Honda XBR500 “Imatra” by XTR Pepo

Honda XBR500 Cafe Racer

In 1985, Honda launched the XBR500 to compete with Yamaha’s 500cc big-single street bike, the SR500. At core, the SR was a street version of the company’s legendary XT500 enduro, which won the first two Paris-Dakar Rallies. Honda decided to follow suit with a similar recipe, giving the XBR500 a 44-hp RFVC (Radial Four Valve Combustion Chamber) dry-sump engine from their venerable series of XR off-road bikes. Instead of the oil-in-frame design of the XR machines, the XBR housed an oil reservoir under the seat.

Honda XBR500 Cafe Racer

The XBR500 had both kick and electric start, Comstar wheels, dual exhausts, and a removable pillion seat for a cafe racer look. Honda would later follow up with the GB500, which took the British-inspired aesthetics even farther.

Honda XBR500 Cafe Racer

Enter one of our favorite builders, Pepo Rosell of XTR Pepo, the “master constructor” formerly of Radical Ducati whose builds often resemble full-on race bikes. This 1990 XBR500 “Imatra” is no exception. Says Pepo:

“‘Imatra’ is the name of the circuit where the Finnish round of the GP races took place in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. It was all open roads that were closed for he races! Here’s a very famous picture of the riders jumping across the railway pass.”

The Imatra Circuit was a street circuit where Gran Prix of Finland was held 19 times between 1964 and 1982. The circuit lost its World Championship status in ’83 due to the dangerous nature of the course, but various races are still held on the course. Says Pepo of this XBR500 build:

“It’s a tribute to the good old times! And eXTRemes! I always have liked singles and love the sound of the big singles from the 90’s, when you had a real singles World Championship, with free rules for tuning and preparing the bikes, making for some really nice prototypes!”

Below, we take a look at the build sheet of this smokin’ hot 500 single!

Imatra by XTR Pepo (2021)

Donor Bike: Honda XBR 500 1990

  • Modified frame
  • Hagon rear shocks
  • XTR Front bracket
  • Aprilia RS125 upside-down fork
  • Tomaselli clip ons
  • Derbi hub
  • Excel rims
  • NG front brake rotor
  • Frentubo brake line
  • Brembo radial brake caliper
  • Brembo front brake pump
  • Koso rev counter
  • XTR carbon fiber front mudguard
  • XTR adjustable CNC machined footrest
  • Mash Five Hundred rear hub and drum brake
  • XTR fairing (XTR design)
  • Yamaha TZ250 modified fuel tank
  • Yamaha TZ125 modified rear cowl
  • XTR upholstery

Engine:

  • Overboring to 600 cc with Wiseco high comp piston
  • Honda XL600 crankshaft
  • Honda XBR500 gearbox
  • Eliminated magneto (runs with LIPO battery)
  • Magnesium Honda XR600 left crank cover
  • Kickstart, eliminated electric starter and gears
  • Reprofiled XBR camshaft to HRC sound of Single specifications.
  • Ported heads
  • FCR 39 carburator with hand made intake
  • Oil cooler

Paint / Photos:

Follow the Builder

Follow XTR Pepo:  Blog | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Web

More XTR Pepo Builds

Honda XBR500 Cafe Racer Honda XBR500 “Imatra” by XTR Pepo - In 1985, Honda launched the XBR500 to compete with Yamaha’s 500cc big-single street bike, the SR500. At core, the SR was a street version of the company’s legendary XT500 enduro, which won the first two […]
SWM Cafe Racer Fire in Madrid: “Sport 440” Roadster by XTR Pepo - “My everyday bike for the Madrid Streets.” In 1971, a new Italian motorcycle manufacturer came onto the scene:  SV.VM (Sironi Vergani Vimercate Milano), better known as SWM Motorcycles. Based out of Milan, the company produced […]
Ducati 999 Custom Custom Ducati 999 “Paprika” by XTR Pepo - The Ducati 999, built from 2003-2006, boasted a liquid-cooled L-twin Desmodromic engine capable of 138 horsepower and 80 lb-ft of torque. While the 999’s styling — which was the work of South African designer Pierre […]
Ducati Monster 821 Cafe Racer “Pantah” Ducati Monster 821 Cafe Racer by XTR Pepo - The Ducati Pantah (“Panther”), introduced in 1979, heralded a whole new generation of modern Ducati V-twins, with belt-driven camshafts and trellis frames — features that remain Ducati hallmarks to this day. What’s more, the Pantah […]
Mash Five Hundred Tracker Mash Five Hundred Tracker by XTR Pepo - Mash Motorcycles is a French marque founded in 2014, which currently offers scooters and motorcycles in the 50cc, 125cc, 250cc, and 400cc class. The Mash Five Hundred is a fuel-injected, 400cc single that offers 28 […]
Ducati Monster 1200 R Custom Ducati Monster 1200 R Custom by XTR Pepo - “Il Padrino” — the Godfather of Ducati Monsters… Pepo Rosell, aka the “master constructor,” is the man behind Spain’s XTR Pepo, building some of the hottest, most trick motorcycle specials on the planet. In his […]
Harley Sportster Brat Tracker Harley-Davidson Sportster by XTR Pepo - Pepo Rosell of XTR Pepo continues to turn out stunning customs at a rate that defies belief, each strikingly unique yet bearing the signature, race-inspired style of the “master constructor.” One thing we haven’t seen […]
Honda Hornet Cafe Racer Honda Hornet Cafe Racer by XTR Pepo - A modern cafe racer inspired by the Honda CB500 Four… We’re not quite sure how Pepo Rosell of XTR Pepo turns out so many staggering builds, each unique but incomparably his own. Today, we’re thrilled […]
BMW R100RS Cafe Racer BMW Silver Bullet MK2 by XTR Pepo x Revival of the Machine - Updated:  The Silver Bullet becomes more racer, more XTR…more Pepo! Last year, we saw the launch of the 1978 BMW R100RS “Silver Bullet,” the first-ever motorcycle designed by Revival of the Machine — one of […]
Bultaco Lobito Tracker Bultaco Lobito Tracker by XTR Pepo - Our hearts always leap when a new XTR Pepo comes our way.  This time, it’s a 1973 Bultaco Lobito 125 MK7 flat tracker. The Lobito (“Little Wolf”) was an enduro built from 1966-1976, most popularly […]
Moby SP90 Cafe Racer Mobylette Cafe Racer by XTR Pepo - From 1949 to 1997, French manufacturer Motobécane built a series of Mobylette (or simply “Moby”) mopeds. In French, the word “Mobylette” has come to mean nearly any moped — not surprising, given that nearly 14 […]
BMW R nineT Paris Dakar Scrambler BMW R nineT Paris Dakar Scrambler - If you know the Paris Dakar rally, you have heard the name Hubert Auriol. Auriol was the first man to win the Dakar on both a bike and in a car. In 1981 and 1983, […]
Ducati Monster Custom Ducati Monster Custom by XTR Pepo - Nobody builds bikes quite like the “master constructor,” Pepo Rosell of XTR Pepo. His bikes tend to take their inspiration from the realm of motorsport, with paint schemes and high-performance engines, suspension, and brakes that […]
Triumph Legend TT Cafe Racer Triumph Legend TT Cafe Racer by XTR Pepo - Pepo Rosell of XTR Pepo continues turning out incredible builds at a staggering rate, each of them with its own history, influences, and homages to racers and builders of both past and present. Now Pepo […]
BMW R100R Cafe Racer BMW R100R Cafe Racer by XTR Pepo - Pepo Rosell of XTR Pepo has turned another stunner. This time it’s a 1992 BMW R100R endurance racer. The bike is nicknamed “Don Luis.” Says Pepo: About the name of the bike, this is the […]

One Comment

  1. Most of Pepo’s work is predictable, but I like it, I like the aesthetic and I like the purposefulness. This one looks wonderfully minimal and light. Wish we could know the engine output, and it’s a shame this is purely a racebike with no street amenities nor a charging system.

Leave a Reply to Wheelz270 Cancel

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*