2022 Honda Gold Wing - Performance, Price, and Photos
A revamped suspension and updated features make for an even better Gold Wingby TJ Hinton, on LISTEN 11:15
Honda greeted the new decade with a buffed-up, base-model Gold Wing range best described as a BNG-Plus treatment with a few extra goodies thrown in. Updated damping values tune up the suspension system along with improved electronics to complete the package. Of course, this is all accompanied by the performance and handling that has always held the Gold Wing in good stead and kept the line in an excellent competitive position within the U.S. market.
2022 Honda Gold Wing Performance and Capability
A flat-six powerplant on the Gold Wing carries three cylinders on each side of the crankcase with the heads and valve covers mounted outboard. It’s not the most common arrangement, but it does keep the center-of-gravity low. That’s important for a bike that weighs 787 pounds soaking wet.
This year, the engine itself weighs 13 pounds lighter than the previous generation to keep the overall weight relatively low. A square layout sees bore and stroke both mike out at 73 mm for a 1,833 cc total displacement and 10.5-to-1 compression ratio, so you can count on feeding it premium road champagne to prevent knock/ping/dieseling.
Under the valve cover, a Uni-cam valvetrain times the poppets to contribute to the low engine weight while it also simplifies the top end and lowers both the rotating and reciprocation mass in the valvetrain. Aluminum cylinder sleeves also contribute to weight savings and deliver exceptional heat transfer to protect the bores.
Electronic fuel injection and a robust electronic monitoring system keep emissions low and fuel efficiency at 42 mpg, but here we find a discrepancy. I don’t know if that mileage is overall, during normal operation, or only when engaging the “Eco-Mode” feature, but that’s what the factory gives us to work with.
Liquid-cooling draws off the waste heat and contributes to quiet operation by attenuating the mechanical threshing noises from inside the case. A slipper-type clutch provides some drag-torque protection to prevent rear-wheel hop and a concurrent loss of traction on hard engine-brake maneuvers. Lastly, power heads to the rear wheel via a tough shaft-type final drive with a Gold Wing top speed around 140 mph.
If you’re old-school, up to 2022 the base Gold Wing came with a choice between a six-speed, manual-shift transmission or the seven-speed Dual-Clutch Transmission model. For 2022, the Gold Wing only comes with the DCT.
The DCT runs with shifting gear clusters on each of two shafts, each with its own automatic clutch, to deliver twist-and-go operation. This utterly eliminates the need for a clutch hand lever and shifter foot lever. It also comes with a Walking Mode that lets you move both forward and reverse for easy parking-lot navigation.
Independent tests show lower numbers at the rear tire, as usual, but at the shaft the factory claims the Gold Wing produces 124.6 horsepower and 125 pound-feet of torque. That’s an awful lot of get-up-and-go sports fans, even with its not-inconsiderable heft.
|Engine:||Liquid-cooled horizontally opposed six-cylinder, SOHC; four valves per cylinder|
|Bore x Stroke:||73 mm x 73 mm|
|Induction:||Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI)|
|Ignition:||Full transistorized Ignition|
|Transmission:||Six-speed including overdrive (DCT: Seven-speed automatic DCT, plus reverse and walking mode)|
The base-model Gold Wing and Gold Wing DCT keep to the boulevard-bruiser bagger look that it adopted a few years back. It has the same clean upper line due to the lack of a top case.
A vented front fender leads the way beneath the full fixed fairing. The fairing punches a hole in the weather for the rider with a well-vented, chopped-down windscreen that veers into custom country to separate the baggers from their full-dress siblings higher up the range.
Blackout treatment likewise starts early to take a deep dive into Honda’s dark side. Black rims sport a tasteful red pinstripe to break up the monotony and tie in with the scarlet touches on the valve covers, cockpit, saddle, and panniers.
A wide, V-shaped detail up front gives the headlights an angry look with brow-like DRL light bars above them and an LED border to finish off the white lights up front. I like the turn signals integrated with the mirrors. It makes them more visible to the world, hence safer, and Honda doesn’t disappoint.
In profile, the front fairing opens up to a sportbike-like scoop. The scoop forces cooling air through the radiator and flushes waste heat out from under the cowling and away from you in the saddle.
The TFT display acts as an interface for all of the higher electronic functions and the infotainment system. As for the infotainment system, it’s pretty much the gold standard with the ability to field phone calls and messages underway while jamming to your favorite tunes or listening to a podcast. Bluetooth connectivity comes stock to unlock the Apple CarPlay feature that lets you tap into the Apple Maps and Apple Music feature along with real-time weather info.
For 2022, enjoy the sound from upgraded 55-Watt speakers. Both optimized, the equalizer settings and automatic volume adjustment produce a better quality sound.
A gang of switches atop the 5.55-gallon fuel tank relocates many of the switches formally found in the handlebar switch housings. This cleans up the hand-control area quite nicely.
The pilot’s saddle rides 29.3 inches off the deck. That may be a tad on the tall side for shorter riders, but a low center of gravity helps keep the Gold Wing manageable when you deploy your Fred Flintstones.
A broad pillion perch and generous J.C. handles join fold-up footboards for your passenger’s comfort. This makes for a cushy ride over short to mid-size trips, though it lacks the seriously long legs afforded by the top case and full passenger backrest on the Gold Wing Tour model. Starting in 2020, all Gold Wing models come with a USB port in the saddlebags to charge your mobile devices while underway.
|Seat Height:||29.3 inches|
|Curb Weight:||787 pounds (DCT: 800 pounds)|
|Fuel Capacity:||5.55 gallons|
|Fuel Economy:||42 mpg|
The Gold Wing corners like a much smaller/sportier ride even though the steering geometry is a bit of a mixed bag. A short, 4.3-inch trail and relatively long, 30.5-degree rake angle make for eager cornering and stable tracking at highway/interstate speeds.
A double-wishbone front end delivers 4.3 inches of travel and is arguable more stable than conventional hydraulic forks. Out back, a Pro-Link monoshock tames the motion of the Pro-Arm, single-side swingarm with 4.1 inches of travel to soak up the bumps. Over it all, newly tuned damping values improve handling and feel from the previous gen.
Asymmetrical cast wheels mount the hoops with a 130/70-18 up front opposite a 200/55-16 to round out the rolling chassis. The anchors mean serious business with dual, 320 mm discs and four-piston calipers to provide the bulk of the stopping power ahead of a large-for-the-location, 316 mm rear disc. All the braking power falls under the protection of stock ABS.
|Front Suspension/ Travel:||Double Wishbone Type/ 4.3 inches|
|Rear Suspension/ Travel:||Pro Arm® single-side swingarm with Pro-Link® single shock/ 4.1 inches|
|Trail:||4.3 inches (109 mm)|
|Front Brake:||Hydraulic; dual 320 mm discs|
|Rear Brake:||Hydraulic; single 316 mm disc|
2022 Honda Gold Wing Price
The 2022 Honda Gold Wing costs $25,300. It rolls in Matte Nightshade Blue, Ultra Blue Metallic, or Metallic Black and comes only in the DCT model this year.
|Model ID:||GL1800 (DCT: GL1800BD)|
|Warranty:||Three Years Transferable, unlimited-mileage limited warranty; Up to 8 years extended coverage available with Honda Protection Plan|
|└ 2020:||Matte Black Metallic|
|└ 2021:||Deep Pearl Gray, Metallic Black, Ardent Red (DCT: Deep Pearl Gray)|
|└ 2022:||Matte Nightshade Blue, Ultra Blue Metallic, Metallic Black|
|└ 2020:||$23,800 (DCT: $25,000)|
|└ 2021:||$23,900 (DCT: $25,100)|
|└ 2022:||$25,300 (DCT only)|
Honda Gold Wing Competitors
Honda’s Gold Wing line enjoys a well-deserved reputation with American riders. The bike is clearly designed to compete in the U.S. market so I feel like it’s fair to go to the reigning king for my competitor. Let’s see how the GW compares to Harley-Davidson’s own dark-and-sinister model, the Road Glide Special.
Harley-Davidson Road Glide Special
Fixed to the frame, Harley’s sharknose fairing lacks any sort of lower protection for your legs. That’s great in warm weather, but in colder climes and rain, the H-D rider needs the accessories catalog for the lower fairings to get the same level of protection.
In keeping with its dark boulevard bruiser mien, the Road Glide Special sports a chopped-and-smoked screen atop the front fairing to complete the stock rider’s protection. Blackout treatment is a constant across the board, and it leaves the H-D with very little bling, but that’s okay, ’cause chrome doesn’t get ya’ home, homie.
H-D meets Honda tit-for-tat in the infotainment system, so neither bike gains an edge in that particular department. H-D does gain a slight edge in fandanglery with its Reflex Linked Brakes that balance brake effort between front and rear for extra stability in emergency braking situations.
Non-adjustable front forks float both machines. H-D uses Showa’s Dual Bending Valve forks that deliver a superior ride to standard stems and Honda’s yoke-style front end for a slight comfort advantage.
The Road Glide Special rolls with the Milwaukee-Eight 114 powerplant that falls just a skosh shy of the Honda’s 125 pounds o’ grunt with 123 foot-pounds of torque on tap. Unfortunately for H-D, the engine has slightly less power and more work to do with an 853-pound curb weight against Honda’s 787-pound heft, and combined, you’ll feel that in the ol’ heinie dyno.
The good news is, that Mil-8 has something to give in any gear at almost any speed, so it’s not like the Harley is sucking hind tit or anything. I mean, it’s more or less a tour bike, how much power do you really need?
Naturally, the King of Paint offers a well-rounded palette, but it comes at a price with a $27,299 Vivid Black tag and a $29,399 sticker on the top-shelf, two-tone package to leave a wide pricing gulf between the Road Glide and the Gold Wing.
“I can’t help but feel like riders attracted to the dark-and-low bagger look will probably opt for something from Harley-Davidson’s or Indian’s lineup. I could be wrong, but the blackout-custom scene is a distinctly American culture, at least in its origins, and so Honda seems like it’s trying to straddle the cultural fence with its base bagger-tastic Wing-Ding. Is it a bridge too far? We’ll see soon enough.”
My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “The revamped suspension on the new Gold Wing improves handling, which is a plus since low-speed handling was a sore spot. I’m not clear on whether it’s a software or hardware change or some combination of both.”
“Starting with 2020, the DCT is the next generation of DCT and it shifts quieter than the previous year’s version. I don’t see any reason to upgrade your Gold Wing if you have a 2018 or 2019, but if you have an older model or you’re looking at the Gold Wing for the first time, the new model looks attractive.”