Honda CB550 K3 1978
These CB550's from Honda are always popular and in particular when the have the stock exhaust like this one. It runs great and once that dog-ugly fairing has been removed like a big wart excised from a pretty girl's face, she will be back to looking her best (sorry if you like the fairing, you are welcome to keep it!)
The Honda CB550 was made between 1974 and 1978. It looks like, and in some ways is, a smaller and lighter stablemate to the CB750. That said, it has much more in common with the CB500 four which went before it. Let’s take a brief look at the bike itself.
The CB550 K series used a four into four exhaust (very few original exhausts survive but they are now being reproduced) with a trumpet shaped final section (often referred to as ‘tulip pipes’). As a cheaper option to replacing the four pipes, many are now run on four into one systems.
A second variant, the CB550 F, was introduced in 1975 which featured a standard four into one exhaust, slightly less chrome and flatter handlebars. It was sold as part of the ‘super sport’ range.
Both bikes had a single front disc brake and rear drum brake and featured a single overhead cam four cylinder motor with two valves per cylinder. Power output from the motor came in at around 50 horse power and with a weight of over 450 lbs (over 200 kg) this was never going to be a fast bike. That said, top speed came in at over 100 mph.
As is usually the case with Hondas though, the motor was reliable and would run up quite high mileages if looked after. Many examples survive today and are easier than some other bikes to restore owing to the availability of spare parts. Cam chains did suffer if poorly maintained though. Honda electrics are generally good and this was the case with these bikes.
These bikes, along with the earlier CB500 four, are popular now with those looking for a reliable mid-range bike or for those looking for something smaller and lighter than a 750 equivalent. Enough bikes have survived to allow buyers to choose good examples.