Our man Evans came back breathless about the new 2018 Honda Gold Wing a couple days ago. With its new ride-by-wire engine, optional electronic suspension, and overhauled electronics and entertainment systems, the long-running, long-distance ’Wing has definitely entered the 21st century. These five specs, though, are the ones that jump off the page as the ones that we expect are going to transform what was a touring bike into a truly sporty touring bike.

1. 833 pounds

At 833 lbs full of gas, the 2018 Gold Wing Tour is claimed by Honda to be 90 pounds lighter than the 2017 model. That loss of weight will pay dividends in all areas of performance, and even more when you’re pushing it in and out of your garage – which won’t be necessary if you spring for the model with Walking Mode: It moves you along automatically at 1.1 mph forward or 0.75 mph in reverse.

2. Double-wishbone Front Suspension

The fact that the front wheel now travels vertically through its stroke instead of up and back allowed the engine and rider to be moved closer to the front contact patch, for better handling, improved bump absorption and and lighter steering.

3. 11.8% Less Aerodynamic Drag

The new fairing is narrower by almost 8 inches, and sculpted to allow superior airflow around the rider and passenger, who now sit closer to the electric-adjustable windshield. That reduction in drag, of course, results in better fuel economy. Honda claims the new ’Wing, with one gallon less fuel capacity, can travel as far on a tank as the previous bike .

4. 1833 cubic centimeters = 111.86 cubic inches

In its typical conservatism, Honda says its new flat Six makes 5 horsepower more than the old one, but the tuning changes lead us to think the impressive part will be its midrange torque and throttle response. At 73 x 73mm, the new engine is less oversquare, has a higher compression ratio (10.5:1 instead of 9.8:1), four valves-per-cylinder instead of two, and breathes through one 50mm throttle body instead of two. That sounds like a recipe for serious grunt which, along with the bike’s weight reduction, should give the new Gold Wing a decidedly different character.

5. 7-Speed DCT

Honda’s Dual Clutch Transmission, and it’s the only OEM to offer a DCT, was pretty good when it first appeared, better the last time we sampled one – and they claim the new one in the Gold Wing is the best one ever. The new close-ratio 7-speed provides two more gears than the outgoing 5-speed manual, shifts instantly, doesn’t require you to have a left leg, and is yet one more reason why the performance of this Gold Wing sounds like it’s going to be a big step forward. The manual 6-speed is still available, too.

  • kenneth_moore

    6. No matter how much better the bike is by every conceivable measure (tech, performance, efficiency, looks), the fact that Honda dared to take a few cubic inches of trunk space out of the damn thing dooms it amongst the “Goldwing Faithful.”

    • mugwump

      I’ve seen the rants. Crazy

    • Jon Jones

      The lost fuel capacity is unforgivable.

      More is ALWAYS better.

      • Gabriel Owens

        It was a poor choice in my humble opinion. On my fjr I can go an average of about 280 miles before fill ups when touring on the highway.

        • Jon Jones

          This is one of the main reasons I love my workhorse ST1100.

        • WingConVette

          Actually that’s what I get on my current Wing. Two-up, loaded, 65-70mph at 43mpg.

          • Gabriel Owens

            Thats good to know. Are you also 245 pounds of American asshole like me?

          • WingConVette

            ROFL!!!

      • Clay Nicolsen

        So if they went to a 10 gallon tank and 20 mpg, that’s a “win”?

        • Jon Jones

          Whaaaa?

          • WingConVette

            Wha what?

        • WingConVette

          I can live with the tank size as long as their claims of similar range due to increased MPG hold true. So how would another 40 liters knock it down to 20mpg?

          • Clay Nicolsen

            It wouldn’t. My comment was a reply to Jon Jones’ statement that “Lost fuel capacity is unforgivable. More is always better.”

            The comment is not logical. They reduced the fuel capacity because the mileage is up, and thus the range did NOT CHANGE.

            I was pointing out the absurdity of “lost fuel capacity is unforgivable, more is always better” by making the point that, for example, if mileage dropped to 1 mpg, but they increased the tank size to 250 gallons, then the range is better, so it’s a win-win.

            Because “More is always better.”

          • WingConVette

            Ya, I guess not saving 7 pounds in the long run wouldn’t have been a big deal. I can live with that though. But see your point, but I’m just livid about the saddlebags. I actually had a deposit down six weeks ago and just pulled it due to that. Will wait for an aftermarket fix.
            Not too crazy about foregoing what should have been a healthy power increase, but the testers seem to be impressed, especially with the DCT. Time will tell.

          • Clay Nicolsen

            My current ride has hard bags, but no top box. I put 40,000 miles on it in the last two years, including a 7,000 mile ride around the entire US. I strapped one extra piece of soft luggage to the passenger seat, and I did 3 weeks. One laundry day! 😉

            So, the addition of a great top box, even though it’s smaller than the ’17 and older Wing, is still a big step up for me.

            I know what you’re thinking though…I almost put a deposit down on the new Yamaha TC, until I saw the Wing!

          • WingConVette

            I forgot to mention that I’m almost always two-up. Solo, I’d be at the dealer in a heartbeat. That Yammerhammer is pretty damn impressive. Something about the Harleyesque nature of it doesn’t quite do it for me, but there’s no taking anything away from it. Not sure about the power delivery though out of a V.

          • Clay Nicolsen

            Yeah, the wife doesn’t ride with me. The TC is 126 ft-lbs of torque at the crank, which is essentially the same as a $43k CVO. Somebody published dyno specs that put it at 109 at the rear wheel. I’d guess the hp at around 85-90. The Wing is, I’m guessing, 125/125 crank.

          • WingConVette

            HONDA, PLEASE READ. HONDA PLEASE READ. HONDA PLEASE READ.

            Yes, Wing at the shaft is 125 ft/lbs, and 124 HP. Basically same torque, and about 7 or so more HP. Subtract about 80 pounds off total weight, and along with the aerodynamic profile decrease, then maybe it WILL feel like a much more powerful bike. Especially with the seven quick shift DCT to optimize the power band. Maybe…..

            If that’s true, then the eight pound lighter, 29mm shorter, more fuel efficient engine, might have been a good move re: seven lbs of fuel weight eliminated, and moving the riders closer to the COG.

            So guess what I’m saying is I’ll wait for 0-60 and 1/4 mile comparos with my ’03 before I make that particular judgment. 1/3 of a second faster in the quarter, or three 10ths faster 0-60 would be very impressive and would convince me you’ve really done it.

            So what this all boils down to Honda is this… You or aftermarket …FIX THE SADDLEBAGS and I’ll be first in line with a credit card if this supposed new beefier acceleration is proven by the numbers when the full reviews start coming out.

            I may be an old codger, but I’m 62 and my wife is 67, and we plan to tour for decades to come. We have the financial means to own multiple new bikes, and the time off to do it, and my father road Wings through age 87. He would have gone into his 90s but for some vision difficulties.

            So don’t write us off so quickly for this supposed Millennial consumer base. My demographic has the dinero Mr. Hachigo. Hope your marketing dept. took that into consideration.

            ARE YOU LISTENING MR. CEO? Once again… fix the darn saddlebags or offer an upgrade solution for them NOW.

          • Clay Nicolsen

            I will absolutely agree with you on one key point: the interior of the saddlebags isn’t “rectangular”, or flat-sided, so the actual usable space is much less than is being quoted. That’s a major shortcoming. They look great from the outside, but they really don’t hold much at all.

          • WingConVette

            I think what a lot of folks don’t realize, is that a three day trip doesn’t really take less stuff than a two week trip for two people. All the emergency roadside and medical stuff I always carry. So the only difference is 4 more sets of underwear, socks and T-shirts at the most. And I can get away with the same shirts and socks for a couple days. Then it’s time for the laundromat anyway. 🙂

          • Clay Nicolsen

            Good points. Including the part about turning things inside out to get one more day. 😉

    • Goose

      Can you please define “a few”? Honda took out over 1,300 cubic inches (more than 30%) of old ‘Wing’s storage. A way to visualise the change, imagine 10 gallon milk jugs or 20 growlers of beer. That is less than volume than Honda took away. Seems like a more than “a few” as I define those words. BTW, don’t own a Goldwing, never have. I am, sadly, old but I’m definitely not “Goldwing Faithful”. Just somebody who was thinking of buying my first.

      Honda did EVERYTHING I wanted with this update, I was ready to go to a dealer. Then I saw the storage and fuel tank (lost about 140 cubic inches) changes . Honda did everything perfectly then screwed the pooch (yet again) with the saddle bags and fuel tank. I guess they are marketing to that huge pool of Millennials who want a touring motorcycle, have really good jobs, no student debt, are willing to spend $25 to 35K on a toy and travel solo or never camp and never tour more than a weekend. Huge group, huge! GFL Honda

      • kenneth_moore

        Moore’s Law: The amount of crap a rider thinks he needs to take along on a road trip is equal to the volume of available storage space plus 10%. The initial amount of storage is irrelevant.

        • WingConVette

          Yes, for some. But a 1/3 reduction? On my ’03… One saddle bag= Weego battery charger, fuel transfer hose, assorted fuses, duct tape, tire repair kit, air compressor, medical kit, tools, manual, vest and warm weather clothes for my wife and I. That leaves the other saddle bag for me and the trunk for my wife, plus gloves, assorted odds and ends like TP gauge, helmet and Sena repair stuff, batteries, ball caps, etc. The bag on top of the trunk gets a minimum amount of shoes some snacks. Any more than that and you’ll crack the rack mounts. Trust me, school of hard knocks.
          We have Ph.Ds in packing. Take away 40 liters? Unacceptable. Now it’s about 80 liters less than my old 1500. Trailer for some, just not my thing.

    • WingConVette

      A few cubic inches? Really? We’re talking about a 1/3 reduction here.

  • Buzz

    1.1 mph is about twice as fast as your average Wing rider can walk with or without a motorcycle attached to his legs.

    If I were in the market, I would totally get the DCT.

    It’s still heavier than my K1600GTL.

    • 12er

      Tried on the K16B the other day, not sure why I liked it so much.

      • Buzz

        Because you’re a big bastard and it fits you?

  • JMDGT

    Lowering the weight is a good idea. DCT, never say never. The new look looks good to me. These bikes are too big and too heavy for me.

  • Matt O

    Is it strange to want one of these even though I’m in my 20’s?

    • Brian Clasby

      Not at all, especially since you may well have it well into your 40’s and beyond.

      • Bmwclay

        And paying for it into your 60’s.

    • john burns

      like, five Honda marketing people just ejaculated

      • Matt O

        Buying such a practical bike gives me an excuse to park something ridiculous next to it in the garage.

    • Gabriel Owens

      I bet that pearl stallion brown is calling your name.

  • My older 2003 Wing is perfect for me and I didn’t ever foresee changing it until now. I have to admit I am tempted; however, if I have to spend a lot more money to have the bike fit me properly(bar backs, custom seat, floorboards), I doubt I would move ahead. The final decision will come when I get a chance to sit on one while on the centre stand.
    However, this IS a beautiful bike which I suspect will be a winner in spite of the obvious mistakes Honda made (smaller gas tank, less storage).

  • STAN

    I finally really want one of these.DCT&R is awesome.2018 is a great year for my first one.

  • Steve McLaughlin

    Interesting modified girder front end. Reminds me of my 1946 Indian. This bike weighs 100 lbs less than the new Harely’s.

  • MadDog Jaxson

    How could they have designed such a ugly machine, Looks like its ready to go electric

    Words cannot describe how ugly regardless of updates ,