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The Honda GL1500 Goldwing was announced for the 1988 model year.

 

It's arrival came at a time when Kawasaki's Voyager, Suzuki's Cavalcade and the Yamaha Venture Royale had started to challenge the GL1200 Goldwing.

 

Unfortunately, these challengers, while being great machines in their own way, concentrated on adding more in the way of luxuries to their machines and had they attended to the real needs of a touring bike, such as reducing weight and improving handling, there is no doubt that they would have been a real threat to the Honda flagship.

 

Nonetheless, by 1987 the touring market was decidedly crowded and Honda had been working on the next Goldwing for a few years.

 

The result of their efforts was an astounding machine that looked, handled and felt light years ahead of any touring motorcycle to date, period.

Younger riders looking at the GL1500 twelve years later cannot really appreciate it's impact when it arrived.

 

This monster had a silky smooth six-cylinder engine that pulled like a train, a reverse gear and it's appearance was years ahead of it's time with a design that in spite of being the heaviest Wing to date, actually felt lighter and did the job a lot better than before.

 

Such was the impact that the GL1500 had on the opposition that it ruled almost unopposed for more or less it's whole production life, in spite of receiving few real improvements over the years.

 

The late 90's seen the only real threat to the Goldwing, BMW's KLT1200 and in true Honda fashion, the 1800 Goldwing made it's appearance in time to set the standard for touring motorcycles once again.  

 

1988
Honda ups the ante again with the ultimate touring bike, the fourth-generation Gold Wing GL1500 six-cylinder. The 1520cc six sets fresh standards of smoothness, silence and power for the class, while an all-new chassis redefines the limits of handling and comfort, and a unique-to-motorcycling reverse gear and single-key operation of the saddlebag and trunk lids offer unparalleled convenience.

 

1989
Few changes are needed for such a landmark model, even in its second year of production. The six remains as a single model with no variants, and, as in '88, options include a CB radio, saddlebag light kit, cornering light kit, color-matched saddlebag and trunk spoilers, color-matched lower leg air vents, a rear speaker kit, a trunk light/mirror, a passenger audio control, and exit vent trim.

 

1990
An SE model joins the standard GL1500, and both benefit from a host of updates for 1990, including carb and cam revisions for better rideability, noise reductions, even tighter bodywork fit and finish, and smoother fork action. The SE sports special two-tone paint, a three-position center windscreen vent, a special rear trunk spoiler with running/brake light, adjustable passenger footrests, and a upgraded, full-logic sound system.

 

1991
Once again, the Gold Wing counts three members in its extended family, with the SE joined by Aspencade and Interstate models. The SE remains largely unchanged for '91 save for new two-tone gold paint, and the Aspencade takes on the role of the previous standard-model GL1500. The new model, the Interstate, features a redesigned seat for an 0.8-inch-lower saddle height, and 40 pounds less weight for a sportier, more maneuverable feel.

 

1992
Big news for the Gold Wing line in 1992 centers on the Interstate, with a revised and upgraded sound system. The Panasonic unit features a 25-watt-per-channel amplifier, standard GL speakers, large and easy-to-use knobs, an intercom, a CB radio interface, a handlebar-mounted control unit, and a special input jack connector allowing the use of a portable cassette or CD player.

 

1993
Each Gold Wing model now comes in three colors, with the SE benefiting from such updates as rear-mounted speakers and 40-channel CB radio that were previously optional. On the SE and the Aspencade, the cruise control now reads crankshaft speed more directly for more precise road-speed control. All 1520cc six-cylinder engines now use needle bearings in their rocker arm pivots.

 

1994
Nearly two decades after its introduction, the Gold Wing continues to define the touring class through the process of continuous refinement. Honda again offers three models for '94, the SE in four color choices, and the Aspencade and Interstate in three choices each. The Interstate carries on in its role as the lightest member of the Wing family, the Aspencade remains the full-featured model, and the SE anchors the very top of the Wing family tree.

 

1995
Honda celebrates two decades of touring excellence with the 20th Anniversary Gold Wings. The Interstate, Aspencade and SE are all distinguished by commemorative gold trim, a distinctive new headlight signature, and other styling treatments. Beneath the surface, the Gold Wings also boast a lower seat height and sporty new suspension that offers even greater agility while maintaining the Wing's legendary ride compliance.

 

1996-2000
Two decades after its introduction, the Gold Wing still stands in a class of its own as the ultimate luxury touring machine. Honda makes no major model changes to the Gold Wing line until the venerable GL1500 is replaced with the radical aluminum-frame Gold Wing 1800.

 

  

 

 

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