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Cult bike Honda GL 1000 Gold Wing

295-kilo chunks

Only five years after the release of the CB 750, everyone was expecting the next Über-Honda. But the Honda GL 1000 Gold Wing defied common standards – and opened its own league.

HToday it is undisputed that foresight and not misjudgment shaped the IFMA star of 1974. Your followers appreciate comfort and hate technical defects, they don’t care about banking or top speed. Such types existed in North America back then, and they should actually be served on a world-exclusive basis. However, the oil crisis made Honda hesitate, the US market looked unsettled, so the old continent was allowed to take a few turns.

Cult bike Honda GL 1000 Gold Wing

295-kilo chunks

Honda GL 1000 Gold Wing stashes fuel in the frame triangle

What a sacrilege in view of a brawny, but highly subtle techno motorcycle. In the interest of cultivated engine running, Honda built in a four-cylinder boxer. So that the rear cylinders – unlike the Zundapps K 800 – never got too warm, water cooling came into play for the first time on a Japanese high-volume motorcycle. As with Morinis 3½ shortly before, toothed belts drive the overhead camshafts. Eight-plate oil bath clutch and five-speed gearbox operate under the engine and thus lower the center of gravity of the 295-kilogram chunk. Then a cardan drive takes over the power transmission to the 4.50 tire, which was generously wide for the time. The Honda GL 1000 Gold Wing bunkers its fuel in the frame triangle, under the triple opening fuel tank dummy a) air filter and petrol filler neck, b) the electrical system and c) the expansion tank for the water cooling.

Three disc brakes recapture the bearish temperament of the 82-horsepower four-wheeler, the spring elements convey high levels of comfort, and the chassis is surprisingly handy. But also stable enough? Under critical load conditions, with worn tires and – above all – with the handlebar fairing attached, the first Honda GL 1000 Gold Wing can swing violently from 150 km / h. There were three major accidents soon after its appearance, followed by the famous Gold Wing trial. This lesson was well established, and since then the swing arm has been allowed to be a sovereign comfort tourer. Even when idling, the extremely low-vibration engine proves its gentle disposition, starts smoothly and gives the civilized gentleman up to over 5000 rpm, only from 6000 does it unpack well-tempered sportsmanship. The space conditions are perfect for long tours, the BMW travel monopoly was soon broken, and Harley dropped feathers in the USA. Occasional clutch damage or rusting silencers gave the competition hope. At the latest with the 1100 swingarm from 1980, she was able to bury it for the first time.


Data (type K0): Water-cooled four-cylinder four-stroke boxer engine, 999 cm³, 60 kW (82 PS) at 7500 / min, 80 Nm at 6500 / min, five-speed gearbox, double-loop frame made of tubular steel, weight with a full tank 295 kg, front tires 3.50 x 19, rear 4.50 x 17, Tank capacity 19 liters, top speed lying down 198 km / h, 0-100 km / h in 4.1 seconds.

Scene: The fan base of the Gold Wing populates the whole globe, so world class. The German scene is also very busy and organizes a lot of meetings every year. The family includes not only the now dominant six-cylinder models, but of course also the four-series models with a displacement of 1000 to 1200 cc that were produced up to 1988. Copies of the first series have long been rare, well-preserved or restored 1000s rarely sell for less than 4000 euros, and perfect original condition costs significantly more. The very robust 1100 and 1200 are usually cheaper.

Literature: A world seller like the Gold Wing naturally has its own bookcase. Unfortunately, the best works are only available in antiquarian versions: Claus-Georg Petri: Honda Gold Wing, or Pascal Szymezak: Honda Gold Wing – history of a cult motorcycle.

Internet: The first address for fans and interested parties is the Gold Wing Club Germany (, on whose website not only the cult of the swing is really flourishing, but also tips and dates. Also interesting:

MOTORCYCLE Classic: Our sister magazine honored the GL 1000 in detail in issue 3/2011. Re-ordering of the magazine at 07 11/32 06 88 99.

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