Honda GL650 Cafe Racer

GL650 Cafe Racer

Kevin Murphy is a retired master mechanic who can’t stay away from GLs. We first met him at Barber Vintage Fest in October, where he had the GL650 cafe racer you see here. Later, he brought the bike to Hotwing Glass in Yankeetown, Florida, which we visited during our “Florida swing” in November.

GL650 History

These days, Kevin pretty much limits his current work to GL repairs and restoration. As you may know, the GL650 was an evolution from the CX500 and GL500, all of which have longitudinal V-twins. The CX series was produced from 1978 to 1983, and Honda introduced the GL500 Silver Wing in ’81. The GL650 followed in 1983, but was produced only in that year.  It offered 60-horsepower, gobs of torque, and weighed 478 pounds dry.


Kevin’s Custom GL650

This bike is a perfect example of Kevin’s passion for the GL650. He took an ’82 GL frame and fitted it with a refreshed ’83 GL engine for increased propulsion and then set to work on the suspension. Up front, he tossed the stock front end for one sourced from a ’97 GSX-R 750. To suspend the rear, he turned to a shock from a CBR954RR.


A proponent of Hotwing Glass, Kevin included their Superbike bars, rearsets, and signals, as well as a Road Race 2 seat. The bike is topped off with a set of reverse cone mufflers from EMGO. Beautifully finished and all wiring cleverly hidden beneath the seat and in the bump stop.

BikeBound was lucky enough to score a ride on this bike and it was certainly more than just a pretty face. Besides sounding great, it was light, tight, and ready to rock and roll, exactly what we love to see in a café racer.



GL650 Custom

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