GOLD WING STARTS TECH REVOLUTION
NEXT GENERATION Honda set to transform range with new technology
Honda’s imminent new Gold Wing is going to be a technical tour-de-force that will herald a new era of development for the company over the coming years. The Gold Wing is a bike that divides opinions like no other, but whether you love or hate the massive tourer it’s become an icon that’s synonymous with technology and two-wheeled luxury.
But over the last 15 years the Wing has benefitted from only a handful of updates, while the world around it has changed beyond recognition. When the current incarnation was launched back in 2001, it would have been hard to predict that during its lifespan we’d see an explosion in technology that would result in even fairly mundane machines gaining traction control, switchable engine modes, anti-lock brakes and cruise control. And that’s just the start; technology is the new battlefield for bikes and every year sees new ideas being implemented, whether in the form of variable valve timing, cornering ABS, or semi-active suspension.
The Gold Wing, once such a statement for high technology, has been left looking bereft of gadgets in the wake of this revolution. But Honda aren’t going to let their dinosaur slip away into extinction, the Wing will be the catalyst for a new era.
MCN caught up with the Gold Wing project leader, Junichi Sakamoto, last week, and while he was not willing to confirm the specific detail of the new Wing he did concede that: “If we were to come out with a new Gold Wing, we would like to surprise people with the amount of new technology.”
But insiders have confirmed that a new Gold Wing – something that’s been rumoured for years – is finally nearing completion, and when it’s launched it will aim to leapfrog all those machines that have overtaken it in terms of tech to re-establish itself as the bike to beat.
So what do we know?
It’s no coincidence that Honda’s engineers have been filing dozens of patents relating to the Gold Wing, and while it’s going to remain instantly recognisable – carrying on the tradition of huge dimensions and a massive flat-six engine – virtually nothing will actually be carried over from the old bike.