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2012 Honda Gold Wing First Look

Monday, February 21, 2011
The saddlebags also feature practical improvements with their new form  with an extra seven liters of storage space claimed.
Facing an impending new challenger from BMW, Honda gives its flagship Gold Wing a modest makeover for 2012.
Is there a more iconic model in Honda’s arsenal than the Gold Wing? Celebrating its 36th production year, Big Red claims an astounding 640,000 unit sales of the flagship motorcycle since its 1975 model year debut. Essentially a class of its own in the luxury touring market, this year The Wing faces off against a new challenger in the Inline-Six-powered BMW K1600GT. Honda has parried the Bavarian thrust by giving its flagship touring model a modest makeover for the 2012 model year.

A cursory glance seems to reveal the same old Wing. However, a closer examination side-by-side with the previous year’s model and styling revisions are apparent. Straight angles and lines replace the predecessor’s curvier contours, particularly noticeable in the fairing and saddlebags. The new fairing shape isn’t all about looks, however, with Honda touting improved wind protection to the rider’s legs and lower body. The saddlebags also feature practical improvements with their new form, including an extra seven liters of storage space claimed. The new bags team with the standard trunk and fairing pockets for “well over 150 liters” of storage.

A brighter screen displays information from the latest version of the Honda Satellite Linked Navigation System.
The Gold Wing instrumentation benefits from a refresh, with the latest model using a next-gen version Nav system.
A subtle refresh of the instrumentation gives the Gold Wing a more modern look from the cockpit too. The instrument cluster showcases some next-generation features in the electronics. A brighter screen displays information from the latest version of the Honda Satellite Linked Navigation System. The new Nav is complemented by an updated audio system, featuring SRS CS Auto surround-sound and MP3/iPod connectivity. The tunes are also supplemented by XM radio.

Road performance upgrades are limited to new suspension settings at both the 45mm fork and single rear shock. The suspension tweaks are promised to “yield added compliance for a better ride and more comfort.”

Unchanged is the familiar 1832cc Flat Six powering the Honda. The Wing also remains a heavyweight touring platform, tipping the scales at a staggering 903-944 pounds, depending on the options. Thankfully, the electric Reverse system remains a standard feature. Also standard fare on the base Gold Wing are five-position heated grips, seat and backrest. Honda’s combined braking system is standard as well, with ABS optional.

Road performance upgrades are limited to new suspension settings at both the 45mm fork and single rear shock. The suspension tweaks are promised to yield added compliance for a better ride and more comfort.
The 1832cc Flat Six powering the Gold Wing is unchanged for the 2012 model, though Honda promises tweaks to the suspension components improve ride comfort.
The Gold Wing platform continues to showcase Honda innovation, in recent years the headlining feature being the first-ever production motorcycle airbag system. The airbag returns as an optional feature, with a non-airbag model making use of the empty space for an extra storage compartment (in case those 150 liters in the bags aren’t enough!).

The new Gold Wing will make its first public debut at the IMS show in Greenville, South Carolina, February 25-27, and then at Daytona Bike Week, March 5-12. Honda promises the new models at dealer showrooms by May, with MSRP ranging from $23,199 to $28,499.

Now the obvious question: How does the dominating Wing fare against the new Beemer challenge? As far as price goes, the base Gold Wing retails for an identical MSRP as the similar spec GTL model (alright, it’s a buck cheaper than the GTL’s $23,200…). The K1600GT we will be reviewing for the first time in the upcoming weeks will cost $20,900.

As for on road performance comparisons, stay tuned for one of the most eagerly anticipated shootouts of the new riding season later this summer.

The airbag returns as an optional feature on the Gold Wing.
Out with the old and in with the new. Side-by-side comparisons of the 2012 Gold Wing (left) and the 2010 model (right).

2012 Honda Gold Wing Photo Gallery
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2012 Honda Gold Wing Specs
The new fairing shape isnt all about looks  with Honda touting improved wind protection to the riders legs and lower body.
Engine: 1832cc liquid-cooled Flat Six
Bore & Stroke: 74 x 71mm
Compression Ratio: 9.8:1
Valve Train: SOHC; two valves cylinder head
Fueling: PGM-FI
Ignition: Computer-controlled digital with 3-D mapping
Transmission: Five-speed, plus electric Reverse
Final Drive: Shaft
Front Suspension: 45mm cartridge fork with anti-dive system; 4.8 inches travel
Rear Suspension: Pro Arm single-side swingarm with Pro-Link single shock with computer-controlled spring preload adjustment with two memory presets; 4.1 inches travel
Front Brakes: Dual full-floating 296mm discs with CBS three-piston calipers; optional ABS
Rear Brake: Single ventilated 316mm disc with CBS three-piston caliper; optional ABS
Front Tires: 130/70R-18
Rear Tires: 180/60R-16
Wheelbase: 66.5 inches
Rake: 29.15°
Trail: 109mm (4.3 inches)
Seat Height: 29.1 inches
Fuel Capacity: 6.7 gallons
Colors: Pearl White, Candy Red, Ultra Blue Metallic, Black
Curb Weight: 904 - 933 pounds, depending on option packages selected
MSRP: $23,199 to $28,499

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btfox@cox.net   March 23, 2011 05:51 AM
I believe Honda made a big mistake by not taking advantage of the move to Japan. Even if it would have delayed the new wing another year, they should have surveyed their customers to find out what changes they would like to see. IE electric windshield, 6th gear, redesigned the trunk for more space, etc. I have an 08 and was interested in the new wing, but with the minor changes I will wait another year or so. I would also like to see some color schemes implemented like Harley does and not just panel color changes, I think that is part of the reason why Harleys keep selling their bikes, because they come out with different colors through out the year.
gwbiker   March 13, 2011 07:24 AM
Well I read lots of hipocrits remarks about the Goldwing I guess they never rode on or cant afford one at least they are way ahead of any production manufacturer in the world and when it comes to durability their on top so before you knock what you are not up on read up what you are going to run your mouth about..
The Wing is the king of the road all others are trying to match their worthyness.
Scoot   March 7, 2011 12:37 PM
Got a confirm on my new BMW K1600 tourer order. Too bad for Honda and there are a lot of disappointed Lead Wing buyers out here that were waiting for a new model. Victory and BMW with be getting the touring bike sales this year. Harley Davidson is so far behind the curve it will take a miracle for them to catch up. Harley can't seem to get out of the parts bin bike idea. There bikes are rolling antiques and even the dated Lead Wing is light years ahead of any Harley.
Scoot   March 4, 2011 07:41 AM
God what a disappointment. Honda is getting just like Harley Davidson. Change the color, move a few things around and call it a new model. The Lead Wing is way overdue for a make over and the new BMW K1600 is going to kill the Lead Wing. The BMW is priced no more than the Lead Wing and has many more features. I was waiting for the new Wing before I made a decision on the new BMW and now I am glad I risked a $500 deposit on a new BMW. This Lead Wing is last years news. Honda surly must think that just because a few American buy a Harley that all of us are suckers. You will see me riding my new K1600 this year. Honda has made so many stupid mistakes recently that is makes me wonder if they even care about the U.S. market. Good by Honda.
Eman   February 28, 2011 07:58 AM
It looks like the same old wing to me I have an 03 and mine is made in the U.S. and the new ones are made in Japan. When I replace this bike it will be with a victory cross country made in the U.S.A. Sorry honda but as much money as you make from the U.S. you should have left production here. As much as I like my wing I won't buy another new one.I believe after 11 years they could have come up with something better. I mean come on no electric windshield. About the only changes I can see is blacked out body part where it use to be chrome. and a much higher price. America needs all the help it can get right now. Its no foreign motorcycles or cars from me.
tallmantop51   February 27, 2011 07:12 PM
I own a 2008 Goldwing. I'm very happy with it, even after hitting a deer 2 years ago doing 60MPH. The 1832cc engine works well, why change a good thing. Do you really need to have a 2000cc, I don't think so. They can't use a GPS that you can use while moving, They'd have a law suit within a day from some idiot that ran into a tree. If you buy an after market GPS and install it on your handle bar. Do you really need a power driven middle stand? I get enough jabs from other riders who think I ride the Lexus of bikes. I think the reason they didn't go with an auto transmission is because they had poor sales on the DN-01. They should have talked to Traxxion. They should have sent a survey out to all Goldwing riders to get their opinions too. I was hoping for a bluetooth instead of having to attach the cord to my helmet every time. Not that I can afford to buy a new one at this point. I just paid off the one I have. I ride it just about everyday. I can get 50mpg if I keep it at 65mph, 40mpg any other time. I'd say that's pretty good for a 1800cc engine.
knight0409   February 27, 2011 10:35 AM
Very much disappointed. Two tone fairing looks as though the bike was repaired with used parts from another bike. Saddlebags and trunk are now completely mismatched...poor saddlebag design, but welcome extra space. Same old drive train and suspension...added another setting to the suspension, are you kidding me. They should talk to Traxxion. Hoped for electrict windshield...nope, same old ratchet system. Hope the new GPS operates more like a zumo, previous offering not very good.

All in all it looks like this offering was an attempt to bring in cash wwith very little meaningful change. Definately will wait for a real inovation and will not consider this bike...but maybe a look at the new BMW might be warranted, despite the fact that I have rode Wings since 1977.
Dragonheart   February 24, 2011 11:33 PM
Let's be honest, I think the 2010 is a better looking bike?
steven1050   February 22, 2011 04:49 PM
Like everyone else I've been waiting a long time to be impressed with the next generation Wing. Needless to say I am disappointed. I was hoping to see a 6th gear, an electric windshield, a POWER center stand. Just what we need, a heavier bike!

I also would like to see the touch screen GPS usable while moving. Wing NAV is terrible. I think the body change, if you want to call it that was a factor of how little Honda had to spend to make a visible change. I'm not particulary impressed. Also, I'd like to see GWRRA and Wing World have this information before anyone. It's almost as if they don't talk to these folks at all.
nvrpc   February 22, 2011 01:41 PM
May I suggest to Honda they only build the 2012 GL-1800 on an as ordered basis so they have no surplus and none sitting on the showroom floor. In today's world where houses are predicted to continue to decline in value for the next five years or more, and there will be no recovery until the unemployment rate is at 5%, Honda is going to find it hard to sell one of these to anyone. On the upside I wished they would have put in six gear since I’m always looking for it when I hit 70 MPH. I was also hoping they made the onboard GPS with a touch screen and as good as my Zumo 660. Other than that I’m a happy camper with my 2010.
RJ   February 22, 2011 12:56 PM
That blue has my vote, absolutely amazing. The truth though, I learned long ago that I cannot wish any bike into my garage. Honda cannot get 23-29K out of me, not in this economy, not without significant job growth and opportunities. Kind of like squeezing a stone for water as many consumers are in a similar boat when it comes to recreational spending. I think Honda played it smart, by playing it safe, and not adding all kinds of additions to significantly inflate costs. It also has a strategic value because the technological gap within the aged inventory is not as signficant and you know dealerships are full. Let BMW chase the touring leader by launching their campaign - in this economy, it's only going to benefit Honda who already has a strong following. I understand it is disappointing from a consumer prospective, but it also allows the soldier to fight another battle in the war. Those who wanted more, really need to consider how hard the motorcycle industry is hurting.
509MXFan   February 22, 2011 12:21 PM
I am bummed as well. Even though base is similar between the two, several features on the Beemer are standard that aren't on the Honda (which is oddly backward of in the past). The biggest thing on any of these 900lb bikes is the ABS, which is standard on the GT and GTL.

The biggest disappointment is Honda's inability to listen to its buyers. GL1800 owners have been asking for a sixth gear (though I can see why Honda has never done it, with the high probability of trailering) and a power adjustable windshield. Why can't they accomodate their customers better?
bob1190   February 21, 2011 02:35 PM
I am really bummed! The new Gold Wing was supposed to be a "technical marvel". Made in Japan, lighter chassis, 2000cc, dual clutch auto tranny, etc etc etc. BUT Honda wimped out - same engine, no new tranny, just some body changes, suspension tweaks, and electronic doo-dahs. BOO! I'm sticking with my bike.