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Difference Between 1100 and 1200 Goldwing

by Jillian O'Keeffe

Honda first built the iconic Goldwing touring motorcycle in 1974, and the bike got a few upgrades in the following years. The GL 1100 and GL 1200 are both animals of the 1980s and the major difference between them was the size of the engine. Honda tweaked the bike almost every year until the GL 1200 turned into the GL 1500 in 1987.


Honda built the GL 1100 from 1980 through 1983. The GL 1200 ran from 1984. The GL 1100 was built in Japan until May 1981, when Honda moved production to Ohio. Each Goldwing year had more than one trim of bike. For 1980 and 1981, Honda sold the GL 1100 as a Standard or an Interstate model. In 1982, the Aspencade joined the two other Goldwings. The GL 1200 kept these trims until 1985, when Honda dropped the Standard and instead produced a Limited Edition. The Limited Edition gave way to the SEi in 1986 and then in 1987, Honda dropped the SEi, leaving only the Interstate and the Aspencade.


The GL 1100 had a 1085cc boxer engine with four cylinders and two valves per cylinder. The bore and stroke of the cylinders was 3.0 inches by 2.4 inches (75 mm by 61.4 mm) and the engine produced 81 horsepower (hp) at 7,000 revolutions per minute (rpm). The bike produced a torque of 64.9 foot-pounds at 5,500 rpm. The GL 1200 had a 1182cc boxer engine, also with four cylinders with two valves per cylinder. The bore and stroke of the cylinders was 3.0 inches by 2.4 inches (76 mm by 61.4 mm) and the engine produced more horsepower than before at 94 hp at 7,000 rpm. This bike produced a torque of 77.4 ft-lbs. at 5,500 rpm. Both Goldwings had a four stroke engine and were liquid-cooled. They had a five speed gearbox and a shaft final drive system. The front brakes were 9.1 inch (232mm) discs with two-piston calipers and the rear brake was a single disc of 9.8 inch (250mm) diameter with one-piston calipers.


At 64.4 inches, the last GL 1200 in 1987 (the Aspencade trim) had a longer wheelbase than the first GL 1100 (Interstate trim) at 63.2 inches. Honda also increased the size of the fuel tank from 5.3 gallons initially to 5.8 gallons. The 1987 Aspencade was also much heavier than the early Interstate. It weighed 727.5 pounds as opposed to the relatively lightweight 586.4 pounds of the GL 1100.


The 1980 Standard Goldwing had no fairings, trunk or saddlebags, but the Interstate did, and it sparked off the traditional Goldwing look, which remains to this day. The CB radio, a feature also associated with the Goldwing, was first made standard on the 1982 Aspencade, along with a Clarion Type 2 stereo. A linked braking system appeared on the Aspencade in 1983, and Honda also used this on the new GL1200. The GL 1200 had a hydraulic clutch, which the GL 1100 lacked. The 1984 bike also got four 32mm carburetors, which improved engine response over the GL 1100. The GL 1200 had a lot of Goldwing-specific parts, which was not previously the case for the GL 1100. The 1984 Aspencade got a Panasonic Type 3 stereo system. Fuel injection made an appearance in the Goldwing Limited Edition and the SEi, but the other GL 1200's kept their carburetor fuel system.

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