A standard auxiliary audio jack is found in the front fairing left side storage. The jack bends at a 90-degree angle and those planning on playing tunes through their cell phones may need to remove their cell phone from their cases in order for the jack to fit. It’s an unnecessary nuisance that Honda could easily fix from factory, but F6B riders may need to find ways to modify their cell phone cases to accommodate the jack. Given the anticipated use of devices in this area in particular, it was surprising to see no charging options present either here, or anywhere on the F6B.
Audio is controlled by convenient left-hand activated switch to adjust the volume, change radio frequencies, and even mute the speakers for a quick chit-chat between you and your passenger, or so that the cager who almost killed you can hear you yelling. As the auxiliary audio jack is neither iPhone nor Android specific, the Gold Wing F6B does not have any controls for skipping to the next song or pausing while riding.
Once seated on the F6B you’re entering familiar Gold Wing territory. The F6B borrows its powerplant from the Gold Wing, bringing with it absurd smoothness and what feels like a noiseless engine. It’s about what you’d expect from a magic carpet ride, Aladdin. The big 1,832 cc, six cylinder horizontally-opposed motor puts out about 100 horsepower and 105 lb. ft. of torque, with a 0-60 mph (0 – 96.6 km/hr) in 4.15 seconds. The bike is impressive, but the performance is smooth and un-intimidating.
The five-speed transmission with overdrive shifts positively. My demo unit (with all of 13 km when I picked it up) never slipped or left me wondering which gear I was in, nor was shifting clunky, either. I did find that, ironically, I could not wear my clunky Harley-Davidson riding boots while riding the F6B as they were too big and made shifting cumbersome. Big-footed folks, watch out for that. Final drive was via low-maintenance shaft drive. The motor’s parallel two-valve cylinder-head design uses direct shim-under-bucket valve actuation, along with camshaft chains with automatic adjusters provide maintenance-free operation.
Even in overdrive, Honda’s F6B cruises comfortably at 130 km/hr (80 mph), with roll on power still left.
Everything is all very cleanly routed on the F6B, all cables and hoses are well hidden and the bike’s overall appearance, and sometimes engine sounds, are almost a little too perfect and borderline-robotic.
Most cruiser suspension leaves aggressive riders wanting more. Honda’s F6B delivers 4.8″ of travel in the front over 45 mm front forks and 4.1″ of travel in the rear. The overall suspension, front and rear, does a good job of soaking up all of the imperfections of urban roadways, and a missing patch of tarmac on the highway was no problem for the Bagger.
The Honda stops well, thanks to front dual 296 mm disks, and a single rear 316 mm disk, all with three piston calipers. The F6B is also equiped with technology such as ABS, Dual-Combined Braking System, and an anti-dive system to stiffen up the front suspension on hard braking in order to help keep the bike stable.
The F6B has a 28.5″ (725 mm) seat height. I’ll be honest, at somewhere between 5’10” and 5’11”, I wished it was a little lower. The F6B’s 851 lbs wet weight, though lighter than the traditional Gold Wing, is still a heavy beast. Coming to a sudden stop, especially with a passenger, means having to quickly be able to put your feet down to stop the half ton heft from tipping over. Which isn’t so bad if you can flat foot your motorcycle, but I couldn’t do that without sliding forward down the seat. The seat itself isn’t cramped for the rider, but on a long ride my passenger complained of wishing the F6B had the Gold Wing’s backrest. A backrest is available in Canada, but it will cost you an extra $430 CAD. In the United States a backrest will cost you $400 USD.