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Honda posted by

TT Week – 1989 Honda GB500

Warning!

This post is in our archives. Links in this post have been updated to point to similar bikes available to bid on eBay.

In reverence to the nearly two weeks of racing along the 37-mile Isle of Man road course, Honda introduced a British-styled tribute thumper in 1985 and built it in a few displacements until 1992.   Called the Tourist Trophy and nicknamed the TT, the bike was a retro cafe racer with Honda engineering, and foretold many of the “classic style” successes to come.

20160521 1989 honda gb500 right

1989 Honda GB500 for sale on eBay

20160521 1989 honda gb500 left front

20160521 1989 honda gb500 right rear

Not a super sporting build, the GB500 is based on the single overhead cam engine from Honda’s dual-sport XL600, sleeved down to 498 cc’s and 33 hp.  Not taking it quite back to the 60’s, the TT engine has a gear-driven balance shaft and the hemispheric combustion chamber with valves in a radial arrangement.  It’s a willing and torquey thump, just 8.9:1 compression to ease kick starting.  The drivetrain is completed by a 2-into-1 exhaust, wet clutch and 5-speed transmission.  Brakes are true to form, a single 256mm front disk with rear drum.

20160521 1989 honda gb500 left

20160521 1989 honda gb500 dash

The TT is a stylistic success, the clip-ons and monoposto seat cowling complemented by the black-green paint.  The vintage vibe continues with the fork gaiters and dual rear shocks, chrome like the chain guard .  Gold pinstriping and plenty of chrome plating, along with spoked wheels complete the English landscape.

20160521 1989 honda gb500 right front

20160521 1989 honda gb500 under seat

This GB500 is the owner’s second, he rides the other one and has preserved this with only 425 miles.  A spot of hangar rash here and there, but amazingly original.  From the eBay auction:

I am selling my low-mileage 1989 Honda GB500.  I am the second owner, and when I bought it at 240 miles, I didn’t know if I’d like it.  By the time I hit 400 miles, I knew I loved it but I didn’t want to modify this one from stock with this low of mileage, so I bought another (Supertrapp, fairing, removed emissions controls etc and with a whole lot more miles on it – I call it my “beater GB”) and I ride that all the time, and this one never. 

I have not ridden it since 2010, but I have fired it up every year since.  It was last running at Barbers Vintage Festival last October (2015) and since then has been in my heated shed.  
It probably needs its carb cleaned and a new battery, and new tires & tubes, just due to its age and being run so rarely. Has 420 original miles.  There is a small scratch on the tank where my jacket zipper rubbed, and a scrape on the muffler which it came with from the first owner.  Otherwise, it is in near perfect condition (I can’t think of any other flaws, but with 425 miles on the clock there will be some little rock dings on forks and frame paint), and it is absolutely standard.  There are no cracks in any of the plastic panels or covers, and the seat has no holes.  The gas tank has no signs of rust, and nothing creaks! 

20160521 1989 honda gb500 right

20160521 1989 honda gb500 right rear wheel

This TT will need a little freshening up before any substantial riding, or it could by drained and detailed, and elevated to a pedestal.  With no bids but quite a few watchers, getting to the reserve might be a challenge, though is it basically new with a little shelf wear.  Engineered to be more of an around-town machine, it might be at home in the pits of a Honda team at this year’s Tourist Trophy, or take it down to pub to watch the tv coverage on your laptop

-donn

20160521 1989 honda gb500 rear

5 Comments

  • I remember when these first came out. I thought they did a terrific design job on these, and they built a thumper the way the brits should have.

  • I always thought those were cool and it’s less than an hour away, but $8k reserve – Sorry but there are way too many cooler options between $8k and where that bike would begin to interest me.

  • I had one for a couple of years. Great build quality and super fun up in the mountains but plain awful on the freeway. I think it was Cycle World that built one up with a Gerry Branch cylinder head, big bore conversion and WPS shocks. Their sell price now appears to outweigh their value in my opinion.

  • I’ve always felt GB500’s were under powered, over rated, and over priced. Would prefer a SRX600 Yamaha instead!

    • Sixth, I agree. They didn’t sell very well when new. Many languished in dealers show rooms and were finally sold with large discounts.
      I have an SRX 600, it is a fun bike. Runs much better with a SuperTrapp and rejetted carbs. But these also didn’t sell well because of kick start only. Oh Well

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