2020 Honda Gold Wing – Whether you are in the middle of mid-life crisis, or you have been riding long distances for the last 25 years and looking for a new motorcycle, Gold Wing is one of the first alternatives come to mind. Why? Because the Gold Wing is one of the few iconic motorcycles that can do everything good. If you want to get from A to B on two wheels, doesn’t matter how far away B is, it can’t get smoother and more comfortable than this. In our review, we will find how good the latest Gold Wing is, and how it competes with the other alternatives in Touring segment.
You don’t have to be a “motorcycle guy”, but we are sure you heard the Gold Wing name before. One of the reasons is that this motorcycle has been on the market for almost 5 decades. Since it is released, there were more than 640,000 units sold in the world. Sales numbers in United States and Canada were so good, Honda decided to move manufacturing plant from Japan to USA in 2011.
Our tester is the 6th generation of the Gold Wing, which was totally redesigned in 2018. Honda not only changed the design, but also added new technologies and made the bike much lighter than the previous generation. Compared to the older model, base trim Gold Wing is approximately 40 kg lighter which is a quite big difference. This is also the first Gold Wing generation which Honda implemented the 7-speed DCT automatic transmission which was also in our tester unit.
Engine & Drivetrain
Although Honda changed the design completely, they still keep the main iconic features of the Gold Wing. One of them is a 1833cc flat-6 engine matched with a manual or automatic transmission and a shaft drive. The buttery smooth engine produces approximately 100 horsepower and 109 lb-ft of torque. It makes slightly less horsepower than the previous generation, but the engine has lots of torque down low rpm you may even not notice the difference.
The engine doesn’t want to be in the higher RPM range, and it can only go up to 6200 RPM. Honestly, you don’t need to rev it out that much, the torque curve goes significantly down after 4500 rpm. As it’s engineered more for road comfort and smoothness, the engine character fits the Gold Wing really well. You would expect to consume a lot of fuel, but that’s not the case. Our records show that it has 6.1L / 100 km average fuel consumption, which is very impressive considering it’s size and weight.
Aside from iconic 6-cylinder boxer engine, it has another Honda exclusive feature – the DCT automatic transmission. Actually I was skeptical before riding the DCT, as you rely on clutch a lot especially when you do tight turns. However, as soon as I started riding it, it feels completely natural. You can manually change the gears, but there is no clutch or shifter lever, not even a fake one like the other DCT Honda’s. If you change gears manually, upshifts and downshifts are relatively fast and matches the engine characteristics very good. In automatic mode, it wants to shift the gears very early, but that’s okay. This engine loves low RPMs, so you can lug the 6-cylinder engine all day long.
Another Gold Wing specific feature is, it comes with a shaft drive. Although it adds weight, it is very convenient system as you don’t have to clean and re-lube it like a chain drive. As this motorcycle is engineered and designed for long distance riding, there is one less thing to think about. Shaft drives are usually maintenance free, as long as you change the differential oil every once in a while, it does not require anything else.
In the motorcycling world, the Gold Wing is also described as “the Behemoth” as it is a big motorcycle, though it is significantly smaller than the previous generation. When we sat on it, it feels big but not too heavy. However, compared to the previous generation, it feels significantly smaller and nimble. You sit very upright, and footpegs are located almost like a naked bike but in a less aggressive way. Having a giant 6-cylinder boxer engine located at the bottom, the center of gravity is extremely low, so it is surprisingly a very well balanced bike especially when you do low speed maneuvering.
A very low center of gravity has another important advantage – better cornering capability . Despite being a heavy motorcycle, the Gold Wing feels surprisingly capable when cornering. Although, it is not a corner carver by any means, it still weights more than 380 kg and you feel the weight especially when you push the bike in tight corners back to back. However, once you get used to the weight of the motorcycle, it handles very good. You may want to switch to manual mode when you take it to twisties though, as it wants to keep the RPMs low, it can shift in the middle of the corner.
Braking performance is excellent and gives you a lot of confidence. The Gold Wing comes with dual 320mm discs with 6-piston calipers in the front, and single 316 mm rear discs with 3-piston in the rear. Due to the weight distribution and low center of gravity, it stops the bike like a super-sport bike. It is a combined braking system and you don’t need to use both brakes every time. Of course, 130/70/R18 (Front) and 200/55/R16 (Rear) Bridgestone tires help reducing the stopping distance, but they are not a fan of cold weather and requires a little bit warm up before pushing them to their limits.
Suspension is good, but you should definitely opt for the electronic suspension. Our tester was the base trim so there was no electronic suspension adjustment. Regardless of the trim, there is no fork in the front, it only comes with double-wishbone front suspension. Honda uses this system for a long time, mainly for extra road comfort and it requires less maintenance in the long term. The only disadvantage is, the handlebar gives you less feedback but this is totally acceptable in the Touring segment.
The rear suspension is another story. It has totally different dampening character compared to the front. It doesn’t have long strut travel, so it is not very comfortable over the big bumps and road imperfections. We didn’t have a chance to adjust the rear preload, and the factory setting is a little bit on the stiffer side. Without the electronic suspension, you must take off some plastic parts to be able to reach the adjustment knob. We would recommend going with the higher trim that comes with the electronic suspension so not only you don’t have to deal with disassembling plastic parts to adjust the preload manually, but it offers more dampening range and suspension settings.
Last but not least, passenger accommodation is also very critical in Touring segment. As our tester was the base trim, it didn’t come with the top case and back rest. It’s still very comfortable as it has a big and soft passenger seat, and wide passenger foot pegs. As the seat height is low for both rider and passenger, it is super easy to throw a leg over the bike. Overall, it’s not too bad for short and slow trips. However, for highway rides and long trips, a top case with back rest would be a great addition for passenger comfort. If you ride with a passenger most of the time, you may want to choose the Tour package which the top case comes standard.
If you are looking for a motorcycle that has a spec sheet like an automobile, it can’t get any better than this. Although our tester was a base trim, there were many features that make you feel like you ride a 2-wheel automobile. Some of them are LED headlights, cruise control, two external speakers and radio, auto start & stop, hand brake (for DCT), combined braking system, 7-inch infotainment & navigation system and Apple CarPlay.
It’s not over yet. It comes with heated grips, electronic windshield, Bluetooth connection system, reverse gear, keyless ignition. If you want top case, heated seats and electronic suspension, you need to go with higher trims. Honda is also one of the first motorcycle manufacturers which implements airbag safety feature in Gold Wing, but you need to choose the very top trim.
When it comes to practicality, the Gold Wing is really good as it has two side bags standard. Although we were hoping to fit a full face helmet in it, there is not enough storage for that. You need to buy higher trims that comes with the top case, which also increases passenger comfort. Two side bags are more than enough for anything except your helmet, so we used them mostly to put our riding jacket and gloves.
Compared to the previous generation, it has a smaller gas tank and storage accommodation which is a result of smaller design. You can fix the storage by getting the Tour trim, but unfortunately you can’t get a bigger gas tank. It comes only with 21 liter gas tank, and you get a fuel warning light when you have 4 liters left. You would still get more than 300 kilometres of range, which is not bad, thanks to the very efficient engine.
Pricing & Conclusion
With it’s newer, shorter and skinnier silhouette, Honda Gold Wing is a great balance point if you are looking for comfort, features and performance in a touring machine. If you want everything in one package, you need to pay the premium for it. The standard Gold Wing starts at $27.600 CAD and if you want the top trim, the price goes all the way up to $35.400. If you want the DCT transmission, it is additional $1.200. This segment is a crème de la crème of the motorcycle world, so price should not be your priority.
We still think 2020 Honda Gold Wing is the best bang for the buck in this segment, considering the starting price is much better than it’s rivals. We would highly recommend the DCT option as it matches bike’s overall characteristics very well. It’s the only option in Touring segment that offers an automatic transmission and it is a very good one. The base trim Gold Wing comes with only one color option, but you can choose red, white or glossy black if you go with higher trims.
For more details, please visit https://motorcycle.honda.ca/
2020 Honda Gold Wing DCT Specs
Base Price: $27,599
Price As Tested: $28,799 (DCT model)
Warranty: 3 years, unlimited miles, transferable
Type: Liquid-cooled, 6-cylinder boxer engine
Bore x Stroke: 73.0 x 73.0mm
Compression Ratio: 10.5:1
Valve Train: SOHC, 4 valves per cyl.
Valve Adj. Interval: 40,000 kilometres
Fuel Delivery: EFI w/ 50mm throttle body
Lubrication System: Wet sump, 3.9-qt. cap.
Transmission: 7-speed automatic/manual DCT w/ Walking mode & reverse (as tested)
Final Drive: Shaft, 1.795:1
Frame: Aluminum tubular & box-section double cradle w/ single-sided cast aluminum swingarm
Wheelbase: 66.7 in.
Seat Height: 29.3 in.
Suspension, Front: Dual-wishbone w/ Showa shock, no adj., 4.3-in. travel
Rear: Pro-Link w/ Showa shock, remote adj. spring preload, 4.1-in. travel
Brakes, Front: Dual 320mm discs w/ 6-piston opposed Nissin calipers & C-ABS
Rear: Single 316mm disc w/ 3-piston floating caliper & C-ABS
Wheels, Front: Cast, 3.50 x 18 in.
Rear: Cast, 5.00 x 16 in.
Tires, Front: 130/70-R18
Wet Weight: 386 kg.
Fuel Capacity: 21 lt.
Article written by Dan Gunay
Photos by Dan Gunay, Burak McKars