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2008 Honda Gold Wing Long Term Test - Report #11

Houston, we have a problem.


2008 Honda Gold Wing Long Term Test - Report #11

The Gold Wing's massive saddle folds up to reveal the battery.

Photo © Basem Wasef
Apart from a pesky saddlebag latch (which was fixed under warranty) and a puncture-attracting front tire, the Honda Gold Wing has been a paragon of reliability over the past 16 months. So I was incredulous when I hit the “start” button one sunny afternoon, and was met with silence.

“What?,” I thought to myself, “Can it be?”

The mighty Gold Wing served as a loyal two-wheeled compadre for over a year, and I hadn’t even called upon it nearly as much as I would have liked to. Despite sitting dormant for weeks at a time, it always eventually fired up without a complaint. This time, I had just ridden it nearly 80 miles—plenty to keep the battery charged—so the eerie quiet was especially puzzling.

I parked the ‘Wing against the curb and gave Honda of Hollywood a call, since they handled the bike’s jammed trunk graciously enough, and I anticipated another phone call to AAA in order to have the bike towed. “Have you checked the battery leads?” a service tech asked, to which I replied, “No. How do I access them?”

Turns out there are four bolts attaching the grab rail next to the seat; remove those bolts, and the huge seat assembly folds up to reveal the bike’s inner workings. The bundles of wiring, the unfamiliarly-shaped tube frame, and the bike’s guts are all hidden beneath the plush saddle, but there it was, as plain as day: a battery lead that was resting ever so slightly out of its groove. A quick tightening with a screwdriver, a twist of the key, and a push of the “start” button, and the flat-6 fired right up. Go figure.

So with that, the Honda Gold Wing proved that its reliability is so even-tempered, so imperturbable, so boringly predictable, that perhaps the only thing stopping it from starting is a loose battery cable. When it comes to touring motorcycles, there are worse things in life, really.

>>Click here for the previous long term report, "Does This Motorcycle Make Me Look Old?"<<

>>Click here for a Honda Gold Wing Long Term Photo Gallery<<

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