Airbag Goldwing vs "normal" one

Information and questions on GL1800 Goldwings (2001-Present)
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Airbag Goldwing vs "normal" one

Post by GillesGLW » Thu Oct 29, 2015 11:46 am

Hi Everyone,

I stopped today at my local Honda dealer to say hello and have a quick look at the latest bikes he has in stock.
He "kindly" told me that he recently got 2 GL1800 with less than 60K Miles, one from 2004 (very nice in red color) and a more recent one, 2007 or 2008 with an airbag.

I hope that nobody will reply to this post, but did you already "experiment" the airbag on your GL1800? Is it worth looking for a bike with such option?

I'm still with my 1500 (that I love!), which will get a second round of improvement this winter (brakes, lights) but I believe that I will never be able to compete with a 1800 in terms of breaking... and I'm missing the ABS.

Happy to read from you!


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Re: Airbag Goldwing vs "normal" one

Post by WingAdmin » Thu Oct 29, 2015 12:35 pm

I sure wouldn't mind having one, and given the choice I think I'd probably go for it, despite how much more difficult it makes it to work on the bike.

A crash test video:

This one is interesting as it shows the same crash twice, one on a GL1800 with an airbag and one without. The dummy on the crash without the airbag looks like he takes the full force of impact on its head, bending its neck back:

And a Honda on-stage demo that shows just how fast the thing deploys:

This is the guy who had the very first airbag deployment, according to Honda. He T-boned a minivan while riding at 37 mph, no helmet. He walked away with bruised shins. The bike was written off.

First airbag deployment
First airbag deployment

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Fatwing Chris
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Re: Airbag Goldwing vs "normal" one

Post by Fatwing Chris » Thu Oct 29, 2015 4:46 pm

Air bag is a big plus as far as I'm concerned,but either way the 07 or 08 has a lot of other improvements over the 04.Improvements that could save you thousands in repairs.There are still frames showing up broken(being replaced free in the States,but not in Canada)on the 01 to 04's .There's also the Alternator Drive Gears failing that is a motor out of the frame repair.
If I'da known it would last this long,I'da taken better care of it.
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Re: Airbag Goldwing vs "normal" one

Post by themainviking » Fri Oct 30, 2015 7:20 am

As my 2009 Airbag model is the first Goldwing I ever owned, I cannot attest to any quality differences. I can tell you that the Airbag does not deploy erroneously (so far) and I have hit a pothole with the front wheel that was enough to damage a tire. I hope to never be able to say the Airbag saved my face, but I would be happier if it did than if I died. I did not want an Airbag when I bought the bike, but after viewing all the same videos WingAdmin posted for you (back when I bought the bike) I am not unhappy to have it. They did not charge me for this option, as they were having great difficulty selling bikes WITH Airbags, so they discounted them that much more. If there is only a moderate difference in price between the older and newer wings, I think I would take the newer, with the Airbag. Color counts too, LMAO. You said one is red, so you must realize that red is the fastest color, and if there is a wine color, it is the prettiest. Silver or White show the dirt less. Black shows it most. Chrome is not a consideration, as on a Goldwing it is pretty much all plastichrome. Plastichrome, however, marks less easily than painted plastic.

Insurance Company wise, here in Canada, if my Airbag is ever deployed, the bike will be scrapped, as they will write it off rather than replace an Airbag.
It ain't about the destination - it's all about the journey


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Re: Airbag Goldwing vs "normal" one

Post by Easy rider » Fri Oct 30, 2015 1:41 pm

On the other side, locked storage space instead of Airbag, is also very praktical for keeping documents, wallet, sunglasses, gun(?!), etc...

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Re: Airbag Goldwing vs "normal" one

Post by themainviking » Fri Oct 30, 2015 4:29 pm

You can get a real gun in that locked storage pocket? Wow. I could never get my 9 in there. It has to reside in the trunk or a saddlebag. Or in my shoulder holster. I guess a .32 might fit, but that's not really a gun, LMAO. But yup... you lose that locking pocket when you choose an airbag model.
It ain't about the destination - it's all about the journey


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Re: Airbag Goldwing vs "normal" one

Post by g2loq » Sat Oct 31, 2015 3:18 pm

Bonsoir Gilles,

Fatwings Chris is right: There was a lot of improvements in between a pre and post-2006 model (Alternator, seat heating etc).

I am driving a airbag model because of a sudden opportunity; but should I have the choice I would prefer a basic model: You may enjoy an additionnal stowage compartment and install a special bag (with lower surface trimmed to accomodate the commands of the radio) and last but not least, you do not need over 4 hours to replace the air filter !!!

I admit, in the present case, a choice in between a normal GL18 without the bettering of the 2006 models and a post 2006, but with the inconvenient of the airbag is quite tricky... Note though, that in Europe the airbag model is coming also with a GPS -that you can update (cf.: the FGI Forum, where you know me...) This additional feature may drive your choice...

Kind regards,

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Re: Airbag Goldwing vs "normal" one

Post by PastoT » Wed Dec 16, 2015 5:30 pm

I have an Illusion Red 2002, so fast it changes its paint. It is my first Gold Wing after decades of waiting in the wings (no pun intended). My restraint was financially but had I not been in that situation I would have bought a post 06 model. Don't get me wrong my bike is perfect for me, but I spent a lot of time and energy to modify it with various electronics, heated grips and seat and so forth. Several of my upgrades are standard on newer models. I'd sooner have bought an air-bagger than one with ABS, but that's me (I have but despise ABS on all my 4 wheelers and hate it). Also at the point where the airbag model sits in the food chain you have comfort package, premium audio, Sat Radio, NAV and then the airbag. I'd go with the air bag if funds are not the limiting factor.
Tom, in Mountain Home, Idaho
2002 GL1800 (Illusion Red) Non-ABS, 122k miles
Retired Air Force

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Re: Airbag Goldwing vs "normal" one

Post by goldwings 4 ever » Wed Dec 23, 2015 3:50 pm

I have a 2014 Airbag. In Canada you have 2 choices for GL1800's - fully loaded with or without airbag. I chose the air bag because on Aug 26, 2014 a woman in a Ford Ranger coming the opposite direction pulled left in front of me when I was doing 55 MPH on my 2000 GL1500. I spent a week in a hospital in Columbus Ohio, and the next 3 months off work and healing. I hope to never have it happen again, however, if it does I'm counting on the airbag to reduce injuries.

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