Honda GL1800 Gold Wing (2022) - Review


Honda’s latest Gold Wing struck a chord with riders that previous models hadn’t done for a while. The latest bike looks right, rides really well for a 367kg motorcycle and arrived in dealers just as former sports bike riders were starting to think about what might happen next after their adventure behemoth.

The current Wing launched in 2018. It was lighter and more manageable than the previous GL1800, with an all-new engine, a very different chassis including new front suspension ‘influenced’ by BMW and Hossack methodology that allowed ride quality and sharper handling too.

The flipside of the downsizing was that the luggage capacity dropped a little and, for the first time in a generation there was an option to buy a stripped back roadster version without the top box and passenger armchair.

Americans would call this a ‘bagger’ but that’s not what Honda calls it. This is the Gold Wing and the full-fat version is now the Gold Wing Tour. The main differences between the two models are that the ‘Tour’ gets the top box and pillion armchair plus heated seats as standard and a taller screen.

The Standard Gold Wing is a difficult bike to categorise. The built-in panniers are nowhere near big enough to be a serious tourer. Pillion comfort is easy on the backside and lacking the gearchange headbanging thanks to Honda’s DCT gearbox. But there’s no back rest to sink into, a little too much windblast for pillions from the shorter screen and no rear speakers.

So, it feels like the standard Wing is a futuristic cruiser for lone wolf riders. Thankfully, it’s a whole lot more than that.


Pros & Cons
  • The engine (everything about it)
  • The steering and suspension
  • The styling
  • Luggage capacity
  • Headlights could be better
  • Giving it back
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Losing the armchair reveals how good looking the current Gold Wing is


Who buys a Gold Wing in 2022?

When Honda launched the current Gold Wing in 2018, they explained that most Gold Wing buyers are existing Gold Wing buyers who are getting older and less able to manhandle a motorcycle weighing 400kg. Hence the reduction in size, weight and luggage capacity.

But that’s changed in the last four years and this standard Gold Wing without the top box is largely responsible because it attracts a different kind of owner – many of which haven’t owned a Wing before.

There is no logical reason to buy a Gold Wing. For the money there are much better tourers, much better utility vehicles or back roads blasters. The standard Gold Wing absolutely defies categorisation. At £25k it needs some serious commitment to buy one. And by every measurable performance parameter a BMW R1250RT (costing £5k less for the top-spec version) is a far better bike.

But… But… Having made the decision to go Gold Wing my suspicion is you won’t regret a moment of it.

Buying a Gold Wing is like buying a speed boat or a hot air balloon or a vintage Rickenbacker twin neck guitar or a steam train. There isn’t any logic to it other than that you want one because the idea of it makes you smile. And you’re at the point in your life where you can afford one. That’s it. Enough and to hell with whatever anyone else thinks.

And having made the decision, we suspect you won’t regret a moment of it.


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Twice the price of an NT1100 and you get backlit switchgear


2022 Honda Gold Wing Price

£25,249 puts the Gold Wing pretty much halfway between BMW’s K1600GT bagger (£21k) and Harley’s Street Glide Special (£27k). It’s tempting to mention BMW’s R1250RT as an alternative because it probably does what these bikes do better than any of the above, but the RT doesn’t have that glorious excess and OTT silliness of the others and, in this segment, that matters.

Interestingly, those numbers don’t seem quite as unattainable as they used to in an era when a fully-loaded BMW R1250GS can easily top £20k. Dealers tell us that many customers buy bikes at these prices on PCP and there are plenty of good deals around. But equally, because of the mileage limits there are plenty who would prefer to buy outright because they do a lot more than the typical PCP 4000-mile annual limit.


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125bhp and 125 lb-ft of torque is plenty but it’s the delivery that makes you smile


2022 Honda Gold Wing Power and torque

Peak figures are more important in a bike like this than a Fireblade because the low-revving engine is likely to see bigger throttle openings when overtaking than a higher-revving sportier motor. The Wing makes 125bhp and 125lb-ft, which when linked to the DCT transmission’s seven gear ratios gives the Gold Wing surprisingly strong acceleration, especially in manual DCT mode when the rider decides when to change up.

More important though is the even spread of power and torque that makes the Gold Wing so easy to ride on dry or wet roads, filtering through traffic at 20mph in town or 70mph on the motorway.


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‘Walking function’ engages reverse


2022 Honda Gold Wing Engine, gearbox and exhaust

The relaunched Wing had an all-new engine in 2018, ready for Euro 5 emissions and there have only been minor tweaks to the fuel injection since. Honda’s emphasis was on ease of use, more power and also improved economy. Four-valve heads were used for the first time on the flat-six motor and Honda’s Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) was offered as an option. DCT isn’t a fully automatic gearbox, more like a halfway house between auto and manual. There are three gearbox modes on the DCT Wing plus reverse. Normal changes up the gears at low revs and holds onto higher gears for longer as you slow down. It operates in ‘Tour’, ‘economy’ and ‘rain’ modes. ‘Sport’ mode holds onto the gears for longer before changing up and changes down sooner as you shut the throttle or brake. You can also select manual gear changing which allows the rider to control gear changes regardless of which riding mode you are in.

On the DCT Gold Wing reverse is a proper gear (the non-DCT Wings do it off the starter motor as on older Wings) which is part of a ‘walking’ function. This turns out to be a really useful gadget even in ‘forward’ mode because it allows controlled very low-speed riding without a clutch lever and removes the low-speed clumsiness that other DCT Hondas suffer with.

The different riding modes alter throttle mapping slightly and while you can tell the difference, either ‘Tour’ or ‘Sport’ is fine for almost all riding. ‘Rain’ mode numbs the response too much for my liking and ‘economy’ seems like something that if you need to use it (because you’re incapable of riding economically when needed, then you have bigger evolutionary worries coming down the road than running out of petrol.  


2022 Honda Gold Wing Economy

Reducing weight was a big focus for the 2018 Gold Wing development team. Ageing riders with less confidence to haul a 400kg motorcycle around were at risk of jumping brand. One simple way to reduce all-up weight is to reduce fuel capacity, so this bike carries four litres less than the previous version.

The clever bit though is that the new engine is a lot more economical (despite being quicker revving and more powerful) than the older one. I’ve done a lot of miles on the current Wing and while fuel consumption can drop into the low-40s mpg and a 150-mile tank range if you go chasing sports bikes around France, it is equally as easy to get mid-50s mpg at motorway speeds equating to around 250 miles to a tank.


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Double-wishbone front suspension transforms the Wing’s handling


2022 Honda Gold Wing Handling, suspension, chassis and weight

The first few minutes on a Gold Wing are always a little different. The riding position for one thing feels low, like a cruiser, accommodating like a Honda and slightly different to anything else. There’s no ignition key, just an enormous fob thing that stays in your pocket. Turn the knob, push the starter and smile as what, just for a moment sounds like a muted American muscle car fires up beneath you. 

Select ‘reverse’ and waft backwards uphill out of your driveway without any effort other than resisting the urge to giggle.

The low revving flat-six motor literally purrs as it builds speed as gently or otherwise as you fancy. In ‘sport’ mode there’s strong enough acceleration to overtake any four-wheeler at will and the exhaust note is special without being stupid. It’s a very different engine to BMW’s much revvier K1600 lump. More suited to the way the Wing prefers to be ridden. 

And the chassis is the most memorable part of the Gold Wing experience. Losing 40kg from the old bike obviously made a huge difference. But Honda’s redesigned front-end is what transforms the handling and confidence. Swapping conventional forks for a lever system similar to BMW’s Duolever (which was itself ‘inspired’ by British inventor Norman Hossack’s thinking) separates steering, suspension and braking functions which, in practice means that you can brake really hard on this still-heavy motorcycle without the softly suspended front end crashing to earth, hitting the bump stops and locking the wheel. You can also steer while braking.

The other benefit is that because the steering geometry remains constant under braking the bike can be designed with sharper steering than otherwise (on conventionally forked bikes the steering angle becomes much sharper as you brake) and so the Wing feels lot more nimble than before and the suspension can be set for comfort while still keeping control in corners.

It's a superb system that works brilliantly, partly because the shock absorbers (front and rear) are also high-quality units that offer ride quality and control while chucking half a ton of motorcycle, rider and luggage at the scenery. This enormous motorcycle steers quickly and, while you are aware of the length and the weight of it mid-corner, it always feels like you are controlling the bike and not the other way around. Some people find it un-nerving at first watching the top of the linkage bopping up and down inside the fairing, but you soon get used to it.


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Brakes are superb, helped by the suspension


2022 Honda Gold Wing Brakes

Linked brakes make a lot of sense on something this big and heavy and Honda’s latest linked system is effective and unobtrusive. Plus, the new front suspension allows you to brake really hard without upsetting the bike’s stability and there’s ABS to help out if things get really scary. Which, mostly it won’t because the Wing is so easy to ride and relaxing to be aboard that you seem to go for miles controlling your speed with just the throttle and barely using the brakes.

Hill-start assist is also fitted, holding the bike in place on a hill without needing to hold onto the brake lever. It’s particularly useful on such a heavy bike in the middle of a small French village packed with tourists while waiting to turn right on a one-in-four gradient. Trust me, I’ve been there.


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Panniers look big but are hard to pack well


2022 Honda Gold Wing Comfort over distance and touring

Of course, it’s a cliché, but Honda’s Gold Wing is probably the most comfortable bike you can buy. The riding position is perfect – evolved and tweaked for the last 47 years. The seat is low, wide and well-padded. Handlebars are an easy reach away and from 2018 the screen has been electrically adjustable. This standard Wing has a shorter screen than the ‘Tour’ model which is more of an issue for pillions - who get additional buffeting - than riders, who can still sit at 70mph on the motorway with their visor up.

And to be honest, your pillion will be much more grumpy about the lack of an armchair and luggage capacity from not buying the ‘Tour’ than the windblast. The Standard Gold Wing is fine for solo touring if you pack and travel light. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.


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Lots of kit and easy to operate


2022 Honda Gold Wing Rider aids and extra equipment / accessories

Cruise control, riding modes, reverse gear, backlit switch gear (hooray), Hill Start Assist, tyre pressure monitors and engine switch-off while idling are good to have but won’t be deal breakers in the showroom. The standard Wing has heated grips but not seats (which the Tour does have). The latest sat nav is easier to use than the original 2018 version, you can connect a phone or iPod via Bluetooth (and use Android/Apple car play) or USB cable and the built-in sound system can be heard clearly up till around 70mph. Most riders these days will do music via a headset and so only having an FM radio (no DAB) isn’t as big an issue as it was in 2018.

In truth, BMW’s latest 10in TFT dash, wireless charging and app-based navigation feels a lot slicker in the showroom wars even if the nav-app isn’t always as reliable as you need it to be. The Honda uses more buttons on the big centre console but is also more intuitive and easier to learn than BMW’s controls


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There’s no logical reason to buy one, but that’s irrelevant because the Wing is brilliant


2022 Honda Gold Wing verdict

Like we said up top there is no rational reason for buying a standard Gold Wing. All the weight and bulk of a big tourer without the two key elements (pillion comfort and luggage capacity) that make them useful. But…but…but it doesn’t matter because like a whole load of other bikes on the market (any 200bhp sports bike for example, Yamaha’s Vmax, TDR250 or any 240kg adventure bike) it doesn’t matter. You buy this bike because you want it and can afford it and that’s it.

You probably won’t keep it forever – it’s a phase you’re going through and that’s fine. Buy one, enjoy every single moment (because you will) and then move on. You Gold Wing moment needn’t define you in the same way as no one remembers your purple leathers, iridium visor and Star Wars race boots.

Motorcycling is funny, motorcyclists are funny, and we’d be crazy to get through it without trying all the different kinds of bike we can.

If you’re on the cusp of a performance-cruiser phase, buy a Gold Wing now and have the best few summers you can imagine on what is easily one of the top ten best bikes on sale right now.


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Traditional Wing button-fest is still present. Makes it easy to tweak settings on the move


2022 Honda Gold Wing spec

New price

From £25,249



Bore x Stroke


Engine layout

Flat-six cylinder

Engine details

Liquid-cooled, 24v SOHC


125bhp (93kW) @ 5500rpm


125lb-ft (170Nm) @ 4500rpm

Top speed

130 mph (estimated)


7-speed dual clutch transmission plus reverse

Average fuel consumption

52mpg tested

Tank size

21 litres

Max range to empty (theoretical)

240 miles

Reserve capacity

45 miles

Rider aids

ABS, TC, cruise, hill start, 4 riding modes


Alloy beam frame

Front suspension

Double wishbone

Front suspension adjustment

Electronic, linked to riding modes

Rear suspension

Pro-Arm, Pro-link

Rear suspension adjustment

Electronic, linked to riding modes

Front brake

320mm discs, six-piston caliper

Rear brake

3160mm disc, three piston caliper + handbrake

Front tyre


Rear tyre





2475mm x 905mm x 1340mm (LxWxH)



Maximum loading


Seat height


Kerb weight



Unlimited miles / 2years

MCIA Secured Rating

Not rated



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What is MCIA Secured?

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As we all know, the more security you use, the less chance there is of your bike being stolen. In fact, based on research by Bennetts, using a disc lock makes your machine three times less likely to be stolen, while heavy duty kit can make it less likely to be stolen than a car. For reviews of the best security products, click here.

MCIA Secured gives motorcycles a rating out of five stars, based on the following being fitted to a new bike as standard:

  • A steering lock that meets the UNECE 62 standard
  • An ignition immobiliser system
  • A vehicle marking system
  • An alarm system
  • A vehicle tracking system with subscription

The higher the star rating, the better the security, so always ask your dealer what rating your bike has and compare it to other machines on your shortlist.