Well, the rumors were true. Honda has updated the Gold Wing for 2018 – and the makeover is an impressive one! While we’re pretty sure that some of the nuts and bolts used in the previous generation made the transition, the rest of the motorcycle is brand spanking new. Honda’s stated goal for the upgrade was to use the restyle and improved performance to attract more than just the Gold Wing faithful and put to rest the myth that Wings are just for old riders. Well, the styling is certainly more aggressive, and the bike looks decidedly more swoopy. Losing eight inches of front-facing width can do that for a motorcycle. There’s so much that’s changed on the Gold Wing that we thought we should make a cheat sheet for you to peruse.

First Look: 2018 Honda Gold Wing And Gold Wing Tour

10. Two Models

2018 Honda Gold Wing Tour

What used to be a single model has become a line – or family – with the announcement of the 2018 models. The traditional Wing with a trunk has become the Gold Wing Tour, while the trunkless F6B is now the standard Gold Wing. Aside from the trunk, there are some other differences. The standard is blacked out for a sportier look, and the Tour gets more chrome. Functionally, the Tour also has electronic suspension adjustment, where the standard makes do with manual adjustments.

9. Upgraded Electronics

2018 Honda Gold Wing Tour

All the Gold Wing’s electronics were updated. The switchgear is back-lit and has been rethought. The dash is a completely new layout with a 7-inch TFT display as its centerpiece. Just sitting in the cockpit will impress you with how well laid out the controls are for operation while on the move. The Gold Wing is also the first motorcycle to incorporate Apple’s CarPlay system, while Android Auto is in the works. Riders who like to communicate with their passengers can now do so via Bluetooth – so no more dangly wires! Riders who use CB radios will be happy to know that a CB is a factory option.

8. Ten Years of GPS Map Updates

2018 Honda Gold Wing Tour

All Gold Wing models come with GPS units as standard equipment. However, folks who have dealt with the expense of GPS map upgrades will be stoked when they learn that Honda will provide 10 years of GPS map updates with every Gold Wing. Now, your trips will be able to include the latest additions to our country’s road systems.

7. Keyless Operation

2018 Honda Gold Wing Tour

With keyless operation, you no longer have to fumble into your pockets after you’ve got your gloves on. Just walk up to the Gold Wing and turn the ignition knob. There’s not even a key slot for the ignition! The luggage opens electronically at the push of a button if the key fob is within range. The key fob also has a clever on/off feature that allows you to turn it off when situations require that you be within range but you want to make sure nobody can open the bags or start the engine. Finally, there’s a physical key inside the fob that will allow you to unlock the bags via a secret key slot hidden on the bike. After that, you can input a code to start the engine should the fob ever fail you while you are out on the road.

6. Better Airflow Management (and, finally, an electrically adjustable windshield)

2018 Honda Gold Wing Tour

Honda spent tons of time improving the flow of air over the rider and passenger. One way this was accomplished was by moving the rider closer to the windscreen – which allows for the use of a smaller screen to offer wind protection. Second, airflow ducts assist in the flow of air into the cockpit. The windscreen is now electrically adjustable, allowing for riders to  alter wind protection as the riding environment changes. The end result is a bike that has its aerodynamic drag improved by 11.8%.

5. Transmission Choices

2018 Honda Gold Wing Tour

Honda thinks everyone would benefit from using the third-generation Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT), but not everyone agrees with the engineers. So, riders are given a choice of a 6-speed manual transmission or a 7-speed DCT. Both have the same final drive ratio, allowing the Wing’s engine to loaf along at highway speeds. However, in addition to the smoother shifting, the 7-speed DCT should give more spirited acceleration – thanks to more closely spaced gears. Also, the DCT has a new forward and reverse Walking Mode to make maneuvering into and out of parking spaces much easier. Non-DCT Wings offer electrically assisted reverse.

4. 80 Pounds Lighter

2018 Honda Gold Wing Tour

With a claimed weight of 833 pounds for the Gold Wing Tour, the motorcycle isn’t light, but in the development of the new Gold Wing, 90 pounds of weight vanished! (To be fair, though, about 7 lbs. comes from the 1.1 gallons less fuel that the Wing carries in 2018, so the weight loss is closer to 80 pounds.) For example, the starter and generator are included in the same unit for compact packaging and weight savings. Mass centralization also helped to move the weight bias more forward on the chassis to improve the Wing’s handling.

3. More Power And Better Mileage

2018 Honda Gold Wing Tour

The GL1800 now displaces 1833cc, but that bump in displacement and the additional 5 hp Honda claims the engine makes aren’t the whole story. The engine now has just one 50mm throttle body and features four-valve heads. So, while Honda hasn’t specified particulars, we expect the bottom-end and mid-range to be more responsive to throttle inputs, which will affect the bulk of the time riders spend in the saddle and not just when they twist the throttle to the stop. The greater fuel efficiency of the engine means that Honda could reduce the tank size to 5.5 gallons (down 1.1 gal.) and maintain the same range as with the larger fuel cell.

2. Double-Wishbone Front Suspension

2018 Honda Gold Wing Tour

The Gold Wing’s front suspension is now handled by a double-wishbone suspension instead of a traditional telescopic fork. Consequently, front-end dive will be greatly reduced while braking. Additionally, the double-wishbone design eliminates much of the stiction of a telescopic fork, making road irregularities transfer a claimed 30% less force to the grips. Honda also claims that a 40% reduction in inertial mass of the components translates into easier steering. Finally, since bumps are now absorbed in an up and down fashion instead of up and back towards the chassis, as with a telescopic fork, the engine was moved closer to the front wheel further improving the weight bias.

1. Still Going Strong After 43 Years!

2018 Honda Gold Wing Tour

How many of us can say that we perform better than ever after 43 years of existence? Well, although we haven’t sampled the new Gold Wings, we expect the new models to be a significant improvement in performance, comfort, and fuel economy from the previous generation. The Gold Wing is still Honda’s flagship model, and the newest iteration looks to be the best yet and worthy of carrying the name into the foreseeable future.

  • spiff

    Way to many buttons. Which one releases the air brakes? How do you disable the jake?

    • Rocky Stonepebble

      I’m not buying one until it comes with ten forward gears and a Georgia overdrive.

  • Sayyed Bashir

    Wow Evans! How did you resist the urge to make it into a 11 page article? This would have made a perfect Top 10 list.

    • Evans Brasfield

      Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

  • spiff

    I see the beauty of the DCT, but think a well done quick shifter/blipper is the way to go. If you don’t need full auto the quick shifter/blipper is the equivalent of the paddle shifters in sports cars. It’s like having a stick shift with paddles.

    • David K

      Believe it or not I kind of like the idea of a DCT and probably take that option. For daily commuting the DCT would come in handy.

  • Marshall Bono

    I want a Gold Wing. But I also want a motorcycle.

    How about this, Honda? A naked, 1 liter, 4 cylinder Wing, using all of the latest technology, and weighing well under 700lbs?

    My 1976 Wing was perfect for me, except it was too heavy. Plenty of power, but I don’t haul all of my possessions behind me in a trailer. Two up and loaded for a two week trip, it glided across Kansas at 100mph for 6 hours. Why do the current Wings need 6 cylinders?

    • Bill O’Brien

      Buy a ST1300?

      • Paragon Lost

        Actually he said “Naked” so that actually counts out the ST1300 since it’s got a fairing. I don’t get his point, it doesn’t sound like the Gold Wing of the past few decades is the bike for him since they’ve had a fairing for many many years.

        Hopefully Honda releases a 1000cc naked bike like the CB’s used to be, seems more like his style. Personally I don’t want to see a Gold Wing return to the 70’s version, a touring bike is their niche now that they excel at.

    • Alaskan18724

      76 Wing was a beautiful, classic machine. Don’t take any crap about it.

  • Born to Ride

    So basically, this article was just the bullet point version of your previous article(which was great!) for people that have ADD and can’t get all the information in the traditional format?

    • Gabriel Owens

      Would you get the first year of this new model or would you wait? Im shvittzing ova heeah.

      • Born to Ride

        I mean, it’s highly unlikely that Honda screwed the pooch designing their flagship model, but there is always the possibility of teething issues anytime you build something new from the ground up. I’d wait and try and get a nice discount at the end of next year. All the enthusiasts that run out and buy them first thing are gonna get raked over the coals.

  • TonyCarlos

    Unfortunately the typical Wing buyer hasn’t lost eight inches of front facing width so there may be a problem.

  • Paragon Lost

    How much were the map updates in the past, anyone know?

  • Jeff S. Wiebe

    I’m 48 and really like the Wings now, and recently. Just saying.

  • Alaskan18724

    This is a cool machine, in all flavors. I’m getting old. Last month, I was shocked by how well the K1600B felt so right. Now this. Holy smoke.

  • BoxerFanatic

    Now, BUILD THE NEO-WING on this.

    Or at least a stripped down muscle-bike version, with a smaller half fairing, shrink wrapped bodywork, and a VFR-like tail… no bags, but detachable-luggage ready.

    Nice bike, engine, suspension, but not everybody needs to carry around that much bike all the time, yet a bigger bike fits guys over 6″ tall better.