The styling of the Honda GB500 TT (“Tourist Trophy”) resembled the single-cylinder Isle of Man TT race bikes of yesteryear. Then, as now, TT riders braved the 37-mile Mountain Course at unbelievable speed, blasting between stone walls and hard curbs. The air-cooled single of the GB500 was derived from the XL600, and the handling was keen.
Previously, we featured the GB500 TT cafe racer of the UK’s Steve Jones, who managed to retain the original identity of the cult classic while improving the performance, looks, and handling. Earlier this year, Steve’s 85 year old father requested his own GB500 cafe racer. Below, we get the full story on this pair of “Black Beauties.”
Honda GB500 TT Cafe Racer: In the Builder’s Words
I have just completed the second Honda GB500 TT Café Racer. This one was not for myself but for my 85 year old father who asked me to do a near identical copy of my own GB500 that I had completed three years ago.
His GB500 he purchased and imported from Germany earlier in the year; it was a reasonable condition 12,000 mile bike.
It still had all the California anti pollution smog pump which was the first thing that I removed along with the restrictive heavy exhaust system. This was replaced with a beautifully custom made Jack Batson, stainless system.
Through past experience I found the original Keihin CV Carb was not up to scratch and knew the bike would run better with a Mikuni TM40/6 Pumper which we bought and fitted.
The next step was to beef up the clutch with a set of EBC heavy duty plates and springs.
I wanted to enhance the Café Racer look but not lose the GB’s original identity so I bought a lovely Universal Ducati 900ss style Fairing but had to have the cradle and brackets fabricated to suit.
So while waiting I sent the fairing, tank, mudguards, side covers and tail cover off to the painters to be re-finished in the original Honda black/green with the addition of gold pinstripes.
I replaced the Honda Bars with a set of Tommaselli multi adjustable clip-ons and fitted them below the top yoke knowing this was the correct place to fit without fouling the fairing or trapping your fingers against the tank.
Now everything is put back together I am happy with the finished job although I intend to upgrade the front and rear suspension at a later date.
More at the Honda GB Enthusiast Group