Honda GL1000 Goldwing “Gravel Express”

Honda GL1000 Scrambler

A “BIG-ASS scrambler” in love with the Dutch gravel!

The Honda GL1000 Goldwing may seem like an unlikely candidate for customization, but builders are revealing the burly beauty of these highway cruisers when they strip them down and lean them out. The original GL1000, introduced in 1974,  offered 80 horsepower and 63 lb-ft of torque from its 999cc liquid-cooled flat-four. Cycle magazine called the bike “brilliantly focused” and “Superbike fast,” recording a quarter-mile time of 12.92 seconds at 104.52 mph — only the mighty Kawasaki Z1 was faster that year!

Honda GL1000 Scrambler

Enter Roy Holtman of RH Motorcycles — aka “AREAGE” — based in the Netherlands. Roy has a deep affinity for custom Goldwings — so deep, in fact, that he’s developed a line of GL1000 customs known as the AREAGE “Gravel Express” series. Each bike is custom-tailored to the client, but shares in the overarching concept. Says Roy:

“An adventurous mile-muncher, scrambler-style custom bike, with a bit of a Mad Max thrown in. A rugged legend rides again!”

Honda GL1000 Scrambler

Below, we get the full story on this “BIG-ASS scrambler” from Roy himself, as well as some killer photos from Dutch moto photographer Mark Meisner.

Honda GL1000 Scrambler: Builder Interview

Honda GL1000 Scrambler

• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.

My name is Roy Holtman, the one-man-show behind the AREAGE motorcycle studio. RH ‘AREAGE’ Motorcycles in Arnhem, the Netherlands.

It all started for fun in my living room, with a workshop set up behind my couch. From there I moved to a storage shack and it went from there. At this moment I run a professional motorcycle design studio/atelier, specializing in handbuilt, one-off bespoke, custom motorcycles, parts, and lifestyle.

The signature “ARE AGE” brand logo is a self-deprecating reference to the Dutch accent when pronouncing the initials of my name. This idea was born during my college years, over some beers while thinking about a brand-name for a little skateboard company I was playing around with.

Honda GL1000 Scrambler

• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?

Honda GL1000 Goldwing 1977.

• Why was this bike built?

I have built multiple GL1000’s, every single one unique but based upon the same concept. These custom bespoke bikes are designed for a specific client/owner on the gravel express concept. An adventurous mile-muncher scrambler style custom bike, with a bit of a mad-max style thrown in. A rugged legend rides again!

The client in this case saw the original bike and loved it. Except for him it was a bit too rugged. At the end, we ended
up making a clean and more elegant version of the original. Lets say; more for the gentleman riding to his office at the
end of a gravel road kind of style.

Honda GL1000 Scrambler

• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?

Influenced by the original Gravel Express. The Honda Goldwing is the go-to base for the AREAGE Gravel Express concept series.

This is a custom motorcycle series, all unique in appearance, designed for each specific client/owner upon the same

• What custom work was done to the bike?

17″ rim front and back and 17″ fat tires front and rear.

Honda GL1000 Scrambler
Forkguards for that fat front fork look.

Honda GL1000 Scrambler
Single headlight with custom-made stone guard.

Honda GL1000 Scrambler

Custom rear fender.

Honda GL1000 Scrambler
Wrinkle coated gas tank under the seat by Custom Coatings Helvoirt.

Honda GL1000 Scrambler
Custom made seat by Miller Kustom Upholstery.

Honda GL1000 Scrambler
Custom painted tank, with the speedo in the top cover and with the AREAGE logo on the sides.

Honda GL1000 Scrambler
Overhauled engine and new gloss powdercoat for a “refined” look. Complete custom stainless steel exhaust system by our friends at The Custom Factory.

Honda GL1000 Scrambler
Suspension update front and rear by Progressive Suspension.

New gloss powdercoat for a "refined" look.
All new electrical harness and components. Most important parts by Rick’s Motorsport Electrics such as the starter engine, starter relays, special lithium-ion regulator. Dyna electric ignition system with NGK red spark leads (signature part for my bikes).

New gloss powdercoat for a "refined" look.
Leather electrical box on the side.

New gloss powdercoat for a "refined" look.
And loads of other new small parts.

• How would you classify this bike?

An adventurous mile-muncher in love the Dutch gravel. A BIG-ASS scrambler.

GL1000 Scrambler

• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?

Seeing the excitement in the owners eyes the first time when he saw the completed project while picking up the bike at the studio in Arnhem. And making the right judgment on personal changes to the concept for this specific client.

GL1000 Scrambler

Follow the Builder

Facebook: @RHMotorcycles
Instagram: @rhmotorcycles

Photographer: Mark Meisner (@markmeisner)

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  1. Great bike but scrambler?

  2. A lovely machine, but with the addition of a small front fender and some black ignition leads it would be near perfect!

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