2021 Honda Gold Wing Tour DCT Airbag
Like it or not, if you are a motorcyclist, you must have heard the Gold Wing name. It’s probably one of the most acknowledged motorcycles in the world as the pinnacle of two-up motorcycling and touring comfort. Since 1975, Honda Gold Wing has been continuously on the market, and it still keeps its special formula of not being offensive in any way.
Though it is not a cool looking motorcycle, it doesn’t mean it looks ugly. It definitely has a unique design with a huge fairing in the front, huge LED headlights and indicators, iconic horizontally opposed engine with chrome exhaust that goes around both sides of the motorcycle, you know that it’s a Gold Wing from a mile away.
There are lots of plastic parts used all around the bike, but they don’t feel cheap. Everything is high quality especially all around the dashboard. The button layout is uniquely Gold Wing. You need to take your time to get used to the layout, but once you get the hang of it, you don’t think about it.
As expected, you have tons of rider and passenger accommodation with the Gold Wing. The Tour trim is even better, as it comes with a top case where passenger can use it as a backrest. As our tester is the top trim, it comes with heated seats for both rider and passenger. I always find Gold Wing’s side cases a little bit small for big items, a riding jacket can barely fit inside.
However, having a top case changes everything. I think the base Gold Wing without the top case looks cooler, but I would personally prefer the convenience of having top case over the looks. It can easily take two full size helmets. You can also store your smart phone in the top case to charge your phone.
Speaking of charging your phone, let’s talk about some tech available with the Gold Wing. Like the last year’s model we reviewed, it also comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. I love the convenience of having Apple CarPlay in a motorcycle, it makes your life so much easier.
However, not everything is great. You have to know the order of turning on your intercom and plugging in your phone to activate the CarPlay, which is annoying. You also have to use buttons on the left side of handlebar to navigate through the CarPlay, which I can’t really blame Honda for this but it can distract you quite a bit.
Aside from the heated seats, the Tour trim also offers few more features that is not available with the base “Bagger” trim, such as the fog lights attached to the engine block, a very smart choice by Honda designers and they perform extremely well at nighttime. It also comes with electronically adjustable suspension that can be adjusted based on the load, so you don’t get precise adjustment like some European entries.
Regardless of the trim, you still get features that you would expect from a proper touring bike, such as cruise control, electric powered adjustable windshield, heated grips, premium audio system that also comes with 4 speakers, 7 inch TFT screen and infotainment system that is quite intuitive.
Also, you get the same engine and transmission combination like the rest of the Gold Wing lineup. It comes with iconic 6 cylinder horizontally opposed 1883cc engine that produces roughly 125 horsepower and 125 lb-ft of torque. Our tester had the 7-Speed Dual Clutch transmission but you can also get it in manual.
The iconic horizontally opposed engine is silky smooth at any rpm, but it doesn’t like to rev more than 5500 rpm, all the torque is below 4500 rpm and that’s pretty much all you need for this type of bike. As you have tons of torque at low rpm, dual clutch transmission didn’t have to gear hunt to find the optimal rev range, it just pulls like a freight train.
Due to the overall weight, you should not expect a fast bike, but it is surprisingly quick at lower speeds. I think the DCT is a great match for this platform, and Gold Wing is probably the only motorcycle I would pick automatic transmission over a manual, hard to believe but dual clutch trans proved itself in the last decade that it can be as good and reliable as manual transmission.
Daily riding the Gold Wing is surprisingly easy due to low center of gravity, thanks to the horizontally opposed engine. The bike weights almost 900 lbs and it feels more like a 600 lbs bike, and this is probably the most surprising fact when you start riding the Gold Wing especially the first time. It also helps rider to forward-reverse the bike if you park in a tight spot.
If you dare to take this behemoth to the twisties, it is surprisingly capable within it’s limits. You don’t get huge lean angles, but it can still be fun. As expected from a heavy touring bike, there is a huge delay at the initial turn in, and you don’t feel anything from the handlebar due to double-wishbone system, but that’s the magic. The bike tries to filter every road imperfections, bumps, cracks for additional road comfort.
As a result, it lacks the character of many American cruisers, but that’s what Honda wanted to achieve, and they did a pretty good job to make you feel like you are riding a “Rolls Royce” of the motorcycling world. For some people, they are looking for the experience, the vibration, sound and the looks.
That’s where Gold Wing differentiates itself from the typical cruisers, as Gold Wing fans prioritize more functionality, practicality and overall riding comfort. Gold Wing is probably one of the few motorcycles you can ride hundreds of kilometers without feeling beaten up, back pain, or fatigue. The ergonomics feel very natural like you sit on a computer chair, unlike many cruisers where you put constant weight on your spine.
The things that I’ve mentioned so far is for the rider, but the Gold Wing is probably one of the best places to spend time as a passenger, you have a backrest, small arm rest, huge seat and tons of legroom. I would be totally fine on long trips as a passenger all day long.
Speaking of long distances, the elephant in the room is the gas tank size and total range. 21 liters may sound a lot, but even Africa Twin Adventure Sports trim comes with 25-lt tank. This was actually not a big deal with the base trim, but the Tour version is meant for longer trips, and it can barely go more than 300 kilometers with one full tank.
At the end of the day, you would not be able to find the character and styling of American tourers with the Gold Wing. It is more of a sophisticated luxury tourer that prioritizes engineering, modern features, technology and combines them with smoothness, comfort and practicality. That’s why the Gold Wing will always have an unique stance in the motorcycling history.
If you want to be a part of that history, 2021 Honda Gold Wing starts at $27,899 with the base trim and manual transmission. Our tester, The Gold Wing Tour DCT Airbag is priced at $35,999. I think you should definitely choose the Tour trim with DCT as it makes the bike more capable for the long trips. For more details – please visit motorcycle.honda.ca