A Colorful ’76 Goldwing GL1000 Custom From France!

How About A Crazy Goldwing Cafe Racer?

Updated August 9, 2018

The Honda GL1000 is quite possibly one of the stranger choices for a full custom job, but here are a couple of intrepid French mechanics crazy enough to get the job done. In the last twelve months, we’ve only seen one other faithful Goldwing custom and that was a fairly gutsy build too; turning a lumbering Goldwing into a graceful café racer is no mean feat and we’re loving the enthusiasm we’ve seen. This particular offering comes from French garage Sur Les Chapeaux De Roues, which roughly translates as “on the hubcaps”.

GL1000 Custom 1

The garage is based in Brittany, France and headed up by Manu and Yann. Luckily, Manu is an experienced mechanic who specializes in Hondas, which was not only great news for this build but also for most of their previous projects, which have mainly been Honda CBs. Yann is a specialist painter – as you can see right here. We’re going to mention this tank again later on but just quickly, Yann is a genius. Together, they formed Sur Les Chapeaux De Roues and focused on building gorgeous café racers and street trackers.

GL1000 Custom 2

Fortunately, the 1976 GL1000 model wasn’t as chunky or terrifyingly enormous like the later models would become; it didn’t come with saddle bags, fairings, front screens or any other Windjammer style accessories. It did, however, come with a beauty of an engine in the form of a SOHC flat-four. In its day, it boasted 80 hp but for the all that power, it was considerably…wide. The major issue Sur Les Chapeaux De Roues was slimming the beast down.

GL1000 Custom 3

Before any slimming could take place, the engine was in need of a full rebuild. The old Goldwing was a barn find and needed a fair bit of TLC. Manu got to work and had her rebuilt, purring again, and treated the main block with a splash of red paint – since you can’t slim down an engine of that size, they opted to accentuate it!

GL1000 Custom 4

With the engine sorted, it was time for the duo to move on to the frame. The rear was given a customary chop job to remove the excess length and was fitted with a loop to accommodate the new seat pan. At the front, the frame has been reworked to make room for a beast of a BMW-R donor tank. To make it fit, the original ignition system was moved and a special air box was rigged up. The new beefy tank, which has a larger volume than the original GL one, gives the bike a powerful looking front end with enough curves and size to match the Honda engine. The tank has been fitted with a Motogadget speedo and a special pop-up style fuel cap.

GL1000 Custom 5

Back to the rear of the GL1000 custom, the new seat pan has been fabbed out of aluminum, with a smart looking, matching tail piece; the space in between has been expertly upholstered in black leather. The team also made up a new set of aluminum side covers but the fabrication didn’t end there; they also built a brand new exhaust system and tipped them with a set of Supertrapp mufflers.

GL1000 Custom 6

Suspension wise, Sur Les Chapeaux De Roues lowered the front forks and dressed them with a set of custom made sleeves. At the back, the stock rear shocks were replaced with Hagon units. The GL1000 custom now wears Shinko 270 rubbers.

GL1000 Custom 7

The finish is often what makes a bike and Yann and Manu certainly put the effort in. The Goldwing has been fitted with a smaller, less bulbous headlight and a smart little LED number at the back. Now, the pièce de résistance: the paint work. After three days of graft and eight layers of lacquer later, Yann delivered this amazing piece. It’s colourful, cool and kaleidoscopic and something your average paint shop would struggle to get right. It’s unique.

GL1000 Custom 8

We’re looking forward to seeing a few more builds from these guys in the future. Until then, satisfy your inner Francophile with this stunning machine from Blitz Motorcycles!


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Joe Appleton
About Joe Appleton

I’ve done a bit of work here and there in the industry – I’ve even ridden a few bikes for actual money but what it comes down to is this: I ride bikes, build bikes and occasionally crash ‘em too. I like what I like but that certainly doesn’t make my opinion any more valid than yours…

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