Honda’s café racer GB can trace its roots back a few years.With the increasing importance of the North American off-road market – where the single-cylinder engine reigned supreme – Honda and its Japanese rivals began to manufacture single-cylinder models in capacities of 500cc and upwards, a state of affairs that led to the development of a succession of purely road-going derivatives. One of the most interesting of these was the XBR500 of 1985, the styling of which was unashamedly ‘retro’, and Honda took this concept a stage further almost immediately, launching the GB500 Tourist Trophy the following year. A factory ‘café racer’, the GB500 looked very British, boasting coachlined paintwork, clip-on handlebars, rearset footrests, chromed headlamp shell, matching speedometer and rev counter, and alloy-rimmed, wire-spoked wheels instead of the XBR’s Comstars. The dry-sumped, radial four-valve motor featured electric starting and delivered its 42bhp via a six-speed gearbox, while the entire ensemble weighed in at a little under 340lbs. “It blends a touch of the past with the best of today’s technology,” declared Honda of a model that struck a chord with mature riders who hankered after the past but disliked the associated oil leaks, dodgy electrics, and general unreliability.
The GB500 on offer here, hails from a Southern California enthusiast. Showing an original 22,000 miles from new, this meticulously cared for and serviced bike has a couple of tasteful upgrades, highlighted by the sporty exhaust with a raspy note (see video).
Freshly serviced by Glory Motorworks, the bike is ready for any chase through the canyons or to the next café on London’s North Circular.