Funny front end
There’s little doubt that the next Gold Wing will ditch the current bike’s conventional fork as the bike’s massive weight and size – as well as the need to accommodate semiactive suspension – pushes Honda towards alternative arrangements.
There are two options to replace the fork, both detailed in multiple patents. First is a set-up much like BMW’S Duolever arrangement, itself a take on Norman Hossack’s suspension ideas. It uses a pair of wishbones attached to a cast aluminium girder via bearings that allow it to steer. A single-sprung shock is mounted just under the handlebars, which themselves act on the fork via a simple linkage.
The second option is more complicated. It also uses a single shock and a lower wishbone, but there the similarities end. Instead of a fork there’s a vertical member running down from the head tube to just behind the front wheel, and a leading link from the base of this vertical member to the front hub. A linkage connecting the leading link to the front wishbone and shock provides a wide scope for tuning the suspension’s behaviour, including the option of incorporating rising rate into the design. A second link connects the front brake to the vertical part of the suspension, and offers adjustable anti-dive.
Whichever option Honda choose, the benefit is that the braking forces are transmitted to the frame via a wishbone that’s much lower than the headstock. This takes the strain away from the headstock area as well as removing the need for a massively rigid fork to withstand the bending forces that come into play when trying to stop such a heavy bike from high speed.