goldwing off just because BMW are testing it and challenging it. Goldwing? Yeah….it’s a class bike. Not for everyone that’s for sure. However, I can’t think of a machine I’d rather own.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

NEW 1800 JUST GOT IT FROM NORTONWAY HONDA SUPERB

29 July 2012 by sportsboyuk

CONTACT STEPHEN WELLER, ALSO THANKS TO BRUCE these guys gave a great customer experience and the bike is different feels better crisper, smoother, more refined, better handling and a great sound system and much better navigation. is it worht 24k yes nothing rides, lasts,like a honda goldwing my bmw before it was crude by comparison and GTL1600 may be faster but thats not what touring is about the NEW GOLDWIING 1800 IS THE ROLLS ROYCE OF BIKE END OF NOTHING ELSE COMES CLOSE. GET TO NORTONWAY HONDA LETCHFIELD GREAT DEALER SAY JAMIE SENT YOU AND GET THE BEST WHY SETTLE FOR ANYTHING LESS. SORRY BMW NO MATCH FOR THE GOLDWING SIMPLE.RIDE THE BIKE OF YOUR LIFE HONDA GL 1800 2012.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

love it love it

13 May 2012 by sportsboyuk

never thought i would say this but after years on sports bikes i now have a Gold Wing 1800 1 week old, and i can say it is amazing for its size easy to ride fun and relaxing i really love it. It proves you can just as much fun without getting your knee down and she handles well for such a big bike ask the guys on there 1250 bandits, FZ1 who i went round on three corners when we stopped they laughed and said shit you can handle that well we were playing and you outhandled us scrape, scrape awsome bike. be safe enjoy riding.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
4 out of 5

Tarnished gold

28 May 2009 by g18pmh

My GL1800 Goldwing is now six years old and is a low mileage machine for its age. In the main I have to agree with MCN’s verdict on this machine while it is new, it is definitely a big reassuringly comfortable finger magnet, if you like that sort of thing. I bought mine to go places and explore the many off the beaten track places that are all too often missed by the masses, both here and abroad. Having such a big mile muncher has enabled me to travel huge distances with only the mildest of discomfort, probably no more than one would get while driving a car. I also tool around on it occasionally surprising many other riders that dare to keep up with me. Ok, its not fast with a top speed somewhere around 115 - 125 mph, but who can get up to top speed between speed cameras now days anyway? Its also very good at filtering in slow traffic especially on motorways, it is better than having blues and two’s when traffic parts like the proverbial wave as I approach. If you do enjoy a nice bit of country lane and give it the beans, 25 mpg or less is a likely outcome. Stick to a French toll road or motorway with the cruse control switched on and you will get in excess of 55 – 60 mpg giving you the ability to get places. You will also get to see some sports bike riders pass you time and time again as they regularly stop for fuel and a stretch. The Goldwing is not all good, the brakes could still use a power servo to give the ABS something to think about occasionally. The rear suspension could do with a few lessons from the BMW 1200LT and the front end, despite having five and a half inches of travel is mostly consumed by the bikes weight. The anti dive system was, at best, an uncontrollable pain in the neck. I have altered my anti dive and beefed up the front suspension to allow me a bit more freedom in the corners and over the ever increasing speed humps and pot holes. The build quality could also do with a bit of looking at, hit too many speed humps with the anti dive refusing to yield and you will soon find that the pannier and top box will grind themselves to white dust. I have ridden many bikes in many places around the world but I still find myself grinning from ear to ear when I climb back aboard my tarnished wing.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
3 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-

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