The Honda GB400 TT was released along with the GB500 and GB250, all single-cylinder cafe racer-style motorcycles that were strongly influenced by classic British Isle of Man TT racers of the 1950s and 1960s.
The GB400 TT you see here has been significantly modified from new, it now has a new fairing and a slew of new parts to further evoke race bikes from the golden age – it was built in Sydney and this is where it’s now being sold out of.
Fast Facts – The Honda GB400 TT
- The Honda GB series of motorcycles was released in 1985 in both 500cc and 400cc versions, named the GB500 TT and GB400 TT respectively. A smaller GB250 model would follow later and achieve popularity in Japan.
- The GB500 and GB400 were both powered by variations of the same engine, a single-cylinder unit that had originally been put into production with the Honda XL600 – a large-capacity dirt bike that quickly earned a reputation for toughness and reliability.
- The name “GB” stands for “Great Britain” and the “TT” is a reference to the Tourist Trophy races that continue to the modern day. It was motorcycles from the classic TT era that inspired the GB series styling.
- The Honda GB400 TT you see here was customized and partly rebuilt in Australia over a period of years, it’s now being offered for sale out of Sydney on Collecting Cars.
The Honda GB Series
Though we will probably never know for sure, it’s possible that the Honda GB series of motorcycles was directly inspired by the earlier Yamaha SR series. Both the Yamaha SR and Honda GB motorcycles were powered by singe-cylinder engines sourced from dirt bikes, both were based on classic British designs, and both were released within a few years of one another.
Regardless of the inspiration the GB series proved popular in Japan in its own right, the combination of golden age styling and modern reliability was an early example of the modern classic motorcycles that now make up a large part of global annual motorcycle sales.
Honda released the GB400 TT and GB500 TT in 1985. Both bikes used many of the same parts with the main difference being the displacement of the engine.
The engine is a single-cylinder unit from the Honda XL600, it has a single overhead cam and four valves, using RFVC technology. It has a built0in 5-speed transmission and the GB400 TT makes approximately 34 bhp at 7,500 rpm.
This obviously isn’t a huge amount of power but it’s not far off the output of the motorcycles the design is based on, including the Velocette Venom, the Norton Manx, and the BSA Gold Star.
Later in the production run the Honda GB250 TT was released, a 250cc version that has the questionable distinction of being the first motorcycle owned by a guy called Ben Branch who runs a website called Silodrome.
The Honda GB400 TT Shown Here
The Honda GB400 TT you see here has been fairly significantly modified and from new, it was bought by Sydneysider Sam Troy as his first motorcycle – largely because he was looking for a Honda CB400/4 like the one his father had but quickly realized they were now far too expensive.
When Sam got the bike home he began the process of fixing it up, it was in relatively poor condition after some years of neglect but he was determined to set it right.
The engine needed quite a bit of work including a top end rebuild – Sam felt that this was above his skill level at the time so he had the work done by Trev at Surfside Motorcycle Garage.
The wiring loom needed to be largely replaced due to some questionable splicing decisions by a former owner, and all of the stainless steel spokes needed to be replaced due to the onset of corrosion.
Once the major issues had been sorted, with the additional help of Jason and the team at Gasoline Motor Co. it was time for the attention to turn to the aesthetics.
The most notable change was the addition of a full fairing, Sam spent considerable time getting it fitted correctly to the bike before sending it off to Sam at Colourfuel to make the new livery a reality.
Once the bike was completed it was featured on Return of the Cafe Racers, and it enjoyed plenty of time on the city streets and B roads of New South Wales.
It’s now being offered for sale on Collecting Cars out of Sydney, Australia and you can visit the listing here if you’d like to read more about it or register to bid.
Images courtesy of Collecting Cars
Articles that Ben has written have been covered on CNN, Popular Mechanics, Smithsonian Magazine, Road & Track Magazine, the official Pinterest blog, the official eBay Motors blog, BuzzFeed, Autoweek Magazine, Wired Magazine, Autoblog, Gear Patrol, Jalopnik, The Verge, and many more.
Silodrome was founded by Ben back in 2010, in the years since the site has grown to become a world leader in the alternative and vintage motoring sector, with well over a million monthly readers from around the world and many hundreds of thousands of followers on social media.