Last year in 2014 I was fortunate enough to go though motorcycle training courses organized by Honda to obtain my motorcycle license. It was the first time I had ever sat on a motorcycle. As soon as I threw my leg over the bike and started the engine I was hooked. The way the engine rumbled, the sound, the smells was quite simply intoxicating. From the moment I felt the clutch engage and a twist of the throttle I knew this was something I had yearned for.
Spring of 2015 came around and I started looking around for a bike. I contemplated buying new, but was talked into an old bike by peers as I am a new rider and should start small. I am very much into older bikes in the first place so it was an easy decision, After looking around I found a 1981 Honda GL500 Interstate model. I was very interested in the unique engine design being a transverse mounted V-Twin. The bike was in rough shape but was complete and all there. I saw the potential in the bike and was excited by taking on a project. So I bought it for the large sum of 800$.
Shortly after picking up the bike I found it to be over heating. I flushed the cooling system, replaced the radiator cap and the thermostat. This fixed the issue. I then gave it a full tune up. Changed the oil, performed a valve adjustment, replaced some leaking seals and cleaned the oil pump pick up tube as it was caked in old oil.
I then proceeded to remove the Interstate package as I am not a fan of big fairing bikes. I really wanted to go for the naked look. I also changed the handle bars to get that low cafe racer look and feel. After reassembling the bike I polished and waxed the paint.
As you can see from the before and after pictures, this is no longer the same bike. It runs strong and true. I am really enjoying the bike now and am proud of the outcome. It is still a work in progress and is a “rolling” project, meaning I ride it often while continuing to work on not only the mechanical bits, but the appearance as well.
After some seat time on the bike and getting used to it I realized the handle bars were too low and the riding position was terrible. I proceeded to turn the bars around to get a more up right position. Now it really feels and rides like a true Honda!
Michael Baudoin, ARC Member