Given the passenger seat on most of the bikes I bring home, it’s usually pretty hard to convince my significant other to go for an all-day ride, especially if it’s cold out. After one look at the lounge-like chair on the new Gold Wing Tour, however, my wife Loren was actually excited for our test ride in chilly central Texas, and she found the controls for her heated seat before I’d even fired up the King Wing’s flat-six. For more than four decades now the Gold Wing has been one of the most comfortable places to spend time on two wheels, and for 2018 it gets even better.
It starts, as you might expect, with where you park your butt. The pleated and bolstered captain’s chairs of the previous generation are gone, but after riding a 2017 model and a 2018 back to back we didn’t miss them, and we certainly don’t miss them looking like grandpa’s recliner. I prefer the softer foam of the new seat, and the way the narrower forward portion makes it easier to put your feet down at stops. There’s also a revised riding position that’s a little less awkwardly upright. Loren, petite as she is, thought the previous-gen seat was just too big, voting the 2018 setup best because it left less of a gap between me and her. She voiced the same sentiment when we rode BMW’s K1600GTL and R1200RT, preferring the more compact layout of the RT since it made her feel more secure.