Queen of Heaven: Honda CB550 “Inanna” by Unik Edition

Honda CB550 Custom

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

Honda CB550 Custom

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

Honda CB550 Custom

Enter our friends at Lisbon’s Unik Edition Custom Motorcycles, whose friend and client Paul was in the market for a “Unik” two-up classic:

“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.”

 CB550 Custom

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.

Honda CB550 Custom

The 70s-style paint is the work of Balek Air, and one of our favorite parts of the entire build has to be the engine engraving performed by @engine_tattoo — aka Jaime Carvalho Creations.

CB550 Custom

And the bike has an equally beautiful name:

“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.”

Honda CB550 Custom

Below, we get the full story on this build, as well as more photos from Tiago Almeida of Balaklava, featuring the lovely
Diana Peixoto Amaral.

Honda CB550 Custom: Builder Interview

• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?

Honda CB550 Four, 1977.

• Why was this bike built?

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.

CB550 Custom

• 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.

CB550 Custom

• 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.

CB550 Custom

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.

CB550 Custom

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.

CB550 Custom

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.

CB550 Custom

• 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.

CB550 Custom

• 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.

CB550 Custom

• 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.

CB550 Custom

Follow the Builder

Web: www.unikedition.pt
Facebook: @unikedition2016
Instagram: @unikedition2016

model: @dianampamaral
engraver: @engine_tattoo
paint: @balekair

Photographer: www.wearebalaklava.com | @we_are_balaklava | @o_senhor_tigas

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2 Comments

  1. Simple and beautiful.

  2. Back in ’73 I was living in Japan and riding a Honda 450 “Bomber” – thought it was a wonderful bike, until my roommate got a new 550 Four. I fell in love with his “green-eyed babe.” This example reminds me why I really loved that bike.

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