Today was my get-to-know-you ride with the 2018 Honda Gold Wing Tour. A first date, if you will. Of course, one that took place over 12 hours and 600 miles. In that time, we learned a lot about each other, but first we had to get past that initial awkward stage of the Wing being a DCT model and me reaching for the clutch lever at each stop for the first 30 minutes or so. After that, we began to click off the miles.

Riding the 2018 Honda Gold Wing On The Nuclear Tourist Tour
The Nuclear Tourist Tour: Day 2
The Nuclear Tourist Tour: Day 3
The Nuclear Tourist Tour: Day 4

We hit the road a lot later than I would have liked and didn’t get going until about 11:15. So, I knew I’d be spending a good bit of the latter part of my ride in the dark. The route avoided the interstates as much as possible, taking me from Austin to Sweetwater (because that was the name of a town in one of my favorite movies, Once Upon a Time in the West) and then picked up Highway 84 (which took me through towns with names like Muleshoe) for the remainder of my trip to Santa Rosa, NM. The roads were mostly flat and frequently divided highways. The scenery was good if you’re fond of wide open spaces. I saw more freight trains in one day than I’ve seen in the last several years.

All loaded up and ready to hit the road. Would you be surprised if I told you that this shot was taken by a Honda PR person?

With the suspension set to “rider with luggage” mode, the Gold Wing Tour floated over the highway and its irregularities. The new engine is ungodly smooth at highway speed – even when the bike is traveling at throw-you-in-jail speeds. I kept the ride mode set to Tour since that’s what I was doing, and there weren’t any corners, anyway. At a steady 80 mph, the engine is spinning roughly 2,700 rpm, and like I said, it was vibration-free.

Since the temperatures ranged from 65° to 23°, I was happy for the weather protection the windshield offered. Although it creates a great pocket of relatively still air, I was really grateful for the heated grips, seat, and my electric vest as the temperature dropped after dark.

My view for most of the day, although there were fewer trees in other places.

The last thing I want to comment on before I call it a night is the Gold Wing’s GPS. It is the best motorcycle GPS I’ve had the pleasure of sampling. The wide screen offers plenty of room for the map and the list of upcoming turns. When a turn is approaching, a secondary map with higher resolution replaces the turn list on the right side of the screen, simplifying the act of getting through complicated intersections in unfamiliar towns.

Tomorrow’s trip begins with a dash up to Los Alamos, NM, before heading back to the south in the direction of Tucson, AZ. I’m already looking forward to it, but first, sleep.

(Click here for live route.)

The route for the Nuclear Tour: Day 1.


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  • Old MOron

    I’m a riding past a corner in Tucson, Arizona
    Such a fine sight to see
    It’s a girl, my lord, wearing cut-off shorts
    Trying to hitch a ride with me

  • Craig Hoffman

    The new GW sure looks like a comfortable way to travel! Being that far removed from the stress and strains of ordinary motorcycling, staying awake could be challenging.

    Looking forward to the next installment.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      The FM radio, Pandora or Sirius music and news will keep you awake. Otherwise you can dictate the next day’s column to Siri. Keeping an eye on the GPS is also interesting. It is wise to stop every 100 miles to fill up, visit the restroom, get some refreshment, look around and talk to some humans, especially the ones admiring your bike. Although I must say the vibrating motor on my Harley and its glorious sound keeps me more awake than the smooth and silent motor of a Honda.

  • boscoe

    For crying out loud dude! I don’t want to read how you managed to arrange the trip, about the plans you made and all that chatty crap. I want to know about the motorcycle. The lead on your story was singularly uninteresting – unless you’re writing for Travel and Leisure. And it’s not just you. The current trend in moto-journalism is all touchy feely, froo-froo crap. Please stop!
    Don’t get me wrong, I delight in a clever offbeat lead (yours was neither – read like an amateur newsletter) but feel-good ain’t the answer to declining interest in my sport/hobby and your livelihood.
    Sorry. I know the truth hurts. But you – and your editor – need a swift professional kick.

    • Old MOron
      • boscoe

        Thanks, Mo. You missed my point.
        Mr. Alaskan, I’m not looking for all tech. Reviews are subjective – and I appreciate the insight. But, frankly, I don’t need to know what the reviewer had for breakfast – unless it impacts his opinion.
        This is the first ride on an exciting new machine. I’d like to read about the machine – not the rider.

        • Alaskan18724

          Read what you wish. I’ve traveled those roads; it’s nice to reminisce. There’s plenty out there about the bike—more every day. It’s always seemed to me Mr. Brasfield’s pieces were emminently readable. My two cents. Guess we each have at least that….

          • Gabriel Owens

            Exact same thought.

        • Old MOron

          “For crying out loud dude!” He just rode 600 miles. Before going to bed, he typed up a quick summary so we could have closure for Day 1. This isn’t the review. This is a prelude.

          Just the same, in this installment we learned:
          • It took a seasoned rider 30 min to adjust to the DCT
          • The automatic suspension floated over irregularities
          • The engine, in Tour mode, is ungodly smooth
          • The engine spins roughly 2,700 rpm at 80 mph
          • The windshield creates a great pocket of relatively still air
          • The heated grips and seat are a treat
          • The GPS navigation is the best he’s experienced

          If that leaves you dissatisfied, okay, you can be tough-to-please. That’s your business. But why insult people?

          • DickRuble

            Relax, Mr. Rose Tinted Ray Bans, the guy has a point. Some may prefer a seven day ride with good daily write-ups to a four day ride with .. what he pointed out to. Why four days? Why not two? What does that bring to the discussion? The reality TV angle?

          • Old MOron

            Sure, Mr Diplomacy-is-my-specialty, when was the last time you bought a new (or new-to-you) motorcycle? Did you really know all there was to know after two days? Sheesh, if only all reviews could afford the depth of 1,500 miles ridden over a week or so.

            I suppose the question is wasted on you, but it remains nonetheless. Why insult people? If you or Boscoe care to put together a persuasive request for a different review format, go ahead. But spare us (and Evans!) the vituperation.

            If the “reality TV angle” is unappealing, and if you don’t have the time, energy, or inclination to make a dignified request for a different format, that’s okay. We all work with limited resources. Just wait for the review and read the summary score.


          • DickRuble

            Yo seem tense. Tough day at work reading motorcycle magazines?

          • Old MOron

            No, tough day reading the comments.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            No need to defend a first time MO reader who is confused between a bike review and a ride report. The first time MO reader needs to improve his attitude.

          • DickRuble

            Oh, Ms. Etiquette, this is such an exclusive bulletin board, after all. I found the newcomer’s input refreshingly contrasting to the rather sycophantic chorus.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            Oh, finally you found a Mini-Me on this forum!

          • Sayyed Bashir

            Thank you for coming to the defense of MO. This isn’t a bike review anyway, which the commenter thought it was. He seems to be a first time MO reader. Hopefully his attitude improves.

        • Gabriel Owens

          So what did he have for breakfast, i missed that part.

          • Alaskan18724

            I recommend the Plaza Cafe in Santa Fe. Mexican coffee!

          • Gabriel Owens

            Strange cause i honestly think ive been there. Was it in like a strip mall shopping center. Lol

          • Alaskan18724

            On the square. Been there since 1905!

          • Gabriel Owens

            Yeah, that’s not the place ive been.

    • Max Wellian

      The suspension absorbed bumps and the GPS told him where to turn. This information will surely change the trajectory of motorcycle sales long into the future.

    • Alaskan18724

      Sheesh. It’s a feature piece, not Scientific American….

      • DickRuble

        Scientific American has become an oxymoron.

        • Alaskan18724

          For a moment, I mistook you for Rocket J. Stonepebble.

        • Dirk Lehew

          That’s hysterical but sadly so true ignorance abounds…

    • DickRuble

      I like the way you think. Where do you live? We may have attended the same school of diplomacy.

    • WalterFeldman

      Ask for a refund.

    • Gabriel Owens

      I spit on you. Spit on him bruddas.

    • LightenUp

      Here’s an idea: YOU get a Goldwing. YOU plan a trip. YOU write a story and get it published ( and find someone to pay you for it.) Then, we’ll all read it and provide you with appropriate feedback.

  • kenneth_moore

    I didn’t realize what a terrible article this is until I got to the comments section.

  • billy1st

    Stop all, I think he did a good job of explaining why he didn’t take a straight route! What’s the use if you got a touring machine like the Goldwing and you don’t have fun? A big part of the trip is planning! He doing an Awesome job with this article! Also it gives you an incite on what is on his mind! Well done, and I look forward to the rest of the trip! Oh by the way I have a Goldwing and am very happy with it! There will be a new one in my garage!

  • Gabriel Owens

    Just one MO’s two cents. I really like this approach. And honestly its the coolest idea yall have done yet.

    Digging it.

  • Barry_Allen

    Peter S. Beagle noted over 50 years ago in “I See By My Outfit…”, his account of a cross country scooter trip that, in general, men were more interested in the bike, while women were more interested in the trip. I find myself at a happy medium between the two. I like that we’re getting an impression of the new Gold Wing that’s born of more than a curated press ride. I’m also interested in the places our humble correspondent has chosen to visit along the way home. The journey, not the destination and all that.

    If you think the most important part of a multi-day ride across the Southwestern U.S. is a list of roll-on times, MPG numbers and braking distances, then I’m just a little sad for you. If he had taken a couple of laps around COTA and then hauled ass all the way home on I-10 I’d be looking for a cricket match or a hockey game on cable because either would be less boring than such a ride report.

    I am curious about the bike, but I hope he goes into as much detail about the people and places he encounters along the way as time, space, and Kevin will allow.

    I also hope he encounters every cliche in the book on his journey home; the waitress with 50+ years of experience who slips him an extra piece of pie, the stray dog he shares his lunch with at a roadside taco stand, and an endless upwelling of astonishment and envy at every gas stop along the way. I’d also like to see more than one picture with the world’s largest (or biggest, tallest, etc.) -fill in the blank-.

    I appreciate you, Mr. Brasfield, for taking the time to write up a days summary after a long day of riding. (Although technically, it is your job.) I’ll be looking forward to daily updates, and awaiting a full report after you’ve had a night or two in your own bed and a chance to rest and gather your thoughts.

  • [Muttered while rocking back and forth, curled up in a ball under his desk]:

    Never read the comments. Never read the comments. Never read the comments. Never read the comments. Never read the comments. Never read the comments. Never read the comments. Never read the comments. Never read the comments. Never read the comments. Never read the comments. Never read the comments. Never read the comments. Never read the comments. Never read the comments. Never read the comments. Never read the comments. Never read the comments. Never read the comments. Never read the comments. Never read the comments. Never read the comments. Never read the comments. Never read the comments. Never read the comments. Never read the comments.

  • Sayyed Bashir

    Evans, keep up the good work! Everyone is jealous of you, including Burns.

  • John B.

    I’ve done 600 mile grinds across Texas more times than I can remember, which is great because there is nothing worth remembering. The first day involves little more than trying to stay comfortable, and putting in the miles. Freight trains are definitely a highlight. Ernest Hemingway couldn’t make a ride across the Texas plains into a scintillating story.

  • Mark D

    Really excited to see the trio through New Mexico. I was there as a kid and I’ve always wanted to get back to Santa Fe and the Pueblos, this time on two wheels.

    Keep the rubber side down and enjoy the shiny new ride!

  • WPZ

    To the motorcycle: this is the first Wing I’ve actually had any want for since 1975’s sport bike version. That, coming from a guy who just traded off his 125Kmi Wing for a bike that is best described as “not-a-Wing”. (Special note: I owned Wings on account of the significant other’s demands; I rode a ZX1100E when left to my own devices.)
    To the comments: yeah, well, he didn’t buy the bike, it was given to him to use, and he’s getting paid. So, while we the readership aren’t paying measurable cash for the review, we do suffer the blandishments of the advertisers, from whence the money comes. In consideration of that, we are indeed “paying” for the article.
    And yes, I want to hear about the bike, too. Given that I appear to be on the edge of losing my mind and going into hock for another Wing even though I’d really rather ride off on a Ninja or Versys 1000, I need to know more.
    By the way, here’s an uncompensated review of the DCT:
    The Missus bought an NC700XD and I’ve ridden it. In fact, I had to ride it home from the dealer 300 miles away because her M endorsement wasn’t complete on the day of purchase.
    For an older rider with arthritic hands from a long life in the manual trades, the DCT is hokey, silly, awkward, off-putting, and now, after experiencing it, practically a must-have for the caught-in-traffic days where the joints go south.
    Mark me as interested.

  • Old MOron

    I wonder if Evans will stop in Pie Town and get himself some recompense.

  • Jeff S. Wiebe

    I get ~daily emails from MO inviting me to read new pieces of writing about motorcycles. Some of these pieces are indistinguishable from a traditional motorcycle magazine’s pieces, and some are indistinguishable from a motorcycle blog’s pieces. I generally take a look at both types, and without giving it much thought I appreciate each for what they are.
    Those of us who are motorcyclists are used to recognizing that every motorcycle ever made has its compromises, no motorcycle does everything equally well, a sport bike isn’t a dirt bike isn’t a cruiser or tourer, etc. Generally we evaluate a bike based on its intended use, and don’t vilify a supermoto for having suboptimal wind protection. A similar approach with the reading of motorcycle writing seems reasonable to me. A multi-day piece broken into bits, each of which is written & posted ‘from the road’ after riding ~600 miles, has its own charm. Casually looking forward to more.

  • TonyCarlos

    Okay, so the bike is smooth in tour mode. Is it harsh in non-tour? Or is it too floaty in other modes? And what are the other modes? You had 600 miles of bad scenery. That’s not enough motivation to play with settings?