1977 Honda GL 1000 K2 Goldwing (999cc liquid-cooled boxer four)
80 bhp, 595 lbs, 125 mph
With the eclipse of the CB 750 Four by the Kawasaki Z1, Honda needed a new flagship. Ultimately on the sports front it was the six cylinder CBX 1000, however, in the interim there was the large and rapidly growing US touring market to aim at. Honda knew it needed a large capacity, very smooth and stable bike. Extensive R&D effort went into initially a liquid-cooled flat/boxer six, but by 1974 the decision had gone the way of a liquid-cooled 1,000cc boxer four. It has belt driven SOHCs on each bank of cylinders, four 32mm Keihin carburettors and a gear driven alternator rotating in the opposite direction to the crankshaft, thus helping to counter-balance the sideways surge of the longitudinal crank when the throttle is opened (as occurs on boxer BMWs). It is also shaft driven and, in order to lower the centre of gravity, it has the fuel tank under the seat - with the dummy tank being a stowage compartment and also the location for fuses etc.
Initial reaction was that the Goldwing was more like a car than a motorbike. However, due to its excellent touring characteristics (smooth, stable, reasonably fast, large and hence a good platform for a pillion and luggage plus being very quiet) it progressively became a big hit in the US, where 97,000 GL 1000s were sold between 1975 and 1979. In 1980 capacity increased to 1,100cc and in 1984 to 1,200cc. In 1984 the Goldwing transformed to (the originally envisaged) boxer six at 1,520cc capacity and this was upped again in 2001 to today's 1,832cc. Of course the appearance of the bike also transformed massively from the naked GL 1000 to the fully faired and bagged two wheeled cars of today. All in some 640,000 Goldwings have been produced.
This bike is a 1977 UK model GL 1000 K2 with essentially original specification - apart from braided brake hoses - and with original colours. It was bought in2013 in reasonable cosmetic condition but with running issues. A&H Cycles reworked the carburettors and today it runs smoothly and powerfully. The 650 lb wet weight combined with the low centre of gravity conspire to make getting it onto its centre stand a muscular and balancing challenge!