When we set off to behold the beauties of Napa Valley, my companion and I wanted comfort and style. We found both in the new 2006 Honda Gold Wing. After adjusting the suspension preload for our combined weight, dialing some warmth into the seat and handlebar heaters, plugging our helmets into the combined audio system, and setting the iPOD to shuffle mode, we were almost ready to go.
It’s difficult to get lost along the Silverado Trail, but we programmed our route into the GPS navigation system to ensure that my better half wouldn’t have to stop for directions. The system, which relies on a computer chip rather than a DVD, was developed by Garmin in conjunction with Honda. Its menus have almost limitless options, but they proved user friendly. Especially appealing for riders, the system can generate routes that avoid freeways and toll-roads, making it easy to find the road less traveled without having to study a map.
The Gold Wing’s flat-six 1800cc engine produces ample torque and features fluid delivery of its substantial power. It is clearly no sports machine, and its sheer size and weight can intimidate; but once underway, a low center of gravity, stellar handling and incredible linked brakes (with ABS) make the bike an intuitive ride.
Storage space on any motorcycle is at a premium, but Honda has gone to great lengths to keep its elegant look while retaining reasonable carrying capacity. The spaciousness of the side bags and large trunk—which also holds the CD changer—surprised us; we did, however, have to leave the multiple pairs of shoes at home.
With a loyal following built in the 30 years since its inception, the Honda Gold Wing has become the benchmark by which all other touring machines are judged. Those desiring the comfort and luxury of a car with the freedom and fun of a motorcycle will find that this machine delivers it all.
Honda Gold Wing accessories are covered by the Honda factory warranty for 3 years.
RIDING STYLE: Helmet: Shoei RF-1000, Jackets: (his) Dainese; (hers) First Gear, Pants: (his) Hugo, Boss; (hers) Cache, Boots & Gloves: Harley-Davidson.