Posted by Admin on May 20, 2024

Is bigger better? Look out, Gold Wing, there’s a bigger kid in town.


Posted by Admin
on May 20, 2024


We’ve mentioned Great Wall Motor’s plans to launch its own motorcycle company and a huge flat-eight-powered tourer just recently, but it’s still something of a surprise to see that the bike has already been launched. And furthermore, it has done so with the might of a major global automotive company behind it, so there’s a chance it could be a genuine contender.


Great Wall officially unveiled its Souo motorcycle brand and its first models, the Gold Wing–rivaling S2000 GL and ST tourers, at the Motor China Beijing International Motorcycle Exhibition. Although technical details were scant at the launch, the company is promising to reveal full details in a couple of months when production is expected to get underway.


Great Wall Motor, or GWM, might not be a familiar brand to us, but it’s the world’s 19th-largest car maker by market capitalization with a value of $28 billion, putting it in the same ballpark as Kia, and well ahead of the likes of Subaru or Nissan. It already has several car marques, including Ora, Haval, Wey, Tank, and Great Wall, that are marketed internationally, and Souo marks its first step into motorcycling.


It’s not a tentative step either. The company’s logic is that it wants to sit at the top table, which means competing with market leaders like Honda. So why not take aim at Honda’s flagship model, the Gold Wing? That’s precisely what the S2000 GL and ST models do; the GL is aimed at the Gold Wing Tour, complete with top case and passenger backrest, while the ST only has side bags, like the base version of the Gold Wing.


The known specifications of the bikes are, in every instance, a step up compared to the Honda. Where the Gold Wing has an 1,833cc engine, the Souo has a 2,000cc one. Honda uses a seven-speed dual-clutch, semi-auto transmission. Souo has an eight-speed DCT. The Gold Wing has single overhead camshafts, while the Souo uses a DOHC layout, and most importantly the Honda has “only” six cylinders, and the Chinese rival uses eight.


The bike’s actual layout is very much like a Gold Wing. The cast-aluminum frame is like the Wing’s design, and up front the Souo uses a Hossack-style girder fork, suspended on double wishbones with a single shock absorber. This is the same solution that’s already been adopted by both its key six-cylinder rivals, the Gold Wing and BMW’s K 1600 range. Copying? Maybe, but would it be classed as that if Souo had used conventional telescopic forks like almost every other bike on the market? The fact is that for big, heavy bikes, there’s a logical engineering reason to use the Hossack-style front end. It allows relatively soft springing for comfort without inducing too much brake dive. Whether the suspension is semi-active remains unclear but given the rest of the bike’s equipment levels it seems likely.


The left bar also houses a forefinger trigger and thumb button to control the up- and downshifts of the semi-auto box, while a button on the right-hand bar lets you choose between full-auto and semi-auto modes. The right bar has cruise-control buttons as well. Essentially, a Gold Wing owner would have no trouble finding all the main buttons without having to look for them, and given that’s the target audience, it’s a logical step for Souo to take.


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