Best Year for a Used Gold Wing & Which to Avoid?

Most people have said that the Honda Gold Wing is a bulletproof motorcycle. But some years weren’t so good. Most owners of the Honda Gold Wing say the experience is overwhelmingly positive, but it may be smart to know which models you should avoid if you are looking for a Honda Gold Wing.

What Year Goldwing to Avoid?

  • Avoid the 1978 and 1979 (GL1000) Honda Gold Wing
    In 1978, many changes were made to the machine. It can take a few years for everything to work properly.
  • Avoid the 1984 and 1985 (GL1200) Honda Gold Wing
    1984 and 1985 Honda Gold Wings had problems with the rear wheel and other problems like an ignition problem. Honda even did a recall in 1984 because some people’s VINs didn’t fit in their brackets. Some owners had to fix this on their own.
  • Avoid 2001-2004 (GL1800) Honda Gold Wing
    The potential for frame cracking, which was caused by an incomplete welding process. Luckily they have provided a lifetime recall program, so if your bike has been recalled or inspected, all should be well – just make sure it hasn’t fallen through the cracks!

    For those who don’t want frame issues, a 2005 or newer GL1800 will be the best. If you do a lot of stop-and-go driving, then you should get one that is from 2006 or newer. That way there is more air for the radiator and fan to cool down the engine.

Best Honda Gold Wing Model Years

  • GL1100 (1980-1983): all were good.
  • GL1200 (1984-1987): avoid 1984 and 1985. 1986/87 were the best of the GL1200.
  • GL1500 (1988-2000): best 1997 or newer.
  • GL1800 (2001 to present): best 2006 or newer.

The GL1800 is a good choice for most riders. It was introduced in 2001, so it should be the only choice if you are worried about the age of your motorcycle.

GL1800 Details

The new Honda Gold Wing had many design changes to make it a more sporty bike. The focus on the redesigned machine was making it less cushioned for better handling and engine performance, but there is definitely some trade-off with this change.

The original design was received as cushier but less engaging for riders who wanted something different from touring motorcycles traditionally offered in the past. While it might not be as comfortable of a ride, with its new 25 lbs aluminum frame and single-swingarm drive train, this bike is sure to impress any rider looking for an adventure!

The single-swingarm design of the driveshaft makes for a fast and easy rear tire change, similar to that of your favorite car. The reverse gear assists when you’re trying to get out of tight parking spots like those found in city centers or school zones.

The engine used fuel injection for more power and solid valve lifters for quicker throttle response, as well as ABS brakes which were an optional add-on in this bike’s package options. The design of the heavy machine made it less top-heavy than previous models due to its new layout that utilizes a low center of gravity – making riding much easier on long trips or through difficult terrain when you need stability most.

Honda Gold Wing GL 1800 (SC79 - 2018)

GL1800 Frame Cracking

The new Honda GL1800 was supposed to be the best of its kind. Unfortunately, Honda has recalled GL1800 due to a frame defect that can cause it to fold and break.

The issue had occurred in 2001 and continued until 2004, with the production of bikes for that period all being potentially affected by this quality shortcoming.

The flaw isn’t major though-its more like an error made during production rather than the design itself. Honda offers free repairs, and they put an imprint on the VIN plate with a round punch to show it has been fixed or checked for defects.

Considering a GL1500?

GL1500 is a comfortable motorcycle that appeals to riders with shorter legs. It has an improved engine design, making it lighter and quieter than the previous model.

The GL1500 is a six-cylinder motorcycle with an engine power of 100 HP and 110 ft-lbs. torque – which greatly outperforms the earlier GL1200 model. All models except for Interstate variants have a reverse gear feature.

The flat 6 engine design provides more power than its predecessor, with an even lower center of gravity for increased stability. For added convenience, there are hydraulic tappets that eliminate maintenance requirements as well as automotive-style alternators externally mounted – making any service less complicated.

The Honda GL1500 is a motorcycle that was in production from 1988 to 2001. Chances are, you’ll find many on the road and at local dealerships. The bike is easy to find at an affordable price due to its age.

GL1500 is more top-heavy and less agile than the newer GL1800, has carburetors instead of fuel injection, and handles less well at slow speeds. The frame is a traditional tubular steel variety that holds up better to rusting issues, unlike its successor GL1800.

Honda Goldwing GL 1500 SE-US, SC22, 1998

Some Potential Shifting Issues

There have been reports of missed gear shifts (1st/2nd) and popping out in 4th gear, most likely caused by floorboards rubbing against the heel-n-toe shifter. Over time and with rough shifting, these bikes can become more problematic by stomping on the heel of the shifter which can cause expensive transmission wear.

To make sure this isn’t happening to you, try driving around in each gear with the moderate throttle – if it pops or slaps from one into another, then wind up paying expensive bills!

A shifter shaft brace prevents the shifter from wearing out. It is a piece of equipment that is made just for the GL1500. When it is installed, shifting becomes much more solid and precise.  A high-quality shaft brace is  sold by – GL 1500 Auxiliary Shifter Pivot

What about Previous Gold Wings

GL1000, GL1100, GL1200

Please don’t let the age of this bike fool you. It is still a great option for those looking to get their hands on an affordable motorcycle. The Gold Wing GL1000 thru GL1200 models are all vintage bikes and will provide some nostalgia factor while staying within your budget. There are plenty of them out there to be found, and some can still have lots of trouble-free miles left on them.

This generation uses a flat 4 engine design that was introduced with the original 1975 Gold wing model which makes them extremely reliable machines

Accessories Worth Paying for…

There are a lot of accessories available for the Gold Wing customer, some awesome and others less so. The best thing to do is think about what you need or would use every day, versus just buying everything that catches your eye.

For instance, if safety is important, consider getting a cruise control kit- it’s handy on long trips and can substantially reduce fatigue. On the other hand, maybe no accessories will suit your needs nicely until you know more about exactly what your responsibilities and riding style calls for.

The 10 Year Rule

When you buy a used motorcycle, it is important to know that some shops and dealers don’t work on motorcycles that are more than 10 years old.

Some refer to this as the ‘10 year rule’; it might also just be a regional issue. It’s either due to legal issues around servicing and be liabilities of being held responsible for any damage done during service or based on general experience with motorcycles that are more than ten years old.

So make sure to ask this before you take your bike in for service at a Honda shop.

Find Gold Wing for Sale

If you’re looking to buy a Used Gold Wing, eBay is your best bet. There are always tons of great deals on the site, and it’s easy to find a used motorcycle that suits your needs in just minutes. is another option for finding a used gold wing. This site is great because it has such an extensive search, so you can find the motorcycle that fits your needs without any trouble.

You should also check out Craiglist’s user-created sections and categories to learn more about new motorcycles, as well as get notifications on when listings match your criteria.

Where are Honda Goldwings Made?

From 1975 to 1979 of Gold Wing bikes were produced in Japan Kumamoto Factory. In the year 1980, the production was moved to Marysville, Ohio, USA.

Honda Goldwings were manufactured in Marysville until 2010, and later they moved back to Japan. All Gold Wings are now manufactured in Japan Kumamoto Factory.

  • 1975-1979: Honda Gold Wing GL1000 made in Japan, Kumamoto.
  • 1980-2010: Honda Gold Wing GL1100, GL1200, GL1500, and GL1800(2001-2010) made in USA, Marysville.
  • 2011-present: Honda Gold Wing GL1800(2011-now) made in Japan, Kumamoto.

Which Honda Gold Wing Build is Better? USA or Japan?

Honda moved their factory from Maryland to Japan. It is the same thing. The Goldwing does not matter where it is made because Honda has high standards and excellent engineering skills wherever they make them.

How to change the oil on a Honda Gold Wing GL1500?

First, remove the oil fill cap. We want to make sure that our crankcase is properly vented when we drain out all of the engines.

Next, use a 17-millimeter socket wrench and unscrew your bolt until it’s free from its threads; this will let us know how much time has passed since you last replaced your old filter!

Afterward, reinsert both bolts in their original positions while using 25 pounds of torque with each one—and don’t forget about checking for any damage on either washer before sealing up everything back together again!

In Honda’s instructions for checking the oil level, they say to fill the motorcycle with 3.8 quarts of 10W30 synthetic motorbike oil and then start it up so that all the parts were lubricated properly before shutting down again in order to get an accurate reading on how much is left over.

We’ll remove the dipstick, then wipe off any excess oil from it with a cloth before replacing and removing it to get our accurate reading.

Some interesting Goldwing Facts

It is a good motorcycle for many things. Here are some facts about this motorcycle which you might didn’t know about:

1. Gold Wings are the most popular motorcycle ever made, with more than 600,000 produced and counting.

2. There is no 2011 Gold Wing model because the production shifted from the United States to Japan in 2010.

3. Honda has gradually increased the horsepower and torque of their motorcycles, allowing for a greater amount to be used.

4. The GL1500 & 1800 Interstate models do not have a reverse gear.

5. Honda’s GL1800 is the first production motorcycle to offer an airbag as an option.

6. Gold Wings have a front tank used for gas and all the other things needed to start up the motorcycle.

7. The first few years of Gold Wings used a kick-starter as an alternative to the electric starter.

8. The highest verified mileage for a Honda Gold Wing is 425K miles.

9. The Honda Gold Wing is a heavier bike, but its handling qualities are praised by many.

In Summary

It’s important to remember that the purchase of a used Gold Wing isn’t as simple as it may seem. You need to consider what you want, how much you can afford, and if your potential bike is in good enough condition for its age. Take all these things into account when looking at different models so you don’t end up with buyer’s remorse!

Gold Wings are good bikes, but you need to find one that suits your needs. You also need to know how well the bike has been taken care of and what model would be best for you. With all this information at hand, go out there and find that perfect bike!


What are the Different Goldwing Models?

GL1800 – 2001 to present

GL1800 had a bigger engine than the old one, and more power too. The frame was made of fewer pieces of metal, so it weighed less than the old one.

  • 118 HP and 120 ft-lbs. of torque
  • Curb Weight – 799 lbs.
  • ABS, GPS, Air-Bag options
  • More torque & HP than a GL1500
  • Aluminum frame (2001 – 2004 potential frame cracking)
  • Ergonomics – better for long legs
  • Better low-speed handling, lower center of gravity than a GL1500
  • Passenger better protection (wind buffeting)
  • Harder on tires, front and rear than GL1500
  • Rear tire changes easier single-sided swingarm
  • Solid lifters & fuel injection
  • 2005 and newer, no frame cracking issues
  • 2006 had bigger radiators, slow speed overheating problem

GL1800 MANUALS – hardcopy

Honda Gold Wing GL 1800 (SC79 - 2018)

GL1500 – 1988 to 2000

GL1500 was from 1988-2000 which is the fourth model of Goldwing. This generation had a sidecar option called a Trike conversion kit that could be used for carrying cargo or passengers.

  • 100 HP and 110 ft-lbs. of torque
  • Curb Weight – 794 lbs.
  • More torque & HP than a GL1200
  • Softer ride, than GL1800 or  GL1200
  • Lower center of gravity than a GL1200
  • Stable and heavy great in the wind
  • Top-heavy compared to GL1800
  • Hydraulic lifters & carburetors
  • Reverse via starter motor (not on Interstate)
  • Passengers prefer this model for comfort

GL1500 MANUALS – hardcopy

Honda Goldwing GL 1500 SE-US, SC22, 1998

GL1200 – 1984 to 1987

GL1200 was from 1984-1987 which is the third model of Goldwing. This generation had new front brakes, and a six-speed transmission as opposed to four in previous generations.

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Honda Gold Wing 1200

GL1100 – 1980 to 1983

GL1100 was from 1980-1983 which is the second model of Goldwing. This generation had a new suspension system, improved brakes, and more horsepower than previous models.

  • 81 HP and  65 ft-lbs. of torque
  • Curb Weight – 683 lbs. Aspencade, 589 lbs. “naked” bike
  • Minor cosmetic changes
  • Full touring model introduced
  • GL1100 Repair Manuals (hardcopy)

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1980 Honda Goldwing GL

GL1000 – 1975 to 1979

GL1000 was from 1974-1979 which is the first model of Goldwing. This generation had a flat seat and gas tank, detachable pillion backrests, drum brakes front/rear with twin leading shoe front brake calipers for an improved stopping distance, and four-speed transmission.

Honda Gold Wing GL1000 1975 Barber

5 thoughts on “Best Year for a Used Gold Wing & Which to Avoid?”

  1. Goldwings were five speed on all models until 2018, when a six speed transmission was introduced on all manual models. The DCT version is sevenspeed.

  2. I have a 1984 Aspencade in original condition and it is a beautiful well designed machine that has never left me stranded. The Achilles Heal of the GL1200 was the stator. Honda didn’t do a recall but they did offered a lifetime warranty for OEM replacement stators that were installed by Honda dealers.


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