I Rode The New Goldwing...or...If You Absolutely, Positively Have To Be There Overnight
My close friend and LEO brother, owns our local Honda dealership and invited me up to experience the new 2018 Goldwing. In fact, he insisted. "It's a worldchanger and I want you to take it out and really ride it. Take it as far as you like!" he said as he pushed me toward their first new Wing.
It is a beautiful candy red in color and is a much smaller bike than the old model. It reminds me of the ST1300. Straddling the bike, it really seemed very small with a tall narrow windscreen. The curb weight is 842 pounds but she feels more like 542. Really.
"This one is the new dual clutch, with the seven speed, automatic. You're gonna love it, believe me!" he said as I fired up the Porsche sounding six-cylinder boxer. The exhaust sound is very romantic and smooth doesn't begin to explain how the motor runs. I backed the machine up and pressed the "D" button. She was now in gear. She doesn't pull forward like an automatic transmission automobile, but when you give some throttle, she gracefully begins her egress.
I headed out around the parking lot and did a few laps and tight circles. "This thing feels like a lightweight scooter!" I thought to myself with a big smile. Then I hit the Macon traffic. Love the transmission. Whisper quiet shifts. I was very surprised that I immediately felt at home on a bike with an automatic transmission. Zooming through the traffic I thought "This is a cross between my Triumph 1050 Sprint and my BMW K1200LT." The footpeg reach is similar to my LT, which was perfect for my 32" inseam. The handlebars are too low, causing me to hunch over a little. The seat is WONDERFUL. I mean, like WOW! I love this seat! I had no trouble flat-footing at stops.
I turned onto US80 and cruised for awhile at 60 mph. The fairing is much narrower than my Vision, and narrower than the old Wing. The wind management is pretty darn good, but because of the narrowness, you get wind on your arms and shoulders. The tall narrow windscreen means no wind in your face. I felt absolutely zero engine heat, in traffic or on the road. The suspension is very, very plush. She has a Cadillac type ride. That duolever type front end works very well but has a different feel in the curves. I did a panic stop and the brakes are world class. I could easily make the tires howl with great control.
I eventually hit the interstate and let her rip. She is fast. Autobahn fast. Ninety miles-per-hour for a while. I'm wearing an open-faced helmet and absolutely no wind in my face. This is really a superbike with weather protection. That transmission is unbelievable. The future is here! Flawless, seamless, groovy, right-on and outta-sight fun. Really!
I came back to earth and stopped to check a few things out. The luggage capacity is a joke. No Goldwind purest will buy this thing. Tiny saddlebags. Tiny trunk. The stereo is terribly poor for a bike that costs over 30 large. The bike is a wonderful but mixed-up engineering marvel. Wonderful motor and handling, but no storage capacity. Strange.
I have to say though, I love this bike. It is a worldchanger. I absolutely love the transmission. LOVE IT! Honda did a fabulous job with what matters most with the smooth six and handling. I'm thinking "This is the perfect police cruiser. You could comfortably spend endless hours in the saddle and turn on a dime." I'm pretty sure she is the Queen of Comfort in motorcycling.
Now I know you are wondering "What about the Vision?" Well, they are two completely different animals. COMPLETELY! The Vision is much, much, much larger. The Vision's motor is a torque monster. Way more torque and power where you ride it most. The Vision is a Peterbilt and the Wing is a Porsche. The Vision is a Lazy-Boy sitting on shag carpet and the Wing is an ergonomic, orthopedic typist's chair, with swivels on a hardwood floor. Or you could say the Vision is a '49 Mercury and the Wing is a 2018 Lexus. You can't stretch out on the Wing. You can't zip around traffic at 100 mph on the Vision. Different tools in the toolbox.
In closing, Honda has done a very impressive job with this bike. You can do figure-eights in a parking lot with ease. She is nimble and feels very light. You can chase traffic like a Hayabusa and she has the brakes and handling to go with it. And, who would have thought that an automatic transmission in a motorcycle could perform, I certainly didn't. Well, I guess it is 2018!
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