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2013 Honda Goldwing

For those who haven't been around the blog for long, I am the blog contributor who grew up in/on/under/around countless things with two wheels.  My father was a motorcycle mechanic and shop manager most of my childhood and part of my adult life as well, and still does it as a hobby (yes, he truly enjoys fixing motorcycles).

A few weeks ago, he mentioned to me in passing that he was interested in the new Honda Goldwing.  He currently rides a Honda ST1300 - a very lust worthy cycle.  An acquaintence is apparently interested in the ST1300, and that triggered the idea in my dad to look at new bikes.  He's a long term Goldwing lover, having owned one briefly in the late 70's that was stolen and never recovered, and then having owned a second one that he gave to me a few years back.  Yes, you read that right, he gave it to me.

Because he still techincally owns the one stolen in the 70's, he's been allowed for quite a number of years to be a member of his area's Honda Goldwing Club.  So I guess it seems fitting that he'd consider a new one.  And considering the miles that he and my mother like to put on the bike, a Goldwing for the road would be much more comfortable.

So in speaking to him on the phone the other night, he mentioned he pulled the trigger.  Candy Red - to match his Candy Red 1978 Honda CBX.  He got all the options other than the air bag (yes, some cycles now have air bags!) because he wanted the ABS brakes and heated hand grips, and the only way to get them was to bundle on the other items that he was less enthused about (Navi system, we're looking at you...).


2013 Goldwing
Image from


If you aren't familiar with the Goldwing line, espeically the current version, they are the luxery cruiser of motorcycles.  1832cc (111.7ci) of displacement in a liquid-cooled horizontally opposed six-cylinder.  Roughly the same size engine as my wife's 1996 Honda Civic, though gobs more horsepower and torque.  This motorcycle has a reverse gear.  And there is enough storage in various compartments on the bike to easily and comfortable be away from home for a few days.

This is the type of motorcycle you can ride all day and not be hurting afterwards - it is incredibly comforable for touring.  It gets good gas mileage inspite of the fact that with your gear for the weekend and gas in the tank you can be North of 1000lbs before you and your passenger sit on it. While it won't win any handling competitions, nor will you run it at your local drag strip, it will do everything my father wants - go on endlessly day after day, comfortably, reliably, and safely.  Pretty close to a dream come true for my dad.  He's worked hard for many years, and without question deserves and will fully enjoy this machine.

With the wind in his face the the pavement beneath his feet, I expect he'll get more than his money's worth out of this beautiful bike.

As an aside, the bike is being delivered to the shop he ordered it from (in South Dakota) next week.  He'll uncrate & assemble it himself, and is hoping to get some riding in yet this year.  I'll be cheering against the snow coming early, that's for sure!  And while it doesn't exactly induce motorcycle lust in me, I am certainly envious of this opportunity.  And hopefully, if I behave myself and ask nicely, I might even get to ride it!  :-)


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Hmmm... I feel a Part Two to this post may be forthcoming.

Maybe - though I won't be getting the ST1300. He has a guy who was interested in it, so he might sell it. But my dad has put a significant amount of work into improving the bike, so he'll hold out for the right price. He loves the bike enough that he'd keep it just for a daily driver & then use the Wing on longer trips. They had a weekend in late September where in 2.5 days they put on over 1000 miles driving around Southern Minnesota & Western Wisconsin looking at the Fall colors and exploring. I think that extended trip helped push them over the top in deciding on the new bike. The other couple they were with were on a newer Goldwing.

Honda has had at least two masterstrokes: the first was the 750 inline four that blew the British bikes away. Then, the first
'Wing, the four cylinder that was so reliable and popular. After that came the six cylinder models that became the Valkyrie and the unique Rune. Very few bikes have achieved the status of the Gold Wing.

I've just passed my 100,000th mile on the GL18 this summer.
I'm no Honda person. I think they're excellent, often superior motorcycles, but they rarely pull my chain.
I had a GL15 and did not like it at all. I (we) put 44K on it and I never got comfortable with it. It was comfortable, of course, moreso than the 18, but I just never felt like it would do everything I needed it to do when I needed it. That was confirmed late one summer evening west of Eagle River, Wisconsin when a pair of deer appeared in the gloom ahead. We were two up on a county road with no side room. I had both brake levers pinned as hard as I could as the leisurely deceleration seemed to bring those deer right into the headlight.
Not so with the 18. Competent far beyond any expectation I had when I eagerly ditched the 15 in favor of a radial-tired, fully-brake equipped 18.
The dealer techs note the ground-down belly pan bolt heads with simulated disapproval and staying out of the throttle remains the biggest challenge with the thing.
That six-cylinder has to be the best engine ever put in a motorcycle; the ZX14 or Busa motors might be more spectacular but the Wing motor does more different stuff than all of the rocket engines put together. Idle away with a 1500-pound load, yet pull the front wheel off the ground with the right yank of the handles.
You can even onramp-embarrass the unwary with it, while listening to Mozart on the radio.
My "need" for the giant Wing has passed, since I no longer have a regular passenger, but I still keep the thing because of that excellent feeling of always knowing it's going to get you home in one piece.
Let's mention the fabulous lighting, too, the best in the business. It's a big deal for us more, ah, mature riders.
And, the Wing has long been the only bike that's really built from the very beginning to be a two-up machine. The ability to safely handle extra load never ceases to amaze.
I'll still reach for the ZX-1100 first nearly every time now but the Wing stays because it works.

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