HONDA GL1800 GOLDWING (2018-on) Review

Published: 01 February 2018

Honda’s new Gold Wing is a huge leap forward in technology and dynamics”

HONDA GL1800 GOLDWING  (2018-on)

Honda’s new Gold Wing is a huge leap forward in technology and dynamics”

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

Usually, the new model is a 10% improvement or less, but the new Gold Wing is light years ahead of the old model, with significantly improved handling, ease-of-use, and fun. The level of comfort, specification and smoothness is class-leading. The only down side is the price, close to £30,000, which is considerably more than the competition

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

The chassis is completely new, too. The twin-spar frame is 2kg lighter and for the first time in Honda’s history features a double-wishbone front suspension unit. The front is controlled by a single shock, rather than conventional forks. There’s a conventional Showa single shock on the rear, both are controlled electronically but are not semi-active.

Through the bends the new Honda shone and showed how poor the old bike was by modern standards. The new six-piston linked brakes are eye-poppingly strong. Considering they’re stopping 378kg, they’re really impressive, the big Wing remains stable and the ABS isn’t too intrusive. Some might not like the linked brakes are very effective on the big Wing.

Once away from the motorway the difference between the modes are more noticeable. There’s less sag and wallowing in the Sports mode. Even in the soft Touring mode the handling is impressive and far superior to the old model. The big Wing has lost a huge amount of weight and is now a bike again. The old bike was a comfortable method of getting from A to B, but now it’s actually a fun bike, which can be used and enjoyed.

Engine 5 out of 5

Capacity has remained the same at 1833cc, but that is where the similarities end – it’s a completely new bike. There hasn’t been a huge hike in power, which some had expected. Instead it’s more compact, lighter and smoother than ever. In total 48kg has been saved from the bike and the engine alone is 6.2kg lighter. Just removing the old starter motor in favour of an Integrated Starter Generator system (ISG) saved 2.4kg.

The new engine is available as either a conventional 6-speed manual or 7-speed DCT (Dual Clutch Transmission), which automatically changes gear or gives you the option to change gear electronically without a clutch.

Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5

This is Honda’s flagship model and quality is impressive. The Gold Wing’s reliability is legendary, the motor is unstressed and should be capable of huge mileage.

Insurance, running costs & value 4 out of 5

There is no hiding the fact the new Wing is expensive, at just shy of £30,000 it’s considerably more than its closest competition. Even if you tick every accessory possible BMW’s six-cylinder K1600GT still comes in at under £25,000 and has more top-end power. It’ll be interesting to see how it compares when we run them back-to-back.

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

Equipment 5 out of 5

Where do we start, the list is huge. One of the criticisms of DCT is the lack of rider control at slow speeds, due to the lack of clutch. However, Honda have created a smart solution with a new ‘Walking mode’ that limits speeds to 1.1mph at the touch of a button. As with the old Wing, reverse comes as standard, and is easily controlled by the plus and minus buttons on the left bar. 

The large screen is finally electronically adjustable, which previous Wing owners were praying for. There’s also the option of increasing the airflow to the rider and pillion by manually opening a small flap below the screen.

The bodywork and luggage are all new. Each pannier carries 30 litres of kit whereas the rear top case holds 50 litres. All the compartments can be locked via the keyless ignition and feature hydraulic dampers, which allow them to open and close with smooth, effortless ease. There are two further compartments up front; one centrally located, and the other on the right side. The old model’s rear pillion compartments don’t feature.

The cruise control via the fly-by-wire throttle can be set and adjusted on the move. Simply set your speed, adjust the screen to your required height, sit back in comfort and listen to your tunes via the four speakers. The clarity is impressive and you don’t need to have the volume cranked to the maximum at speed. The small compartment located just below the fuel cap is the perfect size for an iPhone or iPod, and comes with a USB connection.

The changeable rider modes are easy to select, and change the suspension, engine characteristics and rider aids. The changeable modes dramatically change the DCT. For example, in Sports mode the gears are held for longer and the system quickly and automatically cogs down a few gears if rapid acceleration is required. It’s the opposite in the Economical mode, it short-shifts to top gear and almost refuses to knock back a gear during aggressive throttle openings.

Apple Car Play is available for the first time, sat-nav comes as standard as does a heated seat and grips, even the pillion gets a heated seat.

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Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2018
Year discontinued -
New price £29,699
Used price £17,400 to £29,700
Warranty term Two year
Running costs
Insurance group 17 of 17
Annual road tax £85
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 125 bhp
Max torque 125 ft-lb
Top speed 112 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 12 secs
Average fuel consumption 48 mpg
Tank range 220 miles
Specification
Engine size 1833cc
Engine type 24v horizontally-opposed six-cylinder
Frame type Twin spar
Fuel capacity 21 litres
Seat height 744mm
Bike weight 378kg
Front suspension Double-wishbone front suspension
Rear suspension Showa rear shock electronically-adjustable
Front brake 2 x 320mm discs with six-piston Nissin calipers
Rear brake 320mm rear disc with six-piston Nissin caliper
Front tyre size 130/70x18
Rear tyre size 200/55x16

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 DCT model is available.

Photo Gallery

  • HONDA GL1800 GOLDWING  (2018-on)
  • HONDA GL1800 GOLDWING  (2018-on)
  • HONDA GL1800 GOLDWING  (2018-on)
  • HONDA GL1800 GOLDWING  (2018-on)
  • HONDA GL1800 GOLDWING  (2018-on)
  • HONDA GL1800 GOLDWING  (2018-on)
  • HONDA GL1800 GOLDWING  (2018-on)
  • HONDA GL1800 GOLDWING  (2018-on)
  • HONDA GL1800 GOLDWING  (2018-on)
  • HONDA GL1800 GOLDWING  (2018-on)
  • HONDA GL1800 GOLDWING  (2018-on)
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