’77 Honda Gold Wing
The first time I saw and rode a Gold Wing I was living in Las Cruces New Mexico working for the local newspaper. The dealer, Las Cruces was a small down and had only one Honda dealer, was having a big coming out party for the new Honda and I was there to write a story about it. Honda was touting the bike as a tourer but at the same time…maybe sporty? They, Honda, weren’t really sure where the ‘Wing’ would really land.
It was kind of lined up against the BMW R90/6 and, at the same time, Kawasaki’s King Kong…The Mighty Z1. The Gold Wing was BIG…somewhere around 100 pounds bigger than the Z1 but, still had pretty respectable performance numbers in comparison tests. Comparing it to the BMW was a lot easier. Give it a big smooth comfortable ride that could easily eat up hundreds of miles a day and have you wanting to keep going and be late for dinner. Honda was also looking at the Harley Davidson Electra Glide, the touring bike of choice at the time here in the states.
When I was at the Gold Wing debut, the Honda rep started the bike then balanced a quarter on its edge, on the engine, to prove how smooth the engine was. We were all pretty impressed. Maybe not as much as watching David Copperfield make the Statue of Liberty disappear, but nonetheless, impressed. The bike was quiet, thanks to a boatload of engineering…and liquid cooling, but still had a distinctive sound and feel. I didn’t care about the quarter balancing act, I just wanted to ride the bike…I was there to do a job. Well that, and I just love riding new motorcycles.
The Honda rep was a little reluctant to turn me loose on his new bike, especially after he saw my cafe’d out Kawasaki 750 sitting the parking lot, but, after a bit of convincing him (lying to him…) that I would treat his new toy carefully (he actually fell for it…), we arranged a ride the next morning. The clincher was when I promised to buy him breakfast.
My first ride on the GL1000 was quite an eye opener. The bike had gobs of power all over the place but was eerily quiet and way too smooth for a guy used to British twins and a raucous two stroke triple. But I really liked it. The roads around Las Cruces aren’t what you would call over challenging or even entertaining but, we made the best of them long enough that I had to call the newspaper and make up some story that would keep them from sending out the search party or worse…firing me. For a 600 plus pound motorcycle, the new Gold Wing was surprisingly agile and fun to ride. The sales rep was a riding the dealers own CB750 that had been tweaked a bit and still had a hard time keeping up with me, not because I was a better rider ( I was…but thats beside the point…kind of) but the Gold Wing really worked well and was easy to push around the roads of Southern New Mexico. We did get home in time for dinner.
First generation Gold Wings are great motorcycles in so many ways. The obvious is as a tourer, hauling around a sidecar is easy for a GL1000 and a few brave souls have turned their big Honda into Cafe’ Wings…my favorite. I found this really nice GL1000 on ebay and looks to be a great deal for someone looking for a classic bike that can almost anything. This Gold Wing has only 20,000 miles, barely broken in for this bike, the owner put in a new clutch, timing belts, water pump, hoses, rebuilt the carbs…I would imagine just because it has sat for a long time. This is a great classic that can be the platform for so much…a great naked tourer or find a Vetter Windjammer on ebay and travel across the country, get a cool sidecar from my friends at Sidestrider and take the dog for a ride. This is a good bike for a good price. There is only one thing I’m not sure I like about this particular bike, the owner replaced the cool aluminum spoked wheels with later model Comstar mags, which isn’t a bad thing, I just like the original wheels better. Click on the pics below for more info about this nice Gold Wing.