GoldWing Club Russia / GoldWing History

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Honda Goldwing prototype M1

Copyright © 1999-2003 Steve Goldwing Page

The Honda first saw the light of day at the Cologne Show in October 1974, as the cylinder, 999cc GL1000. this first production of the now famous Goldwing was ultimately to be a success (it was after all the birth of a it’s place in the world of was not entirely cast in stone at the

Part of the reason for this was the that the GL1000 didn’t fit properly into any particular class, even though it was tagged as a tourer. Weighing in at dry, it was far too heavy to be called a bike and the upright sitting also helped to kill of any sporting pretensions.

The rear spring suspension wasn’t up to the job of all the weight when the rider was it through heavy going, as the winding country roads all bikers love (at least to tackle. The total absence of kit fitted as standard didn’t the official touring image Honda didn’t make own saddlebags and trunk available for the until it’s last of production in 1979, in spite of to do so in 1975.

A Honda fairing was not an option until the GL1100 was released in 1980! Honda’s that the GL1000 was a tourer have rang hollow in the of many owners keen to their machines kitted out for the

More than one GL1000 has told me that their impressions from the press was that Honda seemed to be concerned with emphasising the straight-line performance of the beast, and it’s role as a proper motorcycle seemed to be of secondary at the time. One has to bear in mind Honda (and all the other motorcycle manufacturers) were to develop many models in the this being the biggest time for motorcycles ever, This was a time when and his sons bought motorcycles and attention to the needs of different of riders (cruiser types, commuters, tourers etc.) have been very during those hectic

Nevertheless and in spite of all the confusion the Goldwings role in life, the proved to be a very reliable quite capable of going long distances without a beat and almost immediately the fairing pannier suppliers to cater for the requests of those who to use the GL1000 for more than popping down to the shops or morning posing at the local This is what finally the Goldwing it’s place in the world, it really became a motorcycle because it’s shaped it into one and Honda, keen to keep an ear to the ground, to what the customers wanted as well too or they might … the Goldwing off before not least because expected of the Goldwing in the first year of were less than 10% of Honda had predicted) and started the next incarnation of what has into a legend in the world of motorcycles.

In the meantime, 1976 saw the GL1000 unchanged, apart a badly needed grease on the driveshaft. A limited edition LTD was rolled out alongside the standard and the LTD had some nice badges, a better seat, flared gold coloured wheels and and some more nice but unimportant cosmetics, all at a fairly extra cost of course. The LTD of the GL1000 was only available for one model year.

1977 saw the tentative model changes on customer feedback to Honda up all those who can remember filling out early questionnaires at rallies) and the got higher handlebars with grips, dual contoured and chromed heat shields on the pipes. Chromed upper mounting brackets were a touch. More importantly, the head bearings were now rollers instead of quick-wear ball types.

Front engine and rocker covers now thicker and this was designed to noise, but no-one really The fuel tank had an internal applied to prevent rust. carburettors, shorter valve and increased spark advance in gave the GL1000 increased performance in top gear, which into slightly less top but more torque, which is the long distance rider

The fuel, coolant temperature and gauges were fitted to a pod and on the tank, which made a tank bag rather difficult, but few objected as they looked The awkward but functional kick was omitted this year broken ankle brigade may sparked fears of litigation) and the wire wheels were with five spoke although they didn’t much better in terms of

The stepped saddle was introduced year and has been a feature of all models ever since. A chromed exhaust system didn’t rust as fast as the painted ones, rear moved from the frame to the mudguard and shocks with welcomed and long overdue damping (in addition to longer springs) completed the picture.

The still handled like a when pushed hard, in of the new FVQ (often called fade quickly) shocks and the better The new exhaust made the machine livelier and the smaller mufflers easy access to the clutch, was just as well as this was a area on the GL1000 in those

1979 saw big discounting on GL1000’s as the model was eagerly anticipated and the remaining numbers of the original large numbers too and new GL1000’s still be sourced from for several years after ceased) could be had with minor changes in the shape of a very cool looking CBX tail light with two rectangular indicators and brake reservoir and black brake and levers instead of the previous alloy ones. This year for the GL1000 was an opportunity to some of the excess weight and some of the performance the model had in previous years, but alas the were the only areas to at the end of the decade and the Goldwing slipped the credibility scale until the model year.

Honda to keep the lid on the replacement Goldwing they were ready to the information. To this day and to their Honda are probably better at secrets than the CIA or the KGB etc. The bowed out at the end of it’s production a bit less powerful and slightly than the first models at dry.

The GL1100 was announced for the model year and this Honda got it right. This was the ever Japanese mass motorcycle to roll off the production fully kitted out as a proper motorcycle. Full fairing, and panniers on the Interstate model unfaired model was called the Standard), all at a time when moulding for motorcycle plastics was in early days and to Honda’s the quality, fit and finish of the stuff was rate.

The new frame was stiffened to cope with the extra and also the considerable extra of the Interstate. The bigger 1085cc was still a flat-four, but gave torque and also ran smoother and truculently than the previous due in no small part to the smaller and electronic ignition.

The suspension was air and this greatly transformed the and comfort of the beast and inspired more confidence when the got a tad aggressive, in spite of the weight of the dressed models to 672lbs. The could take between the rear shocks 29-42psi.

The model weighed 18lbs than the last GL1000’s, showed how more modern methods could be used to weight by using more in the way of (mudguards, dummy tank Motorcycle magazines immediately the new machine the thumbs-up and customers all the world hassled their for a machine that Honda kick out of the factory quick to meet the demand.

Even in the bikers who were used to the grown tourer in the shape of the Electra Glide were at the new standards of reliability set by the Goldwing. The big went and stopped very for such a beast, kept all of the oil actually inside the engine of all over the ground and it’s meant that the Goldwing didn’t have to fill the space with repair every time the machine was out. The GL1100 was the Goldwing the the GL1000 should have but the faithful had to wait since for the opportunity to get their hands on magnificent machine.

For some time now, had been producing accessories for own motorcycles, under the imaginatively out Hondaline brand name. For who weren’t satisfied with the comprehensive kit on the GL1100, Hondaline had luxuries as a full radio/cassette, CB and lots more bits at prices that didn’t customers one bit.

Honda that the typical Goldwing was past the first flush of and probably had his mortgage (or most of it) off and had cash to spare for the luxuries a younger rider would forego in order to feed his keep the wife content and a roof over their The aftermarket suppliers too were to adapt to the new challenge (no doubt all knew that the Goldwing was for the long term) and before one could buy countless accessories for the from many suppliers to meet demand and fill the gaps that Honda had for them.

This pattern has repeated for every Goldwing ever since and the GL1100 is the that really saw the Goldwing as the ultimate tourer, a title the Goldwing has held more or unchallenged since then. saw some minor tweaks and such as a reshaped saddle was slightly lower than

As on the 1980 model, the saddle be adjusted forward and back by 40mm, but this time a press of a lever instead of the fiddling with Allen The saddle on the Goldwing has probably more changes than any area of the machine over the Almost yearly there are changes to the shape and foam and no matter how much effort put into this area, are always plenty of people rear-ends don’t quite fit

The rear shocks could now up to 57psi of air, this the limit for the rest of the GL1100’s life. The 1982 GL1100 had major improvements in the new Aspencade. machine had an electrically operated air for the suspension, accessed from the top of the tank, instead of the previous valve setup (retained on the and Interstate) which required the to either keep a manual handy or go to the local garage to up the suspension.

Two-tone paintwork was to the Aspencade and all the GL1100’s got smaller (18 front, 16 rear) and twin pot calipers. The wheel rims now wider (2.5 front and to allow for wider tyres on all and self-cancelling indicators were to all Goldwing from 1982 on. All from 1982 got neater bars which replaced the shin bashers (although the new weren’t perfect either) and piston brake calipers all

The Aspencade also got vented steel discs, the Clarion 2 AM/FM stereo radio, dash and a clock. 1983 was the year of production for the GL1100 and didn’t disappoint, even the model was being replaced the year. All models got flatter the passenger ones being adjustable.

The Aspencade now had eleven aluminium wheels instead of the Comstars, had the suspension pump mounted on the handlebars just the dash and finally got linked which were much by the Goldwing community. The Aspencade now had an LCD with advanced (for the features. The choke lever was now by thumb on the left handlebar. forks helped to reduce

Changes to the gearing saw better economy, a shorter first made the machine faster but top gear acceleration was a bit more Changes to the forks helped bottoming-out and stronger springs in the shocks meant that the could be ridden without any air in the although this wasn’t entirely wise. The self-cancelling had some improvements to make more reliable and the seat was to give the passenger more

Locating the trunk both and further back gave more space for those who were never completely no matter how much Honda the Goldwing. The standard had been set for Goldwings and whether you loved or not, everyone knew the beast was going to get bigger and luxurious as time went on. The tipped the scales at over

Comfort and size were the from now on. When the replacement for the was announced, this time was no major discounting of prices on the of the outgoing model. Dealers had no shifting existing machines and was no panic in trying to offload A far cry to just four years

Interestingly, this has been the with the arrival of new Goldwing ever since and reinforces the that the GL1100 was the machine rubberstamped the Goldwings seal of with long-distance riders all the world.

The GL1200 arrived for the model year and continued the set by it’s predecessor. Competition Yamaha’s Venture (which motorcycle magazines compared to the no doubt hastened the development of the to the GL1100 and the GL1200 was Honda’s There was the unfaired Standard, the Interstate and the top of the range Aspencade, had the Type 3 audio system.

stiffer frame with improvements, bigger and more 1182cc version of the flat-four with bags more and hydraulic valve adjusters, suspension and handling were the attractions on the new Goldwing. Carried from the previous Aspencade the now better air suspension controls, brakes and the new Aspencade had a more audio system and upgraded LCD

The front wheel was a rather small (for such a machine) 16 and this gave the a very light and quick The styling of the plastics was more than the GL1100, the fairing, panniers and lights all had a more brute look which was on many motorcycles and cars for a in the eighties.

The flowing lines of the model were not quite as on the GL1200, but the integration of the luggage was better now because there less gaps and spaces the panels. The GL1200 was the first to drift away from the Honda parts bin approach and of the parts fitted to a GL1200 unique to that machine and not to any other Honda motorcycle.

could supply you with a CB and other fripperies considered by many owners of the new machine. The suppliers had a field day, cottage industries had sprung up to feed the habit and the vast of chrome goodies, backrests, etc. available for the Goldwing that which could be had for owners.

1985 saw Honda the Standard unfaired Goldwing. the introduction of the GL1100 Interstate, of the unfaired versions had slumped and in spit of the objections of the aftermarket and luggage suppliers, the Standard had to go. the Interstate and Aspencade, Honda in the GL1200LTD for this year The LTD had computerised fuel injection, levelling rear suspension and a trip computer.

The fuel while not entirely without faults in the real world, the GL1200 into a real which made the carburettor seem sluggish in comparison. The LTD was available in two-tone gold/brown.

saw only some cosmetic to the Interstate and Aspencade, the LTD was replaced by the which came in Pearl only and had little over the LTD for Dolby noise reduction on the Type 3 audio system Aspencade got the same audio and a slightly better seat was also fitted to the Interstate and The SE-i had ballooned out to over The final year of production for the was 1987 and there was little

No doubt Honda were the major surprise for the following although the Goldwing faithful had expecting the rumoured super for the current model year. The was gone and the Interstate and Aspencade got a plusher saddle, the best on any to date. The final drive and had been made much and quieter and this meant chucking and jumping at trundling

All of these improvements meant the 1987 models were the sorted GL1200’s to date.

a false start the previous the long awaited GL1500 hit the buying public for the 1988 year. This of course was a new model and totally redesigned the ground up. The GL1500 now had a silky flat six cylinder engine of and a reverse gear, real for touring motorcycles in those This was the first mass six-cylinder motorcycle and was more in with the intentions of Honda’s six -cylinder prototype M1 of 1972.

The M1 had an engineering exercise to see what be achieved with the available of the day and it is possible that the GL1500 designers drew some from the earlier work. All new on the GL1500 almost enclosed the machine and the single key operation of the and panniers, as well as the bodywork on which not a single screw or could be seen, showed the Honda designers had spent a lot of on this bike.

They had in started work on this the same year that the was launched! The GL1500 was the quietest yet, from the engine to the note. The traditionalists complained it looked, sounded and rode too like a two-wheeled car and indeed it gave one a feeling of being from the road.

Of course, who traded up to a GL1500 from an model Goldwing soon to the new machine and I doubt if many owners were inclined to the new machine for a previous model riding the six cylinder monster. it was too, in weight as well as and the first year GL1500 was a 793lbs, although riding the was so easy that it felt than the GL1200.

The saddle was the sumptuous yet and was quite capable of the most ample of rear for long distances in comfort. Air rear suspension was fitted to the new All of the switchgear, lights, indicators had been designed specifically for the and there was none of the all too common bin approach that was evident on Honda offerings of the day.

No changes (other than and colours) until 1990, the GL1500SE was placed alongside the The SE had two-tone paint, trunk windscreen vent, lighted switches, adjustable passenger and foot warmer vents looked better than worked. All this extra kit on the SE be yours for about 15% extra over the cost of the stock

Camshaft and carburettor modifications year helped to eliminate at trundling speed and the trunk and lids were made to fit in order to keep water 1991 saw the arrival of the Interstate, was now the basic model. The Interstate was lighter, due to the lack of reverse (no, you couldn’t fit one later on cruise control and on-board air compressor, more basic system and passenger footpegs of boards.

Interestingly, Honda the seat height of the Interstate by an inch but didn’t do so with the models. Speaking of other the previous GL1500 was now the Aspencade and the SE now had paint. There was also an model (for the 10th of Goldwing production in the USA), was available in two-tone gold/brown. In the Interstate got a slightly better audio system but no other news to report then.

and the following couple of years not exactly a time of inspiration for the although there was some of the model. Perhaps the GL1500 team can be forgiven for using up all imagination on the initial model, little in reserve for future 1993 didn’t see much either, the SE getting the CB radio an expensive Hondaline accessory) as

The cruise control now took reading directly from the which made it more and from now on the 1520cc engines all had roller bearings in the rocker arm Small improvements like went a long way and tied up the ends. The following year, was no different, apart from the new colour options and it is testament to the of the GL1500 that Honda get away with no major for so long.

The GL1500 was so far ahead of the in design and specification that it was selling like hot cakes. the Goldwing community was becoming for change and the presence of Honda at major US rallies this year handing out questionnaires was an that something new was at least thought about.

Finally, the model year saw some change. On the surface, new 20th. badges, a new chrome screen slimmer side panels to it easier for the short legged to get feet down and some styling refinements looked not a lot had changed.

But under the surface had managed to make the suspension lower and stiffer and this the handling no end. Also, some foam shaved the saddle, the SE and Aspencade were now lower than before, finally made them the height as the Interstate. These gave the Goldwing a new lease of although there were who had expected major changes, better brakes or fuel

The next two years saw no more changes apart from the being discontinued in 1996 too many folks mourned passing either), but by now we were in the age of the Internet and with many web sites and homepages springing up all the world there was a huge eagerly seeking out information on a replacement for the now rather middle-aged 1997 saw the SE’s lower panels colour matched to the panel colour, helping to the Goldwing look more

Symbols instead of text on the switchgear made it easier to them no matter where you from. Some important but changes inside the engine carried out too. The clutch was and some of the components from the engine (main bearings, ring sets, valve con-rod bolts) were now with the Goldwing.

The Valkyrie drive was fitted to the Goldwing as as was much of the gearbox which marginally cleaner and smoother Not many folks noticed the myself included and I happily my new ’97 SE for three years to the differences until I started a bit of research on the different model 1998 saw quite a few cosmetic nine in fact.

The Aspencade and SE got a new plastic headlamp and clear (these were only on the market models though, were fobbed off with the old and indicators), white faced new fishtail type exhaust that altered the exhaust two-tone saddle with back support for the pillion new rocker covers with gouged into them of the previous classy logo (which had previously been plated on the SE’s), a skimpier guard (the older one have hidden the ugly new cover if it had still fitted) and that looked more than before. These changes gave the ageing a much sleeker look, such things as the rear setup and flat looking were beginning to look a bit in the new age of curves and flowing lines.

changes were carried to 1999 but by now everyone was awaiting the anticipated new Goldwing, which had rumoured for the last three Nevertheless, the recent cosmetic to the Goldwing were sufficient to sales up (no doubt aided last couple of years by a world economy), in spite of mouth-watering hallucinations of a possible eight cylinder Goldwing auto-transmission, or try the one about a V6 2.5 litre with six speed transmission (I a few rumour-mongers who had red faces a couple of later).

The power of the rumours was very and there was always someone who someone that had a relative who beer with a buddy in the Goldwing plant who put the headlamp in the GL1500 and this guy was sworn to but. Thus the fever and those of use who lived through the saw it all, the fake photographs so easily in Photoshop and posted on the by members of a now very computer-literate the fake postings on web sites and in etc.

It was all good fun though and us all guessing for a long time. the new model would arrive for the of the new Century? Disappointment for the new Millennium as the 2000 model year saw the enter the 21st Century and well. The only differences that Honda had dropped the faced instruments and the SE got chromed covers.

The long awaited new was announced in April of that and the GL1500 finally stepped after an almost unheard of year reign at the very top and an in weight to almost 820lbs. of the other pretenders to the throne fare so well, the Yamaha and Suzuki’s Cavalcade had both against the GL1200 but the GL1500 had them off in short order. The real threat to the Goldwing in times had been the BMW K1200LT, but were about to answer and set the standard once again the GL1500’s successor.

The GL1800 was announced for the 2001 model The official unveiling had been the previous August and in an age where could hide small the size of a button on their it’s a miracle how Honda to keep pictures of the new Goldwing a for so long. Honda should be put in charge of national security in

They managed to keep a lid on right up to the last minute.

had managed once again to redesign the Goldwing from the up. Everyone and his dog knew that couldn’t simply continue to their flagship tourer as the engine size got bigger.

the previous thirteen years, magazine test riders that the GL1500 had been the limits of what they the performance envelope and common suggested to Goldwing riders if the next Goldwing couldn’t at the least maintain the weight of the then the end of the line had already reached. With this in Honda built an all new aluminium which comprised only 31 compared to the previous models 130 and the new weighed 25lbs less before.

The new frame was much than before (a 77% increase in rigidity and 119% increase in rigidity) and combined with an both bigger at 1832cc’s bhp and 125 lb./ft. of torque) and 4lbs than before, this that the GL1800 weighed less than the GL1500. The was produced by Kaiser Aluminum and was in conjunction with Honda of Mfg. in a project that in 1998.

The frame was produced in extrusion plant in London, and from 2000 they supplying the extruded sections of the frames to the Honda plant in Ohio. Honda technicians the sections together manually. In 2002, Kaiser won the Transportation award of the 2002 International Extrusion Design Competition, for efforts on the GL1800 frame Anyway, back to the main before I go off track too much.

The look of the Goldwing had now changed big comfy tourer to a more long distance machine to appeal to the younger rider as as existing Goldwing owners. Big also was the inclusion of fuel and the option of ABS brakes, long on the six cylinder monster.

Slightly bodywork dragged the design the new Millennium, yet Honda had managed to the seat much bigger and time there was enough space to swallow the rear of even those requiring pants. The seat height and of the wheels remained the same as but the tyres were wider and for the second time on a Goldwing were not supplied by Dunlop, but

Honda’s efforts resulted in a that went and stopped far than most people had to hope and riding it gave the that it was far lighter than the rather than a mere Magazine test riders all the world heaped praise on the new and it was no longer a machine for Goldwing to ridicule.

The general consensus was the GL1800 was much more than before and was a motorcycle many riders would use day, rather than for use only at weekends. Available for 2001 were Illusion Black, Pearl Yellow and Blue.

The Hondaline department, now slick and efficient, were not napping this time. The of accessories was helped by wide use of the as well as brochures and magazine There was a staggering 51 items from Hondaline for the GL1800, far any effort made for previous and they were available from the time the GL1800 hit the showrooms.

Indeed, it was now possible for a to become a bottomless pit for those who had the to spend on Hondaline accessories and the suppliers had to take a deep and look very hard to spots to fill this and over the coming months was a drip feed of items available, rather than the flood. 2002 saw no major The GL1800 was too new to do more than here and there.

Three new were introduced (Pearl Illusion Blue and Silver) Black, Illusion Red and Pearl and the Goldwing was still available or without ABS brakes. The full range of accessories was still and the aftermarket to their credit had to add many more bits and to their product ranges. The price of the Hondaline stuff no gave lots of scope for the

A recall during the previous saw the pulse rotor being on many models and the kill on lots of models had to be fixed so Honda seem to be on top of things. who didn’t like the GL1800 still buy GL1500’s new (year models) from many there were lots of still in crates. They now selling at up to 10% more than they were still in and of course this is because the was much more expensive to

2003 is here and the GL1800 to be improved on. No major model or changes, the ever popular Red (different shade to the GL1500 ) a welcome return for this Silver, Black, Pearl Illusion Blue and Pearl have been retained. The CD player problems appear to been fixed and the Bridgestone that cupped and wore out at low mileages have been by Dunlops.

The overheating issue affected some GL1800’s is now attended to with service 13. For some reason, the windshield now has two bolts instead of four. The mill has started to grind action again, with of a possible Aspencade and SE addition in a or two. A huge range of accessories is now available for the GL1800, at the expense of the GL1500 and older

Every year sees accessories for older Goldwings without a trace. It’s about money folks, and it the minute a particular model a bit old, nowadays the accessory ruthlessly cull the available

Only three years the demise of the GL1500, almost 50% of the for this machine have from the big name catalogues (I this because I collect the even though there are 1500’s on the planet than any Goldwing. By summer of 2003, the of the 2000 model year seem to have been and searching the dealers for one out of the crate is now a of effort.


2004 is some away but the ’04 Goldwings are to U.S. dealers from 28th. The rest of the world has to for the start of each year to get years models, but the Americans get to them months before the of us. No major changes this either. Lighted handlebar and a vent in the windshield are about as as it gets.

New colours in the shape of Red, Magenta and Titanium. Red and Black are retained for this Rumours of a slightly redesigned fairing (for the 2005 year) to accommodate new radiator have been doing the on the Internet forums for some now.

The Honda Goldwing saw the light of day at the Cologne Motorcycle in October 1974, as the flat-four 999cc GL1000.While this version of the now famous Goldwing was a it’s place in the world of was not entirely cast in stone at the Part of the reason for this was the that the GL1000 didn’t fit properly into any particular class, even though it was tagged as a tourer.

Weighing in at dry, it was far too heavy to be called a bike and the upright sitting ruled this out too, the rear coil spring wasn’t up to the job of handling all the weight the rider was pushing it through going, such as the winding roads that all bikers to tackle. The total absence of kit fitted as standard didn’t the touring image either, Honda did offer a top fairing as an throughout the production life of the

Nevertheless, the first Goldwing to be a very reliable motorcycle, capable of going very distances without missing a and after a while the aftermarket pannier suppliers started to for the requests of those who wanted to use the for more than just down to the shops. This is finally gave the Goldwing place in the motorcycling world, it a touring motorcycle more by than design and Honda, keen to keep an ear to the ground, to what the customers wanted as well too or they might … the Goldwing off before not least because expected of the Goldwing in the first year of were less than 10% of Honda had predicted) and started the next incarnation of what has into a legend in the world of motorcycles.

In the meantime, 1976 saw the GL1000 unchanged, apart a grease nipple on the driveshaft, but a edition LTD model was rolled out it with nice badges, and a better seat, flared gold coloured wheels and and some more nice but unimportant cosmetics, all at extra of course. The LTD version of the GL1000 was available for that one model

1977 saw the first changes on customer feedback to Honda up all those who can remember filling out early questionairres at rallies) and the got higher handlebars with grips, dual contoured and chromed heat shields on the pipes. Smaller carburettors, valve timing and increased advance in 1978 gave the increased roll-on performance in top which translated into less top speed but more which is what the long rider needed.

The fuel, temperature and voltage gauges fitted to a pod and mounted on the tank, made fitting a tank bag difficult, but few really objected as looked good. The awkward but kick starter was omitted year and the wire wheels replaced with five Comstars. The stepped saddle was this year and has been a of all Goldwing models ever

A fully chromed exhaust rear indicators moved the frame to the rear mudguard and with much welcomed and overdue two-stage damping the picture. 1979 saw big discounting on as the replacement model was eagerly and the last remaining numbers of the (quite large numbers too and new could still be sourced storage for several years production ceased) could be had some minor changes in the of a then very cool CBX style tail light two bulbs, rectangular indicators and brake and clutch levers of the previous alloy ones. The bowed out at the end of that year heavier than the first at 604lbs dry.

The GL1100 was for the 1980 model year and time Honda got it right. was the first ever Japanese produced motorcycle to roll off the line fully kitted out as a touring motorcycle. Full trunk and panniers on the Interstate (the unfaired model was the GL1100 Standard), all at a time injection moulding for motorcycle was in it’s early days and to credit, the quality, fit and finish of the was first rate.

The new frame was considerably to cope with the poke and also the extra of the Interstate. The bigger 1089cc was still a flat-four, but gave torque and also ran smoother and truculently than the previous The suspension was air assisted and this transformed the handling and comfort of the and inspired much more when the going got a tad aggressive, in of the weight increase of the dressed to 672lbs.

The Standard model 18lbs less than the GL1000’s, which showed how modern production methods be used to reduce weight by more in the way of plastics (mudguards Motorcycle magazines gave the new the thumbs-up and customers all over the hassled their dealers for a that Honda couldn’t out of the factory quick enough to the demand.

Even in the USA, who were used to the home tourer in the shape of the Harley-Davidson Glide were gobsmacked at the new of reliability set by the Goldwing. The big Honda and stopped very respectably for a beast, kept all of the engine oil inside the engine instead of all the ground and didn’t require the to fill the luggage space repair tools every the machine was taken out.

For time now, Honda had producing accessories for their own under the imaginatively thought out brand name. For those who satisfied with the already kit on the GL1100, Hondaline had such as a full radio/cassette, CB radio and more bits at exorbitant that didn’t deter one bit.

Honda knew the typical Goldwing rider was the first flush of youth and had his mortgage (or most of it) paid off and had to spare for the luxuries that a rider would rather in order to feed his children and the wife content. The aftermarket too were quick to adapt to the new (no doubt they all knew the Goldwing was here for the long and before long one could buy accessories for the Goldwing from suppliers eager to meet and fill the large gaps Honda had left for them.

pattern has been repeated for Goldwing model ever and the GL1100 is the machine that saw the Goldwing accepted as the ultimate a title that the Goldwing has more or less unchallenged then. The 1982 GL1100 had major improvements in the new Aspencade.

machine had an electrically operated air for the suspension, accessed from the top of the tank, instead of the previous valve setup (retained on the and Interstate) which required the to either keep a manual handy or go to the local garage to up the suspension. Two-tone paintwork was to the Aspencade and all the GL1100’s got smaller (18 front, 16 rear) and twin pot calipers.

1983 was the final year of for the GL1100 and Honda didn’t even though the model was replaced the following year. The now had eleven spoke alloys of the previous Comstars, had the suspension controls mounted on the handlebars, LCD and finally got linked brakes and front discs which much welcomed by the Goldwing Anti-dive forks helped to wallowing.

The standard had been set for Goldwings and whether you loved or not, everyone knew the beast was going to get bigger and luxurious as time went on. The tipped the scales at over Comfort and size were the from now on. When the replacement for the was announced, this time was no major discounting of prices on the of the outgoing model.

Dealers had no shifting existing machines and was no panic in trying to offload A far cry to just four years Interestingly, this has been the with the arrival of new Goldwing ever since and reinforces the that the GL1100 was the machine rubberstamped the Goldwings seal of with customers all over the

The GL1200 arrived for the 1984 year and continued the trend set by predecessor. There was the unfaired the dressed Interstate and the top of the range which had the Type 3 audio New, stiffer frame major improvements, bigger and responsive 1182cc version of the engine with bags torque and hydraulic valve better suspension and handling the main attractions on the new Goldwing.

forward from the previous were the now better air suspension linked brakes and the new Aspencade had a advanced audio system and the LCD The front wheel was a rather small (for such a machine) 16 and this gave the a very light feel.

The of the plastics was more aggressive the GL1100, the fairing, trunk, and lights all had a more squarish look which was evident on motorcycles and cars for a while in the The flowing lines of the previous were not quite as subtle on the but the integration of the luggage was much now because there were gaps and spaces between the

Hondaline could supply you a CB radio and other fripperies essential by many owners of the new The aftermarket suppliers had a field small cottage industries had up everywhere to feed the habit and the range of chrome goodies, lights etc available for the Goldwing that which could be had for owners.

1985 saw Honda the Standard unfaired Goldwing and the Interstate and Aspencade they in the GL1200LTD for this year The LTD had computerised fuel injection, levelling rear suspension and a trip computer. The fuel while not entirely without faults in the real world, the GL1200 into a real which made the carburettor seem sluggish in comparison.

The LTD was available in two-tone gold/brown. saw only some cosmetic to the Interstate and Aspencade, the LTD was replaced by the which came in Pearl only and had little over the LTD for Dolby noise reduction on the Type 3 audio system Aspencade got the same audio and a slightly better seat was also fitted to the Interstate and The SE-i had ballooned out to over

The final year of production for the was 1987 and there was little No doubt Honda were the major surprise for the following although the Goldwing faithful had expecting the rumoured super for the current model year. The was gone and the Interstate and Aspencade got a plusher saddle, the best on any to date. The final drive and had been made much and quieter, which resulted in the sorted GL1200 to date.

a false start the previous the long awaited GL1500 hit the buying public for the 1988 year. This of course was a new model and totally redesigned the ground up. The GL1500 now had a silky flat six cylinder engine of and a reverse gear, real for motorcycling in those days.

All new almost enclosed the whole and the single key operation of the trunk and as well as the bodywork design on not a single screw or bolt be seen, showed that the designers had spent a lot of time on bike. They had in fact work on this machine the year that the GL1200 was The GL1500 was the quietest Goldwing from the engine to the exhaust

The traditionalists complained that it sounded and rode too much a two-wheeled car and indeed riding it one a feeling of being insulated the road. Of course, anyone who up to a GL1500 from an older Goldwing soon adapted to the new and I doubt if many were to dump the new machine for a previous after riding the six cylinder

Monster it was too, in weight as as size and the first year was a colossal 793lbs, although the thing was so easy that it lighter than the GL1200. The was the most sumptuous yet and was quite of carrying the most ample of ends for long distances in Air assisted rear suspension was to the new machine.

All of the switchgear, lights, etc. had been designed for the GL1500 and there was none of the all too parts bin approach that was on other Honda offerings of the No real changes (other badges and colours) until when the GL1500SE was placed the GL1500.

The SE had two-tone paint, spoiler/light, windscreen vent, handlebar switches, adjustable footboards and foot warmer that looked better they worked. All this kit on the SE could be yours for about 15% cash over the cost of the GL1500. Camshaft and carburettor that year helped to chucking at trundling speed and the and pannier lids were to fit better in order to keep out.

1991 saw the arrival of the which was now the basic model. The was 40lbs lighter, due to the lack of gear (no, you couldn’t fit one on folks), cruise control and air suspension compressor, more sound system and passenger instead of boards. Interestingly, lowered the seat height of the by almost an inch but didn’t do so the other models.

Speaking of models, the previous GL1500 was now the and the SE now had two-tone paint. There was an Anniversary model (for the anniversary of Goldwing production in the which was available in two-tone In 1992, the Interstate got a slightly specified audio system but no real news to report

This and the following couple of were not exactly a time of for the Goldwing, although there was refinement of the model. 1993 see much change either, the SE the CB radio (previously an expensive accessory) as standard. The cruise now took it’s reading from the camshaft, which it more responsive and from now on the engines all had needle roller in the rocker arm pivots.

Small like this went a way and tied up the loose ends. The year, 1994 was no different, from the usual new colour and it is testament to the design of the GL1500 Honda could get away no major modifications for so long. The was so far ahead of the competition in design and that it was still selling hot cakes. Nevertheless, the Goldwing was becoming impatient for change.

the 1995 model year saw real change. On the surface, new Anniversary badges, a new chrome garnish, slimmer side to make it easier for the short to get their feet down and other styling refinements like not a lot had changed. But under the Honda had managed to make the both lower and stiffer and improved the handling no end.

Also, with some shaved from the saddle, the SE and were now 40mm lower before, which made the same height as the Interstate. changes gave the Goldwing a new of life, although there many who had expected major like better brakes or injection.

The next two years saw no real changes apart the Interstate being discontinued in but by now we were in the early age of the Internet and many Goldwing web sites and springing up all over the world was a huge following eagerly out information on a possible replacement for the now middle-aged GL1500. 1997 saw the lower underbelly panels matched to the main panel 1998 saw quite a few cosmetic

The Aspencade and SE got a new clear plastic and indicators (only on the American models though), white instruments, new fishtail type tips that altered the sound, two-tone saddle better back support for the passenger, new rocker covers had a skimpier engine guard and that looked more than before. These changes gave the ageing a much sleeker look, such things as the rear setup and flat looking were beginning to look a bit in the new age of curves and flowing lines.

changes were carried to 1999 but by now everyone was awaiting the anticipated new Goldwing, which had rumoured for the last three Nevertheless, the recent cosmetic to the Goldwing were sufficient to sales up (no doubt aided last couple of years by a world economy), in spite of mouth-watering hallucinations of a possible eight cylinder Goldwing auto-transmission, or try the one about a V6 2.5 litre with six speed transmission (I a few rumour-mongers who had red faces a couple of later).

The power of the rumours was strong and there was always who knew someone that had a who drank beer with a employed in the Goldwing plant who put the bulbs in the GL1500 and this guy was to secrecy but. Thus the spread and those of use who lived the time saw it all, the fake doctored so easily by members of a now computer-literate public and posted on the the fake postings on web sites and in etc.

It was all good fun though and us all guessing for a long time. the new model would arrive for the of the new Century? Disappointment for the new Millennium as the 2000 model year saw the enter the 21st Century and well. The only differences that Honda had dropped the faced instruments and the SE got chromed covers.

The long awaited new was announced in April of that and the GL1500 finally stepped after a thirteen year and an increase in weight to almost The GL1800 was finally announced for the model year. The official had been done the previous and in an age where people could small cameras the size of a on their person, it’s a how Honda managed to keep of the new Goldwing a secret for so long.

managed to keep a lid on things up to the last minute. Honda had once again to completely the Goldwing from the ground up. and his dog knew that Honda continue to make their tourer heavier as the engine got bigger.

Over the previous years, most magazine riders agreed that the had been pushing the limits of they called the performance and common sense suggested to riders that if the next couldn’t at the very least the weight of the GL1500, then the end of the had already been reached. this in mind, Honda an all new alloy frame which only 31 parts, compared to the models 130.

The new frame was stiffer than before and with an engine both at 1832cc’s and 4lbs lighter before, this meant the GL1800 weighed 40lbs than the GL1500. The whole of the GL1800 had changed from big tourer to a more sporty distance machine designed to to the younger rider as well as Goldwing owners. Big news was the inclusion of fuel injection and the of ABS brakes, long overdue on the six monster.

Slightly slimmer dragged the design into the new yet Honda had managed to make the much bigger and there was pillion space. The seat and diameter of the wheels remained the as before, but the tyres were and for the first time on a Goldwing were not supplied by Dunlop, but

Honda’s efforts resulted in a that went and stopped far than most people had to hope and riding it gave the that it was far lighter than the rather than a mere Magazine test riders all the world heaped praise on the new and it was no longer a machine for Goldwing to ridicule.

The general consensus was the GL1800 was much more than before and was a motorcycle many riders would use day, rather than for use at weekends. The Hondaline department, now slick and efficient, were not napping this time. The of accessories was helped by wide use of the as well as brochures and magazine

There was a staggering 51 items from Hondaline for the GL1800, far any effort made for previous The aftermarket suppliers had to take a breath and look very to find spots to fill time and over the coming there was a drip feed of made available, rather the usual flood. 2002 saw no changes.

The GL1800 was too new to do more tweak here and there. new colours were introduced and the was still available with or ABS brakes. The full Hondaline of accessories was still available and the to their credit had managed to add more bits and pieces to product ranges. The high of the Hondaline stuff no doubt lots of scope for the competition. saw no major changes.

The GL1800 was too new to do than tweak here and Three new colours were and the Goldwing was still available or without ABS brakes. The full range of accessories was still and the aftermarket to their credit had to add many more bits and to their product ranges. The price of the Hondaline stuff no gave lots of scope for the

A recall during the previous saw the pulse rotor being on many models and the kill on lots of models had to be fixed so Honda seem to be on top of things. is here and the GL1800 continues to be on. No major changes or model changes, the very popular Red makes a welcome return for year.

The early CD player appear to have been and the Bridgestone tyres that and wore out at worryingly low mileages been replaced by Dunlops. For reason, the windshield now has two sliding instead of four. The rumour has started to grind into again, with reports of a Aspencade and SE addition in a year or

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