BMW Motorrad Spezial

Honda Gold Wing cafe racer

Honda Gold Wing cafe racer
One of the last bikes you’d expect to get the café racer treatment is the Honda Gold Wing. It’s hardly a nimble machine, and for most owners, the customizing stopped after fitting saddlebags and a Vetter fairing. But now a whole subculture has built up around ‘naked Gold Wings’, with the odd bobber showing up and the occasional successful café racer conversion. This is a 1976 model—a GL1000—with a flat-four motor and almost 600 lbs to haul around. I’m inclined to think the conversion works, and a lot of other people do too: it’s one of the most popular bikes on the curiously addictive Naked Gold Wings forum. The bike has been lowered, fitted with a bikini fairing and café seat unit, and painted ‘Trans Am’ style—including gold for the motor and brake callipers. Strangely enough, it works. (I think.)

Honda Gold Wing cafe racer
Honda Gold Wing cafe racer

  • paramveer singh

    The workdone on the machine is visible on first sight, congratulations on a job well done……you got the wrong tool for the job though, to heavy to race i think.
    I have heard many a wise racer say…it’s not the machine but the rider on it so hope it works for you mate.

  • Jag

    Who would have thought that someone would bother with a
    “Lead Wing”. I am surprised how good it looks !!

  • want one

  • Yeah, it works. Not only that, but properly tuned and maintained (carb sync is ultra critical on these) that one of the sweetest, smoothest engines ever produced. Surprisingly powerful too. Very pleasant for gulping highway miles.

    I would have left off the checkboard center-stripe…that’s just a little over the top-


  • @paramveer singh:

    The GL1000 was originally intended as an endurance racer and – while not up to modern power-to-weight standards – had more than enough power to get out of its own way. And was (just) agile enough to do so.

    (~80hp & ~70lbs/ft)

  • Papa Bear

    Hate to tell you guys, but the ’75 and ’76 Wings were only outpaced in the 1/4 and top speed by the KZ 1000 Z1s. And then, just barely. Given they have a mushy front end and are underbraked, much like a Z1, they were rated at 80hp and that could very easily be bumped up. Torque ratings are hard to find, but I’ve seen them dynoed in excess of 70 ft. lbs. Rider magazine rated the bike as the second fastest litre class production bike in both ’75 & ’76, and the milder tuned ’77 – ’79s were no slouches themselves. I’ve run my ’78 in the twist turnies against many bikes of that era and more modern ones, too. It held its own and in many instances came out on top!

  • Atomicvole

    How about several incarnations of Randakk’s GL1000 – most recent with the supercharger and previously with the dual Webber kit:

    “NGW” is a good bunch of people with a whole lot of love for these bikes.

  • Yes, I love these bikes, I have one too. Really smooth… unlike my friends CBR600rr I can ride mine all day. Without the fairings I think they look awesome, 70s muscle bike!

  • D

    I’d love to pull up next to someone on a CB450 or a an ST at a cafe and give them a leer.

    “Hey, wanna drag?”


    Needs clubman bars to be perfect, though.

  • about them 1976 figures: don’t forget the Jota……

  • powermatic

    I prefer to think of the paint as an homage to the John Player Special livery.

    • Murphykm62

      Would you mind responding to [email protected] with some info on the bump seat? Where did you get it, or did you put it together yourself? Thank you!

  • thunderchild

    Thanks guys, I am the owner of the cafe. Did not think she would get here on this site. There was not much of her when I got her (for $300) and I like cafe style so I went that direction. I have added a fork brace, GL1000 goldwing decal and Café decal sense then. Could not put clubman bars on her, they hit the tank.

  • That bike was bike of the month in April at the website, and well deserved…

    speaking of clubmans..

  • cj

    That’s a very nice bike. Best I’ve seen!

  • philip

    I am working on a Goldwing Cafe and would like to know if the exhaust is fabricated or slip-on system. Thanks

  • Papa Bear

    Not sure, but that lookl\s like stock headers and cans off another bike or aftermarket. Go to and you can see an assortment of Wing exhausts, including this one. Some fabricated, like mine, others combos of stock head pipes and HD or other brand takeoffs.

  • want one = got one

    The GL1000 is an excellent platform for both cruising and cafe’. I’m surprised that when you strip off all the full-dress, it’s pretty nimble .. then throttle it up and ton it in no time. They actually take a cafe’ treatment pretty damn well.

  • Lazarayl

    gL 1000 is not for race and more on style….. where ever u go some of the eye will catching your bike…….didnt believe?just wait n see…..

  • I have a 78 GL1000 that is _nearly_ finished. I originally had these mag wheels (Comstar mags), which were standard from 78 on until they moved over to one piece cast aluminum. I had to switch them over to earlier wire spoked wheels, same size, which IMO are lighter and prettier.
    Mine has 54k miles and the engine is still spectacular. It is a huge, complicated beast, but with the right treatment it can be made to behave. Fork brace and cartridge emulators help. The brakes are good for its size and vintage, but they’re definitely not 2 finger stoppers, and the cable clutch is a bit of a pull too.
    Its also got a kind of rear biased weight distribution due to the gas tank being set back under the rider, which I wouldn’t change without bigger forks and rubber up front.
    I’ve got clubmans on it. The interference with the side covers can be fixed at the tree stops with a bit of welding. With the clubmans so far forward, your feet end up in the wrong place, so a pair of universal rear sets mounts to place your feet back a bit is a good idea. Either that or its all a bad idea! We’ll see. If it goes wrong I’ll go back to the superbike bars.

  • tez

    I used to race a Wing back in the day, and it had heaps of top end. It was OK on big tracks.

  • Not fond of digging up an old thread, but this is one nice vintage machine. Makes me drool.