Best Touring Motorcycle of 2018


Best Touring Motorcycle of 2018: Honda Gold Wing Tour

From the moment the Honda Gold Wing Tour 2018 was just a product of the rumor, we knew it was going to be a big deal. After all, how many manufacturers can claim to have a model in continuous production for 43 years? It also means that there was enormous pressure on Honda to ensure that the new Wing has the right recognition of the model’s historic past while being a radical enough update to transport the bike into the future. We here at Motorcycle.com think Honda has succeeded.

First Look: 2018 Honda Gold Wing and Gold Wing Tour

2018 Honda Gold Wing Tour review

We’ll start with the 1,833cc SOHC flat-six, which has undergone a complete overhaul, becoming a more powerful engine, shorter by 29mm front to rear. In its lightest configuration (6-speed manual transmission), it also weighs 13.7 pounds less. The perfectly square bore and 73mm x 73mm stroke reduced the distance between bore centers by 9mm. Other space-saving measures included reducing the cylinder offset from the left and right cylinder rows by 4mm and moving the pulse generator away from the crankshaft.

The number of valves per cylinder has increased to four. By controlling these valves, the intake-side follower rocker arm system and the exhaust-side roller rocker arm system both reduce weight and increase engine compactness. A new intake is both lighter and designed to swirl the incoming atmosphere so that it passes through the air filter more efficiently to the new, unique 50mm throttle body.

The result is an engine that produces 5 more horsepower and provides better fuel economy, which, in one of the controversial design decisions, allowed Honda to reduce fuel capacity by 1.1 gallons while while maintaining the same autonomy of tourism. Two transmissions are offered, a 6-speed manual and a 7-speed DCT. We sampled both and found the DCT to be the preferred, as it includes walk mode, which makes it easy to maneuver the Wing in parking lots.

The other big change to the Gold Wing Tour is the inclusion of a double wishbone front suspension. As well as reducing frontal dive under braking and separating bump absorption from the steering inputs, this also allows the steering wheel to follow bumps up and down instead of back diagonally toward the engine. This allows the engine to be mounted further forward for better handling. The time we spent with the new suspension left us quite impressed with its capabilities and immediately eliminated our fears of being too isolated from the front contact zone. On our multi-state trips on the Gold Wing Tour, we were impressed with the bike’s ability to provide the super slab comfort required of a mega-tourer while being fun to hurtle down a twisty mountain road.

The styling of the Gold Wing Tour has skillfully balanced maintaining the recognizable lines of the bike while dramatically reducing its dimensions. One of the few controversies surrounding the Gold Wing Tour, however, is the reduction in cargo carrying capacity. Yes, touring bikes are all about taking your gear with you as you travel, and some riders may feel the pinch of only being able to carry 73% more things than the previous generation. That said, the keyless entry system is a pleasure to use, and the bags complement the overall lines of the bike.

The Wing’s instrument cluster has evolved into a complete infotainment system, the centerpiece of which is the exceptional 7-inch TFT display, which houses the driver assistance menus, the audio system and, most importantly, the system. navigation. In a bold move, the Gold Wing’s GPS is standard equipment for all versions – with 10 years of free updates.

Apple CarPlay integration makes its first appearance on a motorcycle, allowing iPhone users to access their favorite entertainment and navigation apps. Standard Bluetooth allows bikers to listen to music, navigation and phone calls privately through their helmets.

We could go on – and have in the articles listed above – all the reasons we love this bike. So let’s just say the 2018 Honda Gold Wing Tour is Motorcycle.comBest Touring Motorcycle of 2018. Congratulations!


Best Touring Motorcycle Finalist: Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Ultra Limited

I’m not sure there is a better bike to cover over 1,000 miles a day for two consecutive days across the United States in all kinds of conditions. I say this from experience. I had the chance to spend time with Harley davidson‘s CVO Limited (the special uber trick edition, 117 cu in-clad Ultra Limited) in the Midwest through torrential rains that had blocked truckers’ routes and put less-than-attentive drivers in the ditch (I counted 10 in total, four of which were still actively watched by police). I started to call CVO the gray whale. The nickname was not a blow to the CVO’s (claimed) 940-pound weight, but rather an endearing nickname due to the fact that together we managed to make our way out of the ocean that had spilled. from the sky in the Midwest. and on drier pastures – also because of his Bitchin Magnetic Gray Fade paint job.

I came back from my trip renting the CVO to my colleagues, so naturally when we started talking about the best touring bike of 2018, I threw the gray whale in the fishbowl. As we have already mentioned, our MOBOs take into consideration more than the motorcycle itself. We rate the bike on its own merits, yes, but we also consider what the bike means to the brand, the industry and the consumers, which this year saw the Honda Gold Wing take the # 1 spot in my candidate from Motor Co.’s Electra Glide Ultra Limited.

I chose to name the Ultra Limited rather than the CVO because at $ 28,089 it’s a more accessible bike when compared to the $ 43,889 CVO Limited on which I rode 2,500 miles. Almost all of the best parts of CVO can be had on the Ultra Limited, that is, with the exception of the 117 cu monster in Milwaukee 8 which elicits an intoxicating concoction of torque every time you twist your wrist. The 114 cu in powertrain found in the Ultra (as well as every other 2019 touring model with Ultra or Special in their name) is indeed a formidable engine, surpassed only by the 117 in the CVO lineup.

Between cruise control, rider and passenger footboards, heated grips, plenty of storage and an easy-to-use Boom! Infotainment system, all found on the Ultra Classic, the gray whale designed for luxurious cruising through nine states in 48 hours. If you asked me to redo everything, exactly the same way, I would choose the exact same bike. Fingers in the nose. Although, if you told me I had a little more time to explore a few wavy blue lines, I might consider our 2018 Touring Motorcycle of the Year, the Honda Gold Wing.



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