The Honda Goldwing is one of those few motorcycles in the planet which have received a godly status, owing to its huge cult fan following and impeccable capabilities as a touring motorcycle. A desire of all the motorcycle purists, the Goldwing is one machine which exists in the dreams of enthusiasts, who love cruising on open highways and have an unquenchable thirst of exploring the unexplored.
The Indian arm of Honda did take its own sweet of time, but has finally brought the behemoth Goldwing to the Indian shores. No wonders, the happiness of the ardent fans of this lovely motorcycle is now at an all time high. The motorcycle, in all these years since its inception, has withstood the tide of time and has seen many rivals coming in and passing by it. But still, its core strengths have remained intact and have even enhanced with every passing year. Here’s a quick review of one of the mosy legendary names in the history of motorcycling, Honda Goldwing.
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With the latest version of Honda Goldwing, the Goldwing GL1800, Honda has still kept the silhouette of the original Goldwing which was unveiled for the first time to the whole world in the Cologne Motorcycle Show in October 1974. Even after existing for nearly 40 years, the Goldwing still is one of the most upmarket motorcycles in terms of design.
The Goldwing is easily one of the biggest production motorcycles in terms of sheer size and dimensions. The front look of the motorcycle consists of a humongous fairing, which incorporates dual headlamps, atop of which sits an adjustable windscreen. The turn indicators are placed on the rear view mirrors, giving a clean and uncluttered visual appeal to the motorcycle when viewed head on.
On moving sideways, the motorcycle once again makes you feel its gargantuan persona. The huge side full fairing hides the humongous six-cylinder mill, which will be talked about in a while. The side fairing also includes twin air scoops on either sides for the effective cooling of the engine.
To continue its aerodynamic essence, the motorcycle comes with a sleek and rakish fuel tank, which slopes all the way from below the handlebar to the seat. On either sides as well as behind the stepped pillion seat, Honda has fitted saddlebags which in total have a volume of 150 liters, which give the Goldwing an additional advantage of having luggage carrying capacity.
The rear appears as bulky and king-size as the rest of the design, with a big tail lamp flanked by clear lens turn indicators on both of its sides, making it seem like one unit. Talking about the seat, it is undoubtedly one of the most comfortable seats to perch on. The seats are fitted with grab bars on both sides, just like in a car. There are additional lamps mounted on the back of the saddlebag placed above the tail piece, behind the pillion seat.
The instrument console of the Goldwing displays a plethora of information, and includes analog dials for speedometer, tachometer, fuel gauge and temperature gauge, as well as a rectangular LCD screen housed below the analog console, which displays a bucketload of on-board information.
There is a reason why Goldwing is regarded as one of the most technologically advanced motorcycles on the Earth. Apart from having a superlative aerodynamic design which minimizes the negative pressure of oncoming air while riding, the motorcycle is also packed with creature comforts to the gills. The long list of equipment includes five-positioned heated grips, adjustable clip-on handlebars, adjustable heated seats, three saddlebags, cruise control, a 6-speaker 80W SRS surround-sound system with iPod, iPhone and USB connectivity and, wait for it, a fully integrated airbag at front! Now these make the Goldwing a ‘King of motorcycles’.
Matching the exteriors dimensions, the engine of the Honda Goldwing is equally king-size too. This touring motorcycle has been blessed with a liquid cooled, 12-valve, 1,832cc inline-six engine, which breathe out 87 kW of maximum power and 167 Nm of maximum torque.
The engine is married to a 5-speed gearbox, which include Overdrive gear and a reverse gear, as changing the directions on this motorcycle without a reverse gear is a seriously tedious task. This six-cylinder engine is extremely refined and has a calmer power delivery, which give it strong brownie points adding to its touring credentials.
RIDE AND HANDLING
The Goldwing sits on a twin-spar aluminium diamond frame and has a conventional suspension setup of telescopic forks at the front and electronically controlled spring preload adjustable pro-link arm at the rear. To bring this huge motorcycle to rest, Honda has fitted twin disc brakes at front and a single disc break at the rear, effectiveness of which is only multiplied with the presence of Honda’s trademark Combined Braking System (CBS) and Anti-lock Braking System (ABS).
In the Indian market as well as internationally, the Goldwing is the flagship motorcycle of Honda, displaying the best of what the manufacturer has given to the world of two wheel motoring. For the Indian market, the Goldwing is available in only two variants. The base variant comes liveried in a dual tone shade of red and black (named as Dual Tone Candy Prominence Red), and bears a sticker price of Rs. 28.50 lakh. The more premium variant comes equipped with the airbag as a standard feature is available in ‘Pearl Glare White’ paint scheme and is priced at Rs. 31.50 lakh.
There are very few options available in the high-end cruiser segment, which have the ability to match the reputation and glory which the Goldwing has achieved all these years, apart from the size and specifications, of course. However the most apt competitor to the Honda Goldwing in the Indian market is the American icon, Indian Chieftain.
Unlike the futuristic and space-age design of the Goldwing, the retro aura of the Chietain’s design takes you back to the glory of ‘60s. In terms of modern gizmos and equipment, the Indian Chietain comes equally loaded with features which are available in the Goldwing, with the Honda having the feature of an airbag as the only standout feature in comparison.
The engine of the Indian Chietain displaces 1,811cc, which is almost similar to the cubic capacity of Goldwing’s engine. Though unlike the flat-six powerhouse of the Honda, the engine on the Indian is a twin-cylinder unit, which is a bit more exotic in terms of exhaust note. Both the motorcycle are equally capable in munching long, very long miles on tarmacs.
The Honda Goldwing is not just another flagship motorcycle, it is an icon, which undoubtedly has been re-writing the rules and creating the benchmarks for touring motorcycles all these years. The motorcycle carries an unmistakable design and kingly stance, which instantly commands attention and respect. The technological prowess of the Goldwing on the aspects of engine and electronics make it one highly advanced motorcycle. The motorcycle does cost a bomb, but if you have the capacity of spending such a huge amount of money on a motorcycle, the Goldwing is one priceless possession to have in your porch.