Stripping and bobbing (first post, new member)


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Jack_Riddle
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Stripping and bobbing (first post, new member)

Post by Jack_Riddle »



Hello! So I recently decided that I'd like to start buying up old Goldwings, stripping them down, and flipping them. I'm currently shopping for my first build, with a few options available locally. The big concerns for me are the electrical, as so many components are going to be removed, finding aftermarket body parts that will fit, as these aren't popular mod candidates, and increasing the handling of the bike.

Just some quick search results seem to suggest that reducing the rake is usually associated with trike conversions, but it's not immediately intuitive to me that you'd want that. Is it because without being able to lean to turn you need a shorter wheelbase? Do these raked trees reduce the rake too much to ride safely on two wheels?

Thanks for taking the time here


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GD2
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Re: Stripping and bobbing (first post, new member)

Post by GD2 »

Don't you mean increasing the rake? A trike handles better with the front wheel out further.

Not sure why you'd want to even mess with the fork angle if you are dealing with two wheels. Seems like a ton of extra work for what may be small profit, if you're just flipping bikes.
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Re: Stripping and bobbing (first post, new member)

Post by Jack_Riddle »

What I want to do is decrease the rake, or at least look into what it would take to do so. You may be completely right that it's more work than is worth it, but we'll see.

Still very much in the early phase of this, working out exactly what I'll want to do with them, what's worth doing, where diminishing returns kicks in. Ideally I'll have a formula worked out so I can order any aftermarket parts in larger quantities, become more efficient with my time and energy on them
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Re: Stripping and bobbing (first post, new member)

Post by Rambozo »

Depending on the model, the front wheel is pretty close to the engine, so no real room to reduce rake, not that you would want to anyway. The best way to improve handling is to upgrade to Traxion Full Monty suspension.
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Re: Stripping and bobbing (first post, new member)

Post by Jack_Riddle »

Just looking at them I'd have to agree with you, but the rake on these old Goldwings is 3-5 degrees larger than on a CB 750. So, that's why I'm looking into this. If I'm going to replace the front forks, both for aesthetic and suspension reasons, and there's a simple way to reduce the rake a bit with raked trees, why wouldn't I?
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Re: Stripping and bobbing (first post, new member)

Post by Ghostman »

Usually you see trees that increase the rake for trikes to make the steering more easier. A trike with stock steering is a bear to drive. I know because my 1st one had a stock tree and my second one has a 3.5 rake to the front end. If the rake is longer on one model bike as compared to another its usually because of the handling and most companies look for optimum handling whether its a cruiser or tourer or such. My goldwing trike without a raked front end you can barely put a fist between the backhalf of the fender and the motor. Decreasing the rake on a bike now youre getting into an area that can cause some dangerous issues with the handling. If I was looking at a bike and someone told me it was converted to that issue I would walk away from it. Usually decreasing the rake will make the cycle less stable .
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Re: Stripping and bobbing (first post, new member)

Post by trike lady »

The best way to make money is to buy the motorcycle cheap enough, get it running, clean it up and sell it. Don't do anything strange to it as a person buying an older Goldwing wants a complete bike. If you want to make an oddball Goldwing make it for yourself. I see a lot of mangled mess project bikes on Craigslist and no one wants them and they eventually head to a salvage yard.
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Re: Stripping and bobbing (first post, new member)

Post by Track T 2411 »

As said above, decreasing the rake can drastically change the handling dynamics. In truth, these bikes benefit more from frame stiffening, improved brakes, and larger (newer) forks than anything.
IMhO flipping a custom bike (and making a profit) is a dicey proposition unless the bike is rather unique and/or finished to a 'T'. No judgement made on your abilities, just stating the facts...
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Re: Stripping and bobbing (first post, new member)

Post by Sassy »

Looking forward to seeing what era you end up with and your mods. Please be sure to post pics.
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Re: Stripping and bobbing (first post, new member)

Post by Jack_Riddle »

Well, I understand everyone's scepticism. Maybe this is an outrageous attempt at a mid life crisis shift, and maybe it is doomed to failure. I could also be at the start of creating something really special. Most likely it'll come down to my grit and determination, plus whatever good luck Fortune wants to throw my way. I think I found the bike that'll be the perfect first build. It's an '86 that's in exceptionally clean shape, which will allow me to focus almost entirely on the cosmetics. As for who will want to buy this bike, it won't be someone who wants a Goldwing. It'll be someone who wants a cool looking CB and who has no idea that a GL could be made to look and feel like this. There's a huge culture and market around these kinds of bikes, and using GLs as the foundation is what will make this endeavor unique.

I don't expect to be able to just slap a few components on and make a couple grand. If I can turn a profit of even a couple hundred dollars then I'd consider this a success. I expect to find a ton of setbacks and frustrations along the way, but that's natural for any worthwhile endeavor. My skills are what they are, but they are definitely overshadowed by my capacity to learn and grow.

Attached is the picture that served as the inspiration for using GLs instead of CBs. This one uses the original tank and a custom seat, which I don't think I'll do. A smaller, squarer tank and an aftermarket flat brat seat should suffice. A lot of the "to the T" stuff will come down to how clean I can get the wiring, how neatly I can tuck it away, how the components on the handlebars and the lighting match the overall aesthetic, and just how it feels to ride it.
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Re: Stripping and bobbing (first post, new member)

Post by Track T 2411 »

Well, you're starting with the right frame of mind, and sometimes I'm too much of a 'stick in the mud'. For what it's worth, the 1200's have much improved handling, with a stiffer frame and better forks and brakes.
Enjoy the ride! (And yes, post lots of pics! )
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Re: Stripping and bobbing (first post, new member)

Post by Mike D 1990 Goldwing »

When the Goldwing first came out it looked like the one in the picture. They had more of a back fender and obviously some other things that are missing on the one in your picture. You could get a Valkyrie; you won't have to strip as much stuff off of it to make a bobber. Sorry, I'm not a fan of the bobbers but to each their own.
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Re: Stripping and bobbing (first post, new member)

Post by trike lady »

First thing in business is know your market.
Buying a bike stripping it down and creating a toy that no one wants opens up a market for folks who restore older Goldwings to their original glory. The GL1200 you have in mind will make you more money left whole and running. You get a customer who owns a gas guzzler truck that bike would be a blessing to them and their wallet. No one wants to commute to work on a motorcycle without storage of some type.
I made a bad choice when I converted a GL1200 to a trike that no one wanted. It sat for a long time in my garage until someone purchased it at a break even price. I'm retired from motorcycle repair and trike converting and at 68 years old enjoying my retirement. The days of OCC and chopper/bobber madness a pretty much gone and most custom bike shops have gone out of business or reverted back to repair shops. You really want to make money? Learn how to repair older Goldwings and serve those who cannot repair them or have the specialty tools to do their own work. In your neighborhood how many independent Harley shops are there and how many independent Goldwing shops are there? Harley shops are plentiful and a Goldwing shop isn't around. Honda dealer will not work on bikes more than 10 years old. You want to make even more money open a trike conversion business in you area. I know a couple of folks that are making good money at it. Building what you want means you're stuck with it, building what the people really want and need means $$$$.
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Re: Stripping and bobbing (first post, new member)

Post by Jack_Riddle »

My market is probably going to be rich yuppies in the suburbs of Chicago. White collar dudes in their thirties who want the look of what the kids are riding in the city but want the ride of something more powerful and sturdier. It's a densely populated area out here, not a lot of space for big touring bikes. It's a niche culture within a niche culture, but it's a thriving culture, especially in urban and near urban environments.

I don't want a Valkyrie, I want the torque that comes from this GL engine in a sleek, simple package.

Everything starts with the right mindset. I'm going to take this slow and hopefully build something worthwhile
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Re: Stripping and bobbing (first post, new member)

Post by GD2 »

I'm not into bobbers either but that's just me.

But, I do know that if someone tells me I shouldn't do something, I almost HAVE to do it! :D

So good luck!
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Re: Stripping and bobbing (first post, new member)

Post by trike lady »

Good Luck. If you don't give it a try you'll never know. Build one show it off and see what happens.
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Re: Stripping and bobbing (first post, new member)

Post by WingAdmin »

Honda pushed the front wheel out to increase static and dynamic stability, being that these were being intended as long-distance highway cruisers. Having a stable front end that tracks well and fixes itself when it gets bumped after hitting things on the road means a more relaxing ride and you're less tired after hours of riding.

Bringing the wheel in will definitely make it more responsive and quicker to turn, but at the expense of making it more twitchy. Look at the difference in rake between my Goldwings and my GSX-R. The GSX-R was definitely far more "twitchy" - but also agile - as a result.

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Mike D 1990 Goldwing
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Re: Stripping and bobbing (first post, new member)

Post by Mike D 1990 Goldwing »

Jack, I just noticed when you mentioned Chicago being the market you are looking at to sell the bobber. We are almost neighbors; I live in Zion about 2 miles south of the Wisconsin state line.
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Re: Stripping and bobbing (first post, new member)

Post by TheFieryMan »

Interesting idea. I had thought about something similar but rather than building entire bikes for people to buy I thought about producing some of the unique parts that most people have to make themselves to convert a Goldwing to naked/cafe style.

(I guess I'm actually talking more about conversion from carbs to and ECU/EFI since that's the main focus of my project)
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Re: Stripping and bobbing (first post, new member)

Post by AliceD »

A younger Millennial's perspective here: if I wanted a sporty vintage bike, I'd buy a sporty vintage bike, like a CB750, or try to find one of those elusive CBXs. Or if I wanted a power cruiser, I'd try to get a Valkyrie. The Gold Wing is good as-is for what it does - get you and your gear across the continent in comfort and style.

I've recently been maintaining/restoring a GL1500, and what I would have really appreciated is someone going in there and doing a proper cleaning job. Everything under the plastic was filthy to the point of turning my shop gloves black, tons of botched electrical mods done by POs over the years, missing lightbulbs, missing grommets, snapped plastic tabs, old crusty hydraulics, etc.

If someone had gone under the plastic, washed it up, cut out the crap, fixed what needed fixing, checked tolerances on important parts (brakes, etc) and resold it? That would've doubled the price. Millennials are suckers for nostalgia and "old-new stock". We tend to only modify things that don't have as much history or heritage behind it - newer, cheaper bikes. We're also not rich, and can't afford a lot of the brand new bikes coming out.

One place where a bobber conversion would make sense is if a PO dropped it and mangled a lot of the irreplaceable fairings. At that point, converting it would be giving it a second life. But I personally wouldn't do that to a bike that could be gently restored.

I'll leave the business viability and financial calculations to you, but that's what I'd be looking for.
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Re: Stripping and bobbing (first post, new member)

Post by Limpy45 »

I am probably slightly older than the average Gold Wing rider and poster on many boards. At the age of 79 and having been into motorcycles since I was in my late teens seriously. I have seen many trends come and go. Bobbers? Well, some look good, others look, well, cobbled together from what ever is laying around loose on the shop floor. I personally would never own one. I have riden them as bikes that friends owned and I worked on. I like full dress road hogs or even the original version of a Gold Wing. I currently own and ride a 1999 GL 1500 SE and a 1980 GL 1100 standard. Depending on the weather and situation I like riding both. Just my 2 cents.
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Re: Stripping and bobbing (first post, new member)

Post by Lars »

Hi Jack,
This is an interesting topic. There are lots of cheap old Goldwings out there, I am sure you can find plenty for a very low cost. Many have no idea how reliable and good bikes they really are. However, the cheapness is probably related to lack of popularity. Here in Norway, it is pretty hard to sell i.e. an original GL1100 or 1200, restoring one is not going to end with a profit. The GL1000 1975 - 1977 is a better choice.
I believe you will have a lot of fun stripping and rebuilding old wings, but I would recommend that you try your market out, with a well considered prototype. The Honda engineers have already done a great job, so I would think carefully of what to do. Improving brakes and suspension might be a start. Then maybe another exhaust system, seat, handlebars etc. Then find a very nice color design many would like.
If you find a market and your project is easy to sell, listen to the feedback and take is slowly from there. Remember, less is sometimes more, and one of my sayings goes; Just because you can, doesnt mean you should do it.
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Re: Stripping and bobbing (first post, new member)

Post by FM-USA »

JUST expanding your bobbing idea way outside the box.
Convert a limousine to a dragster?
Convert a semi truck for Can-Am?
Convert a designed touring bike to, in essence, a street racer?
Sure, nearly anything can be converted to something else but at what cost?
"Converting" is expensive while "Flipping" should be inexpensive.

🤔 Maybe a rethink is in order?
BUT, if you're still going forward,
you got my 'Good Luck' salutation.

.
When I do one thing, I'll sidestep a little & learn many things.
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Re: Stripping and bobbing (first post, new member)

Post by eklimek »

When the rider finds the bike resists turning into a corner and countersteer effort is too great, the adjustment is to decrease the trail (caster).

This normally occurs dynamically when weight is transferred to the front wheel - the forks compress and the rear tends to rise.

You can do this statically by lowering the front or raising the rear.

Changing the rake by bringing the point of tire contact closer pivot accomplishes the same.

The down side is loss of self centering action and increases the likelihood of resonance with a “tank slapper”. Taken to extreme the bike will always turn away from centre.

On the opposite extreme the “chopper” is a bear to turn but a joy in straight travel.


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