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Since 1999, the #1 Motorcycling Magazine for Women and the Men Who Ride with Them

What We Love About the New 2018 Honda Gold Wing Touring Motorcycle

Smaller, lighter, and packed with features women appreciate

By Tricia Szulewski, Associate Editor

The motorcycle that literally created the touring category while making it exciting to travel long distances on two wheels gets its first major redesign after 17 years. The Honda Gold Wing GL1800 gets a complete makeover and, while the name is the same, it is essentially a new motorcycle from the ground up. Load it with gear and a passenger and it handles better than ever. Even in its previous iteration, the Wing is so easy to ride that it lays claim to being one of the top 5 touring motorcycles women are riding now.

This brand new reincarnation of the Honda Gold Wing gets more than 90 new Honda parts creating a motorcycle that is more compact, lighter, and packed with upgrades and new technology. All this brings the big tourer to a whole new level of comfort, rideability, safety, and two-wheeled excitement that both experienced and new Gold Wing riders will appreciate.

2018 honda gold wing touring motorcycle review
I tested all the 2018 Gold Wing models on a two-day several-hundred-mile press introduction in Austin, Texas. Here I’m riding the base model Gold Wing wearing Olympia Moto Sports Ranger jacket and pants.

There are five trim levels available for the 2018 Gold Wing: Gold Wing, Gold Wing DCT, Gold Wing Tour, Gold Wing Tour DCT, and Gold Wing Tour DCT Airbag. Prices range from $23,500 for the base model to $31,500 for the top-of-the-line Airbag model.

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New Features Women Will Love

Here’s our list of the new features on the 2018 Gold Wing we are especially excited about for women riders. Every item listed makes the big tourer more user-friendly and easier to handle.

  • Lighter with a 90-pound weight loss
  • More compact profile
  • Center of gravity is lower and more centered
  • Hill Start Assist feature makes it easier to start on a hill
  • Walking Mode helps riders creep forward and backward in tricky parking lot scenarios. Our video later on in the story shows this cool feature in action.
  • DCT option allows for automatic shifting
  • Assist slipper clutch on manual shift models reduces clutch lever effort by 20 percent
  • Seat position brings riders 36mm closer to the bars
  • Electrically-adjustable windshield
what we love about the new 2018 honda gold wing touring motorcycle base model
The base model Gold Wing starts at $23,500. It comes with a 6 speed manual transmission, short windshield, and has no rear top case. It’s the lightest model, weighing in at 787 pounds.

The Gold Wing DCT is almost identical to the base Gold Wing, except that it has Honda’s 7-speed Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT), which adds 13 pounds and $1,200.

“DCT” stands for Dual Clutch Transmission. When this mode is engaged, it works like an automatic transmission, meaning there’s no clutch lever or shifter peg. The transmission shifts itself quickly and smoothly. This is Honda’s third generation DCT, the first 7-speed DCT, and certainly the most advanced. Passengers will appreciate this transmission because it shifts so smoothly they’ll never bump helmets with the rider again.

what we love about the new 2018 honda gold wing touring motorcycle DCT lever
You can switch the riding mode to manual and shift gears if you want on DCT models, but there’s no clutch lever; just press a button with your left thumb to downshift (located below the turn signal button). A button on the opposite side of the control switch, operated with your left forefinger, is pressed to shift up.

what we love about the new 2018 honda gold wing touring motorcycle profile
The Gold Wing Tour is a 6-speed manual, like the base model, but it has a taller windshield, a rear top case with two speakers, and many more features like a heated seat, electric preload and damping adjustment, reverse drive, and center stand. This model starts at $26,700.

what we love about the new 2018 honda gold wing touring motorcycle tricia riding
The Gold Wing Tour DCT is just like the Gold Wing Tour but comes with the DCT transmission for $1,000 more. This model starts at $27,700. Yes, it is more expensive than many cars, but it’s loaded with the latest technology and comfort features.

what we love about the new 2018 honda gold wing touring motorcycle airbag
The top of the line Gold Wing Tour DCT Airbag gets all the bells and whistles of the Tour DCT model, plus an airbag that slows the rider’s momentum forward in a frontal collision. This model costs $31,500.

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