Manufacturer: Honda………..TOP Model: Gold Wing GL1800 Years Made: 2001 – Present Style: Luxury Tourer Engine Type:
Weight: 792+lbs HP: 104 Torque: 109 Top Speed: MPG: 55 New Cost: $39,990 (2002), $39,990 (2003)
Average Used Costs: Low $22,945 Medium $25,663 High $28,184
Honda’s Goldwing GL1800.
The GL1800 was finally announced for the 2001 model year. The official unveiling had been done the previous August and in an age where people could hide small cameras the size of a button on their person, it’s a miracle how Honda managed to keep pictures of the new Goldwing a secret for so long. Honda should really be put in charge of national security in Japan! They managed to keep a lid on things right up to the last minute.
Honda had managed once again to completely redesign the Goldwing from the ground up. Everyone and his dog knew that Honda couldn’t simply continue to make their flagship tourer heavier as the engine size got bigger. Over the previous thirteen years, most magazine test riders agreed that the GL1500 had been pushing the limits of what they called the “performance envelope” and common sense suggested to Goldwing riders that if the next Goldwing couldn’t at the very least maintain the weight of the GL1500, then the end of the line had already been reached. With this in mind, Honda built an all new alloy frame which comprised only 31 parts, compared to the previous models 130. The new frame was much stiffer than before and combined with an engine both bigger at 1832cc’s and 4lbs lighter than before, this meant that the GL1800 weighed 40lbs less than the GL1500. The whole look of the GL1800 had changed from big comfy tourer to a more sporty long distance machine designed to appeal to the younger rider as well as existing Goldwing owners. Big news also was the inclusion of fuel injection and the option of ABS brakes, long overdue on the six cylinder monster. Slightly slimmer bodywork dragged the design into the new Millennium, yet Honda had managed to make the seat much bigger and there was more pillion space. The seat height and diameter of the wheels remained the same as before, but the tyres were wider and for the first time on a Goldwing they were not supplied by Dunlop, but Bridgestone. Honda’s efforts resulted in a machine that went and stopped far better than most people had dared to hope and riding it gave the impression that it was far lighter than the GL1500, rather than a mere 40lbs. Magazine test riders all over the world heaped praise on the new Goldwing and it was no longer a machine for Goldwing bashers to ridicule. The general consensus was that the GL1800 was much more practical than before and was a motorcycle that many riders would use every day, rather than saving for use at weekends.
The Hondaline department, now very slick and efficient, were not caught napping this time. The marketing of accessories was helped by wide use of the Internet, as well as brochures and magazine adverts. There was a staggering 51 items available from Hondaline for the GL1800, far surpassing any effort made for previous Goldwings. Indeed, it was now possible for a Goldwing to become a bottomless pit for those who had the cash to spend on Hondaline accessories and the aftermarket suppliers had to take a deep breath and look very hard to find spots to fill this time and over the coming months there was a drip feed of items made available, rather than the usual flood.
2002 saw no major changes. The GL1800 was too new to do more than tweak here and there. Three new colours were introduced and the Goldwing was still available with or without ABS brakes. The full Hondaline range of accessories was still available and the aftermarket to their credit had managed to add many more bits and pieces to their product ranges. The high price of the Hondaline stuff no doubt gave lots of scope for the competition. A recall during the previous year saw the pulse rotor being replaced on many models and the kill switch on lots of models had to be fixed too, so Honda seem to be on top of things.
2003 is here and the GL1800 continues to be improved on. No major model or name changes, the ever popular Candy Red makes a welcome return for this year. The early CD player problems appear to have been fixed and the Bridgestone tyres that cupped and wore out at worryingly low mileages have been replaced by Dunlops. For some reason, the windshield now has two sliding bolts instead of four. The rumour mill has started to grind into action again, with reports of a possible Aspencade and SE addition in a year or two. A huge range of aftermarket accessories is now available for the GL1800, alas at the expense of the GL1500 and older models. Every year sees available accessories for older Goldwings sink without a trace. – Steve Saunders Goldwing Page
For more great Goldwing photos visit: Webbrilliandt Goldwing page.
Notes: Even the first (and lightest) Honda Goldwing is too heavy and unwieldly for beginners. But the Goldwing series is legendary in reliability and is able to go hundres of thousands of miles and still withstand the test of time.
UMG Says: A