NEXT GEN­ER­A­TION Honda set to trans­form range with new tech­nol­ogy

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - By Andy Downes SE­NIOR RE­PORTER

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.

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