Railman Mark Nevitt builds a supercharged Goldwing!
Introduced in 1974, the Honda GL1000 Goldwing was the first Japanese production motorcycle to boast a liquid-cooled four-stroke engine — a 999cc flat-four that gave the 600-lb touring bike surprising performance numbers:
“With a claimed 80hp, it turned 13-second quarter-miles at over 100mph. And it was a helluva lot smoother than a Z-1, especially when consuming 500-mile days; with a top speed of 120mph you could go as fast as you wanted for as long as you wanted.” —Motorcycle Classics
Straight-line speed wasn’t the GL1000’s only surprise. While the Goldwing has always faced some ridicule for its heft and bulk, anyone who’s ridden one can tell you these big touring machines are unexpectedly light on their feet. The secret is the bike’s low center of gravity:
“The GL1000 is a surprisingly nimble machine, hiding its not inconsiderable mass well thanks to the low slung fuel tank and flat layout of the horizontally opposed engine, in effect there is little of any weight above ankle height…making the machine easy to throw around even at speed.” —Classic Motorbikes
Enter our new friend Mark Nevitt (@nevster4), a UK railroad signalman and self-taught engineer who builds bikes out of his 9×19 garage. Having fancied the GL1000 since his early teens, he decided to build a 21st-century cafe racer inspired by Sebastian Beaupere’s BMW R90S and its R50 frame.
Nearly everything but the engine block is bespoke, including the turret suspension, 2” box-section frame backbone, and the swingarm which has the exhaust running through it! As if that wasn’t enough, Mark decided to go the forced induction route, adding an Eaton M45 supercharger from a Mini Cooper S, fed by an HIF44 SU carburetor.
“The supercharger manifold was another mammoth task! I had to build a jig to weld it all together — on the second attempt I managed to get it together.”
His son Alex helped him tack the stainless steel exhaust system together, and Mark even beat cancer during this build, getting back in the saddle to finish the tail section. The tank is heavily modified, featuring tank cutouts to keep the blower cool, and the tank has proper resin badges that say NCM (Nev’s Custom Motorcycles). The headlight is an interesting piece, built from the original front mudguard:
“The headlight is taking some getting used to, but I’m not gonna change it and the tank I love.”
Overall, this is one of the most highly customized, downright interesting Goldwings we’ve ever seen. Below, we get the full story on this supercharged GL1000!
Supercharged GL1000: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
I’m Mark Nevitt. I’m nearly fifty six, married with two grown up children and work for Network Rail as a Signaller. Oh and a self-taught engineer on the side!
My workshop is very small, just a normal 9’ x 19’ brick garage and smallish drive to keep my classic Mini. My garage is packed to the rafters like my Myford lathe, bike lift, mini engines and gearboxes, with loads of other shit to boot. Shed houses a CCM604 Rotax — well, what’s left of it! Outside is a shed for a CB450DX that’s the next bike build, which is going to be my rendition of a MV Agusta?
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
1979 Honda GL1000KZ, US import.
• Why was this bike built?
A personal build and a bike I’d fancied since my early teens.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
I wanted to build it into a cafe racer, but one that was built in the 21st-century. Part of the influence was Sebastian Beaupere’s BMW R90S and the R50 frame it sits in! It’s an awesome bike/build.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
Everything bar the engine block is bespoke. The turret suspension, the new wheels, R6 rear caliper, CCM rear disc. The swingarm has the exhaust running through it. The frame now has 2” box section as its main spine. Front-end is a Triumph 955i Daytona.
The rear seat unit took me ten months to complete — that’s because I suddenly developed bladder cancer and once they’d fixed me I got straight back on the horse (so too speak). The tank is a heavily modified K7 item with vented stainless cutouts, that help cool the fuel tank because of the supercharger.
Speaking of the supercharger, that’s an Eaton M45, off an R53 Mini Cooper S and is fed by an HIF44 SU carb. The supercharger manifold was another mammoth task! I had to build a jig to weld it all together — on the second attempt I managed to get it together.
The exhaust is my first stainless system! Now this is completely unique and a first, in GL1000 territory? My son Alex helped me tack it together and in total took me a month or thereabouts to build. The brake pedal and gear lever are now bespoke stainless items and have part painted checker plate as a covering. The foot pegs and heat shield as you can see are the same.
The tank decals — NCM (Nevs Custom Motorcycles) — are proper resin and cost as much as some exhausts!
The front headlight unit is the rear section of the original front mudguard/fender & the rear hugger is the front section. The rear hugger is held off with stainless rod to make it look like it’s floating and finally, the harness is my first one and is a Motogadget system and is the dog’s nuts mate!
She also has a full Dyna ignition, coils, Taylor leads. Keyless ignition too.
• Does the bike have a nickname?
Er, bastard & you f—ker sometimes. Apart from them, no.
• What’s it like to ride the finished bike?
Well, I’ve no idea yet, because I’m waiting for the reg plate to come through. It’s up and running so can’t wait!
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
I’m proud of everything that’s been made. It’s definitely my best achievement to date. I particularly like the exhaust and the rear seat unit. The headlight is taking some getting used to, but I’m not gonna change it and the tank I love. The guy who painted it (Niall’s Body Shop) has done a fantastic job — it’s BMW M3 sunburst orange I think? I just showed him a photo and he worked his magic. I painted everything else.
I’d like to mention Phil Denton Engineering! He’s done quite a lot of my stainless bolts and headstock bearing holder. Phil, Steve, and Rhys are awesome blokes and they deserve a mention. Also I rebuilt the heads using Vesrah race valves from Germany.
My good friend Mike Greenbank who did a great job of the seat! You wouldn’t believe this was off a Harley! I altered the base & he did the rest — just brilliant.