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The Honda Gold Wing Is A Bike For The Ages, Not Just The Aged

Classic, custom, and cutting-edge 

© Grant Schwingle

By Seth Richards, Cycle World

Rodsmith Motorcycle’s custom GL1100 X-Wing

Craig Rodsmith has garnered a lot of acclaim over the last couple of years, and like all his builds, his 1979 GL1100 Gold Wing—transformed with stunning hand-formed bodywork—exemplifies why he’s earned every bit of it. Rodsmith acquired the bike after a friend brought it to him for some minor custom work. His friend lost interest in the project, so Rodsmith purchased the bike with the notion of using it as a shop bike. Just something practical to tool around on, in other words.

“I'd owned one many years ago in Australia,” Rodsmith says, “and always thought they were a little underrated. They're reliable, inexpensive, parts are readily available, and they have quite respectable power…and gobs of torque. Originally I just intended to make a new ‘tank’ cover and maybe a seat, but as I often do, I got a little carried away.”

And by carried away, Rodsmith means, he tore the whole thing down, ultimately shedding 250–300 pounds. For starters, Rodsmith built an underseat fuel tank (complete with sight glass), all-new bodywork, drilled the brake rotors, made covers to hide the original Comstar wheels, and topped it off with his own bespoke headlight. A new air filter and a modified exhaust system with Cone Engineering mufflers help the flat-four breathe.

Rodsmith says the revitalized Wing is smooth and surprisingly nimble. “It’s almost like riding a small locomotive,” Rodsmith adds. Maybe the Gold Wing isn’t the most obvious candidate for customization. It’s certainly not a dime-a-dozen CB. But the X-Wing is so flawlessly executed that Rodsmith makes it look perfectly natural. “I built it for myself on a whim almost. No real inspiration; it just sort of “became what it is,” Rodsmith says. Only someone of Rodsmith’s talent could pull it off so convincingly.

At the moment, Rodsmith is working on his third commissioned project for the Haas Moto Museum in Dallas. And that’s not all. “I have a few other personal builds I'm working on at the moment: another Ironhead cafĂ© racer and another loop-framed Guzzi—kind of a naked version of my Dustbin with a supercharger.” You won’t have to remember to keep an eye out for them when they’re unveiled. At this point, the Internet has a Rodsmith-shaped corner that will bring them to you.


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Autos News: The Honda Gold Wing Is A Bike For The Ages, Not Just The Aged
The Honda Gold Wing Is A Bike For The Ages, Not Just The Aged
Classic, custom, and cutting-edge
Autos News
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