Honda's Goldwing GL1200.
The GL1200 arrived for the 1984 model year and continued the trend set by it's predecessor. There was the unfaired Standard, the dressed Interstate and the top of the range Aspencade, which had the Type 3 audio system. New, stiffer frame with major improvements, bigger and more responsive 1182cc version of the flat-four engine with bags more torque and hydraulic valve adjusters, better suspension and handling were the main attractions on the new Goldwing. Carried forward from the previous Aspencade were the now better air suspension controls, linked brakes and the new Aspencade had a more advanced audio system and upgraded LCD dash. The front wheel was a rather unusually small (for such a large machine) 16" and this gave the steering a very light feel. The styling of the plastics was more aggressive than the GL1100, the fairing, trunk, panniers and lights all had a more squarish brute look which was evident on many motorcycles and cars for a while in the eighties. The flowing lines of the previous model were not quite as subtle on the GL1200, but the integration of the luggage was much better now because there were less gaps and spaces between the panels. Hondaline could supply you with a CB radio and other fripperies considered essential by many owners of the new machine. The aftermarket suppliers had a field day, small cottage industries had sprung up everywhere to feed the habit and the vast range of chrome goodies, backrests, lights etc available for the Goldwing rivalled that which could be had for Harley-Davidson owners.
1985 saw Honda drop the Standard unfaired Goldwing and alongside the Interstate and Aspencade they brought in the GL1200LTD for this year only. The LTD had computerised fuel injection, auto levelling rear suspension and a sophisticated trip computer. The fuel injection, while not entirely without it's faults in the real world, transformed the GL1200 into a real animal which made the carburettor models seem sluggish in comparison. The LTD was only available in two-tone gold/brown.
1986 saw only some cosmetic changes to the Interstate and Aspencade, the LTD was replaced by the SE-i, which came in Pearl White only and had little over the LTD except for Dolby noise reduction on the Panasonic Type 3 audio system (the Aspencade got the same audio treatment) and a slightly better seat which was also fitted to the Interstate and Aspencade. The SE-i had ballooned out to over 770lbs.
The final year of production for the GL1200 was 1987 and there was little change. No doubt Honda were saving the major surprise for the following year, although the Goldwing faithful had been expecting the rumoured super Goldwing for the current model year. The SE-i was gone and the Interstate and Aspencade got a much plusher saddle, the best on any Goldwing to date. The final drive and differential had been made much smoother and quieter, which resulted in the best sorted GL1200 so far. -
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