Reader’s Ride: 1975 Honda CB550 Four for Sale

1975 Honda CB550 R Side

It’s hard to overstate the impact Honda’s exotic-for-the-masses CB-series fours had when they were introduced. Prior to 1969 and the CB750, engines with more than four pistons were found only on the racetrack, or slotted into the frames of rare and expensive MV Agustas and the odd Ariel square-four. Singles, twins, and a few triples ruled the streets, until Honda dropped their multi-cylinder bomb on an unsuspecting world.

1975 Honda CB550 Headers

And they didn’t stop there: the 750 gave birth to a whole range of four-cylinder bikes for the masses in a variety of displacements: a 350, a 500, a 550, and the 400. The smaller machines especially gave up some speed in exchange for their sophistication, since you could go faster for cheaper on a Yamaha two-stroke. But buying one of the Honda fours meant access to a machine that had a smoothness and sophistication previously unheard of at this, or really any price. And you no longer had to wonder about what parts were shaking themselves loose during each ride, and then wait for those parts to ship from somewhere in Europe.

Our old buddy Gilberto in LA is offering up this middleweight Honda CB550 Four on Craigslist in LA:

Extremely rare opportunity to own an un-molested, unrestored, CA Blue Plates, One Owner All Original Honda 1975 honda 550 Four. Bike comes with first owners pink slip which shows bike being registered back in 8/1975. Bike has recently been tuned and carbs balanced… Needs nothing, and mechanically sound. Call or NO text at 323-972-5487. Asking 5k obo

1975 Honda CB550 R Engine

He’s asking pretty premium money for this bike, but it’s all-original and still costs half of what you’d be looking at for a bland, modern commuter that would do everything better than this Honda except one, and that’s put a smile on your face on a sunny Sunday morning ride up the Pacific Coast Highway. A really early Sunday morning ride: traffic on PCH is a bear on the weekend. Better idea: buy it and ship it home and ride it on a windy back road.

1975 Honda CB550 L

If you’ve been following this site for a while, daydreaming but thinking you don’t have the knowledge or experience to own a classic bike, this is the type of machine to start out on. I wouldn’t hesitate to buy one of these: they’re stylish and still relatively affordable, with excellent parts and aftermarket support. In addition, a huge following has grown up around these, with groups riding them stock, cutting them up into bobbers and cafe bikes, tracking them, restoring them. So whatever you’re into, or whatever you think you might be into, this could be your gateway drug.

-tad

1975 Honda CB550 L Side

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