Honda Gold Wing GL1800 Brake Recall


According to American Honda, as of today its dealers have ceased selling Gold Wing GL1800 motorcycle models until they can be inspected for the existence of an out-of-tolerance part or parts that can cause the rear brake to drag. Moreover the company has launched an official recall of all GL1800s to have this inspection performed, from the initial 2001 models through some of 2012 production (2012 bikes built after a certain date in September 2011 are not affected). So far only 26 cases of dragging brakes have been reported as a result of the defect, and no crashes or injuries. In a phone call Honda reps also told us that among all of the GL1800s on the road, it expects less than 5 percent will actually require parts replacement.

As soon as the letter that will go out to owners has been approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration–a process that can take 2-3 weeks–it will be posted on Honda’s website and begin mailing. In the meantime you should see your dealer for more information, especially if it feels like a brake is applied on your GL1800 or it seems to have less power. Since the recall is by VIN number, you can also wait for the letter from Honda to see if your bike is affected (if it’s out in the garage on a Battery Tender waiting out the winter, for example).

Here’s the text of the release that was sent to Rider magazine regarding the recall:

Torrance, CA: American Honda Motor Co., Inc. has notified the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that a potential defect relating to motor vehicle safety exists in the secondary master cylinder on certain 2001-2010 and 2012 model year GL1800 motorcycles.


The compensating port hole inside the secondary master cylinder (part of the combined-braking system) can become blocked due to (1) stacking of tolerances in manufacturing and (2) sufficient swelling of the primary pressure cup inside the master cylinder. If the compensating port hole becomes completely blocked, the rear wheel brake caliper can drag after the rider releases the brake input. If this occurs, the rear brake temperature and pressure progressively increase. Unexpected braking increases the risk of a crash and continued riding with the brake engaged can generate enough heat to cause the rear brake to catch fire.

Inspection and Repair:

Honda motorcycle dealers will inspect the secondary master cylinder of all affected motorcycles in dealership stock or sold to customers (consumers and commercial entities). If an inspection indicates that the compensator port hole can become blocked due to this problem, the dealer will replace the secondary master cylinder. Registered owners of affected motorcycles will be contacted by mail and asked to take their motorcycle to a Honda dealer. The dealer will inspect the motorcycle, and if necessary, replace the secondary master cylinder, free of charge.

Additional Details:

Honda motorcycle dealers will immediately receive a transmittal of complete repair instructions. Replacement secondary master cylinders in the U.S. will initially be made available through American Honda’s dealer technical support hotline. Upon approval by NHTSA, American Honda will mail a letter to all registered owners, and also post a copy of the letter on the Honda Brand website: Target dates for website posting are before the end of December 2011, and mail receipt by registered customers should occur before the end of January 2012.

Honda apologizes for any inconvenience this creates, but feels the safety of our customers is the highest priority. Honda encourages every customer to contact their dealer to schedule an appointment upon receiving the SAFETY RECALL letter.


  1. Does this recall apply to 1800’s sold in Canada? I bought my 2009 Airbag model NEW from a dealer here in Ontario Canada but it was made in Marysville Ohio just like the U.S. models.

  2. Bought a 2012 Gold Wing last July and haven’t had a brake problem that I have noticed but will have it inspected as a precaution. However, I have had other problems with this unit. From the first day, the engine would stumble until sufficient RPM’s were up. After two trips back to the dealer and having to call in a Honda field representative to determine just what the problem was, it has largely been corrected but not entirely. My main concern with this motorcycle is an abnormal grinding noise coming from the engine/transmission assembly. It sounds like transmission gears are not integrated properly and/or a cam shaft pully not clearing its housing completely. I’m not a novice rider, I have had six previous Wings and I know what is a normal mechanical sound and what is not on a GL-1800. Honda initially did not want to go into the engine to analyze the problem. This is totally unacceptable. I’m hoping for a favorable outcome as their previous customer service has been outstanding with me. But, at this writing, I am not a happy camper. I would appreciate a reply if other 2012 Wing owners have experienced similar issues. My other Wings have been trouble free, and I’ve got close to 500,000 miles on GL’s.

    • Hello
      I had the same noise and concerns when I
      my bought new 08 wing.

      It turned out there was no diff oil in final drive….final drive seize solid after
      650 miles.

  3. I have a 2003 Gl1800 that has a 2010 Motor Trike kit.
    Will the recall still hold true on my bike?
    Thak you in advance for your help.
    Love Rider Mag.

    • Yes, ALL GL1800s are affected, reguardless of the addition of a trike kit. As the 2011 #1 Motor Trike Dealer we recommend that you have your trike inspected just like a two-wheeler.


  4. My 2008 Gold Wing brakes locked down right in front of the local Honda dealer, but on Sunday morning. They are closed on Sunday and Monday so I had to trailer it home and back on Tuesday. 4 days and a new master cylinder later all ? Is well, I hope.I got the recall letter while it was at the dealer

  5. The brakes on my 2008 airbag model with 13K miles locked up last Sunday. Dealer replaced master cylinder. Glad I was close to home.

  6. I have a 2005 goldwing and as yet I haven’t received a recall notice.I am not having any problem with the brakes. I have about 60000 kms on it so far.

    • Mine is a 2003 and the brakes completely failed on it two years ago and I crashed into a tree and almost killed me. I now have a lot of metal and screws in my left leg. Just keep a close check on it because it gave me no warning. Just glad my wife was not with me.

  7. my 2006 goldwing almost killed me. the rear tire came off the bike. i never got a notice from Honda about the master cylinder problem.the bike was totaled. it had less than 3000 was a 2006. i have permanant injuries. if i can ride again it will have to be a trike, and it will probably be a harley. honda has done nothing, i just found out about this recall . honda never sent me anything. maybe i will call a few news stations.

  8. I baught a 2010 GL1800 ABS, GPS model on July 21 this year with 5400 mi. on the odometer. Brake problems.
    If I used both brakes when coming to a stop I had a Full peddle. Here’s the kicker. As long as I kept pressure on the hand brake while stopped I could let up & push down the foot brake & always had a full peddle. However if I released the hand brake then let of the foot & push a second time the peddle will go down a measured inch beyond normal . I had to pump it once or twice to get it back. If I came to a stop using only the foot I had a full pedal until I let up & push again. 2 dealers 11 days to fix. Today 9/9/12 the back brake is locked & I can’t push it. Acording to the warrentee print out when I transfered it to my name the Recall was done in March of this year.
    I had a 1982 for 22 yr. & loved it. Great bike. I guess honda has followed GM & let the consumer PAY BIG BUCKS be a test driver.

  9. My brakes locked up yesterday. Front and rear. No fun! Originally Bobs Honda here said that the recall is my baby since it wasn’t fixed by 05. They have since recanted that and will be repairing it. Now, we will see how much they try to charge me.

  10. On July 3 2010 the rear brake locked up on my 2008 GL1800 causing me to crash, this resulted in a broken shoulder and 5 broken ribs,, I was in Grand Marias Minn. about 1000 miles from my home in Oklahoma. The bike was repaired in Duluth’
    Then in July 2011, I had a repeat of the brake locking up and I took another spill in New Mexico.. After the first recall I took the bike to my local Honda dealer and had it checked, they said there was nothing wrong with it..
    I think they were wrong and to this day do not fully trust the mechanics of my bike.
    I am wondering if any other wing owners have had a similar incident.

  11. This is such BS from Honda. This is a second attempt to fix the problem after the first fix was a farce! This recall should be a stop ride recall. This is a totally unsafe mechanical condition and can cause a serious rear brake locking up condition after dragging the rear brake for only a few miles. Once the rear brake heats up and starts to boil the brake fluid the pressure increases inside the caliper and quickly locks the rear wheel, usually as soon as you let off the throttle, causing an uncontrolled skid and resulting crash. Consider yourself lucky if all you experience is a smoking rear brake. One of my riding buddies is laying in a hospital in Phoenix because his F6B went down on a strait road after his rear brake locked when the riding group slowed slightly then accelerated again. His rear locked up soon after that at a normal highway speed.

    Honda’s Inadequate design verification, inadequate testing, inadequate responses to early reports of the problem has allowed this to fester and a denial / cover up management of the problem has allowed this to exist in the Honda MC community for more than a decade. All sponsored by Honda Japan. In my mind Honda has become a second rate MC Manufacturer.

    This type of problem is beyond a MC Mechanics inspection ability because its a production tolerance combination failure and brakes system parts breakdown that causes the bleed off hole to clog. You can flush the brakes but the condition will return. You can inspect the system as much as you can but it can happen when decay of the materials inside the system starts to occur. A redesign is needed to completely remove the decaying components ( change the internal system materials), increase the ability to bleed off pressure and monitor system pressures through extensive testing, in order to redesign the system and eliminate the issue.

    I wont even discuss why Honda has retained all the key law firms in Phoenix in regard to this specific issue so that if you are impacted you wont be able to hire them? This type of action demonstrates that they care more about their reputation than their customers well being when purchasing their premium product. If its their negligence, should they be held accountable to those who are injured?

  12. It’s about time for this recall… I have an 08 Gold wing that had the brakes lock up twice and caused the bike to go down. The first time in July of 2010 I spent 6 days in the hospital in Duluth Minn. with six broken bones. I contacted Honda and they refused to believe me, that the brakes caused the bike to crash. The second time in New Mexico in July of 2011, I fared a lot better with only road rash.
    I sure hope this recall fixes the problem.

  13. 2003 roadsmith 4 times problem with brakes
    last time was in shop 8 miles later bike burnered in a massive fire
    Luck to be Alive reported to Honda never heard a word

  14. I bought a 02 goldwing in October 2019 recently the rear brakes are making a scraping like sound and when I use the rear brake I have to pump it a couple times to get a full pedal, the brake are new so I’m not sure what the grinding sound is, has anyone else experienced this problem and what was done to fix it

    • I have 07 goldwing that the rear brakes are doing the same thing. My right pad is ground down and the is a white fiber strip sticking out the front of caliper. What did you do?

  15. The wife and I were out on our 2005 GL 1800. About 2 hrs into our ride as we were entering a long gentle curve going 35-40 mph, I touched the front brake handle to slow a bit. Shortly the front brake started dragging,forcing the bike straight ahead and taking us off the curve. The front brake seized, throwing us both off. My wife had major injuries that she is still recovering from 2 yrs later. Bike had been serviced just before the accident. When inspected , dealer found both front disk rinks blued due to overheating . No response from Honda re: this brake issue

  16. Question: Does this recall pertain to only the rear brake. I have a 2010 GL-1800 and was out on a ride and the front brakes locked up. The rotors were so hot they were changing color to a blue. To get the front brakes to release, I had to release the pressure from the bleeder valve. Right front only got steam out. Left from very hot brake fluid out. Basically rode home with no brakes in the rain, at night. I went slow and did a lot of downshifting and prayed. Rear brakes were spongy and had a little braking power, thankfully I didn’t hit any traffic or lights of any kind. I had to dodge a few tree limbs from the storm that ran thought. And the bike was just at the Dealership for a complete checkup, and to change the brake pads, air filter, clutch and brake fluid change. I’m use to doing a lot of riding and wanted it ready to be able to ride all lower 48 states again.


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