- Bagger: custom touring with integrated luggage
- In the saddle
- In the city
- On the highway
- Comfort / Duo
Bagger: custom touring with integrated luggage
1,500 km test
The custom is in vogue, especially in its bagger version, that is to say with on-board luggage. We would have imagined seeing a big custom Honda come out on the basis of the VFR 1200 engine, but the brand preferred to start from the Honda Golwing 1800 to offer a bagger after a few billhooks in passing at the end of 2012. And it must be said that the result is successful. Goodbye to the massive GT and welcome to a real bagger with pretty refined lines … and not just because of the less weight. Is it still a Gold or a real novelty with its own dynamics and characteristics? Test of the "custom-touring" concept…
We no longer present the Golwing GL 1800, the reference for GT Pullman version since 1975 with more than 660,000 models sold worldwide. The 4 cylinder became 6 cylinder in 1988, before going from 1500 to 1800 cm3 in 2001, then retouched in 2006 and finally in 2012. The model seemed untouchable with almost unchanged lines. And then Honda unveils the F6B … in fact a Goldwing 1800 stripped bare and stripped of its top-case whose different name marks the break … ?
In fact, the Gold loses here its enormous top-box as well as its immense windshield. And these two "details" make all the difference. From the side, we immediately note a real slender pencil stroke from the back to the front, giving the impression of a "light" custom. From the front, the mini windscreen completely changes the overall face of the machine with a friendly air, highlighting its naughty gaze. Behind these two modifications – which give a family resemblance but above all give two different models in terms of look – hide deeper modifications. because the GT has reduced many elements in stride: disappearance of reverse gear and cruise control, more rear audio, rear shock absorber adjustable preload prolink but manually and no longer electronically. Suddenly, the machine loses 28 kilos going from 413 to 385 kilos all full..
And frankly, as the Gold was its weight, difficult to give its 385 kilos to the F6B. These modifications are accompanied by more minor changes such as different silencers, elements in black and in particular the rocker covers, position lights now in the indicators and a thinner and above all lower saddle at 725 mm against 740 mm. If the suitcases give the impression of identical beings, their inner shape itself is changed. We still have 51 liters offered in each suitcase but not quite in the same way. Suddenly, we pass an integral on one side (left) but not on the right. On the other hand, we still find the dual-cbs abs as well as an anti-dive system subject to braking..
In the saddle
725 mm says the technical sheet? And indeed, the 1.70 m pilot puts his feet almost flat here (and flat as soon as a passenger even light takes place in the back), which is far from being the case on his big sister GL. The thin saddle provides a good grip on the motorcycle. And above all, the F6B gets up easily from its side stand once in the saddle, which is far from being as easy for the big sister. The rather wide handlebars offer a rather upright position and more GT than the traditional custom position feet forward. We therefore find a natural position, not tiring for the back. We are immediately seated.
In front of you we find the dashboard of the standard GL with all-count on the left, central counter clearly visible, and fuel gauge and oil temperature on the right. We then find below a digital display for radio information, partial double trip, etc … The commodos are almost common with the GL for the left and is more bare for the right one.
On the left, there is a jack for listening to music, but without adjustment to the switch. On the other hand, you can also plug in an iPod in the left rear case with all the necessary wiring and suddenly, a control to the commodo. There is also a whole pilot / passenger intercom connection.
The F6B snorts with a rewarding muffled sound. The bike gets up with ease as one almost raises a roadster. Forget the heavy customs that sometimes require twisting your back to get them straight. We would rather estimate the feeling 250 kilos rather than 381. First and the bike sets off vigorously. The first one is so short and powerful, that it requires to quickly chain the second report, which offers frank, lively even surprising recoveries when one reflects on its theoretical weight. We are far from the speed of a usual custom, especially with this weight. Thanks to the low saddle height and the low center of gravity, even maneuvers with the engine stopped (in particular to park behind, despite the disappearance of the Gold’s reverse gear) are easy. Suddenly you don’t even need ten meters to feel comfortable there, when you need a lot more speed for its big sister offering a sensation of an ocean liner here absolutely absent..
In the city
The six-cylinder accepts everything, and all revs … We can forcefully inflict it on the 5th and last report at less than 1,000 rev / min and 20 km / h without it sniffing in any way. And for city driving, you could almost imagine doing it only on this report without it being a problem. To speak of simple flexibility is even an understatement with the feeling and the pleasure offered by this tolerance at all times. The six-cylinder engine also offers unparalleled smoothness that does not encourage turning the handle in the corner at each red light. And yet, it allows for particularly swift standing starts in contrast to its quiet custom image. Despite its size and width almost as large as its big sister (apart from the 2mm gap), the F6B slips well between vehicles in traffic jams. The mirrors can just touch a little more often than normal, but it goes and without forcing. Braking is as easy to control as the weight or the template. We salute here the Dual-CBS naturally but also the anti-dive system connected to the braking which ensures a constant attitude in all circumstances..
The suspensions associated with a comfortable saddle finally absorb all the defects of the road or almost. We can force ourselves to drive in the middle of holes in the road, thin or wide, or deep, the bagger accepts everything, without parasitic behavior and with an attenuation such that some go so far as to speak of a flying carpet … of which we are not far indeed … lulled more by the sound from the four speakers.
On the highway
The F6B sets off with all the more force on the motorway as it is still only at 3,000 rpm at 120 km / h on the overdrive! It suffices to turn the handle a little to feel the maximum torque reach 4,000 rpm and we are then still "only" at 160 km / h (actual speed 150 km / h). The bagger can then still climb briskly in the towers with a wide margin of speed up to the theoretical 210 km / h, which will be especially felt in the helmet. Because the high bubble has disappeared in favor of a simple screen, very aesthetic, but inefficient. Suddenly, we start to feel the noise in the helmet from 110 km / h and the wind pressure on the shoulders from 120 km / h. The nose screen is on the other hand well done since it does not generate any eddies and therefore no movements in the helmet. This does not prevent you from being able to cruiser without worry at 150 km / h (on the German motorway), largely enough in France to lose a few points. If it weren’t for this aerodynamic detail, the trajectory and stability are perfectly maintained, whether by increasing the speed in a straight line or in a big curve up to the cleat. While some big customs tend to understeer and take the crew to the outside if you are not careful, the bagger remains well in its path and easily accepts a correction during the curve. Only downside, as soon as you arrive on the highway, you can no longer hear the audio and the 4 HP.
The F6B happily finds small roads, offering a wide view, and less pressure on the shoulders and on the helmet. Here too, we forget to change gears, so the engine is able to restart at any speed and accelerate the pace effectively and manly. Far from the big standard customs, it even accepts a small swift on more tortuous roads and will reach the limits only according to a high speed and on tight spirals where a certain inertia will appear, proportional to the speed, bringing to slow down a bit.
The bagger accepts all roads while maintaining imperial stability, regardless of the condition of the road. And with its braking efficiency, it becomes almost impossible to fault it..
Comfort / Duo
The comfort and even the softness are felt as soon as you sit down on the saddle. The suspensions complete an ideal picture in terms of comfort, perfectly erasing the defects of the asphalt without compromising on course holding and stability, whether in a straight line or in large curves. Suddenly, it is quite possible to make a journey of 600 km in one go (except for a quick break halfway to just fill the tank) as we did, without feeling any discomfort. Only the passenger lost the seat of the Goldwing with a folding seat, better than many customs but without offering the same comfort. The handles are positioned a little too far behind. The position of the passenger, almost at the same level as the pilot, forces the passenger to shift to the right or to the left to admire the landscape. If it is protected in relation to the position, the position is not ideal and causes fatigue over long distances.
A large storage compartment on the left (without key) and a large central storage compartment (with key), both of 2.8 liters … It is above all the side cases each offering 51 liters of storage that constitute a real plus and the meaning of the bagger itself. Note that the side cases are opened by a key located at the rear of the motorcycle AND by a handle located under the side handles. In the event of improper closing, the digital screen on the dashboard automatically signals which suitcase is improperly closed (even if the suitcase appears to be properly closed). All you have to do is press firmly to clip and lock the suitcase..
With 25 liters of tank, the bagger can offer a range of more than 450 kilometers … depending on the driving. Using the overdrive and with a sunk driving, the consumption turned during the test to 5.3 l / 100 km. Consumption in overdrive at stabilized speed at 110 km / h over 200 km gave a consumption of 5.4 liters per hundred. Suddenly, we obtain an overall autonomy significantly above 450 kilometers without worry … enough to consider long crossings and journeys. But beware, if the pace accelerates on the motorway with a speed above 130 km / h, consumption climbs beyond 7.5 liters. On the other hand, with a mixed route over 300 km of motorway stalled at 130 km / h and secondary roads, consumption is 6.7 liters per hundred..
I expected before the test to find a Goldwing 1800 and an identical heaviness on a daily basis. This is not the case and we discover here a real new machine, easy to use and pleasant on a daily basis. If the long sections of the motorway are not its ideal environment, the F6B nevertheless accepts the exercise very well, as long as one respects the legal speeds … thus protecting the precious points of the license. We find it especially well and far from a cushy custom, we find a real character and a real peach thus mixing the best of a 6 cylinder with a motorcycle with elegant lines. Best of all, the F6B is available for 6,000 euros less than a Goldwing! And indeed, as not everyone sees themselves riding a flagship, the F6B could lead many bikers to find in the bagger a first approach to the 6-cylinder, without denying anything. In the end, a real favorite, to try in the long term, certainly…
- Low speed maneuverability
- declining storage
available in black, red
Honda GolWing F6B technical sheet
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