The 1990 GB500 was Honda’s first retro bike and it marked a pivotal shift in both car and motorcycle design, resurrecting the styles abandoned by Japanese manufacturers. Despite the irony, the Tourist Trophy was a formidable motorcycle, featuring a 500cc OHC single-cylinder engine derived from the XL600 dirt-bike, reaching 108 MPH.
Mimicking the aesthetics of 1950s and ’60s British racing motorcycles like the Velocette Thruxton, it sported a black-and-gold paint scheme, clip-on handlebars, and a humped racing seat, embodying a modernized café racer. Unveiled in 1989, the GB500 defied the contemporary trend of high-powered, multi-cylinder bikes, boasting 33 HP, a 5-speed gearbox, and adept handling.
Though only available in the U.S. for two years, it swiftly became a sought-after collector’s item, maintaining its value due to meticulous preservation. Regrettably, its fate paralleled other exceptional motorcycles, admired but often stored rather than ridden.
Despite its 1980s context, the GB500 remains a timeless classic, combining handsome aesthetics with competence, embodying the spirit of vintage motorcycles while incorporating modern features for enhanced safety and performance on the road.