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Honda's Gold Wing has for years stood at the pinnacle of the luxury-touring market, providing the best balance of comfort and performance in its class. But that supremacy is now under threat from BMW's new K1600 GTL that received a very favorable review from Editor Duke a few weeks ago.

In the face of increased competition, Honda chose to arm the 2012 Gold Wing with only moderate improvements. This nonchalance begs the question: When will Honda retaliate with a full-model revamp? Until that event, whenever it may come, "it's the little things that count" adage will have to suffice for Gold Wing devotees.

With Honda providing both 2012 and 2010 Gold Wing models for back-to-back comparison purposes, the minor upgrades gracing the 2012 GL were readily apparent. Trivial as the upgrades may be, they do exist, and the effort at least justifies the $300 increase in MSRP between 2010 and 2012 base models ($22,899 vs. $23,199, respectively).

More: 2012 Honda Gold Wing Review - First Ride on Motorcycle.com
 

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Personally I like the 2002-1010 style better, haven't seen all the Specs but it appears so far that Honda did not put a 6 speed in the 2012.
 

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I wish Honda would forget about trying to 'WOW!" us with bells and whistles, and concentrate more on the obvious needs of real riders.

For instance, I noticed that they are STILL making the hinges on the plastic lids to the trunk side compartments (glove boxes?) out of something akin to rigid dental floss. Hey Honda! MAKE THE FRIGGIN' PLASTIC PARTS MORE DURABLE!!! How 'bout making those hinges 1/2" thick, or make them out of, oh ... I don't know ... METAL?

Nothing angers me more than paying umpteen thousands of dollars for a bike, only to have some little plastic THING break off in my hand with a surprisingly small amount of force. I'd pay good money for something that lasts, but come on! Those plastic pedestals that pop into the rubber grommets for the side covers ... WHY do they break off? They should be one heck of a lot stronger than the rubber grommets they are inserted into! If anything, the GROMMETS should be replaced when that attachment point fails. Replacing the grommets is easy and cheap. replacing a match-painted battery compartment cover is pricey!

While I'm at it, if they're going to add whiz-bang gadgets to the bike, how 'bout some internal transmitters in the tires that alert the pilot to a sudden loss of tire pressure via a BIG, bright digital readout that replaces the speedometer when triggered!? Sure, they're available aftermarket, but that is just another digital black box that needs to be attached to the fairing or handlebars.

There are other things I'd like to see factory installed on a new Wing, but I guess everyone has their own concept of the perfect bike.
 

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New reowner

Well I would like to offer a different perspective. I sold my 05 a few years back and bought a Harley. In retrospect I will admit I did so to please what other folks thought of me instead of worrying about what I wanted to do. Acceptance is a powerful emotion to say the least.

Well fast forward and 3 Harley's later I went out and bought a 2012 Gold Wing. I test rode the new BMW nice bike the position did not suit me as well as the GW. Good power and looks. What turned me off was the same sort of arrogance that I fell into with the Harley existed at two dealers I talked too. I also was nervous about the new engine and the new concepts they are using. So back to my favorite dealer and now I have to make the decision or pay my stupid tax because I kept trying to please "the crowd" in stead of doing what was really in my heart. I rode the new GW. The bestbway to describe it is a "Magic carpet ride" or what I think a ride on a Magic Carpet might be. The other emotion was releif and complete satifa tion with the smoothness and comfort. No more vibration no more noise just me the bike and the road and scenery. I understand stand the disappointment that some may feel in the latest iteration of the new GW but from my perspective it is a great machine and I am so glad to be back on one. I put more miles on a GW than any other bike I have owned and I look forward to doing that again.
 

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Congrats

:)I only have about 1400 mile on my 2010, and the minute I pulled out of the Dealership I was in Heaven again, so I know exactly what you are talking about. Good Luck with the 2012 and Ride Safe

Bob
 

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The only thing about the bike that is lacking for me is the rear lights and filler panel between the bags. Flat black doesn't do it for me and a little more light would be nice but I am sure it won't be long till someone solves that issue with some add on stuff.
 

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The only thing about the bike that is lacking for me is the rear lights and filler panel between the bags. Flat black doesn't do it for me and a little more light would be nice but I am sure it won't be long till someone solves that issue with some add on stuff.
Canuck,
I agree with you about the rear lighting on the 2012. That stood out immediately to me. Also I did not like where Honda relocated some of the controls. ie; the radio and others they moved to the side lowers. I'm still happy with my 2002 with 100,000 miles on it. The subtle changes are not worth spending $25,000 for with some accessories. By the time I had the bike set up the way I want it it would probably be closer to $28,000. :)
 

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I got the 2012 Wing!

I bought the 2012 Wing to replace my 1988 GL1500 that had seen its better days. I love this bike. Smooth, Quiet and yes Better looking in person unlike the crappy photos you see on the web. Seriously, you should see it first then form your opinions. For me it is much better than the photos.

This quote says, "While I'm at it, if they're going to add whiz-bang gadgets to the bike, how 'bout some internal transmitters in the tires that alert the pilot to a sudden loss of tire pressure via a BIG, bright digital readout that replaces the speedometer when triggered!? Sure, they're available aftermarket, but that is just another digital black box that needs to be attached to the fairing or handlebars."

Guess What! It has it built in with a built in display. A big Light that flashes and everything! Nice. Glad they added it. Also I paid nowhere near $23000.00 for mine. The shops are hurting and will dig deep to sell a bike right now, at least where I am.

Here is a link to a photo of mine.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3559/5829878603_8baaba6477_b.jpg
another:
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3492/5830427690_c5d73e8b85_b.jpg
 

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Beautiful bike ThFireman!! I just took the BMW GTL for a 45 minute demo yesterday on highways and country twisties. I have to say it's one of the most powerful bikes I've ridden. Handles great too. However, after 45 minutes I couldn't wait to get off. I'm 6'2 around 210 pounds and was miserable on the BMW. I'm sure it's just me, but when your touring long distance, that's what it's all about. Didn't like the menu functions either. I ordered the 2012 airbag GW in March and won't take deliver until July 9. I've read much about the BMW and felt obligated to test it out before I accepted teh GW. Hands down, the GW is better suited for me. I also think it's much better looking. That's not just my opinion either. There were two other GW riders who demoed same time as I and had the exact opinion. They read all the hoopla about the BMW, of course from magazine editors who tend to be more sport bike oriented, and are staying with the GW. If youi're thinking BMW, think again. Better demo it first. For me, it would be fun on short distances. Touring - no way. And only 160 dealers across country!! Not for me.
 

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Vrod, I agree that the GW is probably more comfy for the long haul. I am also 6'2" but 230lbs. I just have to have something that can support my big bones. I like the power of my Wing and to be honest, how much more power can you use safely. Why do you need more for a Tour Bike? I could see if it was meant to be a racer, But really. The power of the GoldWing is already scary fast. Thanks for the comment, I hope you will enjoy your Wing when it arrives. If your near N.C. let me know and we can compare rides and get lunch.
 

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Nothing angers me more than paying umpteen thousands of dollars for a bike, only to have some little plastic THING break off in my hand with a surprisingly small amount of force. I'd pay good money for something that lasts, but come on! Those plastic pedestals that pop into the rubber grommets for the side covers ... WHY do they break off? They should be one heck of a lot stronger than the rubber grommets they are inserted into! If anything, the GROMMETS should be replaced when that attachment point fails. Replacing the grommets is easy and cheap. replacing a match-painted battery compartment cover is pricey!
I'm with you all the way on this one. My battery side cover went flying without warning. Went back and found it but all of the plastic pedestals were broken off so it was useless - no way to repair it. Was somewhere north of $300 to replace it - a ridiculous amount of money for a piece of molded, painted plastic, for crying out loud. I'll bet it costs Honda all of $10 to make them, including the paint and freight. My neighbor is the Accessories Manager for one of the Houston Honda dealerships and even he advised me to find something else online. Ended up getting a set of the chrome covers, both sides, including new grommets, for more than $100 less than ONE cover (including the extra charge for the logo) from Honda. They should realize that they can charge $10,000 for a part but if it just sits on the shelf collecting dust then they are only kidding themselves.
 

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Biker Joe said,

"For instance, I noticed that they are STILL making the hinges on the plastic lids to the trunk side compartments (glove boxes?) out of something akin to rigid dental floss. Hey Honda! MAKE THE FRIGGIN' PLASTIC PARTS MORE DURABLE!!! How 'bout making those hinges 1/2" thick, or make them out of, oh ... I don't know ... METAL?"

Wow! I cant speak for th 2001-2010 GL1800's (Never Had One) But as for the 2012 Wing they have ..... Wait for this.......METAL HINGES!!!! So Tire Pressure Monitors, Metal Hinges, Loud as hell horns, Bright as nuclear blast headlights and super bright tail lights, Brakes that stop on a dime. Hmmm, I like it. I see your points, and if it were a 1500 I had then I would agree on most. With that said there is much they could improve on.
 

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Those plastic pedestals that pop into the rubber grommets for the side covers ... WHY do they break off? They should be one heck of a lot stronger than the rubber grommets they are inserted into! If anything, the GROMMETS should be replaced when that attachment point fails. Replacing the grommets is easy and cheap. replacing a match-painted battery compartment cover is pricey!
Now this I agree with. It seems to me that they could somehow frame these panels with metal and metal lugs/pedistals then mold the plastic panel onto the frame for a much stronger panel. Like you said, if anything the grommets should be the part to replace. A sacrificial lamb of sorts. Good Point!
 

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Subject to change

Beautiful bike ThFireman!! I just took the BMW GTL for a 45 minute demo yesterday on highways and country twisties. I have to say it's one of the most powerful bikes I've ridden. Handles great too. However, after 45 minutes I couldn't wait to get off. I'm 6'2 around 210 pounds and was miserable on the BMW. I'm sure it's just me, but when your touring long distance, that's what it's all about. Didn't like the menu functions either. I ordered the 2012 airbag GW in March and won't take deliver until July 9. I've read much about the BMW and felt obligated to test it out before I accepted teh GW. Hands down, the GW is better suited for me. I also think it's much better looking. That's not just my opinion either. There were two other GW riders who demoed same time as I and had the exact opinion. They read all the hoopla about the BMW, of course from magazine editors who tend to be more sport bike oriented, and are staying with the GW. If youi're thinking BMW, think again. Better demo it first. For me, it would be fun on short distances. Touring - no way. And only 160 dealers across country!! Not for me.
Well I am surprised that someone else feels the same way as I do about the BMW K1600 GTL. I went in to my local BMW dealer and got on the pre-order list #781. I was so excited for this bike. I wanted a bike that my wife and I could go for long rides and not feel the pain. The demo bike came in and after a few minutes of riding I noticed discomfort and cramping in my upper thigh. Peg placement just didnt work for me. The features, power and style is just amazing on the BMW. The negatives are waiting to get the bike, the rear seating is small and I want mama to be happy because we all know how it goes if she's not. I'm 6' and 240lbs and enjoy getting on the throttle and the BMW didn't disappoint, the bike has a great typical sport feel to it but lacked two up touring comfort. I started looking into the 2012 GW and really like the new style changes. I wish that Honda would have made the bike Bluetooth capable for the communication system. We are flying in to Mississippi from Utah to pick up our new 2012 Black ABS bike. The 2000 mile ride should be a great break-in ride.
 

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Congratulations on your new Goldwing. I know you will enjoy it!
 

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I would like to see the back lit up on the 2012. The rear turn signals look substantially more " attention getting " from the picture.
 

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I would like to see the back lit up on the 2012. The rear turn signals look substantially more " attention getting " from the picture.
Yes the turn signals do put out more light and a larger reflection area so I hope cagers will see them better. The brake lights are very bright too. I still wish it had more red light on the back and I am sure with the new design it wont be long before optional lights will be designed for this bike also. I am considering a lighted license plate frame just to add a little more safety. They make some that will also work as a brake light, but they are pricy.
 
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