Motorcycles, Travel & Adventure


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First Ride • 2018 Honda Gold Wing

Words: Brian Rathjen • Images: Kevin Wing and Brian J. Nelson


"Is that Rocky Balboa? He looks like a middleweight." Ring Announcer - Rocky III


After many years of anticipation the new Honda Gold Wing was unveiled back in the late fall of 2017; but we had to wait until mid-January to finally get to ride one of the most anticipated machines in a long time.

Few would argue that the Gold Wing, in its many incarnations and evolutions, has been one of the most influential motorcycles ever built. There have been over 800,000 Gold Wings sold worldwide and there are still some 250,000 of these machines running around the planet today.

The last big upgrade for the Wing was 18 year ago in 2001. Back then the bikes were built in Marysville, Ohio and when they introduced the machine they did so from the plant in which it was created. Shira and I rode the then new Gold Wing around WingIceOhio for a few days. We were instant fans.

Here we were 18 year later outside of Austin, Texas taking charge of a leaner and sleeker bike with the same name.

At the very first glance of the 2018 version you surely know it is a Gold Wing, but closer inspection will let you know that not one piece of the 2017 was used in the new incarnation.

Honda went Tabula Rasa here – a clean slate – and I dare say it was worth the wait.

For 2018 the Gold Wing comes in four different flavors. The Gold Wing is much like the F6B – running without the top case - while the Gold Wing Tour is more along the lines of the previous Wings. You can also get the bike with Honda’s Dual Clutch Transmission and another with an Air Bag.

Our ride this day would take us on the Gold Wing Tour with DCT, in Hawkeye Blue, and along a 200-mile loop in and about the famed Texas Hill Country.

The Smart Key activated machine started with a light touch to the starter button and the nicely toned exhaust note filled the chilly Texas air.

It was a mid-January morn and it would start off brisk, but niceties like a heated seat and handgrips helped ward off the morning chill.


Look for the full ride report and review in the March issue of Backroads