In the midst of this week’s four-wheeled debuts at the Tokyo Motor Show was a global unveiling on this side of the Pacific Ocean, the all-new 2018 Honda Gold Wing.

This is the Gold Wing’s first redesign in 16 years, and it’s as innovative as any of the cars unveiled in Japan.

In redesign of this iconic motorcycle, it lost over 80 pounds compared to the outgoing bike, which is over 10 percent of its total curb weight. The 2018 Gold Wing also features a front suspension that cuts road shock by 30 percent due to its double-wishbone design. The front wheel now travels vertically instead of diagonally, which not only improves handling and stability but allows the engine and rider to sit farther forward.

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Moving the weight forward enhances the Gold Wing’s stability and steering response, giving Honda’s ultimate grand tourer a much sportier demeanor. Throw in the 2018 Gold Wing’s smaller fairing and you might think this bike has traded in its long-distance chops for canyon carving.

More nimble and efficient

Honda assures us the bike’s wind protection and overall highway comfort hasn’t suffered, but it happily admits to creating a far more nimble machine. This upgraded 1,833 cc engine is more fuel efficient, benefiting from four valves per cylinder versus two in the previous Gold Wing. Lighter weight, a smaller fairing and a more fuel-efficient engine allowed Honda to reduce fuel capacity by 1.1 gallons without impacting the Gold Wing’s total touring range.

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Speaking of range, the breadth of technology on the new bike reads like a premium luxury sedan. Cruise control, ABS, navigation, LED lighting, hill start assist and even smart key technology and Apple CarPlay all come standard on the 2018 Gold Wing starting at $23,500. The upscale Gold Wing Tour adds an electronically adjustable suspension, top case storage, a taller windscreen and front and rear speakers for a starting price of $26,700. Honda continues to offer airbag protection for motorcyclists on the new Gold Wing, though that model pushes the price to $31,500.

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