After my first several trips on the Silverwing, I realized that I was enjoying motorcycle road tripping, but with each funny noise the Silverwing made I became more concerned about a potential breakdown on an antique motorcycle far from home. After researching several models, I picked up a 1998 Honda Pacific Coast 800, acquired in the fall of 2012. I named it Red Dwarf, because it’s red, and it’s a bit of a dwarf compared to other sport touring motorcycles. This is the first bike I’ve ever owned that was NOT built in the early 1980s. In fact, it’s the final year the PC800 was made, with a mere 500 or so produced, according to Wikipedia. But I intend to ride it, not put it in a museum.
It came with some nice modifications – a Clearview windshield with a vent, a Powerlet outlet, a nice seat, and a matching Givi E52 top trunk in addition to the cavernous “trunk” the PC800 has rather than traditional saddlebags. My only additional mods have been transferring my GPS mount from the Silverwing and installing an LED trunk light kit from AdMore Lighting. It worked beautifully for all of my trips in 2013, and I’m looking forward to even more adventures with it.
Before that, I put a lot of miles on a 1982 Honda Silverwing GL500 Interstate. No, not a Goldwing – a Silverwing. And no, it’s not a scooter. It’s basically the offspring of a CX500 and the Goldwing of the time. Honda took their CX500, then threw on the fairing and luggage from the Goldwing to make a small touring bike. Most people interested in touring seem to want a larger bike than this, which explains why, after growing to a 650 in 1983, the Silverwing in this form died out in the U.S. a few years later.
I found this one for sale on the side of the road in November 2009 in Augusta, Maine – hardly the best time or place to be selling a motorcycle. I was coming off a frustrating summer of problems with my Suzuki GS1100L. I’d hardly been able to ride it all year due to problem after problem and not having the time or expertise to deal with them. I couldn’t resist stopping to check out the Silverwing. The price on the for sale sign had been marked down a number of times, from $1500 to $1200 to $1000. The seller came out, and in talking about it, he said the owner (his dad) would probably take $800 for it. The prospect of a working, running motorcycle was too tempting, and when I half jokingly offered the owner my non-running GS1100L in partial trade, he took it plus $400, and the Silverwing was mine.
It needed next to nothing. I think it needed a battery, since it had been sitting a while and the one it came with was weak. The tach cable was broken, and it was such a job to replace that I didn’t bother until a year and a half later while having it serviced at a shop. I moved to Massachusetts the following spring, and, unlike my rusty old Nissan Sentra SE-R, I brought the bike with me. It came without the factory hardbags, so I searched eBay, bid on a few, and finally won a pair of red ones. They don’t match the bike as far as the color is concerned, but they are from another 1982 GL500i, and fit my bike perfectly. It’s no powerhouse, but it’s a 500, and gets out of its own way perfectly adequately for my needs. Sometimes I enjoy indulging myself in the twisties, but I’m no sport rider, and it’s a powerful enough bike for my needs.
I’m one of those weird people who names all of my vehicles. I called this one “Little Wing” because… well, it is. If you consider Honda’s touring bikes to be their “Wing” bikes, then this one’s a Little Wing. And yes, I like classic rock, too.
The bike is mechanically stock, the only exceptions being a K&N air filter and the aftermarket bracket to attach both the passenger seat and the trunk at the same time. The only significant additions to the bike are RAM Mounts for a GPS and video camera, an aftermarket trunk sourced from eBay, and a ham radio APRS station, which I moved to the PC800 and improved on it.