The 2020 Honda Gold Wing, which we can now find in Honda dealerships, is based on a model that underwent a radical refurbishment in 2018. A new chassis, a new engine, front suspension, new multimedia technology, additional comfort features, and a good dose of electronics developed in the MotoGP World Cup, in the form of mapping for the engine and gearbox electronics.
In 2020, Honda has decided to take it a step further and has updated the injection and double-clutch shifting programs. The suspension setup has been modified and improvements have been introduced in other components to achieve greater comfort. There's a reason riding the Gold Wing is the closest thing to travelling first class on two wheels.
Chassis and drivetrain
The Gold Wing, like the MotoGP bike, has an aluminium frame. In this case, it's a double-beam chassis designed to be able to bring the enormous drivetrain featured in this machine as forward as possible.
The engine, one of the largest seen in a standard production motorcycle, features an overwhelming displacement of 1,833 cc, distributed in six opposing cylinders installed horizontally. In 2018, it was given new Unicam cylinder heads with four valves per cylinder, driven by a single camshaft in each cylinder head. The result is increased performance, with 126 hp at 5500 rpm and 170 Nm of torque at 4500 rpm, with a weight reduction of 6.2 kg.
The technology found in this power plant is at the highest level of competition: anti-friction treatment in the piston skirts, off-centre cylinders, aluminium jackets, and a butterfly system in the electronic throttle. Furthermore, the revision in the shape of the combustion chamber provides better fluid dynamics, further improving the efficiency of Honda's advanced PGM-FI injection system.
Several electronic systems on the drivetrain put it at the forefront among passenger bikes. It features four selectable riding modes that modify the response of the drivetrain, suspension, and brakes. The Tour mode provides appropriate comfort and handling to travel, without losing sight of its characteristic personality. The Sports mode enhances the relationship between the throttle and the rider's requirements, accelerating more powerfully, while hardening the suspension and increasing braking power. The Econ and Rain modes reduce engine performance and, in the case of the latter, softens the suspension and changes the braking distribution.
To top it all off, the large 21.1-litre tank provides great autonomy.
Gearbox, brakes, and suspension
The Gold Wing can be bought with a standard six-speed gearbox or with a seven-speed DCT system. The latter is an automatic double-clutch gearbox with electronic control that can adapt to our driving style or the characteristics of the terrain where we are travelling.
Like in many cars and some of Honda's other models, it includes an idling stop system that stops the engine when the bike is at a standstill for over 3 seconds. It also has a hill-start assist system that, once we stop on an uphill climb, maintains braking pressure for a few seconds to prevent the bike from rolling downhill.
The improvements made in the 2020 model have allowed for accentuating its smooth operation thanks to its “slow forward” system, which allows for moving the bike forward at 1.8 kph or backward at 1.2 kph. This feature makes it easier to move the bike while parking it.
The braking system includes a 320-mm double-disc brake in the front, with six-piston calipers, and a 316-mm disc brake in the back, with a three-piston caliper. A combined braking system has been added to this configuration, in addition to advanced ABS, which is practically worthy of MotoGP. Pressure is distributed between the brakes according to the drive mode chosen.
The front suspension, with a double wishbone and a single shock absorber, transmits all the information about the road to the rider. It provides a light feeling thanks to the rod system used and the reduction in the components' mass. There has been special emphasis on reducing friction, further increasing the already smooth feel of riding it.
On the rear axle, the Pro-Arm system, first introduced in 2018, uses a system of rods and spherical bearings along with the aluminium swinging arm to provide the greatest possible stability. In both drivetrains, the shock absorber settings are electronically modified according to the mapping selected and riders can change the pre-loading of the back shock absorber remotely from the seat, with this setting being displayed on the digital screen.
The Gold Wing can be bought in two different versions: standard and Tour. The latter has a top box and a comfortable back seat, which will delight any passenger with new larger armrests for this year. Its cargo capacity is huge and it can hold a large amount of luggage without a problem, as well as two full helmets, with a total volume of 110 litres.
Safety is enhanced by full LED lighting which, this year, will also include fog lights in the Tour version. The turn signals have a self-switch-off system so riders do not need to touch the control to turn them off. As in previous versions, it is possible to include an innovative airbag system in this bike, providing additional safety in the event of a head-on collision.
It features cruise control, which is configured from the right lever. An electrically-controlled windscreen in terms of height and angle can be adjusted from the left lever.
The instrumentation is made up of two analogue gauges and a large 7-inch TFT colour screen, where we can see everything from navigation (updated for 2020) to the entertainment system, including, of course, all engine settings, status, and tyre pressure.
For the multimedia system, it supports Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth, or USB connectivity. This makes it possible to play content from our mobile phones using the built-in speakers, which can be upgraded with an additional audio system for passengers. Of course, this system can also be controlled from the handlebar.
Lastly, to start this brand new bike, you don't even have to take the key out of your pocket. The smart key allows you to start the engine remotely and can also be used to open cargo spaces.
Without a doubt, this bike is a showcase of technology, proving how Honda is one of the best manufacturers in the world, creating vehicles for the most demanding bikers, by the most demanding bikers.