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1975 Honda Goldwing Rat – ‘El Guapo’

Posted on December 1, 2011 by Andrew in Bobber, Rat. 67 comments

Less Goldwing, more old win

If we kept a list of “bikes we damn well should post more of” on the wall of the Pipeburn dumpster office, I have little doubt that rat bikes would be at the top of the list. Now this might polarise some of you reader types out there, but rat bikes really push our buttons. There’s just something so amazing about a bike with its original pretenses of polish, prettiness and good looks stripped away to reveal the beautiful ferrous reality of all that metal, rubber, benzene and greased-out muck – like some subterranean-dwelling Nordic earth god has summoned the elemental forces at his disposal to create a means of transport that will simultaneously anger the other gods with its brutality and make them so green with envy they are likely to smite us humans just to relieve their frustrations. This bike does just that. Feast your puny, mortal peepers on Paul Dutra’s supernaturally cool Honda Goldwing Rat, “El Guapo”.

Call us arty, but that’s one hell of an autumnal palette. The leaves aren’t too bad, either

Paul’s turn. “It all started when a good friend of mine from mentioned my name to a local magazine editor (Glen @ Mojo Magazine). Glen asked him if he knew anyone that was willing to take on a project bike. Tom Moreau who is a subscriber to Mojo Mag, had owned the bike since 1976. He had just bought a brand new Harley bagger and after having the Wing for so many years and putting over 40,000 miles on it, did not want to see it go to scrap. Tom asked Glen if he could scout someone who was willing to revive the bike and get a few more years of enjoyment out of it. After I met Tom, I showed him some photos of previous bikes I had built which he admired. At that point, he was sure the bike was going to a good home, so off to the airplane hangar we went where Tom kept his little plane stored, along with his… Goldwing 😉 ”

“It had a full fairing and Krauser bags and was all decked out with fog lights and extra brake lights”

“The stock Goldwing had a full Vetter fairing and Krauser bags and trunk, it was all decked out with fog lights and extra brake lights. He had taken very good care of the bike and had a surplus of spare oil filters and plugs, he even gave me a period correct Honda sync gauge set in its original box. I managed to take the bags and fairing off, then I lowered the forks through the trees and stuffed it all into a very short Dodge Caravan… all in the middle of winter… outside the hanger. After dragging the rear bumper of the van the whole drive home, the Wing sat for a couple of months while I caught up on a few other bikes. I then realized I only had a few weeks to build the bike for a solo trip I take every year with a project bike. Last year’s bike was my ‘80 CB750 Cafe Dragster (you can see it on, where I left Toronto and headed East with no plans… but ended up riding through Sturgis, Vegas, LA, Bonneville, and back to Toronto… in two and a half weeks. This year’s trip was unfortunately gonna be shorter but LA was still in the books. When I was there last year, the SO-CAL Norton Group invited me back for their annual Prince of Darkness ride which I happened to attend… but didn’t plan. I took them up on the offer and made it my goal to have the Wing ready for my annual summer trip back to LA.”

“The Wing was on the chopping block and the plan was to lace up some pretty 18” wheels, chrome the hubs and rims, a bling’n candy metal flake paint, and lots of chrome bits here and there. Turns out I didn’t have the budget for all that bling this year so I went in the complete opposite direction and made it a Rat Cafe… lol. If you didn’t already know, the tank isn’t really a tank on a Wing, it’s an air box and glove box which leaves a gaping hole in the frame and no traditional back bone. The original tank is under the seat which is lower than the carbs so Honda designed a mechanical fuel pump to get the fuel up to the carbs. This design made for a really interesting build as there are no tanks on the planet that would fit the wing frame as it had no backbone to try different tanks on. I was definitely trying to get rid of the tank under the seat because of the” Cafe Racer” look I was going for, so narrowing of the rear frame was a necessity. After chopping out the original frame section and making a traditional back bone, I still couldn’t get any of my “Cafe” style tanks to fit the still unique frame. I tried a CX, CB500T, CB360, an early CB750, a late CB750F tank and the only one I could see fitting was a rusty old tank I paid $5 for years ago that I found in the back of a mechanics shop in Toronto that had been sitting outside for over 15years, it was off a KZ550.”

“Now that I had decided on the tank, it was time to move onto the rear frame. I chopped, chopped and chopped  until there was no sub frame so I started bending tube and fitting different angles and bends looking for the right tail. I wanted to lower the bike, so I went with 11.5” shocks for the rear and that set me up for the ride height I was looking for. Hammering out the rear cowl over the new tube’d rear section out of 3/16” plate, I made it in 3 pieces and welded it all up. Lowered the front forks through the trees to mount up the Tomesselli clip-on’s to the uppers. I had some help from Tim Aysan from DoTheTon and my home boy Vinnie, they came by to help me with some of the wiring so we can get it out for bike night one Thursday night and we managed to get it fired up somewhere around midnight so we didn’t get much riding in.”

Patina, patina, patina

“I figured I should go over the bike a little better since I only had a couple of days left before heading out on my trip to LA. I went for a quick boot and noticed some rubbing from the weight of the bike on the 11” shocks so I ended up ordering a set of eye to eye progressive spring rate shocks the same length as the eye to clevis but had to rework them a little. Turns out the shocks were on back order and were due to arrive the day I was scheduled to leave.”

“I went into the shop on the Monday, the day I was leaving, and reworked the shocks to fit the bike (cut off eye, weld on clevis) and not having any more than an hour of ride time on the new set up, I headed out with my backpack to the west coast and made it there and back in 9 days.”

More shades of brown than an explosion at a shoe polish factory

While we were talking to Paul about the bike, he called the process of creating what you see here as an “un-build”. That really stuck with us. The idea of finding an old bike and not taking the chaos and age as a bad thing – not seeing all that history and character as something to be removed or fixed but instead as a starting point to bigger, better and grungier things strikes us as a pretty cool way to see things. The Norse gods would be proud.

(All photos via Mondo Lulu)

  • Ryan (aka Druro)

    Congrats Dutra on the press. Bike looks great… especially for an old Wing!

  • GuitarSlinger

    Rat Bikes = Good thing ( being a Yank Hot Rodder/Biker of a certain age , there is a certain perverse and unexplainable appeal to these ‘ Rat’ creations )

    Customized Goldwing/Valkyries = Even better ! 

    There’s got to be more of those lurking about and you’re just the guy to find them , so let the dogs loose and sniff a few more out please !  ;o)

  • skillet

    DAAAYUUM! Really NICE! I’d ride the wheels off it!!!


  • Jesús Learte

    Aggggggggggggggg I do not know if I should kiss that beauty or sand the tank!

  • revdub

    My favorite Goldwing ever. Period. So awesome. I love everything about this bike.

  • Coxster

    I didn’t realize my buddy’s ancient run-down panhead was a cool ratbike! ; )  Still, looks like fun

  • steve

    el junko is more like it. With that being said, I still love it.

  • wow!! i mean seriously gotta be the best looking goldwing i have ever seen, nice nice nice

    • DaveRSA

      Totally agree! Very awesome creation, would love to take that for a ride!

      • Nash

        cant agree more. never thought i’d be in love with a goldwing, but id kill to have this thing in my garage!

  • That’s a cool bike. Just goes to show that a bike doesn’t have to be spit and polish to be slick as hell.

  • Matt Rennick

    I took a seat on this bike the day after it was built, Paul and I are both about the same height (6’4″ – 6’5″), and I have no idea how he hauled across the continent on that thing in that amount of time… Super gnarly.

  • harryfxr

    Is calling this “handsome” an example of a dysphemism or a euphemism? Either way this is ratty even for a rat bike. The whole rat bike concept eludes me but thanks for the variety.

  • Crash

    I love Gold Wing cafe racers and if it has to be a rat racer, well that just means you ain’t afraid to ride it. I’ll bet you could make some money betting on that one. Nice work.

  • horses for corses  shes ok .and on the road bieng used      nuff said  

  • Daoud

    I’m sure there’s more here then meets the eye but this is what gives bikes and bikers a bad name!

    • dtbaker

      Failed conventional wisdom vs common sense – what gives bikes and bikers a bad name is people skip-trashin’ other people’s rides and judging them by what they can or want to get around on. (Geez, man.) Nice build – I bet it’s fun to ride. – most bikes are – thanks for showin’ it.

  • rockabillyrock cafe

    if your not into dirty bikes you’ll never understand.awesome work transforming and modifiying.paul.keep up the great work.your the real deal…gigi

  • Andrew

    Remember folks, you saw it here first… 😉

  • And remember folks, you saw it here FIRST… 😉

    • GuitarSlinger

      D**n right we did Andrew ! Thems some mighty fine Custom finding/sniffing  M/C bloodhounds you’ve got in the kennel good sir . Mighty fine ! 

      • Cobrar00

        Actually I saw it on bikeexif first… maybe I didn’t check this site yesterday?

        The ergonimics of length from seat to pegs looks uncomfortable as all hell, which is such an oxy-moron for a rat bike, and one that is ridden alot

        • Trent Reker

          and a few thousand saw it on bikerMetric on november 30.different story accompanied the pix, though…

  • Aris


  • Lowflying

    I don’t know. I respect the variety of motorcycling – if you’re on one, you’re in the club man. No hate from me!

    But for me, this is beyond the rat concept and almost junk. Respect to the owner, but maybe it’s my own character flaw that thinks a nicer tank and a small tidy up and you would really have something there – still a rat mind you. I guess my idea of “patina” doesn’t include large percentages of rust!

    A stripped down Wing can be cool!

    • Twistedchildturnsmadmonk

      well, he didn’t have time to tidy up.

    • matt muellner

      A stripped down wing can be cool yes, but this isnt one of them.  Just because there is rust on the outside, doesnt mean it’s on the inside.  The bike made it through a 9 day tour.  Changing the tank would be for looks, not necessity, which goes against the ‘rat’ grain.  I like it for what it is, show me a stripped down bike & likely if it’s done right, I’d like that too.

      Similarly, if you buy some nice old wood – pulled from an old house or barn, there is just as much beauty possible in the end product if the wood is planed/sanded & stained – versus just stripping and staining. 

      Just my opinion.

    • I like a clean and pristine bike too. But notice how clean the parts are on the motor close-up pic. All the beauty comes from patina and function. Prettiest clean bike on here is probably Willow. Just my thought.

  • Bo

    I would like to have a rat bike and rat rod in my collection. They are way cool.

  • Wentworth McWeasal

    I love how the petcock comes out the side of the tank. It’s things like that that make it a rat bike and not just an old rusty bike.

  • Built4com4t

    too bad it’s bent in the middle…frame would have made a nice line from the tank back otherwise

  • Ken

    I respect anyone who puts in a ton of work and hits whatever mark they set out to do.  That said, it looks like a broke parts bike dug out of overgrown weeds at the scrapyard and is begging to be an amazing project.  I like things that are rough around the edges.

  • D B Cooper

     Sorry, it just doesn’t make sense to me.

  • Ccc40821

    Unusually Bikeexif and Pipeburn published the same bike simultaneously, the difference mainly being Pipeburn’s much more comprehensive coverage. As for the commenters, the difference is more striking: Practically all commenters here love the bike, and said so in very brief comments. On Bikeexif ‘only’ two-thirds of the 75+ commenters thought it was a hot thing, but took way more time to explain why, possibly in response to the critics.

    Cool bike, by the way – especially like the fact that it’s a ‘genuine’ rat bike, rather than one built to to look like it has been neglected for a few decades.     

    • Thanks for the kind words. We try out best. And just for the record, EXIF posted the bike well after us…

  • matt muellner

    It looks like it naturally deteriorated over time, versus other rat builds that I have seen where it seems they purposely ugly up a bike.  Very nice, I like it. It’s got real patina, like most of the old bikes in my garage – they look their age. I like a nice clean bike as much as the next guy, probably more so, but enjoy rats just as much. It does not always look better, or even make sense to make very bike look brand new. Same goes with women.

  • Thank you all for your comments and thank you Scott, Andrew for posting the article.  I truly enjoy the bike and feels like its a new bike every time i’m on it.  It generates sooo much attention on the streets and people have a hard time trying to figure out what it is lol 

    Always riding.


  • Jed

    Cool as fuck.

  • H0ndacafe had this bike on NOV 30th, but keep claiming you had it first. Even when he talked to the builder on NOV 8th! Then the builder sold out and bailed on him!

    • Same thing happened to us. Mondo the photographer sent us pics on November 24. We got in contact with Paul and he sent us some great info about the build. Then out of nowhere he told us to not to post it. After a day or two thinking it over, we decided to post it anyway.

      But yeah, it looks like bikermetric posted the pics first in the end.

  • I don’t think I have seen a lot of rat bikes in the cafe racer style. 

  • motorshag

    Cool look. How often do you need to tighten the gas tank staps? Is that really holding the tank on, or is that just part of the look?

  • Benjamin Helton

    Best looking bike on the site!

  • HOT DAM Dutra… Your scream winged rat is every where!! LOL.. Awesome.. Good on ya dude.. you diserve the exposure.

    now.. when are we going for that beer!? LOL

  • Davmo

    Love it.

  • Mach-X

    It’s ok I guess.  It looks pretty uncomfortable .. 9 days on it or not. (I ride early 1980’s AMA Production Superbike themed bikes so I’m used to the crotch rocket position, but this thing look like it would cramp ME up and I’m only 5’6″ tall).  Things like this kinda remind me of what my dad used to say about eating fast food … “eat the fargin onions damn it!”.  I never saw the sense in paying money for food you do not like to eat.  Bikes like this that look ~cool~ and forsake rider comfort for aesthetics are no different than eating the onions on the burger.  In other words .. why would someone go out of their way to do something less than enjoyable?

    Are these bikes any different than purposely torn holes in jeans just to look anti-establishment?  C’mon now … really?  The ~establishment~ wants us to have clean and ~safe looking~ motorcycles.  Yea .. yea and I see we’ve gone against that here … so is the message supposed to be “look at me, I’m a bad boy.. establishment wants me to have a nice motorcycle but I don’t want it like that.  I’m a social outcast and I want others to know it” .. ???

    I’m not slamming the bike or the builder … I’m just kinda turning the mirror on ourselves and asking the obvious question … why are these types of motorcycles considered so ~cool~ by us bikers?  (Hey if we take ourselves so seriuously that we can’t laugh at ourselves what is the point of living and breathing?).

    So these ~rat~ bikes … they’re cool because they make the rider out to be .. what?  Something other than they are?  It’s just a question.  I’ve often had a difficult time seeing mainstream appeal in nearly anything it embraces.  Are the holes in my jeans there because I don’t care … or are they there because I wish to look like I don’t care … like the other lemmings that wish to look like they don’t care?  Now do I look like every other idiot that is trying to look like an individual?  Now do we all look the same in our quest to look unique?  How ’bout just being you?  Whatever happened to that?

    My comments aren’t directed at the builder … moreso at ourselves and why we find something like this appealing.  Emperor’s new clothes, perhaps? (I have been just as guilty of this, so I’m not placing myself above others here … just putting out a rhetorical idea).

    • Twistedchildturnsmadmonk

      …comfort depends on how tough your butt is, I have found myself very comfy on some seats that no one else finds comfy (hell – no two butts are alike)… this thing would cramp you up because he didn’t build it for you… the message here is that he can build this bike… we find this thing appealing because there is no other bike like it… and it is cool because no matter what we say about it we would ride/own this bike if we had an opportunity… now we will find this unappealing when when everyone has exactly the same bike…

  • Mying

    This is a SICK BIKE!!! Very nicely done, and in true “RAT BIKE” fashion.
    For those who do not understand, if we have to tell you, you will never understand!!!!!!!

  • Anticomic

    @Mach-X: you’re overanalyzing it, man. Do you dig the bike? I fukkin’ do. I think it’s beautiful, and rowdy, and a little scary, but all that’s just window dressing; trying to put words to an emotional response. If you dig it, you don’t owe anyone an explanation. Same goes if you think it sucks. Build and ride the bike you respond to, and don’t worry about what it says about “us”. 

  • I ride a similar old ‘Wing, albeit a ’78.  while mine’s not technically a “rat”,  it’s filthy dirty with little to no chrome and looks kinda crappy.  it’s what has already begun to be called a “Bulldog,” due to it’s stance and the jugs hanging out there on each side.  I get sneers & snide remarks from other *shiny* bike riders, especially at shows.  but I’d rather ride than shine my chrome or polish the paint.  so what?  I like riding my old POS looking bike b/c I’ve gone through it thoroughly and replaced everything that needed replacing and upgraded what needed upgrading with 21st Century tech.  she starts every friggin’ time I hit the button and pulls like a freight train.  and best of all, it didn’t cost me anywhere near what a new [cough] insert V-twin [cough] cost.  AND I’ve revived a machine that was gonna be scrapped or sold for parts.  sure, there’s some tedious & delicate maintenance involved occasionally.  I don’t mind that b/c it makes me smile to ride ‘er.  kudos and congrats to Paul.  I admire & respect someone who can do what you’ve done.

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  • Desertchild74

    Love the bike and am working to rat my ’76 Wing.  I am struggling to find good drop bars and gauges and this ride has exactly what I am looking for.  does anyone out there know where I can find something similar?  The stock stuff is bad news: big clumsy gauges and high bars.

  • idomyownstunts

    WOW!!!! I think I just saw my life flash before my eyes!!! I’m transported to a nostalgia dimension. Can’t focus at work, feeling distant around the wife, its all just daydreams now… All those years as a teen squeezing just one more ride out of that pile you scraped every dollar to fix and fix and fix… Or that one (or more) vacations that turned into epic blunders but everything still managed to turn out ok…
    To hear it went to Sturgis, Vegas, LA, Bonneville…WOW.Within the first seconds of seeing this bike, you instantly understand that whoever pilots a bike like this: 1) Can clearly McGyver anything from nothing.2) Will have brewskies with Han Solo and Chuck Norris in the afterlife. 3) Can feel 100% free from all the crappy parts of being a responsible adult anytime they want (which is likely more than the avg blog reader like me).I think a lot of the appeal for rat bikes to a lot of us, is that it stirs the adventure in your soul. Even if we don’t recognize it as such, that challenge of overcoming adversity and uncertainty and risk with what little you brought. Where the only thing holding it all together is what your hands klooged together (plus luck). Its like staring in an action adventure flick – for a daily commute!

  • Claystorage

    this bike inspired me to buy my own goldwing to play with. thanks!

  •  It’s not for everyone, but I want it like crazy!

  • magic t

    this bike is the fucking tits when i first seen this bike my heart skipped i have been building a 82z1100 cafe drag bike but it so happens i have a 76 wing in storage since 91 with a broken timing belt didnt know what to do with it but i do now my wife is pissed cause i put the kaw on hold and drug the old wing to the shop i keep the pic of your bike on the comp screen constantley and she gos nuts thanks for the great ideas and probably the divorce

  • Any chance you could post some shots of what you did to the frame under the tank? I am considering a similar move (miss my old Wing, need another!) but not sure how to proceed there, so that the KZ type tank fits. Thx! Jim

  • Jeff Hagerman

    Thats it,after looking at these works of art for a couple of months now I’ve got to build one. I’m a retired mill wright and fabricator without a shop so thats the first hurdle. This will be my fourteenth two wheeler. I can’t wait. Thanks for the inspiration. Keep the rubber side down and the shinny side up.

  • sprout

    How do you keep a rat like this from rusting out over a series of decades?
    I really really like the look of a rat, but just like others who have commented, I think it’s pathetic to style a bike that way (why not just forget about refinishing, ride it, ride it, and ride it some more until the authentic rat comes breaking through?). My question is, when you decide that the rat has reached its aesthetic peak, how do you stop it from continuing?! I would love to have a bike like this, but I would hate for this to turn into a real honest-to-goodness heap in 10 years or so..

  • john

    Dude I really like this bike, It caught my eye after my bro and i were talking about building a bike of some sorts, I would like to know more about it and how difficult it would be to build one for myself? Thank you ,JB 623-764-2543

  • lewis

    If there were a hundred all out customs in a parking lot + this bike I whould make a b -line toward this bike and drool on it, good job man!

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