Yeah, I agree with you on the opinionated sportbikers trying to decry the 'wing.. Totally different ballgame. Now.. I was seconds away from pony-ing up the 18 grand for the LT..but the new 'wing concept drawings I saw last year made me wait and hope. I am pleased with the design, and I have yet to ride it, but a stiffer more sporting suspension (which is exactly why I was leaning towards the big beemer) probably will seal the deal.
My dearly beloved has been lobbying for the comfort of a Wing for our extended travels. The pillion position on our Kawasaki Concours is not the most comfortable place to spend 2 or 3 weeks on the road. We love the performance and handling and haven't wanted to compromise that. I think Honda may have a convert in a year or two with this sportier version. From the pictures, I don't think it is at all bad looking. Pricey? Yes, but what isn't?
It is nice to see Honda offering innovative engineering again. The Gold Wing series was long overdue for an overhaul. In its niche, the new wing looks like a category killer, with handling equal to or better than the BMW flagship, a lower center of gravity, and much better reliability.
I am not a large rider (a HawkGT fits me perfectly), and the old wings were just too huge even for consideration. For two-up riding I currently ride a 1994 PC800, which at 640 pounds is near the limit of what I feel I can handle comfortably at low speeds. While the PC is comfortable enough and handles well, it is seriously underpowered, and the windshield generates a lot of buffeting. The 2001 wing is probably still too big for me to feel comfortble with, but I will take a close look when they start showing up at dealers, although I think it's still too huge and baroque for my tastes.
Now, if Honda would just produce a minimalist touring bike for smaller riders, with say 80 BHP and a dry weight of less than 600 pounds. The VTR comes close, but lacks luggage, has chain drive, and none of the ones I have ridden handles twisty mountain roads nearly as quickly as my Hawk or PC.
thanks lex.. i think you're dead on with the adjustable (power) windshield.. heated seats..etc, that the beemer offers, honda should take a hint.. I have been seriously contemplating any and all big tourers.. (old school luxo style) until I saw the yammy on this site (FJ 1300) unfortunately not available in the US.. thanks for your input.