Some good points below but a few I disagree with. If you come into a corner too fast, then by the time you "downshift like crazy", it's too late. Brakes are what stops a bike, pure and simple. And learning to brake while leaned over is a must have skill. You need to know how to brake while avoiding an obstacle, car, whatever. And if you insist on downshifting before hitting the brakes in an emergency, then you will be able to do so far quicker with DCT than manually. I'm not saying I'm totally sold on DCT, but that's a different issue.
As an aside, I know that the Rider and Safety schools teach to stand the bike up and brake in a straight line. (They don't teach to downshift first.) I subscribed to this philosophy until I started to seriously ride a motorcycle at the racetrack. The opinion of the instructors there, and we're not just talking about racing, is that that method of teaching is killing people. You have to learn to brake while you are turning and avoiding an object by quickly changing and setting a new line.
As far as storage being no big deal, for me it is. The reduction of 40 liters of storage equates to a lot more than a shirt. My wife and I take multi-week trips and as good as we are at paring down, it's still a struggle on my '03. This is not some minor capacity reduction, it's unacceptably huge. As far as pulling trailer, I did it on several very long trips and personally don't like it. Even with a modern Bushtec. Total PIA IMHO.
I didn't see anything about powerlet/BMW plug-ins for a vest. Anyone know anything?
Here is my .02 c... I have not ridden a Goldwing. I recently sold my 2011 Harley RGU. I have been considering either a K1600GTL, Gold Wing, or going back to the current year RGU. Having said that here is my opinion..
I wasn't 'blown away' as I hoped I would be. As a person within the demographics this redesign is meant to reach, I think they did a good job aesthetically. My Wife likes the appearance of the '17 but she didn't like the 'sporty' look of the ST1300 I had either.
The factory add on of a CB Radio is what keeps me from going to the BMW right off the bat.
The backrest option is a wonderful change. The aftermarket options of the older models are less than appetizing to me...
From what I have been told about fully adjustable air shocks... I am surprised Honda has moved away from that to a pre-load suspension. Perhaps aftermarket will permit a fully adjustable air shock??? This is a major point of consideration for me. I *need* the couch of a bike due to the fact I had surgery and even if not for that, no one likes bottoming the shocks out.
Regarding the DCT. I am skeptical. Not because it's new... or because it's a change. But because when I learned to ride, it was drilled into me that when you come in too hot into a corner (not if as everyone eventually does it...) you should come off the throttle, stand the bike up, straighten up, and downshift like a mad man then brake ... braking in a corner is the absolute worst thing you can do type of teaching... so how does the DCT behave when in an evasive maneuver where downshifting may be a great way to adjust the handle to the bike and power to the wheels?
Regarding the adjustable windshield. ... about friggin time... holy hell. if you've never experienced the adjustable windshield, you are in for a treat.
The slightly smaller storage is a null point. You might have to leave an extra shirt at home... big deal. it's inconsequential for most people. Either you pack less, ship things ahead, or get a trailer.
Remaining questions are do they still come with heated seats? Or is it now an upgrade? What about heated grips? Can you plug a wire in for the passenger comms and CB? if not... what about half helmets? How does one utilize a half helmet with the CB?
What about highway pegs? From photos I do not see where they would integrate and even the GTL comes with them. If Honda got rid of the ability to have Highway Pegs that can be a deal breaker... Long distance riders will understand this.
Regarding controls for the electronics - It is awesome that there is a dial on BOTH the handlebar AND the tank. I hope to see that the compass style arrows are still on the handlebars and can control selections. Anyone who has fiddled with the Harley dial for the control center can attest that it can be a pain to be precise without taking your attention away from the road for an uncomfortable moment.
Vents... some reports are that the new design has good vents integrated... WHERE?? the additional add-on for outer deflectors leaves me little comfort that there is still the slick air directing vents that the older models have. this could be a bit of an issue for those blistering hot days.
I'll definitely wait to see what deals are being made on remaining older generation Gold Wings once the '18s are available on showrooms... I've heard will be around Feb. ... I'll test ride both the new and the old and make some decisions from there.