Honda CBX550

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THIS thing was the unwitting precursor of the acclaimed CBR600. It was the cutting-edge tool of its day, which was probably August 30, 1980, before the Kawasaki GPz550 appeared and wiped the floor with this chronically over-complicated stopgap between what we now know to be proper motorcycles and relics from the past.

Take, for example, what Honda proudly badged as Inboard Ventilated Disc Brakes. They looked like drum brakes from the ’60s and – this was the really clever bit – performed like them, too.

They were also impossible to get at. It would take what were then called Five Star Honda dealers at least 19 days to replace front and rear pads, leading to bills of thousands (approx) of pounds for basic service tasks.

Most sensible people just never bothered and simply threw the bike away when brake pads gave way to metal-on-metal sounds from the front end. Prices of the CBX550 (trying to bask in the limelight of its six-cylinder sister, the still impressive CBX1000) then went through the floor.

The crossover exhaust header arrangement was pretty cool, but that was where the good points simply stopped dead. Not so much ugly as over-blown and a bit useless – the Jordan of modern motorcycles.

MCN Staff

By MCN Staff