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.
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