The Gold Wing GL1000 marked Honda’s foray into the “touring bikes” category and Honda sprouted wings of gold as it hit the motherlode in the US market. It was quite a sight to behold – with a flat-four boxer engine with a water-cooled radiator.
Over the last 44 years, the Gold Wing underwent many upgrades and refinements, often with increased gross weights, physical dimensions and engine sizes. The 2018 edition is a consummate melding of beastly beauty on two wheels.
The GL1800 has a 1800cc flat-six engine and even a reverse gear, plus a 7” TFT display, a hi-fi music system, and a host of apps, so that the rider and pillion companion can experience many happy hours on long rides.
Wow ! So, will the next version will have a bathtub and kitchen sink built in ?
Back in 1977, my sister was sent to a school in rural Kedah, a few miles from Alor Star, after finishing her teachers’ training college course.
The “road” to her school was really an unpaved sandy earth path, with paddy fields on both sides. The only way to go through was on foot, or with a bicycle or a motorbike. My dad bought her a cutesy little Honda, which went by the name of “Chaly”. It was really a bike designed for girls.
It must have been quite a sight for the villagers and farmers to see two Chinese girls (she and her colleague) making their way to the local school on these bikes.
In fact I was told that her colleague was stopped one day and asked for her hand in marriage by an admirer from the village.
1984 was the landmark year for me. With a new family and a career brimming with great expectations, I was about to embark on my next great acquisition – a brand new car.
The 4-door saloon version of the 2nd Gen Honda Civic had just been launched, and it had all the qualities that set my heart aflutter, and an affordable sticker price of RM20,500. That Honda salesman probably closed the easiest deal of his life, as I practically sold the car to me on his behalf !
A week later, I was offered a new job in Singapore, and after much heart-rending discussions within the extended families, wifey and I decided to uproot from Penang to settle on the Little Red Dot. The RM1,500 deposit had to be forfeited.
Inexplicably though, I never owned another Honda nor Civic after this brief engagement.
I was a small kid with big dreams. Some time in 1962, when dad brought home a colourful catalog from Boon Siew Honda, my attention was drawn NOT to the cubby stuff, but a big stately majestic Benly Dream series. These machines came in two models, with twin-cylinder engines of 250cc and 350cc respectively.
I liked the squarish headlight, the beefy squarish-section front forks & solid-looking rear suspension arms, the sparkling chrome fuel tank, etc., and not the least of all, the whitewall tyres.
(By contrast, modern m-bikes all seem to resemble creepy bugs from outer space that appear in nightmares)
So, I told my dad, “Buy this one”. But Dollars & Sensibility sank in. We could only afford the 50cc Kap Chai, thus that big fella just remained the stuff of my dreams,….for a long time.
Anyone owned this machine before ?