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‘79 Honda CB900F Bol d’Or – Andreas Goldemann

Posted on September 15, 2014 by Andrew in Café Racer, Racer. 38 comments


As someone who swims neck-deep in bikes every day, it’s all too easy to think that nothing great ever happens in the custom scene unless the people involved are in a similar state of bike-a-holic dependence. If you don’t wake up at 3am with an idea for a build burning a hole in your cerebrum, you just aren’t trying hard enough. But here’s proof that you can lead a bike-free life for many years and yet somehow pull a custom bike together that’s, well, that’s like this. Here’s Andreas Goldemann’s first bike in 10 years, and it’s a doozy.


In October 2013, after a 10 year motorcycling hiatus, Germany’s Andreas realised he wanted to own and customise another bike. After much research into style, power and type of bike, he settled on a Honda Bol d’Or from 1979 as the donor bike for the new build. “It has a beautiful engine, a nice large frame and its seat, when done right, would be low enough and comfortable enough for my size. A picture was building up in my mind – thankfully I left it open enough to give the process some space to show me where the build should go.”


He then sourced a Suzuki GS 850 tank, which was widened and altered to fit the frame. The fender was built from scratch out of sheet metal and a friend in the car repair game was kind enough to donate some leather for the upholstery. For the under-seat space, Andreas first fabbed up an angular box-arrangement, but quickly realised that it didn’t sit well with the more curvaceous look of the tank and fender. Realising that a round shape would sit nicely in the space, he build a storage canister with two domed, bayonet caps just large enough to hold some tools, a lock and a wallet.


“Every bearing, o-ring, shaft seal and gasket was replaced with quality parts to make sure they last. The original air filters were replaced with racing ones, which then took me 2 days to tune the carburetors for. I think I opened them up at least 20 times – honing the jets, riding for a while and then checking the spark plugs for the right residue to show. Finally I was sure that a long ride wouldn’t kill my engine or burn a hole in one of my pistons.”


Thinking beyond the aesthetics of pipe wrap, Andreas taped up the exhaust manifold to speed up the gas flow. By all reports, the improvement in the bike’s low range power is clear and noticeable. Then the brake calipers where reconditioned to as-new condition and the brake lines were changed to braided, stainless steel units.


“I decided on some old Magni wheels that seemed to fit the idea of the build much better than the wire spokes I’d been considering. The swing arm is a special piece with tapered roller bearings designed to make the bike a little more stable. I then fitted some fully restored Koni shock absorbers. Up front, the forks got some new progressive springs and a freshen-up as well. Then the tacho and speedo got a handmade housing and newly designed face plates. After this I got onto the details, creating some new brackets and fittings for the exhaust, lights and many more little things.”


“My initial idea for a colour scheme was to finish it as a sheet metal bike in black and grey with racing numbers, but my brother insisted that we were too old for a ratty look and suggested we try some colours. I agreed and decided on a pastel blue and creme white with black racing numbers. I am extremely happy with the choice, as I seem to get as many positive comments from the girls as I do from the guys. All up, about 400 hours went into the finished project. I hope enjoy it.”


Looking back in anger – Andreas and the Bol d’Or

  • arnold

    Good looking ride Andreas.

    • AG

      and a fun one two – latest the police stopped me – just the tell me how much they liked the look.

      • arnold

        That parachute/ license plate must have been a head scratch er to try to integrate, most would have left it off for the cheese cake pictures. Again, good job and thanks for sharing.

        • AG

          hey this is Germany’s smallest version – but to be honest I put it on the fender now, driving in the rain was a pain in the a…. and showered me all over – not to speak cleaning the whole stuff again. I ride the bike daily and I am not much of a cleaner.

  • Very nice build. I’ve got to give you props for your carb tuning patience and efforts. I hate having to fiddle with the carbs on my old Honda twins – I can’t imagine 4! I love those big twin-cam Honda inline fours. 2 thumbs up for the metal work as well.

    • AG

      Thank You – feeling honored – Yes

  • MayDayMoto

    lol at the exhaust.

  • Davidabl2

    Hmm, Interesting that this is the first time i remember hearing the claim that the pipe wrap actually made the bike faster-and not just look faster.

    Fine bike.

    • AG

      Ok here the explanation – if you make sure that the heat in exhaust stays as much in the pipe as possible – the gas flow towards the end increases – but be careful – modern engines that rev very high keep to much heat at the cylinder head and may cause overheating – the wrapping is a very old technique mainly used in old fashion race cars that are less endangered because of the water cooling system. Anyway – myself rarely rev more than 7000, because I like the torque and not high rev. I live in Germany and we have the Autobahn where in some places is no speed limit – but be honest do you want to ride a bike like this at 220kph / no it is about the country roads after a little village when you open up the throttle in 4 gear – and really enjoy the torque shifting to 5th and enjoy again. Hmmmmm – yes – am I right.

      • Did you run it on the dyno yet? Before and after perhaps to see the increases?

        • AG

          No I didn’t but you feel it. Again – less power in high rev – more from below until 7000. I don’t think she has more HP but a shift towards low rev

        • Davidabl2

          I believe that the instrument used is the one called the “ass dynamometer’ -where the reading is taken at the seat of of the pants 😉 Reliability varies with the operator.

  • Just wondering. Is there any evidence to back up Andreas’ claim that pipe wrap give you more power?

  • al gonz

    Rock ONNNN
    Great as it is! It would have been awesome if the mod included different wheels (modern tires, better brakes), but that’s just being picky!

    • AG

      tried some wire spokes and modern wheels – looked not right – there is a style you need to keep and even the small tires look good – the brakes, fork and so on you are right – but the next projects awaits me and this will become a very bad one – in terms of good.

      • al gonz

        Sweet Man! we really appreciatte you take the time to give us feeback & answers! Waiting to see ur next project, keep it onnn!

        • AG

          Sure – I am mean I feel honored that Andrew and Scott have me on there blog and I totally apreciate the work Andrew put into his writing and his exchange with me – how can I not write back to all that of you appreciating the bike. Thanks to all – by the way it would be great if you all like my FB page

  • 83CB1100FCafe

    This is bloody awesome – my personal all time favourite actually. Allow me to pay homage by taking some of your ideas for my impending 1983 1100f build! Also, I’m very impressed you managed to sort out the issues with using pods on those vacuum carbs . Most people who know these engines say you can’t do it properly and suggest CR carbs if you want pods. What jets did you end up using?

    • AG

      Hi – I started with original at 96 – and finished honing at about 160.
      The idle jets I turned out not the original 21/4 but about 5 to make sure she runs ok in idle speed driving the city – it still isn’t the best – carbon dioxide should be about 4 in idle. All of this if you use the K&N – with open intake trumpets I don’t know – I would need to do the same process again to tune it.

    • AG

      Forget to mention the Dynojet needles.

      • 83CB1100FCafe

        Thinking I’ll still go for the CR Specials for use with the pods. Thanks for the info anyway!

  • arnold

    Sorry to be such a posting pain………
    The case guards are a very nice touch, I dropped a cb550 (lightly) once and I would have rather replaced the guard than the covers and possibly the case,crank and other assorted bits and pieces.
    Stupid, stupid tires.(yeh that’s it, I Blame the tires.)

    • Lov show they are ‘barely there’ too. They look like they’d do their job but they aren’t stealing any limelight.

    • AG

      That’s what I thought. The covers are that expensive (Rotor about $300) now that I said take some original tarozzi guards – powder them and they won’t be seen negative. It’s almost like part of the frame.
      By the way the modern classic Metzler Lasertec tires are really worth their money, they stick brilliantly.

    • AG

      Hey – without posting pains – the whole thing bores to death – relax – this is gooood.

  • very classy, like the line of the long tail and exhaust, bit too much pipe wrap and don’t think you are really going to need the gaiters, or are you a London dispatch rider?

    • AG

      it’s an every day ride – again the covers cost you sometimes a used bike to buy if you can’t find them – so better the gaiters.

  • AG
  • Sebastian Beck

    Seat is amazing…was it a custom?

    • AG

      It was a piece of metal, bend and welded tin coated and painted. Before I knew the dimensions I made a model out of card box of the tank and the seat to see how big they need to be.

    • AG

      one more pic of the build

    • Guest

      trying to upload some build pics

    • AG

      during the build up pics

  • Andreas Goldemann

    Hi Andrew – here a picture of the DUC. By the way my computer won’t let me into the Disqus forum. My mail is