2018 Goldwing DCT

dduelin

Site Supporter
Joined
Jul 16, 2012
Messages
4,196
Reaction score
269
Points
83
Location
North FL USA
In addition to gloss blue and red there are the matte grey, the cinnamon, and the white is pearlescent. Not quite the usual Honda fare but opinions are free.
 

670cc

Super Moderator
Staff member
Super Mods
Site Supporter
Joined
Aug 7, 2012
Messages
7,691
Reaction score
649
Points
113
Location
USA
I’m here at WingDing 40, Knoxville, TN, USA. This is like Goldwing City for 5 days. ‘Wings everywhere! Honda always brings a demo motorcycle truck to these events, and it’s typically 2-4 Goldwing models and then an assortment of bikes like the NC700X, the CTX, the Africa Twin, the VFR, CB500X and RR, etc. This year, however, the demo bikes consist of only 2018 GL1800s, maybe 10 or 12 of them. There is a mixture of GL models (standard and Tour), 80% or more are DCTs. They are really pushing the new ‘Wing, especially DCT (at least at this Goldwing event). I know the demo team personnel well, and they know me. I’ve probably ridden over 30 test rides with them. I look forward to visiting the demo truck every year.

I booked two test rides on separate days, one on a Tour manual transmission, one on the Tour airbag DCT. The wife rode pillion both times. The guided rides run about 30 minutes on a prescribed route. An additional 10 minutes is consumed explaining DCT operation.

The rides went well. It was my second time on the new Manual, and my first on the DCT GL1800. I’ve ridden all the other Honda DCT products many, many times, beginning back when the VFR first generation DCT came out. It was my wife’s first time out on the new 1800.

Honda is very interested in rider feedback on these new ‘Wings. There is a post ride survey to fill out after each test ride. Separately, we were also asked a bunch of survey questions by a rep at the trade show Honda booth, and I talked his ear off while he scribbled notes.

My opinion of the manual version is unchanged. The suspension is definitely improved. The wind management is improved. The helmet locks, fuel capacity, and especially the luggage capacity are definitely a step in the wrong direction. The luggage capacity reduction itself is a deal breaker for me. The rear end lighting is minimal compared to prior models. The sixth gear, or rather a taller top gear, is welcome. It was wierd that I managed to stall the new manual ‘Wing twice on takeoff, but I never stall my own GL1800, even if I mistakenly try to take off in 3rd gear. Maybe the new demo bikes weren’t broken in, or the clutch lever engagement point is different.

I’m still not really happy with the new seat. It’s just OK. The driver seat feels rather humped in the middle, and the leg reach to the ground is a little worse than with the old 1800. We were riding our own Goldwing back and forth (from our campground) to the event, intermixed with rides on the new Goldwing seat, so that the old bike is what the “gold” standard was. After the first new bike test ride, I asked the wife how she liked the passenger seat. She answered that is was just “OK”. After the second ride on the following day, the answer was, “I don’t like it.” (If momma ain’t happy, . . . )

The DCT experience was somewhat disappointing. I ran through all of the four auto modes, as well as running pure manual mode for awhile. The ride simply is not as smooth as a manual transmission, at least with me operating a manual. I don’t mean to brag, but I focus heavily on smoothness when operating a motorcycle. A fellow “old 1800” ‘Wing rider’s wife, also at this event, volunteered that on their DCT test ride, the passenger ride was very jerky when the DCT was shifting gears in aggressive sport mode riding. She did not like it. I also experienced a fair amount of drive train slop, so that off-on throttle transitions required close attention to throttle movements (having no manual clutch to smooth them out). The slop was more pronounced on the heavy Goldwing than on the smaller NC700. Downshifts were a little jerky when coming in to a gentle stop, as opposed to just coasting in with a disengaged clutch. The DCT does what’s its supposed to do, but frankly, I can do it with a manual clutch more smoothly; not always faster, perhaps, but more smoothly. I think there is still room for improvement on the DCT.

I totally understand that DCT belongs on the Goldwing. I imagine that DCT will outsell manual by a considerable amount. Honda did the right thing.

My wife and I tested the new GL1800 and I gave Honda my feedback. But, we’re definitely keeping our 2002 model. I think it may be a case where we simply are not the target audience for the redesigned GL1800.
 
Last edited:

Griff

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2013
Messages
1,965
Reaction score
96
Points
48
Location
Wicklow Ireland
Very interesting post. I am a former 2002 GL1800 owner and I had it for 10 years. It was mostly used only for long tours so the mileage at 55,000 miles was low when I eventually parted with it because of weight versus age etc etc. However inho it was one hell of a good bike. Like 670 I have to concentrate on smooth shifting especially two up as my Wife has a bad back. On the Wing that was easy. As such a jerky DCT on any bike that I would use two up would also be a deal breaker for me. My current DCT bike (X-Adv) has a very smooth DCT operation from second gear up. In the top three gears when fully warmed up I only notice the changes because of a change in engine note. At low speeds in the lowest 2 gears it can be a bit jerky especially on downchanges. However I am otherwise very happy with the system.

My X has excellent pillion capacity and that is something my former NCX never had. Accordingly it is planned for the Wife to take a spin on the back shortly. That will be an interesting ride and I will report back on her opinion of DCT.
 

dduelin

Site Supporter
Joined
Jul 16, 2012
Messages
4,196
Reaction score
269
Points
83
Location
North FL USA
On the GW forums there are Oldwing owners that believe they can shift as smooth as or smoother than DCT does and they probably can during a narrowly defined set of circumstances. For most every other circumstance the DCT shifts smoother and it does it 100% of the time. Learning to really understand and really use DCT isn't something acquired in a few demo rides. I'm still learning 30,000 miles in. I was talking to a AT DCT owner yesterday that has about +/-6,000 miles on his AT DCT now. He admitted to not liking his DCT choice after the period of buyer's remorse but now he marvels in learning new ways to use it and how much DCT enhances his riding experiences. He loves it. His riding career spans 40 years.
 

670cc

Super Moderator
Staff member
Super Mods
Site Supporter
Joined
Aug 7, 2012
Messages
7,691
Reaction score
649
Points
113
Location
USA
On the GW forums there are Oldwing owners that believe they can shift as smooth as or smoother than DCT does and they probably can during a narrowly defined set of circumstances. For most every other circumstance the DCT shifts smoother and it does it 100% of the time. Learning to really understand and really use DCT isn't something acquired in a few demo rides. I'm still learning 30,000 miles in. I was talking to a AT DCT owner yesterday that has about +/-6,000 miles on his AT DCT now. He admitted to not liking his DCT choice after the period of buyer's remorse but now he marvels in learning new ways to use it and how much DCT enhances his riding experiences. He loves it. His riding career spans 40 years.
Not learning to use a DCT to its full potential in a few (20 or so) demo rides makes perfect sense, as one could certainly not master the full potential of a clutch in that time, either. I don’t spend time on GL forums, but I’m not surprised to hear that other experienced Oldwing riders can shift their manuals as smoothly as the DCT.

The DCT in my car is very smooth and transparent to the driver, and I do like it. I’ve learned to work the throttle to make the transmission behave the way I want, although intervention is rarely required. However, in a car the drive train is more isolated from the driver, so that’s a factor in the apparent smoothness. There is no way I could drive a manual car as smoothly as the auto.

During discussions with other WingDing attendees, there are those excited with the new ‘Wing and those that are uninterested, as you might expect. I wasn’t a Winger when the 1800 came out in 2001 to replace the 1500, but I’m sure those divisions existed then, too. Nowadays you rarely see a 1500. With all the Goldwings built past, present, and future, there will always be options for everyone. Adding DCT as an option certainly expands the choices.

But, the main point of my test rides was to evaluate the new GL1800 as a whole, and as I tried to say, Honda apparently did a good job building the 2018 for its intended market. I’m sure they did a great deal of research. It’s just that, for today, I’m apparently not part of that audience. I feel no excitement. It wouldn’t totally surprise me that someday I might set it’s shortcomings aside, or my needs might change, and I’d have one anyway.
 
Last edited:

670cc

Super Moderator
Staff member
Super Mods
Site Supporter
Joined
Aug 7, 2012
Messages
7,691
Reaction score
649
Points
113
Location
USA
I looked over the official Honda 2018 GL1800 accessory catalog. If you’re thinking of adding OEM accessories, you’d better check their prices (!) and your wallet first. If your wallet is fat, no problem.

An example is the rear center mounted brake light. I noted that the rear lighting is minimal compared to earlier years, and this might be a desirable option. Cost to add the light: $500 total when you also buy the required rear rack and wiring kit.

The centerstand is not standard equipment, apparently. To your $31,500 airbag tour model, add another $150 for the stand.

Want to add a CB radio? Total list price after all the required parts: $1250. Add more to that if you want passenger control.
 
Last edited:

dduelin

Site Supporter
Joined
Jul 16, 2012
Messages
4,196
Reaction score
269
Points
83
Location
North FL USA
I looked over the official Honda 2018 GL1800 accessory catalog. If you’re thinking of adding OEM accessories, you’d better check their prices (!) and your wallet first. If your wallet is fat, no problem.

An example is the rear center mounted brake light. I noted that the rear lighting is minimal compared to earlier years, and this might be a desirable option. Cost to add the light: $500 total when you also buy the required rear rack and wiring kit.

The centerstand is not standard equipment, apparently. To your $31,500 airbag tour model, add another $150 for the stand.

Want to add a CB radio? Total list price after all the required parts: $1250.
Goldwing accessories were never cheap. To get a rear LED trunk mounted light on a 2001-2017 model is $300, but no rack. If you want the rack, it's $500 with the light.

The center stand is standard equipment on the 2018 Tours. It's optional on the base '18 Goldwing like it was on the old base F6B which occupies a similar relationship to the old Wing that the new GW does to the Tour.

The bulky CB switch collection for the optional CB was on every GW built from 2001 to 2017 IIRC. The CB switch is not on the slimmed down '18 unless you spring for the optional CB which makes sense - why make the non-user pay for it? The cost of the switch is pretty much the difference in cost $940 old vs $1250 new.
 

Hank

Active Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2016
Messages
1,057
Reaction score
11
Points
38
Location
Oklahoma
Yes, the accessories are pricey. I added the rear rack and lights, fog lights, extra data port, passenger hand extensions. I also installed lid lox, Utopia backrest, and a pigtail.
And bought an extra key fob.
The seat is indeed a one or two hour seat, which I will fix one way or the other.
I found the DCT benefitted from the recalibration procedure, as NC700s sometimes do.
Also the forward and backward creepers were better afterwards.
Riding my NC700 this morning after about a thousand miles on the Wing, I was reminded of what a good bike the NC is for the price.
 
Last edited:

easterncoyote

New Member
Joined
May 20, 2017
Messages
66
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Location
Guelph Ontario Canada
This is probably the wrong thread to post this in, but I wonder why Honda isn’t offering DCT in some of the smaller displacement bikes to attract new riders? I would guess that learning to use the clutch and gears is a big barrier for many new riders who might otherwise take up motorcycling. Do any other manufacturers offer motorcycles with automatic transmissions or is Honda the only one?
 

Hank

Active Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2016
Messages
1,057
Reaction score
11
Points
38
Location
Oklahoma
I agree. From comments people make, I think they would attract a lot more new riders with DCT in say, a 300, than with Bold New Graphics or ads featuring edgy skinny guys with beards.
 

670cc

Super Moderator
Staff member
Super Mods
Site Supporter
Joined
Aug 7, 2012
Messages
7,691
Reaction score
649
Points
113
Location
USA
This is probably the wrong thread to post this in, but I wonder why Honda isn’t offering DCT in some of the smaller displacement bikes to attract new riders? I would guess that learning to use the clutch and gears is a big barrier for many new riders who might otherwise take up motorcycling. Do any other manufacturers offer motorcycles with automatic transmissions or is Honda the only one?
During my opinion survey interview session with a Honda rep at their WingDing booth, there was discussion about smaller bikes and my wife’s 250 scooter and why she has it, and new riders, etc, etc. I was asked if I thought automatic transmissions in small motorcycles would be advantageous for attracting new riders to the sport. Of course, I answered, “yes.”

I’m sure Honda has done homework, and the obvious conclusion has to be that DCT or CVT belongs as an option in entry level motorcycles. CVT automatics already dominate the scooter market. In my opinion though, automatic DCTs would be expensive to build in the very cost competetive realm of small motorcycles. But, I won’t be surprised if we see one soon. Then the public can vote with their wallets.
 
Last edited:

Griff

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2013
Messages
1,965
Reaction score
96
Points
48
Location
Wicklow Ireland
This is probably the wrong thread to post this in, but I wonder why Honda isn’t offering DCT in some of the smaller displacement bikes to attract new riders? I would guess that learning to use the clutch and gears is a big barrier for many new riders who might otherwise take up motorcycling. Do any other manufacturers offer motorcycles with automatic transmissions or is Honda the only one?
Very good point. As I am the wrong side of 65 and leaning more and more towards lighter bikes I have my eye on one bike in particular and that is the CB500X. I am also now a confirmed fan of DCT and a CB500X with DCT would be almost perfect. Anyone got views on this ?
 

Nofear2trek

Elite Member
Joined
Aug 2, 2015
Messages
667
Reaction score
0
Points
16
Location
Usually on my 50ft liveaboard (tiny house) yacht t
Very good point. As I am the wrong side of 65 and leaning more and more towards lighter bikes I have my eye on one bike in particular and that is the CB500X. I am also now a confirmed fan of DCT and a CB500X with DCT would be almost perfect. Anyone got views on this ?
Plus +1 Griff. You took the same words outta my mouth. Aging (66 & still counting) caused loss of muscle mass is causing me to consider a lighter bike to continue my ability to lift and right a dropped bike when riding alone off pavement. Not wanting to be in the situation of an upside down turtle, my eyes are wandering from my NC’. A lighter DCT bike would quickly catch my attention.

2BF7F301-DF1D-4A8D-BA5B-A644EC6E1EA9.jpg

Ray
 

670cc

Super Moderator
Staff member
Super Mods
Site Supporter
Joined
Aug 7, 2012
Messages
7,691
Reaction score
649
Points
113
Location
USA
Very good point. As I am the wrong side of 65 and leaning more and more towards lighter bikes I have my eye on one bike in particular and that is the CB500X. I am also now a confirmed fan of DCT and a CB500X with DCT would be almost perfect. Anyone got views on this ?
While the CB500X is slightly lighter than the NC products, and with a bit more user friendly ergos, I think it is too similar to the NC7*0X to bother making an automatic version. The CB300 engine would be a better candidate, IMO, so as to spread the automatic option out from the smallest to the largest bikes in Honda’s lineup.

I talked with another Honda rep at the WingDing show, and we were briefly on the subject of, oddly enough, Rally Raid CB500Xs. I mentioned that I had difficulty fiinding used CB500Xs for sale. He commented that, (in the US) the CB500X was not a big seller. Still, you have three other models in the lineup using the 500 engine.
 
Last edited:

Red Rider

Elite Member
Site Supporter
Joined
Jan 25, 2018
Messages
455
Reaction score
32
Points
28
Location
Alabama
While the CB500X is slightly lighter than the NC products, and with a bit more user friendly ergos, I think it is too similar to the NC7*0X to bother making an automatic version. The CB300 engine would be a better candidate, IMO, so as to spread the automatic option out from the smallest to the largest bikes in Honda’s lineup.

I talked with another Honda rep at the WingDing show, and we were briefly on the subject of, oddly enough, Rally Raid CB500Xs. I mentioned that I had difficulty fiinding used CB500Xs for sale. He commented that, (in the US) the CB500X was not a big seller. Still, you have three other models in the lineup using the 500 engine.
I’ve often wondered about that; how dealers inadvertently influence sales or lack there of by what they choose to stock. Dealers aren’t excited about a new model - for whatever reason, choose not to stock it, or sell the one and never restock it, and few people ever get to see it. Fewer still actually get to own one. End result, the bike is a “non-seller” and gets dropped by the manufacturer. A lot of dealers are multi-brand and have limited space and resources so they have to pick and choose, but it’s frustrating for the enthusiast or new customers to see what’s really available.
 

Griff

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2013
Messages
1,965
Reaction score
96
Points
48
Location
Wicklow Ireland
While the CB500X is slightly lighter than the NC products, and with a bit more user friendly ergos, I think it is too similar to the NC7*0X to bother making an automatic version. The CB300 engine would be a better candidate, IMO, so as to spread the automatic option out from the smallest to the largest bikes in Honda’s lineup.

I talked with another Honda rep at the WingDing show, and we were briefly on the subject of, oddly enough, Rally Raid CB500Xs. I mentioned that I had difficulty fiinding used CB500Xs for sale. He commented that, (in the US) the CB500X was not a big seller. Still, you have three other models in the lineup using the 500 engine.
I had a run on the Rally Raid (fully kitted) 500 and initially wasn't impressed with it offroad or on. It felt like what it was, a bike designed with lower suspension that was raised above its station, thereby having a top heavy feel to it. I regret not trying the other available Rally Raid model with simply better suspension . However the CB remains strong in my focus for the future.
 

b_rubenstein

New Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2016
Messages
325
Reaction score
2
Points
0
Location
Melbourne FL
Many states in the US require people to pass the course given by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation is always given using motorcycles with manual transmissions. If you can't ride a bike with a clutch, you don't get a motorcycle endorsement. There is no question in my mind that a new rider, in traffic, is better off with a bike that they don't have to think about shifting so that they can maintain better situational awareness.
 

670cc

Super Moderator
Staff member
Super Mods
Site Supporter
Joined
Aug 7, 2012
Messages
7,691
Reaction score
649
Points
113
Location
USA
For the 2019 model year, the GL1800 keeps the same dark red and dark blue color choices, but drops the white choice and replaces it with black. For me, that’s another nail in the coffin for the new 1800. If you want white, get a 2018 now. If you were waiting for black, rejoice.

Bring back Hot Rod Yellow!
 
Last edited:

Griff

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2013
Messages
1,965
Reaction score
96
Points
48
Location
Wicklow Ireland
For the first time yesterday I carried my Wife on my DCT equipped X-Adv. Over the years I have become very good at smooth gear changes and riding smoothly when carrying Her especially because of Her bad back. Yesterday it became clear that riding at normal pillion pace, for smoothness of gearchange I could not compete with DCT. That would depend on the Bike to some degree and our current two up bike is a VStrom L6 1000 ABS. Its fuelling can be a little abrupt at times and the Honda has it beaten slightly also in that regard. My Wife still prefers the Suzuki for leg ergos and protection, and She was a little more exposed on the back of the X. However when the time comes to change our two up bike in the future, whatever we get will have to include DCT !
 

johnakay

Site Supporter
Premium Member
Joined
Oct 28, 2012
Messages
2,706
Reaction score
37
Points
48
Location
United Kingdom
haven't you considered the 'S' model griff .
smaller and easier to ride than the x model.
once I'm done with my 900 that'll be my next bike.
just like the DCT and the frunk. by that time I'll be 70.
 
Last edited:
Top