Honda GL1000 Gold Wing
I was using my black 500 Four as my main bike and had a sidecar on my GS850 shaft drive. I had a friend with a Gold Wing Executive outfit, which is where my Squire sidecar came from, when he bought a Wessex. The Executive Gold Wing was a numbered limited edition, and my friend's bike was No 1.
Steve Rhodes Motorcycles in Bradford had got Executive No 2 in their second hand stock and I was interested in buying it but couldn't agree a price with them. I took the sidecar off the 850 in preparation for a trade-in and then when I went to do the deal it had gone. Someone gave the asking price!
Plans for my next outfit were ruined but they had a later model, a K2 Wing, that was a reasonable price so I did a deal for that instead.
I ran it solo for a while and much to my surprise I actually enjoyed it. Once you get used to the weight and learn to ride within its limitations they are ok. I had problems with roundabouts and lightened the centre stand and exhaust during my solo riding by grinding it away on the road.
It had always been my intention to put the sidecar on it but I wanted a proper outfit this time so I bought a full EML conversion for it. This meant I had 15" car type wheels and leading link front forks. I also made a matching 15" wheel for the sidecar. It ended up a good handling setup, nice and low with plenty of power.
I used it as much as I could but found it to be a bit thirsty so I always tried to get a passenger for long runs. When I went to the Elephant rally on it, in Austria at the Salzburgring, we came close to bankruptcy on the way home due to me trying to keep too high a cruising speed.
After a few years I took the sidecar off and converted it back to solo trim. I didn't clock up many miles on this one, maybe 40,000 or so but I had started to have problems with head gaskets blowing so it was time for it to go.
I had heard good reports on the Kawasaki GT750 shaft drive bikes so when I saw a low mileage one in Rhodes' I traded it in.
I have since ridden all the various different versions of Gold Wings and am always amazed how such a big heavy bike can handle so well and be so nice to ride but I have never been tempted to actually buy another one!
- Ted Trett