Since it debuted as a road bike in 1975, the Honda Gold Wing has gone on to define what it means to be a top-of-the-line touring bike for nearly three decades. It has set the standard for two-passenger long-distance cruising, becoming one of the most popular bikes of all time. Offering an unmatched combination of power, comfort and agility, it continues to delight its riders to this day.
The 2013 Honda Gold Wing Navi XM happily continues that tradition. The brand may be getting a bit long in the tooth, but it still compares more than favorably as a tourer to very recent entrants such as BMW’s K1600 GT. In fact, it has done this largely by sticking to its roots – the Gold Wing is still arguably the best pure tourer on the market, while manufacturers such as BMW have focused on providing a different experience with their sport touring treatments.
The 2013 model builds on the benchmark that Honda established with the 2012 version. This was Honda’s last design refresh after skipping the 2011 model year. While the changes were incremental – and the two-tone color scheme was controversial – there is no doubt that the restyled bodywork made riding the Gold Wing even more enjoyable. The airflow over the bike was significantly improved by the more aerodynamic shape, and wind protection also took a leap forward.
Honda also made the ride even smoother by playing around with the suspension, and brought the model into the 21st century with features such as a new surround sound audio system and iPod controls. Riders also appreciated the increased saddlebag storage capacity – an absolute must when traveling across vast distances. The 2013 version adds very little to this – for example, new metallic paint-job options and a better GPS system – but there wasn’t much room for improvement.
At the same time, the Honda has stuck to what it knows best, making the Gold Wing feel like the old friend that it is. The 118-horsepower boxer-style six-cylinder engine still starts up with that familiar whine, and revs up as smoothly as we remember from past models. When you swing your leg over the astonishingly low saddle and start to play around with the chunky buttons, everything feels like it is in exactly the right place. The ride is still out of this world – Honda’s touring flagship carries its 900-odd pounds like velvet, making it feel like you’re seated in your favorite comfortable chair.
If you ever can bear to part with your Gold Wing, the other good news is that the resale price is likely to be excellent. To put this in perspective, if you live in Connecticut and buy a Honda CR-V at a Connecticut Honda dealer, you can expect to get back about 63% of your original purchase price it if you sell after three years – this is the best resale performance of any Honda car. On the other hand, if you bought a 2010 Honda Gold Wing Navi XM at the list price of $25,399, you would be able to sell it three years later in 2013 for $18,345 according to Kelley Blue Book. That’s an astonishing 72% of the original purchase price.