Craig Rodsmith is one of my favourite characters in the bike building world. An Australian working in the US, his motorcycles are bombastic creations that feature incredible aluminium work. Miles of polished metal and astonishing levels of fit and finish are his calling card…
Despite what your over-active imagination may be telling you, the Vampire Squadron was actually an American Airforce group based in Guadalcanal during WWII. Their plane of choice was the unique Lockheed P-38 Lightning. A ‘twin boom and a central nacelle’ design, the aircraft stood out amongst its contemporaries like the dog’s proverbials. Cue Honda’s similarly unique flat four Goldwing. A little BMW, a little Moto Guzzi and a whole lot of engine capacity, it’s a bike that still occupies the outer fringes of the custom scene. But not if Kentucky’s Scott Halbleib has his way.
In case you haven’t noticed, we’re pretty keen on the old motorcycles here at the Chateau du Burnt Pipes. So us telling you how we like one particular model of bike over another is tantamount to the chubby kid with chocolate all over his face telling you how he much prefers Mars Bars to Snickers. But with that said, you’ve got to admit that there’s a certain something about Gold Wings. Their unique engine. Their ‘Americanese’ East-meets-West design. Their relative scarcity. It all adds up to something that really pushes our buttons – and those of Retro Bikes Croatia, too. Here’s Zeljko, the shop’s owner, to walk us through just how this chocolate-coloured delight came to be.
One of the best things about a gig at the House of Burnt Pipes is the fact that you really get to see builders grow and progress in their art. Often, we’ll feature one or two really good builds from someone that we’ll sadly never hear from again. But once in a while, we are lucky enough to get in on the ground floor with a builder who’s clearly headed places and then ride the elevator all the way to the top floor with them. This is one of those times. If there was such a thing as a Custom Bike Master Builder’s Association, this bike would mark Scott Halbleib’s entry submission. Meet his latest build, a.k.a. ‘No. 5’.
I’ve got to admit that I’m a total sucker for a good Goldwing. Now with that said, please don’t ask me exactly what it is about these Japanese gigantors that really pushes my buttons. Sure, the flat four and shaft drive tick the ‘unique’ boxes and the ‘CB750’s bigger brother’ look of the initial models really helps things along. But going from our previous ‘wing posts they tend to stand out from the crowd with a magic little something; there’s just this solidity and a ‘skunk works’ vibe they exude that gets me every time. And this bike, from the now legendary Adam Nestor from Adam’s Custom Shop in Rävlanda, Sweden is no exception.
It’s funny how some types of bikes just get under your skin. And I know I speak for both Scott and myself when I say that Honda Goldwings are definitely one of them. Along with the CX500s, Goldwings seem to be dripping with that inexplicable coolness that gives any custom build a killer cool factor even before the first spanner has even touched the WD-40 drenched rusty bolt. But what exactly is it? I’m not really sure – but Jah knows the flat four, solid silhouette and chunky build don’t hurt. And the in-tank beer storage compartment? Japanese genius. I can see Honda-san sinking a few tinnies with the designers after hours and giving them a well earnt slap on the back in between burn-outs and practical jokes involving no-pants-sushi-balancing races. Richard “Sunnbobb” Matrass is similarly down with this whole Goldwing thing. Despite a bad first date, it was still love at first sight. And the marriage? Well just look at these shots and take a read of what Richard has to say…
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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”.
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Now we’ve seen it all. This is a 1976 Honda GL1000 Goldwing. Yes you heard me right, a Goldwing Cafe Racer. The GL1000 was one of the original Goldwings before they incorporated the fairing into the main body. Would never have thought we’d see it turned into a cafe racer. Everything was fabricated by a GW enthusist from Sweden. The lamp hood is from a HD night rod, and the muffler is a Yoshimura. To see more pics of this awesome beast and more inspiring Goldwings check out Naked Goldwings.
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