Like a bad tooth infection, the Takata airbag recall seems to be go deeper than anyone first imagined. There are millions of vehicles affected around the world, so it’ll take years to replace all those faulty inflators. Unfortunately, it also means millions will be driving cars with ticking time bombs for some time to come with few practical alternatives available. Maybe it’s time to start riding a bike instead?
Well, before you do so, it now turns out even bikers are not safe from Takata-gate. Honda has issued a recall for its flagship GL1800 Gold Wing Tourer for bikes equipped with the optional airbag, which was introduced back in 2005 so there could potentially be up to 10-years of Gold Wing production to sift through.
Honda is worried the airbag inflators on the Gold Wing might have the same type of defect as the ones in cars. The cause has been identified as “propellant degradation occurring after long-term exposure to absolute humidity and temperature cycling.” When you consider how exposed bike components are to the elements compared to a car, it almost seems a given degradation will occur.
Just in case you’re wondering about the potential dangers posed by this issue, consider that a number of deaths have already been attributed to it, though thankfully there are none for bikes. There’s still considerable risk because when the airbag inflator on the Gold Wing is triggered, metal pieces could be propelled at high speed towards the rider, acting like shrapnel and potentially causing serious injuries or even death.
As per its standard operating procedure for a recall, Honda says customers of the affected bikes have been notified, with another letter being sent to them when the spare parts become available for replacement free of charge. Until that happens, disabling the airbag system may be the a recourse as well as contacting Honda to see if your bike is affected by the recall (#KA8 being the recall code).
It should be noted the majority of GL1800 Gold Wings in Malaysia were purchased as grey imports so owners should start contacting Honda’s global office to seek a solution to this issue.