The idea for a new 50cc (3.1 cu in) motorcycle was conceived in 1956, when Honda Motor’s Soichiro Honda and Takeo Fujisawa toured Germany and witnessed the popularity of mopeds and lightweight motorcycles.
Fujisawa said the designs had “no future” and would not sell well. His concept was a two wheeler for everyman, one that would appeal to both developed and developing countries, urban and rural. The new motorcycle needed to be technologically simple to survive in places without up to date know how and access to advanced tools or reliable spare parts supplies. The common consumer complaints of noise, poor reliability, especially in the electrics, and general difficulty of use were addressed. It quickly earned a reputation for high reliability.
This bike was part of a package deal with a 1959 Datsun pick-up that we purchased. The bike was displayed in the back of the truck. Being a former new car Honda dealer, Mike likes the products.
-On loan from The Mike Malamut personal collection
The GB500 was styled as a tribute to the traditional English TT racers of the 1950s and 60s, and it features a 498cc single-cylinder paired with a 5-speed transmission. Inspired by mid-century TT bikes and cafe racers, the GB500 features a large single cylinder engine, Honda black green bodywork with gold pin striping, a solo seat, clip on handlebars, and a faux megaphone exhaust. The paint and chrome are original.
The suspension consists of twin telescopic forks at the front and twin shocks at the rear with adjustable pre-load. Electric start is standard, but the kick starter is also retained as both a secondary method of starting and to compliment the styling. The four-valve 498cc dry sump single produced 33 horsepower when new and is derived from the Honda XR500 dirt bike. The dual-port head is fed by a single 42mm Keihin carburetor and has a chrome two-into-one exhaust pipe. The oil tank is located under the seat and is fed by braided steel lines.
-Part of the Mike Malamut Auto Collection