Originally built as a motor cruiser in 1975, the Honda Gold Wing has established itself as a tourer in the American market. Succeeding the original M1 prototype from 1972, the new model evolved into a larger and more powerful cross-country motorcycle. During the period 1975-1977, the Gold Wing became incredibly popular in North America, Western Europe, Australia and Japan. In long distance hiking, its heavy design, comfort and agility have become unmatched.
The question is, with all these new motorcycle models on the market, what is it that makes the Gold Wing attractive 46 years later? Find out the details of this great roadster and why it might be underrated in 2021.
The rise of the Honda Gold Wing
The Gold Wing made its big appearance in 1974 when the team behind Honda decided to go beyond the 1969 CB750. They named the new model “King of King Motorcycles” since the CB750 was already declared. king of Honda for his great success.
Historically speaking, the CB750 was an attempt by Soichiro Honda, the founder of the company, to enter the US market. Designing a bigger bike was all about giving Americans the chance to roam the country, as long-distance motorcycle riding was still a concept in the 1960s.
Soichiro Honda recognized the needs of customers and developed an M1 prototype, also called Project 371. This model was never intended for mass production. Its main objective was to test the double power and comfort of the engine compared to the CB750. When the Honda team succeeded in their intentions, they incorporated all of the M1 features into the new and first Honda GL1000 in 1974. The world was fortunate to see a leader in motorcycle technology, who was named the Gold Wing , thanks to the golden logo.
Still, critics weren’t inclined towards the new touring bike, describing it as too big and cumbersome to handle. For a moment, it was thought that Honda GL1000 might be a short-lived attempt and nothing more. However, something unexpected happened – sales increased and the odds for the Gold Wing changed.
Motorheads clearly saw past these shortcomings. Although the motorcycle never really enjoyed the enormous popularity that Honda wanted, it was still preferred and widely purchased. Why is the Honda GL1000 then underestimated?
1976-77 Honda GL1000 establishing itself as a master of the Grand Tour
Let’s start with the downsides. Weight aside, not all drivers liked the GL1000’s large side panels that covered the gas tank. There was also a limited choice of colors, with Candy Antares Red and Candy Blue Green dominating in 1975. Sulfur Yellow entered the scene in 1976 but hasn’t changed much for some people. In terms of major driving problems, early drivers reported poor braking in wet weather, but Honda made sure to add new rotors, calipers and pads to future models.
From 1975 to 1977, the Gold Wing large touring bike went through many structural design changes. The first was minimalist and conventional, with a standard Honda seat. It featured a full duplex steel cradle frame and an under-seat fuel tank, making it low-profile and perfect for long-distance journeys. Granted, this design also made the bike heavy and difficult to handle, but the flat-four engine helped with the 650lb weight.
Thanks to the liquid-cooled engine with a total displacement of 999 cc and belt-driven camshafts, the GL1000 also offers a quiet ride. It can take you out of town effortlessly, developing 125 mph at top speed. All things considered, the Gold Wing was designed for low maintenance and long trips, and it serves its original purpose very well.
Current Gold Wing price and new models
Honda estimated that over 97,000 GL1000s were sold from 1975 to 1979, meaning you should be able to find one on sale at some point. Public auctions are also an option, bringing together models of all colors and conditions priced between $ 3,000 and $ 10,000. For a reasonable fee you can get a tourer for the next trip across the country.
There’s also a brand new Gold Wing for anyone who prefers a modern version and has some extra cash to spare. The Honda team presented two improved models in 2020 and 2021, both offering more power and comfort for long and enjoyable rides.
Based on the original model, these two feature a liquid-cooled flat-six engine with a fierce displacement of 1,833cc. Naturally, these features bring a higher price tag than the one placed on the old Gold Wing, so be sure to weigh your options before getting yourself a new Honda.
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