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2010 Honda Gold Wing Long Term Review 2

Sunday, April 17, 2011
An adjustable windshield and large fairing make for a cocoon of comfort around the rider on the Honda Gold Wing. Comfort features such as heated grips and seat make the ride even more luxurious.
An adjustable windshield and large fairing make for a cocoon of comfort around the rider on the Honda Gold Wing. Comfort features such as heated grips and seat make the ride even more luxurious.
Our long-term Honda Gold Wing has been part of the MotoUSA fleet for just shy of five months and has been the steady go-to machine for just about any mission put before us. It has been used to blitz the vast expanses between America’s southwestern metropolises, cruises up and down the coast, and even as a grocery getter. More than once the black behemoth has been pulled out of the garage when the Southern California weather is on point and the traffic is just too much to deal with. With a carrying capacity that is on par with a compact car, the ‘Wing is the one bike you could live with as your sole means of transportation. Who needs a car when you’ve got a Gold Wing?

Having never ridden Honda’s flagship tourer before, the sheer amount of buttons and information is mind boggling at first. Everywhere you look there are buttons and dials and switches. Anxiety creeps in when looking for the cruise control button while trying to avoid the ejection seat or missiles away buttons. Okay, those buttons aren’t there, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they were. Any new Gold Wing owner should sit in the garage or drive way for a few hours to familiarize themselves with the layout of the flight deck. Once you know where all the buttons are everything works well, although the reach to some of the thumb activated controls are a stretch for some of our testers. Another gripe from both Hutch and I is the lack of illumination on the seat and grip heater dials. At night it is difficult to tell what position the warming goodness is set at.
 
An adjustable windscreen  ingenious cockpit heating system and electronic heated seats and hand grips ensure youre always comfortable even in brisk weather.
With a large cargo capacity the Honda Gold Wing is well suited for long distance touring as well as running to the grocery store.
The Honda Gold Wings six-speaker audio system is the gold standard in the motorcycling world.
Ken went road warrior on the ‘Wing, riding from the Irvine offices to Phoenix and back in the space of two days. Not surprisingly this was the second jaunt for the Honda to Arizona, while none of the other steeds in the MotoUSA garage were even considered for such serious road duty. That in its self tells what all of us in the office know; there may not be another bike better for racking up the miles. Hutch applauded the smooth Flat-Six engine that purred down Interstate 10 with aplomb. The upright perch is comfortable for hours at a time, and the firm yet plush seat keeps your backside happy mile after mile.
 
I on the other hand enjoyed the suburban qualities of Honda’s luxury tourer on my stints in the saddle. Not having time in my schedule for a road trip, I made a handful of shorter cruises and trips on Big Black. I battled Los Angeles traffic, ran errands, and even took the wife out to dinner in San Diego. As impressive it is at long distance duty, it is just as strong at life in the urban sprawl. You’ll be happy to know a full set of motocross gear will fit easily in the top trunk and sidebags. The keyless locks are a cool touch, but you need to make sure the side cases are closed completely. If not shut correctly the side will not lock and can be opened by an opportunistic thief. Several times I had issues with the sidebags not closing as easily as they should. Even so, the Gold Wing is put together well, and with such a great package little trifles become bigger than they really are.
 
The silky smooth engine is a unanimous winner with the MotoUSA crew, but we all are surprised at the lack of refinement in the transmission. Shifts are clunky to put it politely, and hung shifts and missed gears are more frequent than we would expect from such a great motorcycle. We feel part of the problem lies in the long throw of the shifter. A shorter, more positive feeling shift lever feel would make a huge difference in the around the town performance of the Honda Gold Wing.
 
A sophisticated yet easy-to-use satellite navigation system ensures youre never lost. However we wish you could modify the route or enter a new destination while in motion  must be at a standstill .
The sheer amount of buttons, dials and switches in the Gold Wings cockpit can be overwhelming at first glance.
Fuel mileage is not a strong suit of Big Black. The 1800cc puts out enough power to propel a nuclear submarine, but it is thirsty. Average fuel mileage hovered right around 28 mpg. This had Ken more than a little concerned as he blasted across the desert wasteland between San Diego and Phoenix. When it is time to refill the fuel cap gets a two-thumbs-down for everyone that visited the pumps. The cap does not stay attached to the tank and so you end up setting it on the seat or gas pump. Why doesn’t a motorcycle that costs as much as a family car have a decent gas cap?

Even with its flaws becoming more apparent as we spend more time with the Gold Wing, not one of us here would advise against the purchase of Swiss army knife of motorcycles. It does almost everything well, and some things excellent. It will be a sad day when Honda comes to take Big Black away. 
 
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Honda Gold Wing Maintenance Costs
This fully loaded 2010 Gold Wing is equipped with satellite navigation  anti-lock brakes  and an airbag. Its priced at  27 999.
Months in Service / Accumulated Mileage: 5 / 4732
MSRP: $27,999 (fully loaded with navigation, ABS, and airbag)
Aftermarket Accessories Cost: $0
Maintenance Costs with Tires: $0
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Comments
HiYoSilver   April 19, 2011 06:58 PM
Just got back from a 1963 mile weekend trip to Tennessee from Michigan on my 03' Goldwing. My mileage was never below 38mpg, with a high of 42 mpg. It sounds like you may need to reset your ECM. Start the bike cold, let it idle (do not touch the throttle) until the fans kick on and off, then shut the bike off. For the shifting, try using synthetic oil, many Goldwing riders have said that helps. I've grown accustomed to the way it shifts. Now watch the youtube video of YellowWolf and Fuse on the Dragon to see what a Goldwing is capable of.
ACDNate   April 19, 2011 12:23 PM
I'm not suprised by the poor fuel economy. I've seen my mileage drop to similar results when flogging it like a rented mule. Cruising at 75mph I see high 30's, not what I'd call flogging it.

I'll second the transmission comments, it's argueably the worst transmission I've ever ridden. Baffles the mind considering the price tag. Undercutting the gears does wonders I've read but who wants to drop that kind of coin on an already expensive bike.
Hutchy   April 18, 2011 08:23 AM
Yeah the gas mileage surprised us too for sure. And honestly on my trip to Phoenix I was going 75-80 mph depending on where I was in traffic. Not sure if that would be considered flogging her or not. I had no issues shifting though & it was a helluva comfortable ride. I love the radio on those long hauls.

scottgallaher@columbus.rr.com   April 18, 2011 04:51 AM
You must really be flogging the bike. My '04 GL1800 usually gets about 40mpg and has never been lower than 36 even when ridden fairly hard. I don't understand your issue with shifting either as my bike shifts very smoothly. I've never had a single mechanical issue with my Goldwing. My biggest complaint with the bike is I don't get to ride it as much as I'd like.
Wingrider820   April 17, 2011 10:06 PM
The bike you have is not doing very well in the mileage department. My 06 ABS model gets between 38 and 39 MPG consistently. Bike has over 186,000 miles, not a typo 186 thousand miles. My last wing 02 model had over 180 thousand miles on it when I collided with a deer at 65 mph. Insurance company totaled bike. After that collision and nothing close to a crash from it, did bend the frame and forks, I was sold on the 1800s. I have just had the bike in to replace a bad alternator under the extended warranty still have about 2 years to go on the warranty. At 192,000 miles I will likely have the valves adjusted for the first time, have had them checked every 32,000 miles. This is a fantastic bike I will always have one. Handling is good, as is performance and reliability is terrific. If I were to buy more bikes I would consider the VFR1200 and the 2012 Yamaha Super Tenere as second and third bikes. After rolling close to 400,000 miles on the 1800 it seems that every other motorcycle requires one to give up something when comparing it to the wing, in exchange for a small gain somewhere.