Honda GB500

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ClassCafé racer
Engine498 cc (30.4 cu in) air-cooled RFVC 4-valve SOHC single
Bore / stroke92 mm × 75 mm (3.6 in × 3.0 in)
Compression ratio8.9:1
Top speed108 mph (174 km/h)[1]
Power33 hp (25 kW) @ 6,500 rpm
(rear wheel)[1]
SuspensionFront: 35 mm telescopic forks
Rear: Twin shocks with adjustable pre-load
BrakesFront: single disc
Rear: drum
TiresFront: 90/90-18 in
Rear: 110/90-18 in
Rake, trailRake: 30°, Trail: 118mm
Wheelbase55.6 in (1,412 mm)
DimensionsL: 83 in (2,100 mm)
W: 27 in (680 mm)
H: 41.5 in (1,055 mm)
Weight359 lb (163 kg) (dry)
390 lb (180 kg)[1] (wet)
Fuel capacity4.4 US gal (17 L; 3.7 imp gal)

The Honda GB500 'Tourist Trophy' (or TT) is an air-cooled single-cylinder solo café racer motorcycle. It was first marketed in Japan in 1985 in two 400 cc and one 500 cc versions. In 1989, Honda introduced a third 400 cc version for Japan; and in 1989 and 1990 a 500 cc version was available in the United States.[2]

The GB500 TT's design, mechanical configuration and café racer styling recall British 500 cc singles of the 1950s, such as the BSA Gold Star and Velocette Venom. The GB500 TT derives its name from "Great Britain and from the Tourist Trophy (or TT), a classic 37-mile road circuit on the Isle of Man.[3][4]


The GB500's engine was derived from the Honda XL600 engine, a dry-sump four-stroke dirt bike. The four-valve single cylinder engine featured a radial four-valve combustion chamber, along with a tubular frame, wire-spoked wheels with alloy rims, clip-on handlebars, solo seat, seat hump, and pin-striped fuel tank. The styling resembled TT single-cylinder racing bikes (such as the Manx Norton, the BSA Gold Star and the AJS 7R) that were prominent in the TT until the later 1960s. The GB500 was a fine-handling machine with a wheelbase of 1,410 mm (56 in).[5] When introduced, sales were sluggish and the model did not sell well in export markets. However, today GB500s in good condition command premium prices.[2][5]

Japanese and non-US export models had the tank and side panels painted in dark maroon with a Honda wing decal on the tank. It was available with either a single seat with no cowl or a dual seat, the latter version having a longer footrest carrier on the left to carry a pillion footrest. It featured clip-on handlebars and the instruments featured a black background with white lettering. US-model production was for model years 1989 and 1990 and featured black-green paint with gold pin-striping and lettering, as well as chrome wire wheels. Like the Japan-market model, it had steel-braided oil lines, steel side covers (i.e., not plastic), fork gaiters, non-adjustable fork with hydraulic damping and 18-inch wheels with tube-type tires. However, its round gauges in vacuum-plated housings have matte silver faces and its solo seat has a painted rear cowling.[6]

In 1992, a third party exported 1,000 unsold Honda GB 500s from the United States to Germany (where the model is known as the "Clubman") as grey import vehicles.[7][8][1]

Both the 400 cc and 500 cc versions were imported and sold by Honda, New Zealand. When originally released in NZ, the GB came in three models: dual seat; Mk2 with half-fairing, single seat with cowling; and no fairing, single seat.


  1. ^ a b c d Richard Backus (January–February 2011). "Honda GB 500: Under the Radar". Motorcycle Classics. Retrieved 2011-01-03.
  2. ^ a b Smith, Jerry (March 2017). "Smart Money Street Singles". Motorcyclist. pp. 100–101.
  3. ^ JJ Cerilli. "A Forgotten Classic: Honda GB 500". Vintage Motorcycles Online.
  4. ^ Clement Salvadori (June 22, 2007). "Retrospective: Honda GB500 Tourist Trophy: 1989-1990". Rider Magazine.
  5. ^ a b "Honda GB500 TT". Real November 18, 2016. Retrieved March 23, 2017.
  6. ^ Peter Egan (March 17, 2014). "Time Machine: 1989 Honda GB500". Cycle World.
  7. ^ Schmieder, Thomas (30 December 2008). "Liebhabermotorrad Honda GB 500 Clubman". Motorrad (in German). Retrieved 8 February 2014.
  8. ^ Fey, Martin (March 2002). "Honda GB 500 Clubman". BMA das norddeutsche Motorrad-Magazin (in German). Archived from the original on 22 February 2014. Retrieved 8 February 2014.