The Honda Gold Wing has been a legendary motorcycle ever since its debut in 1974. Originally intended as a sport bike, it quickly transformed into a touring machine that revolutionized the market. With its powerful engine, innovative features, and unrivaled comfort, the Gold Wing became known as the "King of Kings."
Engineer Shoichiro Irimajiri, a renowned figure in Honda's history, led the development team responsible for the Gold Wing. His expertise in motorcycle and automotive engineering brought forth a visionary design that set new standards in the industry. The project was initially conceived as a large sport bike, but market research revealed a growing demand for touring motorcycles, particularly in the United States.
To meet the needs of the American market, Honda decided to focus on creating a touring machine that could rival Harley-Davidson's dominance. The Gold Wing became the flagship motorcycle for Honda, and Irimajiri's team referred to it as the "King of Kings" – a fitting title for a bike that aimed to dethrone the competition.
One of the groundbreaking aspects of the Gold Wing was its water-cooled, four-stroke engine. This marked the first time a Japanese production motorcycle utilized this type of cooling system. The engine was based on the 1,470cc flat-six developed for a previous project led by Irimajiri.
When the Gold Wing was unveiled in 1974 as the GL1000 KO, it immediately captured the attention of riders and experts alike. It became an instant success in the American market. In response to its popularity, the Gold Wing Road Riders Association (GWRRA) was founded in 1977, followed by the establishment of the American Gold Wing Association in 1983 and the Gold Wing Touring Association in 1987.
Recognizing the potential of the U.S. market, Honda established an assembly facility in Marysville, Ohio, in 1980. This facility produced Gold Wings for three decades, solidifying Honda's presence in the American motorcycle industry. In 1996, the facility celebrated a significant milestone when it rolled out its one-millionth U.S.-made Honda motorcycle – fittingly, a Gold Wing.
Throughout its history, the Gold Wing has remained a symbol of luxury, performance, and innovation. It continues to evolve with each new generation, incorporating advanced technologies and features that enhance the riding experience. As the "King of Kings," the Gold Wing reigns supreme in the motorcycle world, capturing the hearts of riders around the globe.
More info for 2024 version: https://powersports.honda.com/motorcycle/touring/gold-wing