A host of improvements give it even better handling than before

Honda shows its commitment to continual improvement with its 2020 array of top-shelf, tour-tastic Gold Wing models. The Gold Wing range received a handful of improvements to include reworked heads and cylinders that reduce the weight of the drivetrain plus stock foglights and revised ergonomics to boost performance, safety, and comfort across the boards. Of course, this comes on top of the speed and handling for which the Gold Wings have long been famous to make it a serious competitor in the U.S. touring market.

2020 Honda Gold Wing Tour Design

  • 50-liter travel trunk
  • LED Lighting
  • Color TFT display
  • Infotainment system with Bluetooth connectivity
Honda Gold Wing Tour
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Honda Gold Wing Tour
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Honda Gold Wing Tour
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Unlike the bagger-tastic Gold Wing base models, the Tour range is populated by full-on dressers that add a tall windscreen, top case, and full passenger’s backrest to lengthen its highway legs significantly. The front fender is vented. It rides between somewhat foil-shaped lower suspension members that help steer incoming air pressure into laminar flow with the full front fairing. This increases penetration in spite of the large surface (barn door) area it’s pushing.

Above the fender, the cowling opens up into a sportbike-like scoop forcing ram-air through the radiator and into the pair of large vents around the backside where it re-integrates with the slipstream for efficient low-drag cooling. A V-shaped headlight arrangement comes with stock foglights and mirror-mount turn signals, all in super-bright LED tech, to provide all of the forward lighting.

The tall, clear windscreen is push-button adjustable with an electric motor that moves it through a 4.9-inch range, and it is vented to prevent the tiresome head-buffet effect, increasing long-distance comfort. Around the backside of the glass there’s a seven-inch TFT screen and a brace of analog clocks for the speed and tach with LCD screens set outboard to wrap up the instrumentation.

Honda calls the switchcube setup its Human-Machine Interface, and you can use it to access the navigation, weather, and music features via the Apple CarPlay feature. Additionally, the infotainment system networks wirelessly through a Bluetooth with your smartphone for on-the-go calls and messaging service, so you never need be out of touch while you’re in the wind. I don’t know, that seems kind of counterproductive if you ride to get away from it all to still be connected, but different streaks for different freaks, I suppose. The factory even added a second USB port to expand the recharging/powering options for your various mobile devices. Yet another gang of buttons ride atop the 5.55-gallon fuel tank to finish out the HMI.

The saddle slings your butt 29.3 inches off the ground, and I gotta’ say that’s trending toward the tall end of the touring spectrum, but the low center-of-gravity makes the Gold Wing Tour line easy to handle at stops and in the parking lot. Fold-up footboards and revised J.C. handles join a full pillion backrest complete with armrests to prop up and contain your passenger so the comfort is spread around rather equitably, and that’s great if you like to ride with your significant other.

LED lights out back ensure that you remain visible to the following traffic, and of course, you can count on safe, dry storage in the lockable, 50-liter top case and hard side bags for oodles of touring capacity right out of the box.

2020 Honda Gold Wing Tour Chassis

  • Eager cornering
  • Stable tracking at speed
  • Improved handling
  • ABS
  • Electronic preload suspension
Honda Gold Wing Tour
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Honda Gold Wing Tour
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Honda Gold Wing Tour
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Gold Wings have long enjoyed a reputation for handling that belies their mass and size, and this newest generation is no exception.

Rake on the Gold Wing Tour measures 30.5 degrees from the vertical with 4.3 inches of trail to make the entire line quite eager in the corners while maintaining a certain amount of tracking as yet another of its comfort features that are meant to extend riding times. The steering head mounts a double-wishbone fork setup rather than the usual hydraulic tube front end, and it relies on a single central coil-over shock to provide the support and damping.

Aluminum is the material of choice for both the main frame and the swingarm to keep heft down, but it’s still a substantial machine with a 787-pound curb weight though that’s lighter than much of the competition, to be sure. Suspension travel measures at 4.3 inches and 4.1 inches on the front and rear respectively, plenty for your favorite urban jungle and even poorly maintained county roads. The electronic preload adjuster lets you tweak the support in response to changing cargo and passenger loads.

Cast wheels round out the rolling chassis with a 130/70-18 hoop up front opposite a fat, 200/55-16, and the braking duties fall to dual, 320 mm discs and six-piston binders and an unusually large 316 mm disc out back with electronically-controlled combined ABS protection all around. The Hill Start Assist feature is a constant across the board with its brake-holding ability that lets you put both feet down for stability on a grade, and that particularly nice if you’re already trying to tip-toe the thing.

As the ingeniously clever name suggests, the “Airbag” model comes stock with an inflatable crash buffer that is meant to offer the rider some protection in a frontal collision.

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
Rake: 30.5°
Trail: 4.3 inches (109 mm)
Front Brake: Hydraulic; dual 320 mm discs
Rear Brake: Hydraulic; single 316 mm disc
Front Tire: 130/70R-18
Rear Tire: 200/55-16

2020 Honda Gold Wing Tour Drivetrain

  • 1,833 cc flat-six engine
  • 124.6 horsepower
  • 125 pound-feet of torque low in the rev range
  • Reverse (Walking Mode/Reverse on DCT models
Honda Gold Wing Tour
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Honda Gold Wing Tour
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Honda Gold Wing Tour
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Power for the Gold Wing Tour comes from the usual flat-six plant that leaves the heads sticking out on both sides of the machine. Aluminum cylinder sleeves and Uni-cam top ends trim a total of 13 pounds from the overall weight (8 pounds lighter on the DCT version) while the latter reduces reciprocating mass in the top end for safer operation at high revolutions.

Bore and stroke are square at 73 mm across the board to give the mill its 1,833 cc displacement and 10.5-to-1 compression ratio. As for power, the factory claims 124.6 ponies and 125 pounds o’ grunt, but of course, that’s measured at the shaft; the power that makes it to the rear wheel actually looks more like 97/108, respectively. If you have a hard time imagining what that feels like, the horsepower maxes out at 5,550 rpm, but the stump-pulling torque comes on at a low 1,210 rpm to give you usable power very low in the rev-range.

The electronics suite does not disappoint. It sports a quartet of power-delivery modes that let you dial in for the prevailing conditions plus a TPMS that lets you keep an eye on your tire inflation on the fly. If you spring for the optional HomeLink system, you can network the bike with your home-based devices such as your power garage-door opener for easy use.

Now we get to a few options. You can roll with the traditional, six-speed manual transmission and slipper clutch if you like the old-school feel while you ride, but if you prefer a wimpshift, Honda’s Dual-Clutch Transmission may be your Huckleberry. It sports a seven-speed gearbox that uses a pair of automatic clutches for seamless shifts both up and down the range. No matter which you choose, top gear comes in an overdrive ratio for fuel-efficient interstate travel. For a final bit of lagniappe, both gearboxes come with a reverse feature while the DCT models also rock a walking-speed feature that lets you maneuver in a parking lot without relying on your leg strength.

Engine: Liquid-cooled horizontally opposed six-cylinder, SOHC; four valves per cylinder
Displacement: 1833 cc
Bore x Stroke: 73 mm x 73 mm
Induction: Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI)
Ignition: Full transistorized Ignition
Compression Ratio: 10.5:1
Transmission: Six-speed including overdrive, plus electric reverse (DCT: Seven-speed automatic DCT, plus reverse and walking mode)
Final Drive: Shaft

2020 Honda Gold Wing Tour Pricing

Honda Gold Wing Tour
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Honda Gold Wing Tour
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Honda Gold Wing Tour
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The prices straddle the $30k mark from $27.5k to $32.3k.

At the bottom of the range, the base-model Gold Wing Tour rolls for $27,500. In the middle is the DCT version at $28,500, but if you want that airbag protection, you’ll have to pony up a total of $32,300.

Model ID: GL1800 (DCT: GL1800D)(GL1800DA)
Warranty: Three Years Transferable, unlimited-mileage limited warranty; Up to 8 years extended coverage available with Honda Protection Plan
Color: Candy Ardent Red/Black, Pearl Glare White (Airbag model: Darkness Black Metallic/Gray)
Price: $27,500 (DCT: $28,500)(DCTw/Airbag:$32,300)

2020 Honda Gold Wing Tour Competitors

Honda Gold Wing Tour
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2020 Indian Roadmaster
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The obvious go-to competitor in the American market is Harley-Davidson, but the resurgent Indian Motorcycle factory gives me a viable option, so with that in mind, I grabbed the full-dress Indian Roadmaster for my head-to-head.

Indian Roadmaster

2020 Indian Roadmaster
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Indian provides the same level of protection for the pilot with an adjustable windscreen, full front fender and fairing lowers, but rather than using a fixed fairing it opted for a more traditional fork-mount fairing to punch a hole in the weather. The Roadmaster also bears genetic markers of years gone by with the classic war bonnet ornament on the skirted front fender, both of which look like something straight from the history books.

Diamond-stitched seats come with chrome studs for a nice offset to the dark leather saddle, and hard saddlebags are joined by a proper top case complete with a passenger’s backrest though the latter is slightly shorter than the Gold Wing’s passenger backrest and it lacks the stock armrests. Indian matches Honda tit-for-tat in the electronics department with a well-rounded infotainment feature that hits all the same high points with the notable exception of the home-based gadgetry. Oh well, that’s what garage-door remotes are for.

The Roadmaster’s stems are more basic and offer nothing more than an air-adjustable preload on the rear monoshock, so Indian has no answer for Honda’s push button-adjustable support system. ABS is a stock feature across the board, as is a variable power-delivery feature, so neither gets the upper hand there.

If aesthetics are important, it's my humble opinion that Honda can't hold a match to Indian, particularly when we look at the difference between the powerplants.

The Gold Wing mill is all business while the Indian V-Twin seems to say “party over here.” The Thunder Stroke’s faux flathead construction and chromed-out appointments balanced against its “serious business” engineering, churning out a solid 126 pound-feet of torque against the Gold Wing’s 125 pounds o’ grunt, a difference not even detectable on the best calibrated heinie dyno. I tend to be pragmatic about power and performance, but gotta’ say Indian knows how to build a good-looking engine.

So far so good for the Roadmaster, but that’s about to change. Indian has no counter for the DCT gearbox or the airbag system the Gold Wing brings to the table, so if you want/need that automatic transmixxer, Honda has the only game in town. To compound Indian’s pain, the stock Roadmaster rolls for $29,999 against the $27,500 sticker on the Gold Wing Tour, but at the end of the day, I doubt those savings will make someone who is interested in an American-style tourbike head for a Japanese model over a bona fide American bike.

Read our full review of the Indian Roadmaster.

He Said

“The new Gold Wings will certainly appeal to the existing Wing-Dingers out there, but I question how competitive it will actually be against the two major U.S. brands. Sure, the all-out speed and handling is top-drawer stuff, but let’s face it; how often do you really find an opportunity to go 140 mph on public roads? I maintain that anything past 100 is a waste on U.S. highways, though I know some folks just have to be able to say ’if you ride with me, you’ll be looking at my taillight.’ As far as I’m concerned, he who rides fast, rides alone, and that kinda defeats the purpose for many of us.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “The revamp gives the Gold Wing Tour even better handling, especially in low-speed maneuvering. That was a sore spot, so improving that is a big plus. The DCT is next-gen technology that shifts more quietly than last year’s version. If you have an older model Gold Wing, you might be interested in upgrading to the 2020 with its improvements – some big and some small – that make it a better bike. If you have a 2018 or 2019, though, you might have to think hard before putting out the cash.

2020 Honda Gold Wing Tour Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: Liquid-cooled horizontally opposed six-cylinder, SOHC; four valves per cylinder
Displacement: 1833 cc
Bore x Stroke: 73 mm x 73 mm
Induction: Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI)
Ignition: Full transistorized Ignition
Compression Ratio: 10.5:1
Transmission: Six-speed including overdrive, plus electric reverse (DCT: Seven-speed automatic DCT, plus reverse and walking mode)
Final Drive: Shaft
Chassis:
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
Rake: 30.5°
Trail: 4.3 inches (109 mm)
Front Brake: Hydraulic; dual 320 mm discs
Rear Brake: Hydraulic; single 316 mm disc
Front Tire: 130/70R-18
Rear Tire: 200/55-16
Dimensions & Capacities:
Wheelbase: 66.7 inches
Seat Height: 29.3 inches
Curb Weight: 836 pounds (DCT: 838 pounds) (Airbag: 847 pounds)
Fuel Capacity: 5.55 gallons
Miles Per Gallon: TBD (DCT: 42 mpg)
Details:
Model ID: GL1800 (DCT: GL1800D)(GL1800DA)
Warranty: Three Years Transferable, unlimited-mileage limited warranty; Up to 8 years extended coverage available with Honda Protection Plan
Color: Candy Ardent Red/Black, Pearl Glare White (Airbag model: Darkness Black Metallic/Gray)
Price: $27,500 (DCT: $28,500)(DCTw/Airbag:$32,300)

Further Reading

Honda

1985 Suzuki GSX-R750
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Read more Honda news.

TJ Hinton
T.J got an early start from his father and other family members who owned and rode motorcycles, and by helping with various mechanical repairs throughout childhood. That planted a seed that grew into a well-rounded appreciation of all things mechanical, and eventually, into a formal education of same. Though primarily a Harley rider, he has an appreciation for all sorts of bikes and doesn't discriminate against any particular brand or region of origin. He currently holds an Associate's degree in applied mechanical science from his time at the M.M.I.  Read More
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All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: honda.com, indianmotorcycle.com

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