Harley-Davidson Road Glide | Honda Gold Wing F6B | Dissimilar Metals

Two Modern Baggers, Worlds Apart

By Kevin Smith, Photography by Kevin Wing

Honda’s thrustworthy Gold Wing engine has just 142cc more displacement than Harley’s 103-inch mill, but three times the cylinders. Result: Torque and horsepower superiority across the board. With torque that tapers gently in the second half and a relatively low redline for the engine’s stroke, Honda’s six-banger is clearly built to grunt, not wail. And that it does. But look at the Road Glide’s torque curve. The early peak, at just 2900 rpm, tells you exactly what Harley had in mind with its famed long-stroke machine: “Evolved, but carrying on a legacy.”


Numbers, as is often the case, tell only part of the story. Yes, the Harley carries its man-sized handgrips higher and further from the rider, and the feet-forward stance makes the seating angle look strange, but it all manages to work in concert with the bike’s essential personality. Not immediately obvious are the changes in the Honda’s ergos from a standard Gold Wing. In fact, the new, longer seat effectively moves the grips 4.6 inches forward and 2.2 in. up, even though the bars are identical to a Gold Wing’s. It’s a difference you can feel.Tech Spec

Harley-Davidson Road Glide Custom | Price: $19,799

Engine type: a-c 45-deg. V-twin

Valve train: OHV, 4v

Displacement: 1690cc

Bore x stroke: 98.4 x 111.3mm

Compression: 9.6:1

Fuel system: EFI, ride by wire

Clutch: Wet, multi-plate

Transmission: 6-speed

Measured horsepower: 66.9 bhp @ 4900 rpm

Measured torque: 84.4 lb.-ft. @ 2900 rpm

Corrected 1/4-mile: 13.75 sec. @ 97.66 mph

Top-gear roll-on, 60-80 mph: 6.74 sec.

Frame: Tubular-steel double cradle

Front suspension: Showa 41.3mm fork

Rear suspension: Showa shocks with air-adjustable preload

Front brake: Dual Brembo four-piston calipers, 300mm discs with ABS

Rear brake: Brembo four-piston caliper, 300mm disc with ABS

Front tire: 130/70B-18 Dunlop D408F

Rear tire: 180/65B-16 Dunlop D407

Rake/trail: 26.0°/6.7 in.

Seat height: 27.3in.

Wheelbase: 63.5 in.

Fuel capacity: 6.0 gal.

Weight (tank full/empty): 825/789 lbs.

Fuel mileage (hi/low/avg.): 56/35/44 mpg

Colors: Black Denim, Big Blue Pearl, Candy Orange, Vivid Black

Available: Now

Warranty: 24 mo., unlimited mi.

Contact: Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Co.
3700 W. Juneau Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53201

Honda Gold Wing F6B | Price: $19,999

Engine type: l-c opposed-six

Valve train: SOHC, 12v

Displacement: 1832cc

Bore x stroke: 74.0 x 71.0mm

Compression: 9.8:1

Fuel system: EFI

Clutch: Wet, multi-plate

Transmission: 5-speed

Measured horsepower: 94.4 bhp @ 5400 rpm

Measured torque: 102.1 lb.-ft. @ 4000 rpm

Corrected 1/4-mile: 12.19 sec. @ 106.59 mph

Top-gear roll-on, 60-80 mph: 4.45 sec.

Frame: Aluminum twin-spar

Front suspension: Showa 45mm fork

Rear suspension: Showa shock with adjustable spring preload

Front brake: Dual Nissin three-piston calipers, 296mm discs

Rear brake: Nissin three-piston caliper, 240mm disc

Front tire: 130/70R-18 Bridgestone G709

Rear tire: 180/60R-16 Bridgestone G704

Rake/trail: 29.2°/4.3 in.

Seat height: 28.5 in.

Wheelbase: 66.5 in.

Fuel capacity: 6.6 gal.

Weight (tank full/empty): 854/814 lbs.

Fuel mileage (hi/low/avg.): 44/32/38 mpg

Colors: Black, red

Available: Now

Warranty : 12 mo., 12,000 mi.

Contact: American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
P.O. Box 2200
Torrance, CA 90509

By Kevin Smith
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Now all Honda needs to do is remove 2 cylinders and 250 lbs to have a great light-heavy weight bagger for the masses. Do that and I'm first in line with cash. Sorry Honda, still too big and heavy.
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