Why The New Goldwing Is Not The BEST Goldwing Ever Built

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  • Why The New Goldwing Is Not The BEST Goldwing Ever Built

    Everything you are about to read is pure speculation on my part, so take it with a grain of salt.

    Honda did not just throw together this new Goldwing in 12 months of development. For a motorcycle like this to reach the marketplace it had to be in development for at least five years. In fact, I would bet it was on the drawing board when the 2012 Goldwing was released and that is why Honda did not "waste" the money to make the 2012 trunk match the saddlebags. The flaws that exist with the current design and execution of the 7th Gen Goldwing (or 6th Gen depending on your point of view) are the result of careful planning and what I would presume to be the environmental agenda at Honda.

    When the designers, engineers and planners at Honda got together to design a new Goldwing for the future, they did not sit down at a table and say "Let's build the most comfortable, most powerful, long-distance touring motorcycle in Goldwing history." In fact, that was probably never even discussed. What they more likely said was "Let's build the lightest, most fuel-efficient large motorcycle so we can save the planet". The result is a 2018 Goldwing with an inadequate trunk, an uncomfortable seat, and an engine that gets better mileage, but throws a noticeable buzz through the handlebars. Your comfort was never considered. The ability to traverse long distances was not a priority.

    This is where buying a motorcycle from a company that is primarily an automotive manufacture may put us at a disadvantage. Auto makers have all bought into the notion that the planet is going to burn to ash in 12 years unless they design vehicles that get an extra 3 miles per gallon. That is why many new cars (and even Goldwings in Europe and Canada) have this stupid start/stop technology. Let me ask our Canadian friends a question. If start/stop was a $10 option on a Goldwing, would you pay the $10 to have it?

    This motorcycle was designed to be lighter and the engine was designed to be more efficient. Mission accomplished. It does not matter that YOU don't like the smaller trunk. It does not matter that YOU don't like the 112mph speed limiter. It does not matter that YOU don't like the vibration coming through the handlebars. It does not matter than YOU don't find the seat comfortable. In fact, if you are uncomfortable, you will ride less and expend even less fuel. They are saving the planet. You see, Honda is smarter than you. They are "enlightened", and you will just have to suck it up and live with it.

    Now when we get to things like the worst GPS every designed being put on the new flagship Goldwing, that is not an environment decision, that is an automotive company trying to build a motorcycle. They put cheap, crap GPS in their cars, so why not use the same system in their motorcycles? After all, Honda already has a contract with Harman for their cars, so instead of paying Garmin $35 per motorcycle built, they can pay Harman only $20 per unit. That is how an MBA (probably American educated) makes the decision. If they can shave $15 (or $20 ot $50) off the cost of a motorcycle, they will become a big hero at the company. It is irrelevant that the GPS is useless for motorcycle duty. YOUR (the customer) experience never came into the equation!

    Now, in spite of all the environmental requirements and stupid business decisions, the new Goldwing is still an amazing motorcycle. But, it is in spite of it, not because of it.

    What was missing in the design of the new Goldwing was a passionate Goldwing evangalist fighting the engineers and design team throughout the process. If Honda had availed itself of just one or two Goldwing evangalists like myself, or Fred Harmon or Rocky, or any of 100 other Goldwing faithful, and given them a real seat at the table while these decisions are being made, this 7th generation Goldwing would have been something truly special. But, companies don't build motorcycle (or cars) for consumer anymore. They build for government regulations and environmental agendas. That is why you see comapanies pouring billions into electric car technology that nobody wants and nobody is asking for. Nobody has told them that gas is only $2.50 a gallon.

    It may sound like I am just *****ing and complaining about the new Goldwing, and in a way, I am. I love the bike, but it falls short of what I was expecting from a new Goldwing. I can live with a smaller trunk, but goddamit it should be able to hold two friggin' helmets. I can't even fit ONE large helmet unless I remove my Bluetooth communicator. And, for the first time on any Goldwing, moisture can form on the inside of the clear dash causing it to fog. What the HELL? Do you know that it will take about 4 hours to get the dash off to clean it? And, what's to prevent it from fogging up again? Nothing.

    It is a great motorcycle, but it falls short of what it could have been. Sadly, this is the last Goldwing most of us will ever see.


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  • #2
    Great post! You should send this to Honda but I’m sure it would do no good. It’s a shame...

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    • #3
      I believe you've hit the nail firmly on the head as to Honda's design decisions. As you said, if they'd invited even a few of the Goldwing faithful to the table, the bike would have been completely different. Like you said though, I love my new Goldwing too. I think that would be a different story though if my wife still rode on the back.
      Martin

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      • #4
        At least the frame isn't cracking (yet)

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        • #5
          I'm only gonna pick at a couple of points in this - low-hanging fruit, and all...

          Originally posted by Cruiseman View Post
          This is where buying a motorcycle from a company that is primarily an automotive manufacture may put us at a disadvantage. Auto makers have all bought into the notion that the planet is going to burn to ash in 12 years unless they design vehicles that get an extra 3 miles per gallon. That is why many new cars (and even Goldwings in Europe and Canada) have this stupid start/stop technology. Let me ask our Canadian friends a question. If start/stop was a $10 option on a Goldwing, would you pay the $10 to have it?
          Well...

          How many automobiles has Honda made over the last 50-odd years? Over 26 million in North America alone.

          Motorcycles? Not doing all your homework (90 million Honda Cub's alone...) on that point, but let's just say that Honda Motor Company is a motorcycle company that realized making automobiles is also highly profitable. Shareholders, and all of that marketing stuff once again.

          As such, they are now beholden to a dozen (or more) different emissions regulations as a result of 'Global Warming'. Whether or not you believe it, a couple of billion humans give or take on the planet *do* believe there's something not quite right about our environment - and we humans probably influenced that. Let's leave that out of the equation for the moment. It's a requirement due to government influence.

          Originally posted by Cruiseman View Post
          What was missing in the design of the new Goldwing was a passionate Goldwing evangelist fighting the engineers and design team throughout the process. If Honda had availed itself of just one or two Goldwing evangelists like myself, or Fred Harmon or Rocky, or any of 100 other Goldwing faithful, and given them a real seat at the table while these decisions are being made, this 7th generation Goldwing would have been something truly special. But, companies don't build motorcycle (or cars) for consumer anymore. They build for government regulations and environmental agendas. That is why you see companies pouring billions into electric car technology that nobody wants and nobody is asking for. Nobody has told them that gas is only $2.50 a gallon.
          They (Honda) didn't need an evangelist or three to argue points about a vehicle they know nothing about how to build. YOU and a lot of others bought the marketing hype about the bike. Thus, the marketing geniuses at Honda earned their paycheck - and their bonuses.

          Go waaaaaay back in time to look at the evolution of this name on a motorcycle. It's always been 'big' in relation to what was being built by most of the Japanese manufacturers. It still is - again, compared to what's out there in this market.

          The bar has been moved. Honda still easily jumped over it - even with the idiosyncrasies the bike has - just like every other Goldwing has had.
          Ken (IBA #50030) & Grace (IBA #62768)Tucson, AZ"Get busy living, or get busy dying." -Andy Dufresne, The Shawshank Redemption 1994ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕMy blog

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          • #6
            Honda started the R & D on the new bike back in 2006.

            12 years to come up with what Honda settled for, is a disappointment to me personally!

            ************************************************** *******
            Maker of the 01-17 GL1800
            "Rocky Tree & Comfort Risers".
            Current bikes.
            1981 CB900C 10 speed (Restored)
            1986 GL1200 SEi
            2004 GL1800

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            • #7
              Let's toss a couple more points of discussion into this:

              ♦ The bread-and-butter for Honda has always been lighter, smaller, quicker machines for the "Average Joe", not the behemoth motorcycle called "Goldwing". Just how many other manufacturers of "touring-class" motorcycles are there? Three? Four? Quite a small market to share among those that can spend north of $25k new on a bike.

              ♦ My earlier comment about global emissions standards needs a bit of clarity applied. Politics is a sidebar to this conversation, so if that segment needs to be move, please do so. Governments since the 1960's have mandated certain levels of emissions to be emitted from vehicles. For most of that time, motorcycles, simply due to their numbers, have been lax on this until only recently. My understanding is that it's worse in certain areas of the European Union. Thus, Honda as a corporation, build a compliant motor vehicle for use not only in their home country, but in many major countries around the world.

              Until just a few years ago, US emissions standards were equivalent to European standards; thus an automobile could be built here & exported and be in compliance with local regulations. That has again changed; Europe is a bit stricter, so we'll harmonize as best we can with those global interests in the coming years. So, the design of the legacy 1800 was a US-based design, not so much the '18+ bike. Whether or not that is good will be written in the financial reports of Honda for years to come.


              Yep...no longer the good old days where we in the US could just tell everyone to go get bent, we'll do things the way we want to do things. That has become history - for good or bad.
              Ken (IBA #50030) & Grace (IBA #62768)Tucson, AZ"Get busy living, or get busy dying." -Andy Dufresne, The Shawshank Redemption 1994ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕMy blog

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              • #8
                I had enjoyed riding Hondas for over 50 years until purchasing the new wing. Riding BMW now and could not be happier.

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                • #9
                  Unable or unwilling to wax profoundly like some. For me, simply put, I love the bike, but it could have been better. Maybe even a lot better. C'est la vie!
                  2018 Gold Wing DCT Tour in Pearl Hawkseye Blue. Goldstrike LED Trunk Light Kit, Electrical Connection Fog Light Kit, Show Chrome GT Tour Multifunction LED Cowl Light Kit, Show Chrome Isolation Fuse Block, Show Chrome Seat Bungee Tie Down Brackets, Traxxion Dynamics Suspension Decoupling Kit, Traxxion Dynamics Dip Stick Extender, Traxxion Dynamics Steering Lock Pin, Traxxion Dynamics Kick Stand Pad, Slip Streamer Clear Wraparound Touring Windshield, Utopia Driver Backrest. Show Chrome Marker Lights. WingStuff and Saddlemen Luggage Bags.

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                  • #10
                    To sort of summarize what I see as the problem: The Prime Directive was "Build a lighter more fuel efficient Goldwing", not "Build the best most comfortable and most appealing motorcycle".
                    GOLDWING AND F6B MAINTENANCE VIDEOS
                    Save $1000 a year in labor by doing your own maintenance!

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                    • kwthom
                      kwthom commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Build a compliant motorcycle that will (hopefully...) be purchased by a generation of riders that will enjoy it as much as the prior generations of Goldwing.

                      Note the previous generation was built for 17 years, with only small iterative design changes. Expect this version to potentially enjoy a similar lifespan in the market.

                    • kwthom
                      kwthom commented
                      Editing a comment
                      I'm also gonna go out on a limb here and say the '01 - '03 sales figures for the GL1800 will still be higher than the first three years of this motorcycle incarnation. Different world, different times, different bike.

                      I'm sure this bike has a respectable amount of profit margin. However, looking at the actual inventory of powersports dealers, I'd say the profit margin is bigger on a Talon or Pioneer*.



                      * If you're asking the question what are those, then you're not in the side-by-side demographic Honda is looking for.

                  • #11
                    Very interesting and good points on the development of the 18+ Wing. When the 18 made it to my local dealer I of course went in to see it and try it on for size. Just sitting on the seat inside the show room made my decision to pass on this generation version. When I bought my 04 in 04 it was a comfortable fit from the first throwing my leg over the seat. All the money I spent in prep on the bike was for want to have not had to have - and the 18 would have meant I had to replace the seat and I would have to do something about the passenger comfort. I don't discourage anyone from looking and buying the 18 or 19 generation and if something happened to my 04 I would bite the bullet and make whatever changes I would have to do to make an 19 or later Wing again comfortable for me to enjoy long days in the saddle.
                    1997 Black/Silver Kawasaki Vulcan 750
                    2004 Black GL1800A Gold Wing

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                    • #12
                      I like the new wing. It is an amazing bike. It handles exceptionally, gets great gas mileage, rides better than any bike I have ridden (pretty much all of them), the multi modes for power distribution, handles the wind better than any bike I have ridden and too many others to list here, to each their own. This bike is highly refined for me in contrast to the pre-wing. The only caveats for me are the GPS and seat. Both have been updated and I can comfortably do 700 mile days, running tank to tank at 70 mph getting 250 miles to a tank.
                      Dennis

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                      • #13
                        If everyone was as Thrilled with the new bike as some would have you believe.

                        Why are so many on the classifieds?

                        Things that make you go " Hmmmm?"
                        ************************************************** *******
                        Maker of the 01-17 GL1800
                        "Rocky Tree & Comfort Risers".
                        Current bikes.
                        1981 CB900C 10 speed (Restored)
                        1986 GL1200 SEi
                        2004 GL1800

                        Comment: (For off-topic replies)


                        • #14
                          Your 10,000 mile review video seemed quite a bit more positive than the tone of this post. I only have 3 test rides under my belt on this thing, but I do believe I will be making the switch to it and soon...
                          2019 Tour DCT, Black Metallic

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                          • #15
                            Originally posted by GregB View Post
                            Your 10,000 mile review video seemed quite a bit more positive than the tone of this post. I only have 3 test rides under my belt on this thing, but I do believe I will be making the switch to it and soon...
                            Greg, I LOVE the bike, but I could have loved it even more, and more people out there could have loved it if only Honda had made a handful of tweaks. These shortcomings are unforced errors on Honda's part. There is NO legitimate reason for this motorcycle to have a trunk incapable of holding two full-face helmets. Just NO excuse. How many people have decided NOT to buy the new Goldwing just because of that one reason alone? It would not have cost Honda any more money to have a slightly larger trunk and it would not have negatively impacted the design.

                            As it is, it sort of falls in between a touring bike and a sport-touring bike.
                            GOLDWING AND F6B MAINTENANCE VIDEOS
                            Save $1000 a year in labor by doing your own maintenance!

                            Website | YouTube | 2001-2017 Videos | 2018+ Videos

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                            • #16
                              That and the dash not being sealed, unforgivable.

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                              • #17
                                Originally posted by Madrebel View Post
                                That and the dash not being sealed, unforgivable.
                                That one may come back to bite Honda is the a$$. If moisture forming inside the dash begins to damage the gauges and/or other systems, LOTS of warranty claims will ensue.
                                GOLDWING AND F6B MAINTENANCE VIDEOS
                                Save $1000 a year in labor by doing your own maintenance!

                                Website | YouTube | 2001-2017 Videos | 2018+ Videos

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                                • #18
                                  Originally posted by Cruiseman View Post

                                  That one may come back to bite Honda is the a$$. If moisture forming inside the dash begins to damage the gauges and/or other systems, LOTS of warranty claims will ensue.
                                  Hopefully the warranty claims will be submitted by the original owners as they crop up. Otherwise, 2nd/3rd buyers will get screwed down the pipe.
                                  2008 Red GW1800 -- NRA Life Member - American Legion PUFL, American Legion Riders
                                  USMC 21 YRS/9 MO and when dead, a dead Marine.
                                  US Four Corner Ride https://clayusmcret.blogspot.com/
                                  2014 Mid-States Ride https://mid-states.blogspot.com/
                                  2015 NC to UT/NV Ride https://2015nvride.blogspot.com/

                                  50th State ridden on 19 Aug, 2016 DS #1584

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                                  • #19
                                    Originally posted by Cruiseman View Post

                                    Greg, I LOVE the bike, but I could have loved it even more, and more people out there could have loved it if only Honda had made a handful of tweaks. These shortcomings are unforced errors on Honda's part. There is NO legitimate reason for this motorcycle to have a trunk incapable of holding two full-face helmets. Just NO excuse. How many people have decided NOT to buy the new Goldwing just because of that one reason alone? It would not have cost Honda any more money to have a slightly larger trunk and it would not have negatively impacted the design.

                                    As it is, it sort of falls in between a touring bike and a sport-touring bike.
                                    I agree, there are some tweaks that need to be made - every motorcycle is a compromise somewhere. It seems the biggest complaint I read is about the storage space. I'm sure I could make it work for a solo trip, but 2 up - maybe not. My own past experience shows that when I pack for a trip, NO helmet is going in the trunk because it's already full. But for around town or day trips, yeah, it should hold at least one.

                                    I don't imagine Honda will make any changes for the '20 model, being this design is so new. So my dilemma is, find a new DCT '18 or buy a '19, and maybe keep my current true touring bike at least for a while. Or continue to suffer and see what '20 brings, but I really want a DCT Tour!

                                    2019 Tour DCT, Black Metallic

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                                    • Dogbone
                                      Dogbone commented
                                      Editing a comment
                                      Is the ability to store two helmets in the trunk really so important that you'd deny yourself the experience of owning a really good motorcycle that has a few flaws? There's always a work around so you can enjoy the ride.

                                    • Drgsin
                                      Drgsin commented
                                      Editing a comment
                                      i did a 4 day 2 up and packed clothes we didnt wear. i bought a dry bag just in case, but we didnt need it. i have a post about my trip and what was packed. fill up the 30 L dry bag and thats at least 3 more days worth of clothes. Cruiseman got 2 helmets in there.

                                  • #20
                                    Originally posted by Rocky View Post
                                    If everyone was as Thrilled with the new bike as some would have you believe.

                                    Why are so many on the classifieds?

                                    Things that make you go " Hmmmm?"
                                    When a person spends thousands of dollars on a "TOY" only to realize..."I have F### U#".....

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                                    • kwthom
                                      kwthom commented
                                      Editing a comment
                                      The corollary to that is I've never seen an armored car following a hearse to the cemetery.
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