Only available from 1975-76, the Honda CB500T was an evolution of the CB450, featuring a longer stroke parallel twin engine, 50cc more displacement, and a few assorted upgrades, such as ball-type main bearings. While it may not have garnered the same buzz as Honda’s cutting-edge fours, the 34-hp CB500T was dependable as clockwork, looked great, and made a solid overall package. Says Motorcycle Classics in a 500T retrospective:
“So why are we spotlighting the old twin…We like bikes with character, that’s why, and the CB500T has it.”
Enter our friends at Unik Edition Custom Motorcycles in Lisbon, Portugal, who recently built this 1975 Honda CB500T for a client. Nicknamed “Sakura,” the bike features a shorter subframe and custom seat, custom fenders and lighting, and the engine has been engraved by @engine_tattoo — among many other details.
Below, we get the full story behind the name “Sakura,” more details on the build, and some stunning photography from Joao Carlos Photo (studio shots) and Tiago Almeida (road shots), along with rider Patrícia Basílio.
Honda CB500T “Sakura” — Meaning of the Name
Tied to the Buddhist themes of mortality, mindfulness and living in the present, Japanese cherry blossoms are a timeless metaphor for human existence. Blooming season is powerful, glorious and intoxicating, but tragically short-lived — a visual reminder that our lives, too, are fleeting.
Why don’t we marvel at our own passing time on earth with the same joy and passion? Why do we neglect to revel in life when it can end at any moment, or in the grace surrounding us everywhere: our family, friends, a stranger’s smile, a child’s laugh, new flavours on our plate or the scent of green grass? It is time, cherry blossoms remind us, to pay attention.
In Japanese culture, sakura, as the embodiment of beauty and mortality can be traced back centuries. No one in history personified this metaphor more than the samurai, the warriors of feudal Japan who lived by bushido (“the way of the warrior”) — a strict moral code of respect, honour, and discipline. It was their duty to not only exemplify and preserve these virtues in life, but to appreciate the inevitability of death without fearing it.
Symbol of love, renovation and hope, cherry blossom appears once a year and for a very short period of time, reason why it’s an icon of life meaning, an invitation of contemplation and quietness, indispensable feelings for a true reflection of the short term life we are leaving and the need to live here and now! Carpe Diem!
Build Sheet / Major Changes
1975 Honda CB500T “Sakura”
- Shorter sub-frame
- Engraving in the engine “Japanese Theme” @engine_tattoo
- Removal of air box
- Completely new painting and power coating
- New side covers
- Custom fenders
- LSL handlebar, with inside wiring
- Motogadget speedometer
- Bottom mount headlight
- Leather seat