There’s a lot of buzz around Honda’s new 2018 Gold Wing. It was redesigned, bow to stern, and has made an impact on the motorcycle world. As we learned in our first ride review in Texas, the new G-Wing is as smooth, stable, and easy to use as any touring bike we’ve ever tested. All staff agree, it’s a pleasure to ride.
When planning a multi-day, 1,100-mile road trip to really get to know the Gold Wing, we wondered what could take on this roving titan. An American V-twin from Harley-Davidson or Indian could be the solution, or a great metric touring bike like Yamaha’s new Star Venture; They’re high-tech, sure, but conventional forks and clunky twins don’t quite line up with the spirit of G-Wing. After discussing and analyzing the specifications on the website, we found the machine.
The BMW K1600B goes step by step with the Gold Wing on the spec sheet – it has a six-cylinder engine, a modern front design, swoopy lines, and plenty of touring skills. The latest version of the K16B is the Grand America, equipped with a top box, integrated GPS, and heated seats for the driver and passenger.
Arguably the biggest difference between the Gold Wing and the Grand America is that the Honda has caused quite a stir while no one seems to be talking about the BMW. We settled the spec sheet debate with a roundabout trip from SoCal to Laguna Seca Raceway and vice versa, answering all the questions that are most important (we think) in this class of machine.
Who won the luggage battle?
The first thing you have to do on a trip is pack, and one of the biggest complaints about the new Gold Wing is that Honda sacrificed some of the gigantic 150-liter luggage capacity of the previous generation for the sake of being sleeker and more. small.
With two 30-liter bags and the 50-liter top case, the new G-Wing has a total of 110 liters of luggage (not including the nifty “frunk” bag in the cabin, and we’ll get to that). The BMW K1600 Grand America has a total of 123 liters, 37 in each side bag and 49 in the top case.
The elegant electronic buttons activate the opening of the Honda panniers (and lock when the remote is away); lockable buttons open a mechanical latch on the Beemer panniers.
Practically what we found was that BMW luggage is better. A rolled Aerostich suit fits in one of the K1600 bags, but not the Gold Wing. Two Shoei Neotec modular helmets fit in BMW’s soft-lined top case, but not Honda’s. It sounds silly to complain about 13 liters of storage, but the Germans clearly did their homework.
For soft products, the Gold Wing’s top box is nicely shaped, with a lid that closes over the box, rather than a middle split cover on the K1600. At the end of the day, we also like the mechanical seals a bit more on the BMW as they opened and closed with more consistency and authority.
Which is more comfortable?
Comfort, we always say, is on the viewer’s butt, and with that said, it’s hard for us to say which one you will like the most. Fortunately, the differences are obvious.
The redesigned Gold Wing has a wonderfully neutral riding position: upright, feet slightly behind the knees and a comfortable reach towards the handlebars. There is a wide seat, but it is not accommodated like a worn recliner like on some large touring rigs. Overall, the G-Wing is laid-back, imposing, and an easy place to go 100 miles in one go.
The BMW K1600 Grand America fits too, but is more polarizing. Compared to the G-Wing, you feel like you are sitting on the bike instead of …