In the early days, the Honda Gold Wing would have been the worst nightmare for touring motorcycles such as the Suzuki Cavalcade and Yamaha Venture XII, but both stopped being produced as they simply couldn’t match the class leader’s performance by the time Honda upgraded the engine to 1520cc and six cylinders.
2009 Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Voyager
Kawasaki was and still is slightly more ambitious with the Voyager model, so after stopping production in 2004, they are back with the all-new Vulcan 1700 Voyager. It seems that Kawi realized that no attempt will be enough to match GL1800’s engine performance so they go for that early hot rod look and a timeless 1,700cc four-stroke, liquid-cooled, SOHC, four valves per cylinder, V-Twin engine. With the help of the digital fuel injection with dual 42mm throttle bodies, maximum torque is 107.8 lb-ft at 2,750 rpm. MSRP is yet to be announced for this entirely new model.
After the launch of the totally new 2001 Gold Wing, Honda has kept this model virtually unchanged. That is due to the fact that designers made sure the bike would not only look good a year or two after the launch, but even a decade later so we’ll have to wait a little bit more until the next revamp.
Still, working with what we have, it is a must to be said that the latest Honda Gold Wing is, despite the large dimensions, the best looking touring bike out there. It is a compact and well composed machine, with every design feature carefully accounted and, most importantly, featuring a predetermined role.
The headlights are big, well contoured and nicely integrated into the fairing and to people who consider it has a big “nose” I would ask if the Gold Wing would still look the same if cut down to the strict necessities. Quite frankly, that massive front end looks like a miniature luxury car, especially with those Mercedes-like mirrors.
On the sides, the engine and transmission show off a little bit and simply look like pieces of a puzzle together with the frame and the exhaust pipes. A lively note is given by the side vents, but probably the seats are what touring motorcycles all about. These are extremely spacious and comfortable on the Gold Wing and with that comfy backrest I bet passengers have nothing to complain about.
Trunk (I told you it looks like a miniature car) and side cases with integrated taillights are exactly what the bike needed in order to look as good from the back as it does from the front.
As you probably already know, Honda offers the Gold Wing under a variety of models depending on the different options that they fit on them and, of course, that has an important influence on the prices for which the bikes are being marketed.
The names say pretty much everything about each one in particular: 2009 Honda Gold Wing Airbag – Base MSRP is $25,599; 2009 Honda Gold Wing Audio/Comfort – Base MSRP is $20,999; 2009 Honda Gold Wing Audio/Comfort/Navi/XM – Base MSRP is $23,299 and the 2009 Honda Gold Wing Audio/Comfort/Navi/XM/ABS with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $24,399.
Long story short, the 2009 Honda Gold Wing, no matter model, stands as the most comfortable, best performing and highly reliable touring motorcycle that money can buy. And the fact that it has virtually no competition is as yet another confirmation of this fact.