“Breathless” — a Valkyrie-Powered ’77 Goldwing from Dragon’s Motorcycles
Photos courtesy of Diego Bermúdez of Revival of the Machine and builder Pablo Sebastián.
The Honda GL1000 Goldwing may not seem like the best candidate for a cafe racer build. However, the original Goldwing, launched in 1974, was the second-fastest production motorcycle that year, running the quarter-mile in 12.92 seconds at 104.5 mph — second only to the mighty Kawasaki Z1! What’s more, Cycle called the bike “brilliantly focused” and “Superbike fast” — high praise for the flat-four, 584-lb beast. Still, it takes a special brand of vision, persistence, and skill to transform one of these two-wheeled mammoths into a machine that could satisfy a modern rider.
Enter Pablo Sebastián of Spain’s Dragon’s Motorcycles, whose first build, a BMW K1100 “Penélope,” evidenced his ability to transform a big brute like the K-series “Flying Brick” into a lean, muscular custom. For this build, he started with a 1977 GL1000, hoping to complete the build for the Madrid Bike Show — a Herculean task.
The astute reader will have already noticed that the original flat-four engine is gone, supplanted with a low-mileage 1500cc flat-six from the Honda Valkyrie. This required the development of new chassis, built with the aid of a laser bench, retaining the bike’s serial number and some of the original tubing. The new engine gives the bike a significant power boost, making over 100 horsepower and 110 ft-lb of torque at the rear wheel from the factory.
Of course, Pablo wasn’t going to leave the engine in stock trim. Not only was it painted, polished, and given “50th Anniversary” covers, but the big engine is now fed by two banks of Weber carburetors from a 1968 Porsche 911 — a fitting tribute, given that Porsche has made the flat-six engine configuration so iconic of their brand.
Pablo does admit that synchronizing the carbs to work with the 6-into-6 exhaust system was a real nightmare, but worth it.
One of our favorite parts of the build is the bodywork. Pablo utilized the tank from a Honda CB750 Super Sport, but instead of mounting it in traditional fashion, he joined it to the seat and tail in a single monocoque assembly. Not only that, but the monocoque can be operated by remote control, using synchros to lift from the chassis and give access to the electronics and a small glove compartment to carry the motorcycle’s documentation!
As for the electronics, the bike uses a Motogadget M-Unit, the M-Lock start system, and speedometer, which, like a large part of the electrical components, is housed in a 1950s Marchal headlight nacelle.
The seat upholstery is the work of Senen Leatherworks, who managed to camouflage the M-Lock start sensor on the left side and also lined the grips, shock absorber reservoirs, and made tank straps with the Honda logos included.
Dimitri Tolin of Motor Paint was in charge of the paint, doing an exhaustive amount of sanding and prepwork of the tank and bodywork prior to laying down the colors.
The bike was finished just hours before the Madrid Bike Show, where she took “Best in Show.” Say our friends at Revival of the Machine, who followed the build process and were there to see the finished machine firsthand:
“Now that we see it finished, it starts right up, and even looks like a model just out of an assembly line, it seems that everything would have been easy. But only those who have tried to do this will ever appreciate Pablo’s work for what it is worth, and will understand that we fully agree with the name he has chosen for her, because when you see her live is how she leaves you… ‘Breathless.'”
Build Sheet: Honda GL1000 Cafe Racer
The photos below are courtesy of Dragon’s Motorcycles except where noted.
1977 GL1000 chassis, fully handcrafted, laser-made, and conserves serial number.
GL1500 engine from Honda Valkyrie.
Goldwing 1500 50th anniversary engine covers.
Front brake discs made to measure 360mm.
Rear wheel 18 – 5.5 “reformed to 5” and made to align, 320mm custom-made rear disk, Brembo radial rear brake caliper 108mm monoblock.
Brembo radial front brake calipers 108mm monoblock, front wheel 19×120 customized.
GL1000 rear swinger widened.
Inox handcrafted rear wheel axle
Measured front/rear suspension and supervised by Ohlins engineering
Fixed front cover in aluminum tornado (when the wheel rotates the hubcaps is still).
CB750 Super Sport fuel tank fully restored with epoxi coating.
Electronic lift system with remote control to access the electrical and glove box
Complete iron subchassis to give system rigidity
Sealed leather seat, with ignition sensor on the seat side.
Motogadget speedometer, Motogadget M-unit Blue Bluetooth management control unit.
Fully new and hidden electrical installation.
Handlebar and gasoline tank buttons.
Rizoma grips upholstered in leather.
Weber carburetors from Porsche 911 1968, synchronization of carburetors.
Sandblasted and painted engine and new Inox screws.
Revised engine, valves, timing, etc.
Marchal headlight, 50 years old, fully restored.
Leather tanks straps with Honda wings embossed.
Honda CB radiator with twin 800m3/H fans.
All engine covers, forks, etc polished.
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A change from big and heavy to compact and beautiful ?
Uhm…Pretty sure they call this 6 cylinder a “Flat-Four” in the beginning of this article.
Excuse my last post, they were talking about the 1974 goldwing, not the 6 cylinder valkyrie