Here's Why This Honda Is Considered One Of The Most Reliable Motorcycles Around

Honda has been at the forefront of groundbreaking engineering honed by learnings from professional motorsports. Before the automaker took its maiden win at the 1965 Formula One Mexican Grand Prix, company founder Soicihiro Honda went motorcycle racing shortly after establishing the brand in 1949. In Honda's own words, "racing improves the breed," and this dedication has led Honda to produce the world's most reliable and durable machines.

One name stands out in the world of touring bikes: the Gold Wing. The first Honda Gold Wing debuted at the 1974 Cologne Motorcycle Show and has since become the gold standard of touring bikes. However, if enthusiasts regard the legendary Honda CB750 as the "King of Bikes," the flagship Honda Gold Wing is the "King of Kings" with its flat-six engine and unparalleled grand-touring riding comfort.

But above all else, the Honda Gold Wing has earned a reputation for its sterling reliability and bulletproof engine. Consumer Reports has named Honda among the most reliable motorcycle manufacturers, and Cycle World has repeatedly called the Gold Wing the "Best Touring Bike" in its annual Ten Best lists.

Honda Gold Wing: Flagship touring bike

Honda didn't just set out to build a flagship touring motorcycle. Instead, the company assembled a dedicated R&D team in 1972 with one goal: To make the next Honda flagship bike

Led by Shoichiro Irimajiri and his wealth of knowledge in designing racing engines for motorcycles, as well as Honda's F1 team, the Honda Gold Wing appeared in 1975 as the first water-cooled four-stroke production motorcycle. Although the Gold Wing is famous for its flat-six engine, the first-gen Gold Wing had a shaft-driven flat-four, and it wasn't until 1987 that the Gold Wing gained a flat-six powerplant.

Honda's obsessive approach to engineering is more evident in the current sixth-gen Gold Wing that debuted in 2018. In a review by Motorcycle News, the new Gold Wing is "light years ahead" of the previous fifth-gen variant with its class-leading comfort, smoothness, handling, and driving fun. It has a revolutionary front double-wishbone suspension, a lighter twin-spar chassis, an available dual-clutch automatic gearbox with an innovative "Walking Mode," and a lightweight 1833 cc flat-six engine with four valves per cylinder.

What makes the Honda Gold Wing so reliable?

Having a dedicated team of R&D specialists with years of experience in motorsports certainly helps the Gold Wing's cause. According to Engine Patrol, Gold Wings could last between 250,000 to 300,000 miles. 

However, Al Zhart, a Gold Wing owner from Wausau, Maine, has logged more than a million miles on his 1975 Honda Gold Wing. Although he had to replace the engine three times over the bike's extended lifespan, Zhart claims his Honda never left him sitting, unlike his old Harley Super Glide that left him stranded and lonely in North Dakota (per Wausau Daily Herald).

Despite its age, Zhart said his old Gold Wing "starts good, still has power, and gets good gas mileage." A large part of this has something to do with the engine's design. The pancake motor has radiators, thermostats, and water pumps to maintain the proper operating temperature, extending the engine's lifespan. Add this fact to Honda's relentless passion for innovating and improving the Gold Wing's performance, comfort, and safety technology for every succeeding generation — the result is a touring bike capable of lasting as long as you can ride.