According to Clarkson, the bike was in bad shape when it first rolled through the door. It was an heirloom of sorts, handed down after almost 20 years to the original owner’s younger brother. There it sat, unused and unloved for another span of time until it was passed on again to the youngest brother, who immediately set to bringing the motorcycle back to life.
When the ‘Wing made it to Clarkson, it had 215,000 km on the odometer (almost 134,000 miles) and looked to have been through hell. The owner asked that the Gold Wing be turned into a café racer and left it at that.
“We’d never really done anything to a Gold Wing, it’s just not something we’re generally around, and so we were all pretty excited about doing it,” explains Clarkson. “It gave us an opportunity to work on something like that and take it from literally a stock sort of bagged out, decked out bike and pare it down to as minimalistic as possible and see what we could come up with.
“I think one of us standing there said ‘you know it’s going to be a beast of a café racer, we should call it the Brute Wing, and away we went. It was pretty awesome.”
The first order of business for the Brute Wing was to strip the motor and perform a ground-up rebuild. They replaced every brace, bearing and internal component in the mill, a task that proved rather difficult due to a shortage of parts for the year, make and model in North America. Clarkson sourced pieces from around the world in order to get everything running right. It was then finished in a semi-gloss black paint, as were the rocker box valve end covers and front timing belt cover. In addition to the full engine revamp, Lucid rebuilt the shaft-drive transmission and finished it in semi-gloss black as well.
It’s not completely blacked-out though, with elements such as the rear final drive assembly, exhaust pipes and rear shocks left in bare aluminum. The dual pipes are a custom piece fabricated at Lucid, as is the aluminum taillight that holds a slim, LED brake light strip.
One of the most difficult aspects of turning the Gold Wing to a café racer was getting fitment right for the rider, who measures 5’9”. It required Lucid create a custom seat, all of which was built in-house apart from the leather work, which was passed off of the California-based Red Tail Leathers. Clarkson and his crew also spent lots of time adjusting the peg and handlebar position so it would fit the owner like a glove.
They fit a Yamaha XS650 headlight to the front forks to achieve a classic café visage. Springs were replaced out front and a set of custom piggyback Ohlins shocks were designed for the rear. The Brute Wing retains the stock frame, though the rear portion was modified slightly to accept the new seat, and it has the stock brake system, mated to an updated front master reservoir.
With the Brute Wing in the best shape since its first days off the showroom floor, Clarkson took it for a spin.
“It’s really interesting,” says Clarkson of the experience riding the Brute Wing. “It’s not at all like riding a Gold Wing, it doesn’t feel like one, doesn’t handle like one, it’s actually very nimble for a bike its size. I mean it’s girthy, but it handles really well. It’s actually really fun.”
In addition to the top-quality bikes Lucid produces for its customers, the shop also provides space and instruction to those that want to perform routine maintenance or build a custom machine themselves. Clarkson explains:
“About 16 months ago me and one of my buddies found a place to set up a shop. We had been watching some of the others in the industry and were trying to get into this concept of letting people come in to use your tools and teach them how to do the basic things on bikes. When we moved out of the garage into 2500 square feet there were just two of us and seven bikes to build, so we decided to try it.
“We launched this concept: you become a member, you have access to everything we have access to and basically pay per use to use the shop. We’ll teach you how to do stuff, teach you how to build a bike and we’ll give you parts at employee pricing. We just really wanted to try and encourage people to learn about the bikes that they’re riding.”
Currently the program has somewhere between 40 and 50 members of vastly different skill level. Clarkson described one woman that’s part of the community program, a 72 year-old scooter owner that comes in twice a year to change her own oil. He also described another group of guys that have the skill and knowledge to create a full ground-up custom, but have neither the tools nor space to do so. The program even has members that don’t even own a motorcycle yet, who come to watch others work, take workshops and socialize with others new to the motorcycling scene.
As Clarkson explains it, the program is a way to give back to the community that’s supported him.
And, despite the long cold winters, there is a vibrant motorcycle scene in Calgary with shops specializing in choppers, vintage restorations, and import customs among others. In this climate, especially now that the roads are thawed and riders back on the road, Lucid is busier than ever. They’re currently finishing a version of the 1969 Easy Rider bike and are working on a number of ‘70s era XS650s in addition to the community workshops and garage support.