The new Icon 1000 Collection

Blueberry Bomber: Krakenhead’s mighty custom Gold Wing

Blueberry Bomber: Krakenhead’s mighty custom Gold Wing
Vintage Gold Wings are pretty hard to find in Europe these days—and in Slovenia, rarer than a Mormon bartender. So when news of a GL1000 ‘Wing for sale reached Rok and Luka of Ljubljana-based Krakenhead, they jumped at it. Quite rightly, they figured it would be a great base for a ‘big Kraken.’

The plan was to modify the stance, renew the major components, apply new paint, and put the ‘Wing back on the road. But that didn’t work out. “The bike looked like all other café’d Wings on the web,” says Rok. “So we decided to take the bike to the next level, with more radical upgrades, and create something unique.”

Blueberry Bomber: Krakenhead’s mighty custom Gold Wing
The real work started. The forks were ditched and replaced by 45mm Showa items—the last ‘conventional’ setup that the Honda CBR line used. The brakes now looked too modern, so a set of discs was stolen from Suzuki’s old GSX-R1100 slingshot.

“That gave us performance brakes with vintage looks, but required a custom front hub that we had to model in CAD,” says Rok. “After a few days we found a combination that would work with our discs, the forks, and Nissin four-pot calipers.”

Blueberry Bomber: Krakenhead’s mighty custom Gold Wing
Using Krakenhead’s 3D model, a local CNC shop created a new front hub from 7075 aluminum. Then both hubs went off to Central Wheels Components, who laced them to 17-inch rims: 3.5 inches wide for the front, and 4.25 inches for the back. The wheels are now fitted with Avon’s classic-styled but grippy Roadrider tires. Getting that wider back wheel to fit meant modifying and bracing the swingarm.

The next step was to find and fit a ‘real’ fuel tank to replace the one that the GL1000 normally hides under the seat. “We liked the original Honda look, so we decided to fit a CB750 SOHC SS tank,” says Rok. “We removed the seams, installed a pop-up fuel cap, and made it work on the GL1000 frame—which was quite a challenge.”

Blueberry Bomber: Krakenhead’s mighty custom Gold Wing
Getting rid of the under-seat tank cleaned up the look of the frame and gave Krakenhead the space to mount an upgraded rear Nissin master cylinder from the latest CBR. The frame now supports Tarrozzi rearsets too, and the lads have moved the side stand forward a little—to get better clearance.

Rok and Luca probably felt like they were on the home straight by that point, but the engine rebuild threw a sizeable spanner into the works. “Anyone who has recently rebuilt a GL1000 will know that parts are almost impossible to get,” says Rok. “Honda no longer provides them.”

Blueberry Bomber: Krakenhead’s mighty custom Gold Wing
It took almost three months to hunt down the parts, and Rok estimates that they sent probably 150 emails to dealers throughout the world—even to New Zealand. In the end, the final pieces of the puzzle came from members of specialist Goldwing forums. “We literally had to bribe people to sell to us!”

But the perseverance paid off, and the engine of this Gold Wing is almost mint. Crack it open and you’d find new pistons, valve guides, belts, tensioners and internal chains—plus new cam, rod and main bearings. Breathing is now via completely reworked stainless headers and two modified Delkevic KZ1000 megaphone mufflers.

Blueberry Bomber: Krakenhead’s mighty custom Gold Wing
Then there was a carburetor upgrade. “We felt that we HAD to put Webers on the ‘Wing,” says Rok. (And indeed they look magnificent.) “So we sourced a pair locally from an old Porsche, and overhauled them.

We created custom manifolds and linkages that we designed in CAD and got laser cut—together with the fuel tank emblems, battery box and front water cooler grill.”

Blueberry Bomber: Krakenhead’s mighty custom Gold Wing
In contrast, the electrics are decidedly modern. The 42-year-old wiring loom is gone, replaced by a minimalist new loom run inside the tubes wherever possible. It’s plugged in to a Motogadget m-Unit control box, an m-Lock RFID ignition system, and custom milled handlebar switches.

The headlight is a Lucas PL700 tripod unit with the distinctive ‘three leg’ internal structure.

Blueberry Bomber: Krakenhead’s mighty custom Gold Wing
“By now, we had a skeleton of a build—but something was lacking,” says Rok. “The Gold Wing looked powerful and beefed up, but didn’t have quite the right mojo.” So he decided to upgrade the headlight with a big fairing in the classic British style. “We made it fit with our tank, incorporated a coolant overflow tank into it, and closed it up from the back.”

Most builders would have left it at that, but Kraken then sent the fairing to Aleš Urbanc, the master leatherworker who handled the new seat unit. The inside of the fairing now boasts a leather lining to match the seat. “The first comment we got was from a girl friend,” says Rok, “who said, ‘Wow, the stitching on the leather looks better than on a Gucci purse!’”

Blueberry Bomber: Krakenhead’s mighty custom Gold Wing
The fairing now keeps the wind off a custom tacho (with laser-cut front plate) and a Racetronics digital speedo with integrated control lights. “As we changed the tacho for a digital one and also fitted a Facet Electronic fuel pump, there was no need for a ugly right cam cap anymore,” says Rok. “So we just modeled a new part and had it CNC milled, which we finished up with a mirror polish.”

This sort of attention to detail is mirrored elsewhere: Almost every part has been sand blasted, soda blasted, powder coated or painted. The paint design is based on a vintage CB750, reworked a little to suit the tank and fairing: A deep indigo blue saturated with purple and blue flakes.

Blueberry Bomber: Krakenhead’s mighty custom Gold Wing
It took seven months of hard work to finish ‘Blueberry Bomber,’ but it wasn’t long before Krakenhead had a buyer. The new owner has put the Gold Wing up as a prize for ticketholders to Motörcity, a music-and-motorcycles festival in the beautiful river valley of Soča. And with only 2,000 tickets going on sale, the odds are pretty good.

If you live in Europe, it’s almost worth a trip to Slovenia just for the chance to win.

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Blueberry Bomber: Krakenhead’s mighty custom Gold Wing