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The Honda Gold Wing has long held the title of world’s best touring motorcycle, but when the GL1000 was first introduced in 1975, without any of the gadgetry and protective fairing for which the bike is famous, it wasn’t clear what purpose the bike was meant to serve. The original Honda Gold Wing was too heavy (635 lbs. fully fueled) and too slow (80 horsepower) to be a performance bike, and it was too big (60.5” wheelbase) to be considered a standard. Honda billed it as a “do-it-all” bike, but by the end of 1975 Honda Gold Wing owners understood exactly what the bike was meant for — comfortable long-distance riding. Thus the touring bike was created.

What set the Honda Gold Wing apart from other motorcycle was its liquid-cooled, flat four-cylinder engine — up to that point it was the smoothest engine to ever power a motorcycle. Launched without a fairing or luggage, Honda Gold Wing owners themselves defined what the evolution of the bike would be by purchasing and affixing Vetter Windjammer fairings to their Gold Wings. Honda noted this commonplace addition and in 1980 produced the GL1100 Gold Wing in both standard and fully-faired versions.

The 1980 Honda Gold Wing Interstate was the first motorcycle to feature a fully integrated color-matched fairing and luggage. Two years later the Honda Gold Wing Aspencade (named after a popular Gold Wing rally) was launched and made standard equipment such as the stereo, built-in intercom system that was optional on the Interstate as well as introduced new components such as an on-board air-compressor for adjusting the Aspencade’s suspension. The GL1200 Honda Gold Wing of 1984 was more of an evolution than a revolution for the Gold Wing line. Honda constructed a naked version for the first year of the 1200 but it was dropped for 1985 and a naked Honda Gold Wing would never be produced again.

2012 Honda Gold Wing

In 1988 the GL1500 Honda Gold Wing was launched and, like the original Interstate model, it set a new benchmark for what a touring motorcycle could be. A horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine displacing 1520cc powered the new Gold Wing. With a 66.9” wheelbase and weighing 876 lbs. full of liquids, the new 1500 Honda Gold Wing was larger and heavier than the GL1200, but the new bike handled better. Also helping move the large Gold Wing was another motorcycling first, an electrically-operated reverse drive.

The GL1500 Honda Gold Wing enjoyed an incredible 13-year run with various upgrades until being replaced by the GL1800 Honda Gold Wing in 2001. Still utilizing a flat, six-cylinder engine but with an increase in displacement to 1832 cc, the new Gold Wing’s biggest difference over the previous model was the use of an aluminum, sportbike-esque frame. In 2006 the GL1800 Honda Gold Wing was the first production motorcycle with an airbag.

From 1981 to 2009 Honda Gold Wing models were constructed at Honda’s first U.S. plant located in Marysville, Ohio. More than one million Honda Gold Wing motorcycles were produced in the plant’s 30-year history, before Gold Wing production was moved to Japan.

Honda Gold Wing Reviews

2013 Honda Gold Wing F6B Review

In 2013, Honda aimed to change the Gold Wing's perceived status as an old-guy bike. The venerable Gold Wing has been given a bagger-ific upgrade with the new F6B, resulting in the sleeker, lighter, sportier package.

2012 Honda Gold Wing Review [Video]

The Honda Gold Wing is a veritable icon among touring motorcycles. A three-day trip with a passenger on the upgraded Gold Wing supported the notion that there is no better way to travel on a motorcycle two-up.

2012 Honda Gold Wing Review - First Ride

Honda’s Gold Wing has for years stood at the pinnacle of the luxury-touring market. In the face of increased competition, Honda chose to arm the 2012 Gold Wing with only moderate improvements. Is that enough?

2012 Honda Gold Wing Unveiled

Although Honda doesn’t list a 2011 model for the luxury touring Gold Wing, we won’t discount the year-long lapse between 2010 and 2012 against what otherwise marks the 37th year since the Wing was set free upon the roads, way back in ’75.

Honda Gold Wing Comparisons

2012 BMW K1600GTL vs. 2012 Honda Gold Wing Shootout [Video]

In the red corner, weighing 903 pounds wet, boasting 1832cc, the 2012 Honda Gold Wing. In the blue corner, tipping the scales at 767 pounds with fluids, displacing 1649cc, the 2012 BMW K1600GTL. We pit these touring kingpins in a fight to the finish.

Honda Gold Wing vs. BMW K1200 LT

During the first five years of MO's nefarious existence, Honda's Gold Wing reigned supreme as king of the all-out touring hill. Indeed, during that time we felt the 'Wing was the epitome of what a long-distance tourer should be.

Honda Gold Wing vs. BMW K1200 LT

Enter the two best full-dress, spend-it-if-you-got-it, go-straight-and-far motorcycles that money can buy: the BMW K1200 LT, and the Honda Gold Wing.

2020 Honda Gold Wing

2019 Honda Gold Wing

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