Big Bore Four

In late 1974 the bore of the CB500 engine was increased by 2.
5mm to give 544cc. Specific BHP was not increased from 50bhp, but torque improved with the capacity increase. When the US magazine ‘Cycle World’ tested the Honda CB550 in 1974, it shaved a full half second off the standing quarter mile acceleration run and returned the same actual top speed of 98.77 mph, but at higher revs than the previous CB500 thanks to new gearing and that extra torque.

The later CB550F was made in a number of styles; the Four K for example reverted back to a traditional full four-pipe system while the F1 and F2 utilised four-into-one exhausts. The ultimate, so far as performance was concerned was the CB650, this was the outer limit development for what was originally a 500cc engine, and was forced upon Honda to keep pace with double overhead camshaft competition from suzuki and Kawasaki, with their GS550 and Z650 models of the late 1970’s.

The CB550 bowed out in 1978 but its impact and that of its forebears cannot be understated. Honda not only played a huge part in creating the mid-weight sports motorcycle market but with the CB350/400/500 and 550 fours brought the previously exotic reality of four-cylinder motorcycles to a mass market, for that history and we thank them.

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source: https://www.instagram.com/p...
issued: Wednesday, October 06, 2021
updated: Wednesday, October 06, 2021

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