Honda just turned its Gold Wing into a big, bold bagger. This outrageous, outlandish motorcycle has no GPS, centre stand, cruise control, power adjustable suspension, reverse, and rear top case; however, it retains a great audio system, a pair of saddlebags, and a sweet flat-six engine.
The goal of the 2013 Honda Gold Wing F6B
is to attract younger touring enthusiasts and add flair to the brand's premium bike lineup. Free from many heavy features, it weighs 32 kg less than the GL1800AL
It's not the first Gold Wing to be dressed as a cruiser, mind you. From 1997 to 2002, Honda sold the F6C (Valkyrie in Canada), a larger-than-life cruiser with a 1,500 cc, 6-cylinder engine.
Similar to the GL1800AL, the 2013 Honda Gold Wing F6B uses a 1,832 cc, 6-cylinder engine mated to a 5-speed transmission with shaft final drive -- all housed in an aluminum frame. New engine maps help reduce emissions while leaving power and torque figures unchanged. Honda engineers like to brag about the efficiency of this powertrain, and rightfully so: 6.5L/100km (on my watch) is more than reasonable for such a massive bike.
On the road, expect the same creamy power delivery and sharp shifts as the GL1800AL. The relentless engine pushes the 2013 Honda Gold Wing F6B forward like it's no big deal, regardless of road conditions. Riding through traffic always feels safe, even on the highway where the F6B delivers good acceleration. What's more, the superb flexibility of the 6-cylinder allows you to stay in the same gear for a long time, especially the fifth gear which you can use from just 50 km/h.
Easy to ride after all
|On the road, expect the same creamy power delivery and sharp shifts as the GL1800AL. (Photo: Philippe Champoux)
Devoid of a rear top case and clad with a more discreet fairing, the 2013 Honda Gold Wing F6B appears lower than a standard Gold Wing, yet the geometry, ground clearance, and suspension travel are identical. What changes is the seat height, down 15 mm as a result of reduced padding. You'll certainly appreciate the large saddlebags, which can actually fit a full-face helmet, unlike most competitors.
While the regular Gold Wing delivers admirable handling for its size, the 2013 Honda Gold Wing F6B is even better. Easy to ride and smooth in corners, it happily obeys your every command and remains stable at all times. Let's also give credit to Honda's acclaimed Dual-Combined Braking System with anti-dive technology.
Despite some scrubbing in corners (ground clearance is minimal), you can tackle the twisties at a good clip to make the 2013 Honda Gold Wing F6B's riding experience a bit more fun. It may look like a Sumo wrestler for some, but this machine handles effortlessly at low speeds, whether in traffic or parking lots.
|Devoid of a rear top case and clad with a more discreet fairing, the 2013 Honda Gold Wing F6B appears lower than a standard Gold Wing, yet the geometry, ground clearance, and suspension travel are identical. (Photo: Philippe Champoux)
The generous seat, relaxed riding position, and excellent suspension combine to provide the same comfort levels as the GL1800AL, which are way above average. However, the chopped windshield offers little wind protection, so you have to deal with annoying turbulence at highway speeds. The good news is that a “tall” windshield is optionally available ($329).
A true bagger
|The generous seat, relaxed riding position, and excellent suspension combine to provide the same comfort levels as the GL1800AL. (Photo: Philippe Champoux)
At the end of the day, the 2013 Honda Gold Wing F6B definitely embodies the true bagger spirit. It comes with everything you need to cover long distances comfortably and peacefully. Rocked by the sweet, mellow power of its modern engine and transmission combo, you can think about the ride and nothing else.
Honda can still surprise us, and while enthusiasts will love the unique looks and feel of the 2013 Honda Gold Wing F6B, traditional bagger manufacturers are probably getting nervous.
|At the end of the day, the 2013 Honda Gold Wing F6B definitely embodies the true bagger spirit. (Photo: Philippe Champoux)
Big thanks to Centre Hamel Honda
- Friendly and nimble for its size
- Unique feel from the engine and transmission
- Above-average comfort
- Annoying gearwork at low speeds
- Still requires a certain level of experience to master