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Touring on motorcycles is catching the fancy of many people these days. Motorcycles aren't about riding fast or hard, it's also about going the distance. One of the most popular touring motorcycles in the world, the Honda Gold Wing has been on top of its segment for decades, with the motorcycle now being in its seventh generation. We sample the motorcycle in Malaysia to tell you why it is an engineering marvel.
Styling - The Honda Gold Wing looks the part and has massive dimensions, it does intimidate you to step back and rethink if you want to get astride on it. Right from the big lights, bulbous body panels to the big windscreen (which is adjustable too), the Gold Wing might come across as too heavy and it is but this motorcycle does comply with aerodynamics to make for a smooth ride.
Instrument Cluster and Switchgear - Get astride and you immediately realise there are a ton of buttons to play with, with placement all over, right from the handlebar to switches which are placed on the body panel, this Honda needs you to step back and hunt for the manual to understand how to operate those plethora of functions.
Depending on the model (our test bike was the sixth gen), you could get either a fully analogue cluster or a one with more digital readouts, there is an LCD screen below for the various functions, including for the in-built radio, this motorcycle gets speakers on either side of the cluster. On the left side of the handlebar, the switches are for the lights, horn, indicators and the audio system, meanwhile, on the right, the buttons are for the cruise control system as well as reverse gear. Yes, you read that right, you can reverse this motorcycle with a press of a button, although the speed is a measly 1 km/hr, it's just there to help you back out of parking as the Gold Wing is a heavy motorcycle.
Ergonomics - The Honda Gold Wing isn't a motorcycle for your city runabouts, it's a bike you would do inter-state journeys, arriving in comfort every time because the seat is extremely comfortable and you sit upright, it's soft like, almost. The pillion too is very comfortable on this machine with a backrest added for better support. The footpegs are front-set and there is an option of heated grips as well as heated seats too!
Performance - The Gold Wing employs an 1833cc, flat-6 engine that belts out 118 HP and an impressive 167 Nm of torque. Power delivery is linear with instant response for effortless riding with the redline coming in at 6500 RPM. The motor being a 6-cylinder unit sounds good with refinement levels being excellent. The motorcycle can be had with a 7-speed DCT automatic gearbox too, the standard model comes with a manual gearbox which is a joy to use.
Riding Dynamics - With 400 kgs of weight to lug around, the Hond Gold Wing might sound like a handful but it's far from it. It feels easy to ride although you do feel the weight in the city and at parking speeds. But out on the highway, it feels easy to pilot it and around the corners too, it glides through with great confidence.
This motorcycle remains glued to the road at all speeds and the tyres offer good grip while windblast is contained through the adjustable windscreen visor. The ride quality is pliant and the suspension is on the softer side, this is no track bike and thus shouldn't be pushed hard around the corners. The brakes offer good stopping power.
Verdict - The Honda Gold Wing is an impressive motorcycle, it offers good performance, terrific comfort and easy handling once you are out on the highway. With a slew of features which boost the comfort levels further, the asking price of Rs. 33.68 lakhs (on-road, Mumbai) might not come across as too much for the level of engineering feat on offer. To put it in a nutshell, the Gold Wing has more individual parts than the Accord which shows this motorcycle is nothing short of a car on 2-wheels!
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