The Honda GB500 'Tourist Trophy' (or TT) is an air-cooled single-cylinder solo café racermotorcycle. It was first marketed in Japan in 1985 in two 400 cc and one 500 cc versions. In 1989 Honda introduced a third 400 cc version for Japan; and in 1989 and 1990 a 500 cc version was available in the United States.
The GB500's engine was derived from the Honda XL600 engine, a dry-sump four-stroke dirt bike. The four-valve single cylinder engine featured a radial four-valve combustion chamber, along with a tubular frame, wire-spoked wheels with alloy rims, clip-on handlebars, solo seat, seat hump, and pin-striped fuel tank. The styling resembled TT single-cylinder racing bikes (such as the Manx Norton, the BSA Gold Star and the AJS 7R) that were prominent in the TT until the 1960s. The GB500 was a fine-handling machine: by contrast, its sibling, the XBR500, had a 10mm shorter wheelbase which "made the steering very edgy". Although sales of the TT were initially sluggish, today GB500s in good condition command premium prices.
Japanese and non-US export models had the tank and side panels painted in dark maroon with a Honda wing decal on the tank. It was available with either a single seat with no cowl or a dual seat, the latter version having a longer footrest carrier on the left to carry a pillion footrest. It featured clip-on handlebars and the instruments featured a black background with white lettering. US-model production was for model years 1989 and 1990 and featured black-green paint with gold pin-striping and lettering, as well as chrome wire wheels. Like the Japan-market model, it had steel-braided oil lines, steel side covers (i.e., not plastic), fork gaiters, non-adjustable fork with hydraulic damping and 18-inch wheels with tube-type tires. However, its round gauges have matte silver faces and its solo seat has a painted rear cowling.
Both the 400 cc and 500 cc versions were imported and sold by Honda New Zealand. When originally released in NZ, the GB came in three models: dual seat; Mk2 with half-fairing, single seat with cowling; and no fairing, single seat.
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