The Honda Goldwing has been one of the most popular and loved touring motorcycles for years and has undergone many cosmetic changes, but what about the Honda Goldwing engine? The engine plays an important role in the comfort, agility and power that the rider feels on a Goldwing and here is why.
The Honda Goldwing Engine has always had a flat configuration. The earlier Wings had flat-four cylinder engines, while the GL1500 and GL1800 have flat-six engines. This flat configuration creates a completely different ride than other engine shapes found in motorcycles. The vertical shortness of the engine in the Goldwing creates a low center of gravity for better vehicle handling as well as a lower seat height. Not only that, but there is more room for the large volume air box which helps the engine performance. Another advantage is the power transmits front to back so it is more efficient that a side-to-side shaft drive motorcycle. The rider doesn’t feel the vibrations normally found when riding a motorcycle, because the pistons are moving across from each other and are moving in pairs and in unison; unlike reciprocating up and down piston movement that creates the vibrations may riders feel on the majority of motorcycles.
Beside the flat configuration, certain elements of the design also provide various benefits. With side-mounted radiators, chain-driven camshafts and valves arranged a parallel configuration; the engine is more compact for better positioning rider ergonomics. Maintenance costs are saved with a shim-under-bucket valve actuation, meaning the valves need inspections at 32,000 mile intervals, as opposed to similar shim valve motorcycles that require the valve inspection at around 15,000 mile intervals. The sophisticated, multi-map, digital fuel injection system not only reduces emissions, but also helps produce a wide and linear spread of torque and power.
Although many motorcycle owners prefer to perform their own maintenance, the technology behind a Honda Goldwing engine should sometimes be left to the professionals. Owners of Goldwings can purchase service manuals from any Honda Motorcycle Dealer, or even on-line, but should be aware of their mechanical limitations when it comes to working on these engines. Honda’s Factory Trained Dealer Technicians have resources including training and tools that are not available to the general public, and can save the weekend mechanic a lot of money and frustration when his Honda Goldwing is in need of maintenance or service.