Honda GB500

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GB500
Honda GB500 Clubman Rechts.jpg
Manufacturer Honda
Production 1980s-1990s
Predecessor XBR500
Class Café racer
Engine 498 cc air-cooled RFVC 4-valve SOHC single
Bore X Stroke: 92 x 75 mm
CR: 8.9:1
Top speed 108 mph (174 km/h)[1]
Power 33 hp (25 kW) @ 6,500 rpm
(rear wheel)[1]
Transmission 5-speed
Suspension Front: 35 mm telescopic forks
Rear: Twin shocks with adjustable pre-load
Brakes front single disk, rear drum
Tires Front: 3.25 x 19 in
Rear: 3.75 x 18 in
Rake, trail Rake: 64°, trail: 105 mm
Wheelbase 1,410 mm (55.6 in)
Weight 157 kg (346 lb) (dry)
180 kg (390 lb)[1] (wet)
Fuel capacity 20 L (4.4 imp gal; 5.3 US 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 in1989 and 1990 a 500 cc version was available in the USA.[2] The motorcycle was also sold unofficially on the grey market in a number of countries.

The GB500 TT's design, mechanical configuration and café racer styling hark back British 500 cc singles of the 1950s, such as the BSA Gold Star. The pinstriping on the TT's tank is particularly reminiscent of Velocettes and Manx Nortons. 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]

Overview[edit]

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 1960s. The GB500 was a fine-handling machine: by contrast, its sibling, the XBR500, had a 10mm shorter wheelbase which "made the steering very edgy".[5] Although sales of the TT were initially sluggish, 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 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 500 Clubmans (German) from the USA to Germany 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.

References[edit]

  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 Classic.co.uk. 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). Retrieved 8 February 2014. 

External links[edit]