Five years of continuous consumer input culminate in the introduction of the GL1100. More than a rehashed GL1000 with 10 percent greater displacement, the new Wing incorporates deliberately planned modifications that direct it out of the superbike realm and place it squarely into the touring category.
The new 1085cc engine now favors torque rather than horsepower, a longer wheelbase provides more room for both pilot and passenger, and a new air-assisted suspension system gives the Gold Wing its most supple, comfortable ride to date.
Honda marks the Wing’s 10th anniversary in two significant ways. First, with the Gold Wing so firmly entrenched within the touring realm, Honda decides to drop the standard, unfaired GL1200. Second, an ultra-luxurious Limited Edition arrives, complete with computerized fuel injection, four-speaker sound system, cruise control, auto-leveling rear suspension, a comprehensive electronic travel computer, and special metallic gold paint.
Since the release of the new Gold Wing, the market has welcomed this development concept, and in Japan, we arranged for special accessories such as wipers, HID headlight, and trunk spoiler and created the ’02 model. The ’05 model also enhanced the solid presence of the motorcycle’s status thanks to a special emblem on the vehicle to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the birth of the GL, among other features.
For the ’06 model, in addition to releasing vehicles equipped with a navigation system exclusive to motorcycles*1 in North America, we have added equipment for comfort and convenience such as premium audio, seat and grip heaters, and hot air ventilation. Moreover, styling has reached a new maturity for the King of Motorcycles with changes to the taillights in the rear and the design around the instrument panel.
This year, we released vehicles equipped with an airbag exclusive to motorcycles*2 in North America. For the ’07 and ’08 models, we released machines equipped with airbags and navigation in Japan, Europe and other regions.
For the North American specification ’09 model, we adopted the Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) to monitor tire air pressure and inform the rider when it is low, along with an XM radio to allow satellite reception of digital music, traffic information and weather reports. For the 2012 model, the production base was moved to the Kumamoto Factory in Japan, and together with a new styling, Honda equipped the Goldwing with a complete set of equipment, including USB (MP3/WMA music files)/iPod-compatible digital audio and Navi PC Link.
*1. Motorcycle navigation system
Rather than using the DVD or hard disks generally found in automobiles for the control unit, the hardware is configured with semiconductor parts.
The map media uses compact flash memory (in place of the current SD memory card), improving reliability for vibration or impact.
Because the layout is such that sunlight hits the display directly, if motorcycles are equipped with a color LCD, the screen may be lighter or darker depending on the weather, time of day, and the presence of covering objects above the vehicle, significantly changing visibility. Thus, along with specifying a clear lens with a curved surface so that sunlight and impressions of the sky are not reflected in the display area, Honda adopted a transflective TFT-type color LCD display module for excellent visibility in a variety of environments.
Moreover, taking operability while riding into consideration, Honda concentrated the controls for voice guidance replay required for operation while riding and zooming in or out from maps at the bottom of the left handlebar switch area, allowing operation without the rider removing a hand from the handlebars.
Because taking a long look at the guidance screen during riding on a motorcycle is difficult, it is necessary to be able to easily identify the direction to proceed in with only voice guidance. Therefore, Honda did our utmost to eliminate unnecessary words, and set voice guidance that is easy for the rider to understand.
To suppress as much as possible the effect of external noise on the rider during riding, Honda enhanced the voice band connected with the audio system, and established an auto-volume control to automatically change the volume in line with vehicle speed.
On the display screen, pop-up screens are displayed in combination with the voice guidance so that intersection guidance can be distinguished at a glance, making navigation easier. Furthermore, a ten-point countdown bar is displayed so that the rider can get a direct sense of the distance to the target intersection or interchange, with accurate guidance given for turns.
*2. Motorcycle Airbag System
In 2006, Honda developed the world’s first Motorcycle Airbag System for mass-produced motorcycles to mitigate rider injury in frontal collisions. This Motorcycle Airbag System was first equipped on the Gold Wing released in the US in the middle of 2006. The airbag featured on the GL1800 deploys in an extremely short period, and by absorbing kinetic energy of the rider’s forward movement and reducing the velocity at which the rider separates from the motorcycle, the airbag lessens the severity of injuries sustains, if they collide with another vehicle, another object or the ground.
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