Queen of Heaven: Honda CB550 “Inanna” by Unik Edition
The Honda CB550 is one of our favorite Honda Fours. While it was largely overshadowed by its larger sibling, the CB750, it was much more than a run-of-the-mill middleweight. In fact, it struck an elusive sweet spot in the manufacturer’s range:
“The Honda CB550 was probably the best balanced Honda of the seventies. It did not have the awe-inspiring power of the legendary CB750, but it had a stiffer frame and was a lighter and more nimble motorcycle.” —Silodrome
The bike weighed 420 pounds dry and offered 50 horsepower from its 544cc SOHC inline four, good for a quarter-mile time of 14.5 seconds. While these numbers may not seem so impressive on paper, the 550 had handsome lines, buckets of charm, and much less bulk than the 750:
“The engine was significantly lighter than that of the CB750/4, the handling of the CB500/4 and the later CB550/4 was livelier and it was a much easier bike to ride.” —Classic Bike Guide
“This bike was built to fit the purpose of our friend Paul, who wanted a fun and feisty bike to ride and take on an occasional cruise with his wife.”
As opposed to the cafe racer, scrambler, or tracker aesthetics so common these days, the team went with a more classic style that we love. The whole front end setup from a ’97 CB750F was adapted to fit, brakes and all, and the electronics are now handled by a motogadget M-unit blue.
“Yes, it is called Inanna, Queen of Heaven. She was the Sumerian goddess of love, eroticism, and fertility. In her depictions, she is usually stepping on a lion, showing her strength, power and fearlessness.”
This bike was built to fit the purpose of our friend Paul, who wanted a fun and feisty bike to ride and take on an occasional cruise with his wife.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
We went back and forth a little with the design but finally settled for a middleweight CB550 due to its size, and went with an old cruiser aesthetic with wide chrome bars and new generation parts to bring the bike up to date.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
We used a CB750F (97) front end, brakes, triple clamps, and adapted the 550 hub to fit.
Cruiser handlebars with motogadget buttons — we also made a bracket for the chronoclassic gauge.
Custom paint job reviving the 70’s paint schemes using white over deep blue.
Motogadget M-unit blue with a purpose-built wiring.
Custom thick seat, upholstered to comfortably fit two.
We worked with an artist and understood Paul’s inspirational motif for the engraving and carving of the engine covers.
3D-printed a holder for the performance air filter to fit the stock air filter box. Twin YSS rear shocks. On the rear section we just took a little bit off the tail end and closed it with a loop, then made a cool bracket for the tail light, license plate, and mud guard assembly out of bent metal rods.
• Does the bike have a nickname?
Yes, it is called Inanna, Queen of Heaven. It was the Sumerian goddess of love, eroticism, and fertility. In her depictions, she is usually stepping on a lion, showing her strength, power and fearlessness.
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride this bike?
It is very comfortable and nimble and has a great sound out of that four-banger. Feels very docile and gracious, turn-in is a breeze, brakes really well also.
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
Mainly the metal work done on the engine by the artist. It is always important for us to have an organic element in our bikes and the craftsmanship and dedication of a person is actually palpable and is there for everyone to see.
Retro Thumper: Yamaha XT600 “113” by Unik Edition-A 70s-style scrambler built for the mom of a motocross racer… In 1984, Yamaha released the XT600, the latest in the company’s XT series of four-stroke dual-purpose machines that began with the famed XT500, winner […]
Black & Yellow: Barbour International’s Triumph Scrambler-Unik Edition builds a scrambler for a historic moto brand… Few brands can claim the motorcycling heritage of Barbour International. In 1908, Barbour’s inaugural catalogue included an oilskin suit designed for motorcycling, “impregnable by wind […]
Honda CB500T “Sakura” by Unik Edition-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 […]
’80s Glory: Honda CBX750 “Flávia” by Unik Edition-An ’80s sport bike, well upgraded… Introduced in 1984, the Honda CBX750 — aka the RC17 — was developed from the CB750 and sold mainly in Europe and Australia. The bike’s DOHC 16-valve engine produced […]
BMW R100RS “D’Artagnan” by Unik Edition-The BMW R100 was the last of the legendary airheads, a 980cc air-cooled boxer twin that’s been known to do 200,000 miles and more. The RS was the sport touring version, sporting aerodynamic bodywork by […]
Modern Classic: BMW R100R by Unik Edition-A 1970s-inspired BMW straight out of Lisbon… The BMW airhead has become a favorite platform among many custom builders. The boxer engine is one of the most iconic powerplants in motorcycling history, and riding one […]
BMW R80 Brat by Unik Edition-The BMW R80RT, which debuted in 1982, was designed as a streamlined, lighter-weight tourer to complement the company’s larger, more heavily-equipped machines. Power came from an 800cc, 50-horsepower version of the beloved Type 247 boxer […]
Triumph T100 Custom Bobber by Unik Edition-The modern Triumph T100 Bonneville — aka the “New Bonneville” — introduced in 2001, quickly earned respect in the roadster market. The (then) carbureted and air-cooled parallel twin recalled the British twins of yesteryear, with […]
Ducati 750SS Cafe Racer by Unik Edition-The Ducati “Tribute” — a modern re-imagining of the famous 900 MHe At the dawn of the 21st century, Ducati unveiled their limited production MH900e, a 74-hp retro sport bike built in homage to the […]
Triumph T100 Bonneville Custom Bobber by Unik Edition-Going pro… It’s the dream of custom bike builders the world over. For Portugal’s Unik Edition Custom Motorcycles, the time has come. Founders Luís Costa and Tiago Gonçalves embarked on their first build back in […]
Honda Bol d’Or Cafe Racer by Unik Edition-In 2016, Portugal’s Luís Costa and Tiago Gonçalves created Unik Edition Custom Motorcycles with a focus on the art of motorcycle customization, transforming dreams into reality. Their design philosophy emphasizes the “Unikness” of each bike: […]
Custom Moto Guzzi V7 by Unik Edition-Unik Edition Custom Motorcycles was created in 2016 by Luís Costa and Tiago Gonçalves of Portugal. Their design philosophy stresses the uniqueness of each bike: Customizing bikes is an art form, and Unik Edition wants […]
BMW R45 Brat by Unik Edition Custom Cycles-The BMW R45 was introduced in the late 70s, largely aimed at learners and beginners. It looked much like a scaled-down version of BMW Motorrad’s larger bikes, with a 473cc, 35-horsepower boxer motor and 95 […]