PARTS AND ADVICE FOR YOUR 'OLDEN GOLDIE'
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The one question that never seems to go away- Can I fit spoked wheels to my late (78-79) GL1000?
Before we get into that, lets look at the different wheels available.
Fitted to all the GL1000 model from '75 to '77, front and rear. DID alloy rims and zinc plated spokes.
There was only one change to them, in '76; gold anodised rims and spokes for the LTD model, only 3400 of which were made.
All models had twin heavy 7mm thick, 6 bolt composite brake rotors.
By now almost all original spokes with have lost the zinc plate and will be rusty. Spokes can be loose or broken. New spoke sets are available from wheel specialists, both zinc plated and stainless steel, but unless you have the skill to do it yourself, re-spoking is not cheap.
The alloy rims can appear fine from the outside, but hold inner horrors of corrosion when the tyre and the spoke cover is removed.
New rims and spokes require a considerable financial outlay.
Brought in for the updated '78 model and unchanged for the '79 year, they were liked and hated in roughly equal measure at the time of introduction. These were Honda's first attempt to get away from spokes, which were reaching their limits with the weight and performance of modern machines.
The rear Comstar wheel was good right from the beginning, but the first of the front wheels in 78 suffered from the spokes cracking and were subject to a factory recall.
If your '78 has been used for the last 40 years, it is almost certain that the change was done. you can tell the difference between the early and late Comstars by the slot in the spoke. The late ones have the slot extending almost right to the top whereas the early version stops somewhere halfway up.
The brake rotors are 5mm thick, 5 bolt stamped stainless steel. Again, there was a problem with the original 78 rotor spokes cracking. These have solid spokes. The later version have slots in the spokes and are a direct replacement.
All the factory front wheels are 1.85" x19" rims and should be fitted with 100/90 x19 tubes tyres. Rears are 2.50" X 17" and the most usual fitment today is 130/90 x 17"
None of these wheels are intended to be run with tubeless tyres
Aftermarket Alloy wheels:
The best know and the most prolific are the alloy wheels made in the USA by Lester. These were made for both early and late GL1000 models.
The rear wheels most often found are 16" but there was also a much rarer 18 " available. They are 3" wide and will take up to 150/80 tyres but the swing arm needs some modifications to allow that.
To my knowledge, all fronts were 2.50" x 19 (edit: I recently heard that there was an 18" version; must be very rare and I have no idea which model it was for.) and will take up to a 120/90 x 19" tyre. Some were for 5 bolt and some for 6 bolt rotors, a point to watch ouit for when buying wheels for conversion.
There were other aftermarket alloys but they are rare and you are not too likely to be offered them.
Converting from Comstars to spokes (or vice versa).
The usual question is - 'Can I fit spoked wheels to my late model with Comstars?' The answer is yes, but it's not straightforward.
The rear wheel is a straight swap. There, that was easy wasn't it! But that is where 'easy' stops, I'm afraid.
The front wheel swap is considerably more difficult. My best advice is to pick up a complete front end; forks, wheel, fender, calipers and all, from an early model. The forks bolt straight in. Brake lines will bolt up,
Failing that, you are into finding parts. You will need;
A spoked wheel (Really?)
Pair of early rotors.
A set of six rotor bolts.
A pair of early fork sliders (logic says that you will replace the oil seals and dust seals at the same time as you change these over.)
The axles are the same but since the hubs are different widths you will need the early spacer and speedo drive tube nut (or machine 5mm off each of the late ones) on the left, and right hand speedo drive.
You will need the early caliper brackets.
Because the early rotors are thicker they don't fit into the late calipers, so you will need those too.
I think if you are using the late fender it will also need to have the mounting holes changed. The late sliders are longer than the early ones so that is a possibility.
The early fender also has the speedo cable guide on the right. You will need this and also the early fender bottom support bracket as the late fender bottom support bracket has the cable guide on the left but also has small doglegs at the bottom mountings that means it won't line up.
A fair bit of work and a consideable list of parts, but very do-able.
There is another way, but it's not so do-able. I may write that up later.
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J G Evans
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