Photos by Craig Schneider, Kitestring
1978 Honda GL1000

The original temptation came from a near purchase at the Mid Ohio Vintage Swap Meet. Months later a local enthusiast and ressurector of vintage bikes, posted one up for sale – a dusty old barn find that had been sitting for years. The bug to customize an old Gold Wing was still present, so the purchase was made.

The size of the bike sitting in a cramped shop dictated the build procedure and also gave it high priority. The original plan was to build a bagger of sorts, but as is usually the case, once torn down, the builds kind of take their own path. New direction – naked Gold Wing with hot rod inspiration. The bike was stripped completely down, frame and engine were painted then reassembled. Next was fabricating wheel covers to create the look of a solid wheel. This was ultimately outsourced to the good folks at Mooneyes. The next concept to put in place was to open up and modify the airbox to accomodate a large billet breather sourced from Holley soley because the size and shape was ideal for the project.

Stock fenders were used with the rear being trimmed and rotated forward. Drag bars, new controls and cables, Moto Gadget switches and a GPS speedo unit from Speed Hut. The taillight is a flexible LED unit which mounts under the rear fender and incorporates turn signals as well. Paint was stripped from the gas tank and radiator guards which were then heated and clear primed. Fabricated face plate and fenders were painted with a custom mixed paint color and then satin cleared. Forks were rebuilt and new rear shocks from Progressive were installed. Old brake lines were replaced with steel-braided lines to slow it down quicker.

A good bit of time was then spent coming up with the design for the exhaust and seat. Dual rectangular tips were modified, sleeved and welded to pipes extending back from the header pipes. The seatpan was fabricated from multiple piece of sheet metal to wrap around the gas tank which protrudes from the frame. The foam was purchased from Seat Concepts and shaved and sanded down to achieve the look which includes a recessed area that matches the radius of the guage.

Final assembly was the painstaking process of sorting electrical and tuning the carbuerators. All unnecessary wiring was removed, ignition and charging components were updated, and relays and switches for the LED fog lights and taillight were finalized. Tuning was going to be no easy task with the large breather and open exhaust, so it was outsourced to Chad Francis, owner of RetroWrench. After some research, synching and needle drilling, it runs and sounds exceptional.