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GL1800 Gold Wing DCT update

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Some of you may have noticed I posted a shout some weeks back, having hit a pheasant at around 50mph on a dark and winding country lane. The dumb bird was, for whatever reason, stood in a puddle right in the line of fire, presumably eyeing up some skirt in the opposite hedge (or whatever it is that brings pheasants to be stood in the middle of the bloody road).


Couldn't make out the thing as I approached because it was dark. It was only when there was movement ahead that I realised I was bearing down on something that shouldn't be there, and a second later the lights picked it up. Always amazed that in these situations my ageing brain takes the correct course of action (for example on the Norge on the same road three years previously, I'd encountered another dumb bird who simply had not stopped, not even for a moment's hesitation, when leaving one of the side turnings, my instinct being not to brake or swerve but to open the throttle wide and hoof it).


I braced for impact and mentally prepared myself for collecting some wildfowl with my feet. But the thing launched into the air and reached headlamp altitude for the precise moment of impact, meaning there was a loud crack, a flurry of unidentifiable bits and pieces and a raised left arm to deflect them. With the lights still working and the bike feeling no different, I kept going, pausing only a couple miles down the road to check damage ("well isn't that just great") and wipe away the remnants. Sorry vegans.


Anyway. Bike came back from the dealer last week with a £1,000 bill and lots of workshop staff cooing over it, having previously never encountered one with petrol on actual tarmac. Having gotten it back home I set off again (lovely day) and was reminded at how hard it would be to find another machine as completely satisfying in every single regard. Two or three of the YouTubers that I watch picked the GL1800 as their bike of the year despite it being way out of category for them and an archetypal old man's machine.


The weight - something a lot of potential owners are fearful of - is honestly no more noticeable than the NC. Power delivery is smooth and fluent and this feeling is boosted by the transmission. One of the American reviewers noted that in Sport, the GL was the fastest accelerating bike to 60mph that they'd tested all year. Yet in Eco or Tour it has just enough power, rather than woah way too much, and feels docile in every regard. Corners just melt into the flow. The brakes are phenomenal. The ride quality has no two wheeled equal. Small things, from reverse gear to the front indicator lamps glowing dimly - giving the bike obvious presence on the road both day and night - all help with the feeling that every journey will be an easy one.


There are some niggles. I don't like the DCT at low speed, a complaint I never levelled at the NC, and something I notice the company has addressed in some regard for the 2020 MY. The cubby in the faring for your smartphone doesn't lock, which is stupid. Mine is the Airbag model, and the home of the exploding cushion deletes a very useful frunk. I also really miss a digital speedo, and because the old school gauges are twelve inches apart, glancing at them is neither intuitive nor quick. Let's be honest: dials with numbers and needles look nice in brochures and in Honda showrooms, but are crap on the road. Given the enormous LCD display panel between the speedo on the left and the tacho on the right, you'd think there'd be a way of showing your speed in a large typeface and to five decimal places. But there isn't a way of showing your speed at all. Also, when the mirrors are folded, the brake lever catches on the right glass - a silly design oversight.


And however much I pretend otherwise, it isn't a featherweight. You have to be, how can I put this, assertive with steering input.


I know we've all said at some point, "This one's a keeper!" only to be lured into another bike in an entirely different segment because it's not in your garage and therefore unknown and different and highly seductive because of that. But I'm really not sure how that could happen here.



Edited by thwartedEfforts
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Thanks for the update and excellent review :thumbsup:

Glad you're back on the road ready for the start of the season :ahappy:

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