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  1. Stafford

    Tectonic Shifting

    So….could this be the big one? For the last 4 years I have been attempting to narrow down my list of choices for a bike upgrade. My first (and still currently only) bike was purchased new 9 years ago, and now has 45000km on the odometer. I have always maintained it was a good thing my first bike was acquired in my forties…ample time to ensure my system was flushed of unused (or overused) testosterone. At the time of that purchase, I had the mindset of a 25 year old (more to do with my deluded state of fitness). In truth, back then, the state of muscle flexibility of my then mid-forties body was pretty good, but unbeknownst to me (read: ignored), the creep of time would not rest on its laurels. Today I am just shy of two months past my 56th birthday. My misguided interpretation of the physical state of my body has finally made an attempt to be in sync with my chronological age. Instead of 25 years, it is now realistically closer to 50. Oh, the indignity! The ultimate goal is to acquire a long distance touring machine with ultimate comfort and range for two-up riding with luggage. My most immediate real-time source of motorcycle information and opinion has been the members of CMC. It is great to be a part of a group of motorcycle enthusiasts who literally cover the gamut of motorcycle makes and models. I love the fact that the owner of a sport-touring bike (for example, moi) can lead a group of riders on V-Twin cruisers on a Multi-Provincial 5-day tour. Yes…that actually happened; but more to the point I have survived the inevitable (and ongoing) looks of dumbfounded shock, along with no small amount of ribbing, to tell the tale. It’s all in good fun of course. We live in a blessed country which affords us diverse levels of freedom of choice. So…what choice(s) have crossed my line of sight lately? Well, Honda has just thrown down the gauntlet with their new line of GoldWings. Seven models in total! Take a look at the specs, model info and images below. Remember due to the current exchange rate, add approximately $5000 CDN to the US-based prices shown. One issue I had with the previous GoldWing was its weight. Even before you added an extra passenger and luggage, you were pushing up to the 1000lb threshold. This is not to imply the bike was not balanced or manageable, it was just a personal concern I had in hauling around such a behemoth. The new models for 2018 have shed 90lbs of weight. Prior to Honda’s recent reveal of their new models, I was looking at their competitor, BMW. Specifically the K1600GTL or the BMW K1600B Bagger. They were almost 200lbs lighter than the 2017 GoldWing models, but still had side and top case luggage capability. They also had a well tuned and powerful 160HP inline 6-cylinder engine competing with the GoldWing’s opposed 6 cylinder model. In an effort to woo the very demographic I identified with 9 years ago at age 46, Honda seems to have put their flagship ride on a stringent fitness regimen along with what could be interpreted as a high-tech colon cleanse (lighter, more powerful and fuel-efficient engine; a more modern and distraction-free cockpit). At the same time they are hoping to retain and carry over existing GoldWing riders. Personally, I think the latter move may prove to be their biggest challenge. One case in point, the luggage capacity has been reduced to 110L, down from 150L. Some have also commented on the smaller fuel capacity, but according to Honda, the combination of reduced weight and a more fuel efficient engine supposedly gives the same range as the previous model. I have never ridden a Honda GoldWing, so I cannot speak to most of what others have commented on, but the new 2018 GoldWing models certainly are the closest I have seen a manufacturer come to matching what the BMW’s have been doing so well for the past few years. It is also interesting to note that it is not just the traditional Sport Touring segment that is upping the ante on targeting a younger generation of riders. Just take a look at the new 2018 Yamaha Star Venture and what it has to offer to the Cruiser crowd. Indian Motorcycles are also updating their model lines to capture and retain new and old customers. In any case, I am eager to see (and eventually demo) the new GoldWing. Whatever I decide on has to pass the CT-SIMOB (Continue To Sleep In My Own Bed) test with the Missus. Her comfort (comfortable heated seats / good back support / smooth ride among others) will be primary factors in any choice yet to be made. My only concern is that the new Honda GoldWing may end up costing more than the previously mentioned BMW’s. My….how times have changed. So, what do any existing or potential GoldWing riders think about what Honda is doing with their flagship product? Your comments are welcome. 2018 Honda GoldWing Specifications KEY UPDATES Lighter overall package results in improved handling and maneuverability More compact, lighter engine with four-valve head and Unicam valve train Available seven-speed DCT with Walking Mode forward/reverse Six-speed manual transmission Robotically welded aluminum twin-tube frame with revised plate thicknesses Radially mounted six-piston dual front braking calipers Double-wishbone front-suspension system Electrically controlled suspension Throttle-by-wire with multiple riding modes Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC) Hill Start Assist Smart Key Apple CarPlay LED lighting Updated design with 11.8 percent improved aerodynamic efficiency Electric windscreen adjustment GOLD WING TOUR The three 2018 Gold Wing Tour models—Gold Wing Tour, Gold Wing Tour DCT, and Gold Wing Tour DCT Airbag—are the modern interpretation of the classic Gold Wing, the ultimate long-distance touring machine, but with highly improved performance capabilities. Each of these models features saddlebags and a top case, as well as a tall electrically adjustable windscreen, front and rear speakers, and electrically adjustable suspension. Colors Gold Wing Tour, Gold Wing Tour DCT: Candy Ardent Red, Pearl White, Pearl Hawkseye Blue Gold Wing Tour DCT Airbag: Candy Ardent Red/Black Price Gold Wing Tour: $26,700 – $27,000 Gold Wing Tour DCT: $27,700 – $28,200 Gold Wing Tour DCT Airbag: $31,500 Availability: February 2018 GOLD WING Boasting a sporty character, the two Gold Wing models—Gold Wing and Gold Wing DCT—come with saddlebags but no top case or the accompanying rear audio speakers. The electric windscreen is shorter on these models, and preload adjustment is manual. HSTC, electric damping-adjust, center stand, and heated seats are not included. Colors: Candy Ardent Red, Matte Majestic Silver, Pearl Stallion Brown Price Gold Wing: $23,500 – $23,800 Gold Wing DCT: $24,700 – $25,000 Availability: February 2018
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