Big dual-sports are comfortable over distance, with tons of packing space and a strangely appealing aesthetic. But we like them even more when they’re oddball custom jobs.
Based roughly fifty miles from Amsterdam in Apeldoorn, Roy operates as RH Motorcycles. (He writes and styles it as ‘Are Age’—a self-deprecating reference to his accent.)
He started riding bikes well before the legal age, thrashing mopeds in the woods near his house. Since they kept breaking down, he kept fixing them—so he quickly became the ‘go-to’ guy for repairs in his neighborhood.
“I picked it up at a farm, where it was under a big pile of dust in a forgotten corner,” he tells us. “It’d been used for years as a daily driver on rainy Dutch days.”
Roy repaired the frame, trimming it of any unnecessary bits and re-powder coating it in the process. He decided to keep the stock Comstar wheels, but completely stripped, refurbished and re-assembled them. They’re now wrapped in Mitas enduro rubber.
The work also included a full rewire, and an overhaul of the suspension and brakes. The front forks have been powder-coated black and treated to a pair of boots, and there are new shocks out back. A couple of off-the-shelf mufflers help reduce some visual weight.
The Gold Wing’s tank was originally designed to run under the seat, with a ‘dummy’ tank up top hiding the airbox and electronic components. Roy opted to stick with this configuration, which keeps the center of gravity low.
He did swop out the faux tank for a slightly later GL1100 unit though, “for better lines.” It now houses the clocks too, with the center panels covered in the same heavy-duty canvas adorning the custom-made seat. The canvas itself is recycled: it’s been cut from an old army tent.
It’s the detailing that gives this Gold Wing its utilitarian vibe. An ammo box on the right houses the battery and other electrical bits. And there’s a handy luggage rack—a re-purposed Kawasaki Z650 unit. Up front are some dirtbike bars, brown ‘Thruster‘ grips from Biltwell Inc. and a neat headlight grill.
“Since the tank hadn’t rusted straight through, all we did was strip it of paint and heavy rust, and coat it with the rust neutralizer/epoxy primer Brunox. It changes the color of rust particles to purple, and functions as a transparent base coat for a 2K clear coat.”
Thanks to the Gold Wing’s stock 19F/18R wheel sizes, the right combination of tires and the improvements to the suspension, Roy reports that the big tourer “handles better in the dirt than you might think!”