Imagine a day at work in your favourite office chair. Supportive in the right places, comfortable enough to perch upon for hours at a time, day after day. Now… imagine this office chair is street legal, has a 1,833cc engine mounted beneath it, a set of handlebars within easy reach, and the ability to cruise all day at highway speed. You might be inclined to deftly pilot such a chair directly past colleagues and head for the door. Then you’d head for open highway.
There’d be a catch or two. Your hypothetical office chair only has two wheels, won’t exactly turn in the confines of an office building, weighs north of 800 pounds, and won’t fit in the elevator. If you tip this chair over at slow speed, there’s a good chance you won’t be able to pick it up again.
So my advice – finish your workday like a responsible adult, walk quietly to the elevators, get to your parking garage, mount your 2019 Gold Wing and start your tour from there instead.
Standing over the 29.3-inch seat, you may find it hard to believe that the silky smooth and wonderfully quiet 1833cc engine hiding somewhere down lower is actually larger than powerplants installed in myriad compact cars. Add to this the Gold Wing’s Apple CarPlay with Siri functionality, standard Bluetooth connectivity, seven-inch navigation and Audio LCD Display, Selectable Riding Modes, and electric reverse gear, and you may feel as though you’re actually inside a well-equipped car. A car without doors or a roof, that is.
If your tour happens to start in an urban centre you should note that both prudence and experience are required to pilot the Gold Wing at slower speeds. This is a very large machine and while the bike is exceptionally well balanced, if you aren’t, you’ll wish you’d spent time earning your wings on something smaller. This is by no means a knock against the big Honda. It is, after all, a highway touring bike not a city grocery-getter.
If this is your first time on a large bike do yourself a favour and spend some time working out the basics of slow speed maneuvering, understanding weight transfer, familiarizing yourself with parking and taking advantage of the bike’s reverse gear. Also, take note that the bike is large enough that riders coming from smaller sleds may notice a mild blind spot immediately in front of the bike.
Now that you’re familiar with this big bike, get out there. Twist your wrist, power through the gears, and feel the bike effortlessly reach highway cruising speed. Put it in the passing lane, leave it in sixth gear, and judiciously apply more throttle. You’ll pass most drivers without taxing the Honda. If wind noise is of concern to you at this point, slide your thumb over to the toggle that will electrically raise the windshield. There, now. That’s better. No more noise.
Find yourself an exit ramp somewhere in the middle of nowhere and look for a twisty road. Don’t worry if the road hasn’t been particularly well maintained. The Gold Wing rides on 130/70R 18 and 200/55R 16 tires beneath a suspension that will literally eat uneven surfaces. Pick a gear, lean the bike over a bit, and put it into a corner at speed. This is not a machine for knee-dropping, power-up wheelies, but you can still nail corners with a smile and remind yourself that you’re on a bike that doubles the weight of some of Honda’s other two-wheeled offerings.
Eventually, your twisty road may straighten out and bring you back to civilization. The Gold Wing will easily bring you down to city speed with front dual 320mm discs and a single 316mm disc in the back, and Nissin calipers on both ends. If you’ve grabbed and/or stomped a bit more brake than needed, the electronically controlled dual combined brake system (CBS) with ABS will work stability magic.
The 2019 Gold Wing is a looker. With a fairing that runs smoothly from nose to the dual rear panniers and flows nicely into a set of funky rear lights (reminiscent of its distant cousin, the Acura NSX), it looks long and sleek. It is. With Honda’s Darkness Black Metallic colour option, the bike draws immediate attention in the form of admiring nods from others out there on two wheels.
The Gold Wing has long been a must-consider option for anyone looking at long-distance tourer. This iteration is no exception.
2019 Honda GL1800BK Gold Wing
Base Price: $27,399
Drivetrain: 1833cc liquid-cooled horizontally opposed 6-cylinder; six-speed manual with overdrive and electric low-speed reverse function
VVUZZ Recommended: If you’re looking for comfort, convenience, power and presence for the long haul.
Images courtesy of the author.