Honda spoils future owners of the 2009 Gold Wing with the addition of XM Radio featuring traffic and weather reporting capabilities, plus an automatic tire pressure monitoring system proving once again that finding new solutions for the customers needs is THE way to stay strong in this business.
The ultimate touring bike carries on to 2009 without featuring any technical or design changes, but does feature the regular fair share of goodies with which Gold Wing customers are already accustomed.
A true limousine on two wheels, the Gold Wing comes fitted with airbags, ABS, Comfort Package, heated seats and feet warmers, features without which any normal rider wouldn’t be able to pun the number of miles that this bike is capable of. Reverse gear and electronic suspension is simply more than any rider could dream of, but at a minimum curb weight of 895 pounds, these systems become absolutely necessary.
2009 Honda Gold Wing XM Radio
Instead, what will be new on the latest Gold Wing model year are the XM Radio, XM Nav Traffic and XM Nav Weather services. All are available for the North American model and while the first is just for fun and entertaining, the last two services are simply irreplaceable sources of information in what concerns, obviously, the traffic and weather conditions on the route you indicate. The bike now features Honda’s specially created Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) which warns you when low tire pressure is detected in the front or rear wheel (a warning light will be turned on below the tachometer, to be more precise).
The Candy Black Cherry, Pearl Yellow, Metallic Silver, Deep Blue Metallic, Metallic Titanium, Metallic Blue color schemes are meant to further enhance visual attraction, but also to make the difference between the previous model years and the present one.
Honda first displayed the Gold Wing as a prototype in October 1974 at the Cologne Motorcycle Show. The engine was a 999cc flat-four, but so amazing about it were the innovative systems and technologies implemented. For starters, the water cooling system on the four-stroke engine was a Japanese premiere while the fuel pump was only a car feature for the time. Honda changed that. But water cooling a motorcycle engine in the 1970s required talent and innovation from Honda’s engineers who had used the fuel tank space as the radiator overflow. This is where the electronics bay would have also been, but where did the thing store fuel? The response was under the seat. Although it initially looked like a sport-touring motorcycle, the shaft drive came as an anticipation of how things would evolve as well as the impressively quite silencer that was mounted under the swingarm.
1975 Honda GL1000 Gold Wing
Due to positive reactions that followed the presentation in Germany, Honda started production of the GL1000 in 1975 and there haven’t been significant differences between the prototype and what the customer would have got. Now, because the new model was pretty much naked, but brought the benefits of a touring motorcycle, which is also what Honda listed it as, aftermarket kits consisting in fairings and saddlebags soon flooded the market. So after the 1978 series of changes consisting in new faux tank shape with instruments on top, seat, camshafts, carburetors, exhaust system, Comstar wheels as well as the kickstart removal, Honda introduced the genuine saddlebags and trunk, leaving the fairing to aftermarket producers.
1982 Honda GL1100 Aspencade
In 1979, the bored engine (1085cc) not only determined the model name change into GL1100, but also showed Honda’s principle that bigger is better. This would have featured an electronic ignition, which was also a fairly important step forward for the time. Also, features such as the air adjustable suspension indicated that Honda won’t lose its head start at any time.
By 1980 the market would have seen the Honda GL1100 Standard and the GL1100 Interstate. On this late model Honda would have accomplished most riders wishes of a fully accessorized (fairing included) Gold Wing.
Hard to be stopped as it has spotted the immense opportunities on their targeted market (the one in the U.S.), in 1981 Honda opened the plant in Ohio and so brought the Gold Wing closer to consumers in this country.
1981 Honda GL1100 Interstate
Following the GL1100 Interstate was the “Aspencade” 1982 model which distinguished through the two-tone paint and AM/FM radio, but there have also been options such as the floorboards, chrome and CB Radio.
But hat was pretty much a preview of what 1983 was to bring: LCD instrumentation, anti-dive forks, bigger trunk, repositioned passenger seat and footpegs for increased comfort as well as some transmission retuning aimed at reducing fuel consumption.
Ten years after the prototype’s first public appearance, the Gold Wing started writing its second big evolutionary step under the GL1200 name. The engine had again increased displacement, reaching an impressive for the time 1182cc. The better looking fairing on the Interstate and Aspencade models pretty much “made” the number of sales, which determined the Japanese maker to stop producing the Standard Gold Wing.
The 1985 Honda GL1200LTD was based on the GL1200 Aspencade which was the perfect base machine on which Honda could play with fuel injection, auto leveling rear suspension as well as driver-passenger intercom system and cruise control. Also, life on board was now even more comfortable and pleasurable due to the adding of a redesigned seat and fancy sound system, instrument panel and trip computer. The alternator capacity had to be increased in order to keep up with all those new systems. That is also when the gold two-tone color was first introduced, adding a distinctive note to the Gold Wing.
1986 saw the SE-i instead of the LTD, a model which apart from a 500 watt alternator and a new white and beige color scheme added nothing new. This was also to be removed from the lineup a year later as Honda dropped the fuel injection system and retained the best of it (intercoms, cruise control and upgraded stereo) for the Aspencade model.
1988 Honda GL1500 Gold Wing
The 1520ccs that Honda had planned for the 1988 Goldwing simply couldn’t do on the flat-four engine so two more cylinders were added. The GL1500, as it was called, stood as the biggest upgrade brought to this model and it also made it the most popular. Power was now greater and smooth delivered, but the engine didn’t saw fuel injection. Having become bigger and heavier during the years of development, 1988 also seemed a perfect time for Honda to add reverse gear as, with the perfectly blended in fairing, it looked like you had to be a Mr. Olympia aspirant in order to have it go backward.
In 1990, Honda added the GL1500SE to the lineup. This was a visually upgraded model. Also, the Interstate and Aspencade were to be again introduced in 1991 and carried on until 1996, respectively 2000.
2001 Honda GL1800 Gold Wing
Finally, in 2001, Honda reserved a last big step for the Gold Wing, one that would be again based on displacement increase, fuel injection and premiers. The now 1832cc flat-six engine seemed to have reached the manufacturer’s goal so they further concentrated on reducing the overall weight and strengthening the aluminum extruded frame. They’ve managed to obtain a lighter bike than the GL1500 and the adding of ABS meant that there wasn’t anything more to be done to it.
How wrong could we be as the 2006 model year introduced the first production motorcycle to feature an airbag: the Gold Wing! Also in 2006, they’ve added the Honda Satellite Linked Navigation System, voice prompting through headsets or speakers, five-position heated seat/backrest combination with individual rider and passenger control as well as foot-warming system channels engine-heated air over the rider’s feet which was controlled by a fairing-mounted lever among many other features.
For 2007 and 2008, Honda took a well deserved brake from improving the Gold Wing, the next upgraded model year being the 2009.