23 Jun

What was Old is New Again

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 015contemplated 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$.

019Shortly 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.024

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.

026As 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 I040 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


  • Larry Devingt

    Good Work Mike… Looks amazing!