Gold Wing Motorcycle For Sale

The Honda Gold Wing is one of the most long-standing motorcycle models of all time. First produced in 1974, it has since sold over 640,000 units in the United States alone. While it has gone through several iterations, all of them are beefy touring bikes with a low-maintenance shaft drive and an uncomplicated flat engine.

The Gold Wing was born in the early 1970s when Honda’s new CB750 superbike won one award after another. Aware that they could successfully produce both large and small bikes, Honda set out to build the world’s best touring motorcycle. The original 1974 version had a flat-four engine and was engineered by the same team leader who had developed Honda’s earlier Formula One V12 engine.

The Gold Wing proved so popular in the United States that Honda started building them stateside. From 1980 to 2010, they were made in Honda’s Marysville, Ohio factory. The following year, the entire factory was relocated to Japan. As a result of the time and labor that went into the relocation, you will notice no 2011 Gold Wings.

Gold Wing Motorcycle Buyer’s Guide

The original Honda Gold Wing had a unique design. In order to keep the 584-pound bike’s center of gravity as low as possible, Honda engineers located the fuel tank under the seat. Where the fuel tank would typically be located, they installed a dummy tank inside. This area housed the air filter, radiator expansion tank, and fuses. It also served as a storage area for the kickstart lever. The lever was purely a backup - even the 1974 Gold Wing came standard with an electric starter.

GL1100

In 1979, the Gold Wing got its first major upgrade. Beginning that year (the 1980 model year), the original Gold Wing was replaced by the GL1100, which would end up being produced through 1982. At this time, Honda started producing the Gold Wing in Ohio and marketing it as an American-made bike.

Starting with the 1981 model year, the Interstate model Gold Wing was released. The original Gold Wing had no cargo space when you bought it. You had to install your own saddlebags and trunk. The Interstate variant came with a full fairing, saddlebags, a trunk, and an optional sound system.

In 1982, Honda introduced a third Gold Wing variant, the Gold Wing Aspencade. This version had an expanded seat, additional storage, and a standard sound system, along with a slick, two-tone paint job. It was essentially a luxury version of the Interstate.

GL1200

The 1984 model year was a unique one. Honda was facing increased competition, since Yamaha, Kawasaki, and Suzuki were now also making full-sized touring bikes. Many of these bikes were faster and smoother in terms of riding. Due to this, the Gold Wing sales were declining.

Honda responded by increasing the engine displacement. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, they had reached the mechanical limits for this type of straight-four. The new engine was overly loud and produced excessive vibration. The issues were so well-known that Honda didn’t even bother selling the 1984 Gold Wing Standard in Europe.

The Interstate and Aspencade versions were more successful, primarily due to the growing demand for full-dress touring bikes. While the Gold Wing Standard was temporarily discontinued, the Interstate and Aspencade would continue to be sold until 1987. However, Honda still needed to go back to the drawing board.

GL1500

Honda executives knew that the Gold Wing’s reputation hinged on the success of the 1987 model. They hired an all-new design team for their new engine, a flat-six with a displacement of 1,520cc. The carburetors were also reworked, with two for the whole engine instead of one per cylinder. In total, the engine went through 60 design stages and was tested on 15 different motorcycles.

The new Gold Wing, the GL1500, was a near-instant success. Critics raved about its performance, highlighting the quiet, smooth operation of its powerful engine.

Honda would also release Interstate and Aspencade versions of the GL1500, including special editions in 1989, 1994, and 1999 to celebrate the Gold Wing’s 15th, 20th, and 25th anniversaries.

GL1800

The 2001 model year saw the release of yet another new Gold Wing. The engine was expanded again. This time, it was to 1,832cc, and it was fuel-injected rather than using a carburetor. Anti-lock braking was also added as an available option.

Additional options have appeared in the model years following. Now, you can order a Gold Wing with in-dash navigation, airbags, and various heating features. The Gold Wing Aspencade was discontinued in 2000, while the Interstate remained in production through 2018. Starting that year, Honda has offered the standard Gold Wing, the Gold Wing Tour, and the Gold Wing Tour Automatic, which comes with an automatic transmission. Both the Tour and the Tour Automatic are available with airbags.

The Best Places to Buy a Gold Wing Motorcycle

Whether you are buying new or used, Honda Gold Wings are easy to find. It is one of Honda’s most popular models, so you can find several of them at any Honda dealership. You can also use Honda's website to build your own. On the plus side, you will have a genuinely personalized touring bike. On the downside, you won’t have the ability to haggle like you would at a dealership.

As for buying used, you will find plenty of Honda Gold Wings available online. In fact, this bike is so popular that you should be able to find the exact generation you want. Here’s a quick breakdown of the pricing:

Gold Wing GL1000

The original Gold Wing, the GL1000, sold 97,000 units in the United States between 1974 and 1979. You can buy one for as little as $1,500, or around $2,500 if you want the touring version.

Gold Wing GL1100

A used Gold Wing GL1100 can be as cheap as $2,000. But if you want the Interstate or Aspencade version, you would pay at least $5,000.

Gold Wing GL1200

Considering its notorious problems, the Gold Wing GL1200 has held its value surprisingly well. A working bike still costs around $3,000 at a bare minimum and more than the better-regarded GL1100.

Gold Wing GL1500

The Gold Wing GL1500 is very affordable. Used models start at around $4,000, including some of the full-dress variants.

Gold Wing GL1800

A new Gold Wing GL1800 will cost you $23,900 for the standard model with no amenities. Other variants can run as high as $36,000 or more if you add a bunch of options. The GL1800 costs as little as $6,500 used, although it varies depending on specific amenities.