Category Archives: PC800

PC800 Side Panels

The bike needed some side panels – it arrived without any, and the spares bike did not have any either.

PC800 P1 A04 Before

I wanted side panels to resemble those on a Gold Wing GL1100, but I happened to have some spare ones from an ST1100. Holding the right-hand one up against the PC800 it looked as if, with a bit of work, they could be made to fit. The bulge at the back neatly fitted round the battery, and the general shape was OK if cut down. It needed to have a V shape cut out at the front to make the top edge fit round the front of the seat, which just happened to align the mounting spigot on the back of the panel with a locating hole on the dummy tank cover.

PC800 P1 G02 Panels

The ABS plastic was quite easily welded back together with a soldering iron, but needed reinforcing at the back with a bit of the cut-off section glued across the join with car body filler. With a few saw cuts and some heat from a hot air gun, the panel could be bent round at the back to wrap round the battery and keep the terminals dry. The panel also had to be heat-shaped a bit at the front to get it to align with the dummy tank. Plastic welding and filler took care of the saw cuts.

 PC800 P1 G04 Panels

Some offcuts and filler complete the transformation. I used car body filler to build up the surface over an ABS offcut to cover the large hole, then bumper filler (finer grain) and finally knifing putty (the white stuff) to fill in small pits and scratches. A bracket made from aluminium strip and glued on to the back of the panel at the bottom fixes it to a handy bolt on the frame where the pillion footrest used to go.

PC800 P1 G06 Panels

A coat of primer showed up some remaining imperfections.

PC800 P1 G08 Panels

More filler, several coats of primer and some black to finish off left it looking reasonable. The process was the same for the other side, just a slightly different shape. This photo flatters – there are still a few bumps and dips in the panel surface. One day, I might replace them with something nicer, but with the ST1100 project dragging on I was keen to get this bike on the road.

PC800 P1 X06 After

PC800 Vetter Fairing

PC800 P1 C30 Fairing

Although I already had a Vetter Windjammer in fairly good condition, I couldn’t resist buying a second one on Bay at 99p. This was black and without lower sections, a bit rough but with a good windscreen. I thought it would be useful for experimenting with, trying out ways to fit a Vetter to a PC800. The chrome plated trim was badly corroded so I discarded it.

With it propped up in front of the bike on some bits of wood on top of an old paraffin stove, the first obstacle to fitting it was the thermostat housing on the right of the bike. Now would have been a good time to stand back and mull over alternative positions for the thermostat, but with enthusiasm unleashed I set about the inner panels of the fairing with an electric jig-saw. The fairing is made of ABS or similar plastic, which fuses back together behind the saw blade unless it’s done slowly so as not to generate any heat.

To get the fairing to sit at the right angle to the bike (with the base tilted about 7 degrees up at the front, according to examples on the Vetter website), I cut a couple of wooden wedges and screwed them to the base. A few more bits of wood raised the fairing to about the right height.

PC800 P1 C02 Fairing

With a hole cut for the thermostat, the mirror mounts either side of the fairing subframe were now in the way. I cut holes in the inner panel for them to go through, but it was clear that the outer parts of those mirror mounts would have to go. I retained as much as possible in case they came in useful for attaching the fairing to.

PC800 P1 C14 Fairing

The headlight bracket that projected at the front of the subframe also had to go, as it hit the rear of the headlight bowl in the fairing.

PC800 P1 C10 Fairing

The hose from the radiator to the thermostat was in the way, so I took it off, a problem to resolve later. The front cross-bar of the subframe still prevented the fairing from going as far back as I wanted:

PC800 P1 C06 Fairing

Having got nearly there, I decided to cut away as much of the subframe as necessary, and hope my welding skills wouldb e up to the job of making it good – I would have to weld on brackets for the fairing anyway.

After much hacking away at the fairing and subframe, it finally sat in the right place. I’d cut away a lot more of the fairing inner than necessary in my attempts to retain most of the subframe, but I decided to keep this Vetter on the bike, and patched up the inside with some of the bits cut off, using a soldering iron. Luckily most of the repairs are hidden. Modifying the other Vetter more carefully could wait until I had nothing better to do. Meanwhile, there was a subframe to fix up, a radiator hose to sort out, and the rest of the bike to do.

PC800 P1 C12 Fairing

PC800 Project Start

This PC800 was up for auction on eBay in June 2013. Located on Merseyside, it had been stripped of its bodywork, exhaust and clocks – not by scallys but by the owner, who had sold them off after discovering the cost of getting the panels professionally re-sprayed. I was the only bidder.

PC800 P1 A04 Before

Having listened over the phone to it running, I took a chance, buying it unseen. When it arrived I tried starting – it fired up on the first attempt, sounding like a Harley with open pipes due to the missing silencer. That was promising – it meant the battery was good so the charging system probably was too, the carbs were not gummed up and the fuel pump worked. The tyres were good but the rear slowly lost pressure.

My intention was to build a lightweight Gold Wing substitute. Lightweight being relative, as a standard PC800 weighs over 250kg. I had already acquired a Vetter Windjammer fairing as fitted to some early Gold Wings. Although the windscreen was broken, the rest was in fair condition.

PC800 P1 A08 Fairing

Some essential missing  parts of the bike would have to be replaced – the instruments, the silencer and lower part of the front exhaust downpipe and the seat. An original silencer would be useful as they incorporate the collector box. I kept an eye on eBay motorcycle spares section and to my surprise, soon found four incomplete and rough-looking bikes for sale from a dealer near Chester. Two of them had the required parts; one of these had a front fairing but poor tyres, the other had decent looking tyres but no fairing. I was very tempted to buy both, with a view to taking the parts I wanted and using the rest to make a rat bike to sell, but some remnant of good sense told me this was a step too far. I bought the faired one, a 1994 M-reg, with thoughts of using the inner part of the PC800 fairing with the outer from the Vetter, solving the problem of attaching the Vetter.

PC800 P1 A16 Before

It was soon apparent that the two fairings were completely incompatible, but the exhaust, front seat and clocks would be OK, and easily worth the £200 cost of the bike plus delivery. The exhaust was a bit of a pig to remove, needing a large hammer applied to various parts to separate them, but I found it to be solid and the chrome trim polished up quite well.

PC800 P1 A06 Exhaust

A trip to the A47 Autojumble near Leicester rewarded me with a fibreglass rear mudguard for £5 that would do nicely for the PC800, and a Ford dashboard clock for £2 that might be fitted later.

PC800 P1 A10 Mudguard

A final bit of eBay shopping obtained a pair of fibreglass Craven panniers which, from research with Craven, appear to be one-offs used by Warwickshire police on a BMW K-series, presumably before going with another manufacturer. They would need some suitable brackets and a bit of tidying-up, but I liked their unusual design.

PC800 P1 A12 panniers

 All I had to do was put the bits together – or so I thought.

My PC800 – A Brief History

PC800 P1 X08 After

The picture above shows the bike in the summer of 2015. Here’s how it came to be . . .

I had decided to rebuild my ST1100 again and fancied a Honda GL500 or CX500 Custom as an alternative. Searching eBay for a ‘GL’, I found a GL1100 Gold Wing (unfaired version) for sale nearby, fell in love and bought it. It was the most comfortable bike I’ve ever had, fantastic for relaxed cruising, but the handling, brakes and lack of power let it down. It was also extremely heavy, nearly 300kg.

GL1100 P0 Standard

I would have loved to have a fully dressed one  – not an over-the-top 2-wheeled mobile home, but a comfortable bike with a fairing and panniers, for lazy riding. However, the weight of the undressed ‘wing was too much for me to move around so a dressed one was out of the question.

GL1100 P0 Interstate

I could have gone for a Honda Silver Wing – the CX500 derivative – but they don’t have quite the same appeal for me, and apparently are top-heavy, which would be a problem. I drop bikes that are top-heavy.

So, after a while the GL1100 went and a BMW R850R took its place. A good bike in many ways, but too top-heavy, too vibey and the wrong riding position for me.

I had not intended to start another bike project, as the ST1100 rebuild was still unfinished, but sometimes an opportunity just has to be taken, which is how in the Summer of 2013 I came to have two partially-dismantled Honda PC800s cluttering up my garage and drive.

The Honda PC800 Pacific Coast, to give it it’s full title, is quite rare in the UK – I read somewhere that there are only about 300 registered, all grey imports. They sit somewhere between a Deauville and a Pan European in terms of size, weight, looks and purpose. So not the most exciting of bikes, either to look at or ride. But with a large windscreen, fully enclosed bodywork and capacious “trunk” as they say in the USA where many of these came from, they fill a niche and have a reputation for reliability. Most UK owners are enthusiasts and regard them as the ultimate touring bike.

PC800 P0 Standard

The V-twin engine is similar to that of the Shadow 800 and related to those of the Deauville, NTV600/650 and even the Transalp and Africa Twin. The frame and bodywork are unique, but many other parts are shared, as one might expect. They also, like the Pan European and Gold Wing, have shaft drive and an underseat fuel tank.

The first PC800 I came acrosshad been a few years previously, stripped of its bodywork and advertised for spares. I thought it would make an unusual project, but on inspection there was too much missing to make it worthwhile. Ever since then I had occasionally scanned eBay for a cheap one that could be butchered without too many qualms. Then this one came up, a 1989 F-reg, missing the bodywork and various other parts but otherwise in good condition. It even had an MoT!

PC800 P1 A02 Before

Having sold the BMW in the autumn of 2014 I had enough incentive to get the PC800 ready for an MoT by March 2015. The priority was getting it rideable, so mechanical repairs, de-rusting and making it legal were the priorities. Perfecting it will take a little longer.