Classic metal: Honda Goldwing-News & Reviews-Motorcycle Trader

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Honda Goldwing prototype M1

24 Feb 2012 | Join Ian Falloon for a at one of the touring greats

Honda’s Wing has now been in production for 35 and is entrenched as a mainstream motorcycle. Yet in 1972 the idea of a large liquid-cooled flat-four shaft-drive was a fairly radical move.

itself had set a bold new standard its four-cylinder CB750 of 1968, but the Kawasaki Z1 had overtaken this in In terms of ultimate all-round the air-cooled, four-cylinder, across-the-frame motorcycle with chain drive ruled. But not all companies committed to this layout.

The 1970s was an era of experimentation in motorcycle from the triples of Triumph, Laverda, and Suzuki, to the twins of Guzzi, Ducati, and BMW. layouts had become corporate and it was within this climate of that Soichiro Honda the desire for a new flagship: the largest, and finest grand touring ever, “The King of

The new engine needed to be larger that of Kawasaki’s Z1, more than the Harley-Davidson FLH 1200, and the size was 999cc (a 72mm x bore and …). Toothed belts drove a single camshaft on each cylinder Although relatively new to motorcycles at time, toothed belts already widely used in and the Gold Wing’s were to those on the Honda Civic.

The design was not unlike the CB750, two valves (37mm inlet and exhaust) per cylinder. The two-piece were supported in aluminium the cylinders and crankcase halves cast together, and the forged was supported by three plain bearings. Primary drive was by a chain, with the gearbox parallel and underneath the crankshaft.

The wet multi-plate clutch and gearbox almost have come the CB750, including identical although few parts were The 300W alternator and counterbalance driven by a straight-cut gear the primary drive, rotated in an direction to the crankshaft, cancelling any reaction. This feature opened the Gold Wing to a new world of touring motorcyclists deterred by the torque reaction in the BMW boxer.

Carburetion was by four 32mm CV carburettors, and to maintain a low of gravity the fuel tank was the seat, between the frame A fuel pump driven the rear of the right camshaft fuel pressure. The compression was a mild 9.2:1, and the power the first Gold Wing was a 80hp at 7500rpm.

More anything else, the quietness of the set the Gold Wing apart other motorcycles.

There was little that was about the Gold Wing but some features were for a touring motorcycle. What to be a conventional fuel tank was a storage compartment, containing and the electrical components.

It had disc all round, the rear 295mm rotor gripped by a dual caliper. The front brakes smaller stainless-steel discs with single floating-piston

Also reflecting the quality of the Wing were the wire-spoked with lightweight DID aluminium These wheels were not strong enough for the power and particularly the rear 17in

The 4.50H 17A Bridgestone rear was specially developed for the Gold but the front was a conventional 19in

The front fork had larger fork legs than the and the limp rear shock were adjustable only for preload.

The frame was a conventional tubular-steel cradle, and the Gold Wing the rules regarding acceptable and weight in a mainstream motorcycle.

Its bulk was cleverly disguised by the engine layout, which a low centre of gravity. It would some time before it was accepted, but eventually the Gold would become one of Honda’s important models, and one of the few with a following. n

Many thanks to and Lorraine Smith of the Australian Museum, Haigslea, Queensland, for the use of the Honda Gold Wing


The for the Gold Wing appeared in code-named the M1. This was powered by a 1470cc, six-cylinder engine, and a downdraft two-barrel carburettor the was 80hp at 6700rpm.

The GL1000K0 was released at the Cologne in October 1974, but first sales of only 5000 were well under the 60,000.

While testers in applauded the Gold Wing, the press greeted it with Soon termed a two-wheeled car or Wing’, Bike magazine was scathing, prompting Honda to its advertising, and refusing the mag test for a year.

Honda Goldwing prototype M1

In 1977 Honda to build a plant in Marysville, USA. It opened in June Gold Wing production in 1980 and in 1985 an engine was completed in Anna, Ohio.

the success of the Marysville plant expanded to include seven plants in the USA.

The Gold grew to 1100cc in 1980 and in 1984, with the six-cylinder released in 1988. The 1800cc Wing appeared in 2001 and today.


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Honda Goldwing prototype M1
Honda Goldwing prototype M1
Honda Goldwing prototype M1
Honda Goldwing prototype M1

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