Reasonable Part Substitutions for Honda GL1000s

You can never go wrong with OEM Honda parts. Fit, function, and reliability are never an issue. If you have a show bike, authenticity requirements dictate that you stick with Honda parts wherever possible. Of course, if show judges are looking at things like your timing belts, then you have bigger problems!

The following chart lists reasonable substitutes that have performed well for me and many others. This information is available elsewhere, but I decided to post it here for convenience since I’m often asked. Prices are considerably less than the equivalent Honda parts.

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Tips on Buying a Used Honda GL1000

Introduced in 1975, the Honda GL1000 was a stunning technical achievement. The original, unfaired GoldWing was the world’s biggest, heaviest and second fastest bike available at the time (only the mighty Kawasaki Z1 was swifter). Novel features included a liquid-cooled flat four engine, belt-driven overhead cams, shaft drive, triple disk brakes, under-seat fuel tank, counter-rotating alternator, two oil pumps, “floating” piston pins, faux top shelter “tank” and detachable back-up kick-start arm to mention a few. Honda used the GL1000 to showcase its considerable engineering prowess and put other motorcycle marques on notice that it was a force to be reckoned with. For the first time ever, there was heavy collaboration between Honda’s motorcycle and automotive engineering teams on the ’75 Wing.

Kickstarting a ’75-’77 Honda GL1000

Starters are very reliable on GL1000s, but it’s nice to have a back-up. The back-up kick start lever is found only on ’75-’77 models. Honda deemed this extravagant redundancy was unnecessary and dropped the feature on later models.  I’ve actually needed the kickstarter on several occasions to make it home when some aspect of the very reliable electric starting system failed. I also use my kick starter for another reason: it’s a good test of your bike’s overall state of tune. If it will start with the kick start lever, then you have a well tuned bike! There are many maintenance operations (like setting timing) where the kick starter provides some nice convenience.

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Kick Start Lever Storage Location [Read more…]

Starting a Honda GL1000 after a Long Lay-up

I’m often asked how to go about the process of returning an engine to service after a long lay-up. The starting point would be an engine which hasn’t been started in several years. Hopefully, the crankshaft will turn freely without heroic measures. You should always check this before buying an old bike that’s been sitting. I “pass” on most opportunities to buy bikes with frozen engines. Bikes with frozen engines usually have a myriad of other problems that make them poor candidates for serious restoration efforts.

Barn Fresh GL1000

Here’s the method I use to resurrect GL1000 engines safely. This procedure is very effective in safely cleaning engine internals and removing varnish from the starter clutch rollers.

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Recommendations for New Owners of a Honda GL1000

Here’s a list of specific recommendations I’d like to share with any new owner of an early Honda GL1000 (1975-1977). These are based on my many years of experience owning, riding, restoring and servicing these bikes. These address frequent questions I get and incorporate preventions for most of the common problems I’ve seen over the years.

Spring Fling - Elsie

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GL1000 VIN Codes, Etc. Explained

GL1000 Engine Restoration

Beautiful GL1000 engine restoration by customer Tom Cox of Loveland, Colorado

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GL1000 Muffler Replacement Options

Need a replacement muffler for your Honda GL1000?  Then you probably know already that this can be a vexing proposition!

GL1000 muffler

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