Honda Goldwing prototype M1

They will soar on wings like eagles. -Isaiah 40:31 (NIV)

the honda goldwing gl 1000: 1974 to 1979

The Goldwing GL1000 . powered by a 998cc liquid-cooled, horizontally opposed ‘flat’four-cylinder engine, revolutionized motorcycle touring. First introduced to the world in 1974 at Cologne, Germany (see the prototype, originally dubbed the M1 . below), the Honda Goldwing GL1000 caused quite a stir within the motorcycling fraternity.

Upon first examination, it looked as if the bike was one a hybrid and was rather odd looking. But buyers of that first generation Goldwing, who saw past the unorthodox appearance, discovered a function that was unlike anything before. The heavy frame would gladly accommodate aftermarket accessories like sidebags and fairings.

The drive shaft eliminated the ritual of perpetual oiling and the associated mess. The whopping displacement whisked the weight of a pair of riders and their luggage along endless miles of tarmac with ease and reliability that belied much of the fear for a long-haul motorcycle adventure.

The flagship 1975 Goldwing GL1000

With the original price set at $2,900, the Goldwing GL1000 first year sales were a big disappointment, but as the Goldwing began to be embraced by a new breed of rider, sales and profits would eventually come to Honda. The GL1000 had indeed set a new touring standard, though its true potential wouldn’t be fully realized right away.

In 1976, Honda released a new model to mark the Goldwing’s second year. The GL1000 LTD joined the unchanged standard model and featured gold striping, special "LTD" side cover badges, chromed radiator shroud and screen, quilt pattern contoured seat, gold wheels and spokes, gold-stamped GL1000 owner’s manual, and leather key case. The LTD’s front fender is slightly flared.

Minor changes occurred over the next few years, but these were mainly cosmetic – new colors, contoured seats, heat shields on the exhaust pipes and new grips were just some of the changes to advance the Goldwing through the early years. For 1978, as word got back to Honda about customer likes and dislikes, other changes were made. A new instrument panel in the center pod with fuel, voltage, and coolant temperature gauges helped distinguish the GL1000 in its fourth year.

The classic spoke wheels were also replaced by five-spoke aluminium Comstar wheels and the engine’s tuning wasmellowed a bit giving up some top-end punch for improved roll-on power. A fully chromed exhaust system also appeared for the first time which elevated the sticker price to $3,198.

The GL1000 reached the peak of its development in 1979 and was to be the last Goldwing powered by a 999cc engine. Changes that year are few and minor; rectangular turn signals replaced the previous round ones and the control leverswentfrom silver to black.

The top-secret M1 prototype builtin 1972by Honda’s Soichiro Irimajiri

design team. (Note the six-cylinder engine block and standard gas tank.)

Honda Goldwing prototype M1
Honda Goldwing prototype M1
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