BikeBandit Guest Blogger Series: Honda’s 2018 Gold Wing and The Opinion of A Gold Wing Diehard

Doing some research on the new Gold Wing and listening to the opinions of current Gold Wing riders, reading the cycle magazine tests and comparisons, talking with close Gold Wing riding friends and following the GL1800 forum I have formed an opinion and overview that may help you think differently about the new 2018 GL1833 and I would like to share.

 

2018 Honda Goldwing - James Casey
To say that touring is in my blood is an understatement. I was 17 for my first touring adventure and I’ve been hooked ever since.

Thru the years I grown up with the Gold Wing. I have owned 3 1977 GL1000s, a 1983 GL1100, a 1996 GL1500, a 97 Valkyrie, and an 01, 03, and 05 GL1800. My current bikes are the 05 GL1800 and the 97 Valkyrie (I have put over 100,000 miles on the Valk). These are just the Gold Wings I have owned. I started touring in 1972 on a 1971 CB750. I had added a Wixom Fairing and Bates Bags. In the summer of 72 a buddy of mine and I did 3000 miles thru California. From Tucson to San Diego, up the coast to San Francisco, then to Lake Tahoe and down thru Yosemite NP. Then back to San Diego and back home to Tucson. I was 17 years old and that trip totally hooked me on touring. I was at Tucson Honda when they rolled the first 1975 GL1000 off the truck and I knew I had to have one. I had 2 other CB750s before I was able to buy my first 77 GL1000. Had to mention this so that you would understand that I know a bit about touring.

Years later after my first test ride on the 01 GL1832 I went home and put my GL1500 up for sale. I bought one of the first ABS GL1832s in Denver Vin #000043 in Jan 2001.

Now thinking about the NEW GL1833 and hearing views and comments across the board from “I love it” to “Not for me “ I have to share with you my thoughts. This Gold Wing was not built for the aging Gold Wing rider. The GWRRA which I have been a member for 19 years has aged significantly. If you put in a search for a Gold Wing on eBay 70% of what shows up are trikes. If Honda wanted to build a bike for that demographic the new Gold Wing would have had 3 wheels.

I am still riding strong at 63 years of age. I keep in shape by working out, golfing, snowboarding, and bicycling. I hope to have another 10-12 years of 2 wheel Motorcycling. This new Wing was designed for the younger rider moving up to Touring. Much the way I was looking for that “bigger, better, faster, smoother” tourer after my CB750s. They may have started with a Sport Bike. Then they went to a Sport Tourer. Now they are looking for something for touring cross country and it’s “Not your Fathers Gold Wing.” Look at what is happening at Harley Davidson (YouTube… HD sales). They are closing the plant in Kansas City. Their base doesn’t like change but they are an aging breed also, and they are having a problem with who to target for more sales.

The manufactures are looking for their next target audience. Think back to when most of the 50-65 year olds started touring. We dressed a 750 or a Gold Wing. As we aged the manufactures targeted us. They added fairings and integrated the bags and trunk into the body. Well 50% of that audience is now gone (aging out or riding trikes) what would you do??

2018 Honda Goldwing - James Casey
When I had to give up my Gold Wing for a time, this Valkyrie satiated my 2-wheeled needs till I could get another GL.

I think the new Gold Wing GL1833 is awesome. You will always hear negatives as you did when the GL1832 first came out. I have always said that it should be a pre-requisite that the Gold Wing buyers should also own a Valkyrie or a VTX or some other kind of “Motorcycle” as I do. In 2003 when I sold my 01 GL1832 (financial/new business situation) I bought my Valkyrie (which I fell in love with) to get me thru until I could buy another Wing.

2018 Honda Goldwing - James Casey
Is the Honda Gold Wing the perfect touring bike? Some people may say no, but I disagree and can’t wait till I can get in the saddle of a new one for my next long haul.

After riding the Valkyrie that summer I came to the realization that Honda had built the perfect Touring Motorcycle. The GL1832. Those Gold Wing riders who were complaining about “My leg gets hot” or “the wind hits my hands” were totally spoiled. Go ride any other motorcycle for half a summer and then get back on your Gold Wing and tell me you have room to complain. I had to wait a few years until I could buy another Wing because I wanted to keep the Valkyrie and have both. Two years ago I took a trip from Denver to Daytona Bike Week. Even though I had a beautiful 05 Wing in the Garage I took the Valkyrie 4000 miles in 10 days. Just to remind me of what real motorcycling is all about. Then when I loaded up the Wing in July later that summer and headed to California I had nothing to complain about. Perfect Touring Bike!

Will I own a new GL1833? Not this year but I will own one soon (still have to keep my Valk). Maybe for the Gold Wing owner who has their GL1832 all set up the way they want will not buy a GL1833. But for all you younger sport touring riders out there looking for that “bigger, better, faster, smoother” touring bike to go cross country, WOW, does Honda have a bike that will knock your socks off!