Ride America: Hawaii

Ride America: Hawaii

The islands of Hawaii have long been considered by many to be the ultimate escape from the trappings of day-to-day life. Its laid-back lifestyle, natural beauty and dramatic scenery are hard to beat. Riding down the road on your Wing can be difficult with so many things calling for your attention. But you can do it, we know you can!
Obviously, the biggest challenge when it comes to riding on any of the Hawaiian islands is safely transporting your Wing there or, alternatively, leasing one while there. Unfortunately, last we heard the only place that rented Wings on any of the islands is now closed. So looks like your options are to ship yours over or make a friend on the island who happens to own a Gold Wing and is also willing to lend it to you. If any of you has heard something different, let us know!
Keep reading to find out some of the best roads to ride in the Hawaiian Islands.
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Fast Facts:
1. The word Hawaii comes from Proto-Polynesian “hawaiki,” which means “Place of the Gods” or “Homeland.”
2. State Fish is Humuhumunukunukuapua’a (try saying that 10 times fast!)
3. Only state to commercially grow coffee (as well as vanilla beans and cacao)
4. Grows about 42 acres per year
5. Billboards, gambling and snakes are outlawed
6. If someone offers you a lei, it is considered impolite to refuse to wear it
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Big Island of Hawaii – “Island of Inspiration”
Must See – Volcanoes!
Must Ride – Kohala Mountain Rd
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If you’re looking for a more relaxed, casual quick trip you might want to consider Kohala Mountain Road Route 250 on the Big Island. Known by locals as “The High Road,” it takes you through all sorts of landscapes so you get a good variation.  Interested in seeing volcanoes? On this road you will see three awe-inspiring volcanoes: Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa and Hualalai. There are additionally several areas along the way, should you decide to pull over and snap a few pics.
The lookout at mile marker 8 has a great view of the Kohala Coast and Kawaihae Harbor down below. On clear days, you should be able to see Maui across the pacific waters. For a longer ride, you can add route 19 as well as 270 (coastal) and make it a loop!
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Maui – “The Valley Isle”
Must See – Haleakala Crater
Must Ride – East Maui Loop/Hana Highway
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This ride is about 112 miles and traverses a solid portion of Maui, both the interior and coastal. Along the way you will be overtaken by unforgettable sights to stimulate the senses: Panoramic ocean views, waterfalls, lush rainforests, rolling hills, evidence of lava flows and even ranches and farms with cows milling about. Riding through the Haleakala National Park just after the town of Hana, you will have the opportunity to visit the Pools of ‘Ohe’o (Seven Sacred Pools). Sounds mysterious! If you arrive at the right time, when water levels are up, there will be many waterfalls and natural pools that you can swim around in. A few things to remember if you do decide to check out the pools: It’s part of a National Forest so it costs money to get in, it can get pretty crowded later in the day and access is regularly restricted in wet weather.
If you only want to ride a portion of the loop, check out the section from Jaws to Hana. Also referred to as the Hana Highway, this stretch starts at a popular surf spot known as Jaws, on highway 36 and ends at the town of Hana on highway 360. It’s about 37 miles of jaw-dropping views (think Jurassic Park) but also technically challenging with hundreds of turns. There are expansive ocean views on one side and humbling mountain and waterfall views on the other. Just keep in mind, this ride is recommended for experienced riders only. Guard rails are few and the drop can be quite steep (over 1000 feet).
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Oahu – “The Heart of Hawaii”
Must See – USS Arizona Memorial in Honolulu
Must Ride – Tantalus
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If you are staying in or near Honolulu and feel like going for a quick jaunt up a mountain, consider the Tantalus run. It’s about 5 miles of constant incline and twisties. In other words, this is an incredibly technical road that requires an experienced rider and continuous concentration. You can expect to find some long straights as well as short, elevation changing hairpin turns. Most of the road should be in pretty good shape, but there’s a chance you come across some rough spots along the way.
On the way back down, keep an eye out for a couple look-outs that you may want to stop at to marvel at the view below. The best part about this road is, if you really enjoy it, it’s short enough that you can ride it over and over again to your hearts content!
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Kauai – “The Garden Island”
Must See – Na-pali coast
Must Ride – Waimea Canyon State Road 550
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Located on the west side of the island where it tends to be dry and sunny throughout the year, you  might say it was made to have a motorcycle riding down it. As with the other routes we’ve suggested, there are stunning views and plenty of opportunities to stop and take some pictures. For those of you who are sightseers, there are some great places to stop along the way: The Waimea Cottages, JoJo’s Shaved Ice, the Hanepepe Swinging Bridge and more. You won’t be disappointed!
For many well-travelled Wingers, Hawaii and Alaska remain two of the most elusive U.S. states to ride for obvious reasons. Ironically, because of their isolation they both also house some of the most picturesque, pristine and serene landscapes in the world. Riding your Gold Wing across any of the Hawaiian Islands is an experience you will never forget!
Keep an eye out for our next edition of Riding America where we will explore all that Alaska has to offer. If you’ve discovered some incredible rides in Alaska, feel free to let us know in the comments below or by emailing us at [email].
Also, if you have any roads or points of interest in Hawaii that you would like to add, feel free to let us all know in the comments section below!
The New 2018 Gold Wing: What We Got Right, What We Got Wrong

The New 2018 Gold Wing: What We Got Right, What We Got Wrong

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Last week we were so ecstatic about the prospect of a new Gold Wing, we took it upon ourselves to generously speculate on all the changes and updates. If you didn’t catch it, you can read it here: The New 2018 Goldwing: Breaking Down the Specs (We Think). Now that Honda has revealed both the Gold Wing and Gold Wing Tour (read more on that here: 2018 Goldwing Tour Officially Announced), we’re going to play a little Monday Morning Quarterback and review what predictions we got right, what we got wrong and what we totally missed. So without further ado…

What We Got Right

Power Windshield – Ok, this one was kind of obvious with the leaked images. There’s no way Honda was going to hide this feature.

 

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Suspension – A brand new, unique double-wishbone front-suspension design and Pro-Link® rear-suspension. What we didn’t know at the time was that Honda used Showa shocks and, for the upper-end Tour models, there’s an electric preload adjustment. The rider can easily and conveniently choose the corresponding preload setting to match their load: Rider only, Rider & Luggage, Rider and Passenger or Rider, Passenger and Luggage.

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Heated Seat and Grips – The heated seats are only available on the Tour Trim.

Smart Key – As we anticipated, when your key (fob) is close to the Wing, you are able to simply jump on, press a button and ride. What we couldn’t tell from the image was that the key-fob also houses an “answer back” feature to help us forgetful folks find our lost Wing by flashing the hazards! That’s pretty sweet.

DCT Automatic + Manual Options – All the reviews we’ve scoured so far seem to speak highly of the new Gold Wing’s 7 speed DCT Automatic. Just as we hoped, Honda is still offering a six speed manual option as well.

Self-Cancelling Signals

Ride Modes – With the 2018 Gold Wing, as we rightly assessed, you will have several riding modes to tailor your riding experience depending on specific riding conditions. They are Tour (the default mode), Sport, Econ and Rain Mode.

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What We Got Wrong

Driver Assist – We really wanted this to be true. But sadly, none of the Honda Sensing technology is included in the new Wing. We made a handful of predictions relating to this, including a stick shaker, the vent looking thing on top of the dash (still unsure what that is) and a couple buttons on the left handlebar controls. No Adaptive Cruise Control (although there is standard CC), Lane Assist and the like. The button we assumed was either Driver Assist related or Reverse turned out to simply be a “Home” button and the one below it is the “Back” button, which we got right. As a side note, the leaked pics didn’t have the CB controls to the right.

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“Speak” Button – From what we’ve read so far, it looks like this button will simply answer and end calls (which we did get right), but will not accept voice commands. Let us know if you read differently.

Ride Height Adjustment/Auto Braking Button – Both of the switches at the bottom of the lefthand controls relate to the new Wing’s “Reverse” function. Additionally, we thought the icon on the dash of the man sitting was the bike’s indicator for ride height adjustment. In reality, it relates to Suspension Preload adjustment. The new Gold Wing Tour’s suspension features four electronically adjustable modes for varying loads. You can select (1) Rider, (2) Rider with loaded bags, (3) Rider and passenger, and (4) Rider and passenger with loaded bags.

Camera On Trunk – What we thought was some sort of backup camera turned out to be a rack/brake light. Not as tech but certainly just as crucial.

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What We Totally Missed

It goes without saying that we were limited by the handful of images that were leaked. So there was no way we could guess all the new updates to the redesigned Gold Wing. But we did our best. With that said, here are some things that we totally missed:

It’s lighter all around, shedding 80+ pounds compared to the previous model

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New Gold Wing Logo – It makes sense that Honda would revamp their iconic Gold Wing logo seeing as how the 2018 Wing is totally redesigned. In the leaked images, the new logo was definitely subtle, but it was there. Surprisingly, we haven’t heard any chatter as far as what the Gold Wing community thinks of it. We’re curious to know your thoughts.

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Apple CarPlay – To be fair, there was no indication from the leaked photos that Apple CarPlay was going to be integrated. We did think it would have the ability to pair via Bluetooth, but this is on a whole new level! This will be the first motorcycle with CarPlay. Go Honda! If you have an iPhone, this feature will allow you to access Apple Music and Maps, make phone calls, and send messages, all through the bike’s TFT display or with your voice via Siri. Keep in mind that CarPlay will require you to have a Bluetooth headset. Interestingly, the Android Auto has not been integrated.

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Walking Mode –  This allows for slow, creeping speed ideal for negotiating a tight parking space. With Walking Mode, one clutch enables forward movement and the other clutch enables rearward movement. In either direction, engine speed is controlled by the Gold Wing’s new throttle-by-wire system, and clutch engagement is ideally modulated. Walking Mode speeds are limited to 1.1 mph (1.8 km/h) in forward direction and .75 mph (1.2 km/h) in reverse direction, with the rider easily controlling the system through paddle shifters on the left handlebar switch.

Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC) – This feature helps the rider manage rear wheel slip. It calculates the slip ratio of the rear wheel by measuring the vehicle-speed signal of the non-contact ABS wheel-speed sensors. When slip is detected, the system steps in through adjustments to the throttle valve and fuel injection, in combination. HSTC is available on all Gold Wing Tour models.

Hill Start Assist – This is another first for the Gold Wing. Simply put, it makes it easier to continue riding after stopping on an upgrade. When HSA is engaged and the rider releases the brake, the ABS modulator generates hydraulic pressure on the rear brake caliper and the motorcycle will not roll backward if the rider uses the throttle to move forward within three seconds. An HSA indicator will light up on the right side of the Gold Wing’s new 7-inch LED display throughout the process.

Home Link System – When your ride has come an end (or when it’s starting) this is a nice feature to have. It pairs with a garage-door opener so you can open and close it with the push of a button on your Wing. To be fair, the leaked image of the center console didn’t include an icon for this option, but the new ones do.

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Ergonomic Improvements – The handlebars have been moved forward and the footrests moved back. The narrower design in the rider area makes it easier to put your feet down at a stop.

So there you have it. Some things we nailed, others we whiffed on and there were a few things that completely escaped our notice. Either way, this new Wing is looking better and better and we can’t wait to get our hands on one!

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