HONDA GL1800 40TH ANNIVERSARY

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Since 1975 there’s been a bike in the Honda range that has stood the test of time – the Honda Gold Wing. It’s evolved, of course, but just as it was originally, it remains one of the best Touring machines available.

Once ridden many riders are instantly addicted to its turbine-like torque or its handling poise at low or high speed. Some simply enjoy its mileage-munching ability, carrying capacity and all-day two-up comfort, Know simply as “The Goldwing”

Honda has spawned two other very special machines in its Goldwing Range, broadening its attraction and appeal: the Gold Wing F6B, with its long, low and pared down ‘Bagger’ style and hot rod Gold Wing F6C Valkyrie ‘Power Cruiser’.

To mark 40 years of constant Gold Wing manufacture Honda has produced a 40th Anniversary machine which arrived in January, 2015.

Launched as the Honda GL1000 in 1975 its horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine was not only physically different, it felt very different with a silky smooth output perfect for long days in the saddle. The six-cylinder, 1500cc engine came along in 1988 and we saw the Gold Wing once again state its intent and purpose to benchmark the ultimate touring machine.

The Honda Gold Wing GL1800 which debuted in 2001, after eight years of intensive research and development, added further dynamic ability and riding enjoyment to the Gold Wing’s repertoire. The box-section aluminum frame delivered stability and accurate steering at speed. It also worked with the unique flat-six engine to keep the centre of gravity low – a key factor in the bike’s excellent low-speed balance and agility, which made twisting mountain roads or busy city streets a pleasure to negotiate.

And just as the engine enjoys a legendary reputation for reliability, so the rest of the machine is finished to the very highest of standards, with outstanding build quality and paint finish.

The core appeal of the Honda Gold Wing remains its unique ability to make long-distance travel a truly rewarding and enjoyable experience. A visual update in 2012 – with improved luggage capacity – under the style concept of ‘majestic aggression’ perfected a look that is at once elegant, imposing and vibrant.

To celebrate 40 years of production the 2015 Honda Gold Wing is available in an additional – and very special – two-tone colour scheme, with commemorative key fobs and fairing/trunk badges. The 40th Anniversary badges and key fobs will also be found on the three other Gold Wing colours.

Total luggage capacity is 150 litres and the shape of the rear of the machine actively contributes to aerodynamic stability.

The seat is one of the most important features of a touring motorcycle and the Gold Wing’s has always excelled when it comes to day-long comfort. The shape of the seat wraps around the passenger, creating the sensation of complete comfort and security. A urethane seat material increases comfort, while the weather proof cover is perforated for a sporty look. Seat height of 740mm gives accessible ground reach.

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2015 Gold Wing 40th Anniversary

The 2015 Gold Wing 40th Anniversary model will be available in a very special Candy Prominence Red/Graphite Black paint option. Both colours are tied together, and separated, by a silver band inlaid with 40th Anniversary emblems and the effect – along with the blacked out wheels, frame forks, swing arm and mufflers – is simply special. Finishing details are the 40th Anniversary emblems on the fairing front and inner, trunk lid and key fob.

Three other colour options, also wearing 40th Anniversary emblems (and complete with special key fob), are also be available:

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Honda 40th Anniversary Gold wing – Graphite Black

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Honda 40th Anniversary Gold wing – Pearl Glare White

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Honda 40th Anniversary Gold wing – Digital Silver Metallic

SRS CS Auto 6-speaker 80W surround-sound system

Offering superb sound presence and quality, this system delivers high quality stereo via a powerful 80-watts-per-channel amplifier capable of delivering clear, crisp sound, even at motorway speeds. The amp powers a full complement of six speakers, with two rear speakers, two front speakers and two tweeters.

The result is a rich and full surround sound experience through either the speaker system or the optional headsets.

The audio system is compatible with iPod®, iPhone® and USB memory sticks, meaning riders can play MP3, WMA and AAC music files on the go. The system is fully integrated; giving full device control through the handlebars and displaying music file information on the main display.

Controls on the left-hand fairing panel take care of switching between music sources (for example radio or USB), switching displays and selecting music while at a standstill. The USB port for connecting digital music devices is in the large lockable top box.

Honda Navigation System

The Gold Wing’s Navigation System offers fast and accurate functionality. The bright colour screen boasts a range of functions including lane assist and junction view, while optional voice-prompting further reduces the chance of taking a wrong turn. The system also offers points of interest information, including petrol stations, Honda dealers, hotels and restaurants.

Easy to use controls ensure all of these features can be accessed easily and safely. Reception sensitivity allows the system to operate effectively even in areas with a poor signal, such as on roads beneath large structures or on mountain roads.

Heated seats and handlebars; foot warming system

Five-position heated grips and independently adjustable heated seats make touring a year-round pleasure, plus The foot-warming system channels engine-heated air over the rider’s feet and is controlled by a fairing-mounted lever.

Reverse Gear

The slow-speed, electric Reverse system is engaged with the simple push of the thumb control on the right handlebar.

Cruise Control

Lightweight electronic cruise-control system utilises a 16-bit ECU-based, motor-actuated throttle mechanism, allowing controlled cruising between 30 / 100 mph in 4th and 5th gear.

Adjustable windscreen

A simple yet ingenious ratchet windscreen-adjustment system provides six settings over nearly 100mm of travel. The manually operated adjustable and closeable windscreen vent routes fresh air to the rider’s face or chest.

Luggage capacity

Between the fairing pockets, top box and rear panniers; the Gold Wing boasts over 150 liters of luggage space. The specially designed luggage features a remote-control key lock, permitting pop-open rear trunk operation, remote lock/unlock for the trunk and panniers.

If remote locking is attempted while a lid is open, the turn signals flash to alert the rider.

 

Flat-Six Engine

The horizontally opposed SOHC 2-valve six-cylinder engine is as much a part of the Gold Wing legend as is the name or the sales success. Unique in motorcycling, the 1832cm³ engine is the perfect long-distance ally.

Its layout minimizes engine vibration and helps create a low centre of gravity, reducing rider fatigue at speed and making the bike easy to handle at walking pace. At the same time the large displacement gives exceptional power and torque, especially in the midrange. Bore and stroke is set at 74mm x 71mm, with compression ratio of 9.8:1. Peak torque of 167Nm is delivered at just 4,000rpm, with power output of 87kW @ 5,500rpm.

PGM-FI fuel injection ensures a crisp throttle response and low exhaust gas emissions. Together, the fuel injection system’s fine air/fuel ratio control, the three-way catalytic converter and the air injection system – that encourages the oxidization of unburned gases – ensure that the Gold Wing easily meets EURO-3 emissions standards. For longer maintenance intervals, automatic adjustment for the silent cam chain has been retained.

The engine’s power is transmitted to the rear wheel through a five-speed gearbox spinning the opposite way to the engine’s crankshaft. This cancels out the side-to-side torque reaction effect generated by longitudinally mounted engines. Fifth gear is an overdrive, offering very low cruising revs on a long haul for optimized comfort and reduced fuel consumption. Shaft final drive means no messy chain lubrication or adjustment.

Chassis

The skeleton of the Gold Wing is a twin-spar aluminium beam frame which holds the engine as a stressed member, improving its already outstanding levels of rigidity, while the design’s low weight and optimised weight distribution make it a joy to ride at any speed.

Overall dimensions are (L) 2,630mm × (W) 945mm × (H) 1,455mm with wheelbase of 1,690mm and kerb weight of 421kg airbag model.

Both the 45mm cartridge front telescopic forks and Pro-Link single-side swingarm rear suspension use low-friction bushes, with the forks also benefitting from low-friction dust seals. Equipped with a two-position memory function, the computer-controlled, electric hydraulic-type adjustable rear suspension allows for quick adjustments to spring preload depending on load.

The Gold Wing is fitted with Honda’s Dual Combined ABS. The Combined element of the system links the front and rear brakes to deliver the perfect balance of braking effort, whether the rider uses the front brake lever or the rear foot brake for high levels of deceleration in all situations.

The ABS monitors front and rear brakes – a pair of 296mm discs and three-piston calipers at the front, and a ventilated 316mm disc and three-piston caliper at the rear. Braking effort is momentarily reduced should the system detect that a wheel is about to lock up. Hollow section 5-spoke cast aluminium wheels are sized (front) 18 x MT3.5 and (rear) 16 x MT5. They wear 130/70 R18 (63H) and 180/60 R16 (74) tyres respectively.

 Airbag

In addition the UK standard model is fitted with a fully integrated airbag, which represented an industry-first when introduced in 2006. The airbag module containing the airbag and inflator is positioned in front of the rider. The ECU to the right of the module detects changes in acceleration based on information it receives from the two crash sensors (one positioned on each of the front fork legs), to determine whether or not to inflate the airbag in certain frontal impacts.

Note: all models fitted with airbag are also installed with satellite navigation.