2 Wheels

Is the Harley-Davidson Road Glide Better Than the Honda Gold Wing?

The Honda Gold Wing is a classic touring bike that has been around for decades. The Harley-Davidson Road Glide entered the seen in 1999 as another touring bike designed for long stretches of road and bit of adventure. How do these two popular touring motorcycles compare?

a parked Gold Wing Tour in a shipping yard with storage containers in the background
2020 Honda Gold Wing | Honda Media

When in comes to straddling your ride and hitting the highway, comfort is the name of the game. While the Honda Gold Wing Tour may be a couple thousand dollars more expensive than the Harley Road Glide, it does offer some pretty primo amenities. Even in the base level. Still, there are those who would rather ride a Harley.

These folks will choose the Harley-Davidson Road Glide over the Honda Gold Wing. But is it a wise choice? Is the 2020 Harley Road-Glide actually better than the 2020 Honda Gold Wing? Some say yes. Others would argue that the Honda Gold Wing is absolutely worth the extra cash. Let’s do the run down and see how they compare on paper.

a red display shot of a Harley-Davidson road glide against a solid white background
2020 Harley-Davidson Road Glide | Harley-Davidson Media

The 2020 Harley-Davidson Road Glide

According to the Ultimate Motorcycling Road Glide buyer’s guide, the base model for the 2020 Harley Road Glide starts at $21,699 and ranges up to $22,899 depending on color. The 2020 Road Glide offers plenty of power from its V-Twin engine, according to Motorcycle.com. Ultimate Motorcycling lists the base Milwaukee-Eight 107 horsepower engine with 1746cc displacement. With 111 ft-lbs of torque at 3250 rpm, the Road Glide’s 855-pound curb weight isn’t a challenge for the Harley-Davidson touring genre offering.

the Harley-Davidson road glide touring motorcycle on a road trip
2020 Harley Davidson Road Glide | Harley-Davidson Media

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It’s said to drive great in both urban scenarios as well as long stretches of open American highway. Additionally, a narrow front tires contributes to the 2020 Road Glide’s agility on winding roads. From mountain rides to long desert hauls, the Road Glide is a solid companion.

The luggage compartment of this American bagger is ample enough for days on the road and easy to open. It also may appeal to shorter riders with a 27.4 inch seat height––a couple inches below the Gold Wing. Overall, Harley’s touring bike makes a reasonably compelling argument. But is it better than the Gold Wing?

The 2020 Honda Gold Wing Tour

The base model of the 2020 Honda Gold Wing Tour is anything but basic, and starts at $23,800. It may lack reverse and walking mode, but hey––so does the Harley touring bike. The base engine of the 2020 Gold Wing packs a little more punch than the base engine for the Road Glide. According to PowerSports TV, a 6-Cylinder engine boasting 1833cc displacement gives this bike a smooth ride with plenty of pickup.

a pair of riders mounted on 2020 Honda Gold Wing touring bikes
2020 Honda Gold Wing Tour | Honda Media

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Comfort and quality and like synonyms for the Honda Gold Wing. Both the 2020 Harley-Davidson Road Glide and the 2020 Honda Gold Wing Tour come standard with a 6-speed manual transmission. However, according to Motorcycle.com, the V-Twin is more rumbly. Some people like that for the throaty sound, perhaps. But if you’ve ever held handlebars for any extended amount of time you know the smoother the better.

An ace up Honda’s sleeve

Speaking of comfort, the Honda touring bike has over four inches of give in both the front and rear suspension. The Harley touring motorcycle can’t compete with its frontal telescopic fork and rear twin sided swing arm. On top of that buttery smooth ride, the Gold Wing has an ace up its sleeve. According to Honda, the 2020 Honda Gold Wing Tour is also the first motorcycle to offer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility with its ultra modern user-friendly dash display interface.

Honda Gold wing dash display is modern and user friendly
2020 Honda Gold Wing Tour Dash Display | Honda Media

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Overall, the decision to buy a Harley instead of a Honda rides a lot on brand loyalty. The Honda Gold Wing’s impressive and extensive reputation precedes it, and this touring motorcycle just keeps getting better. The Harley-Davidson Road Glide will do, we suppose.

Yet, if you want a reliable bike that you can ride in comfort from lakeside camping in Michigan to a tour of Big Bend National park in Texas or on a Pacific to Atlantic US road trip, the 2020 Gold Wing is probably the better choice. It’s hard to compete with Honda engineering when it comes to the ultimate touring bike.