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Honoring The Icon: Ton-up Garage’s Honda CB500 Four

Tribute to an Icon: Ton-up Garage's Honda CB500 Four restomod
Honda CB Fours have become so popular in the modern custom scene, we’ve almost forgotten what a big deal they were back in the day. Which is a shame; the CB750 is widely considered to be the first UJM and the first ‘superbike,’ and even has a place in the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame.

This heritage is not lost on the crew at Portugal’s Ton-up Garage—so they set out to build a tribute to the legendary CB Four family. “The 750 is the big model from the Four family, and the most iconic,” the guys tell us, “but in our basement we had the little sister, the Honda CB500 Four, needing to be restored.”

Tribute to an Icon: Ton-up Garage's Honda CB500 Four restomod
A straight-up resto wouldn’t do though. Ton-up wanted to give the early 70s CB500 up-to-date handling and performance, without losing the original CB aesthetic and nostalgia. So it became a restomod with a few non-negotiables: it needed a four-into-four exhaust system and spoked wheels, and the original tank and side panels had to stay.

To upgrade the handling, the team grafted on the upside-down forks and brakes from a 2002 Yamaha R1. They only needed one disc, so the other was retrofitted to the rear wheel for better braking all round.

Tribute to an Icon: Ton-up Garage's Honda CB500 Four restomod
The wheels are new too, with 17” aluminum rims laced to Talon hubs with stainless steel spokes. (They’re wrapped in Heidenau K73 Super-Rain rubber.) Finishing off the front end is a neat custom fender, held in place by a set of classy hand-made brackets.

The rear of the bodywork was fair game, so Ton-up have tweaked the frame to take a new seat and tail section. The rear hump was custom-shaped for the bike, and includes two recessed LEDs doing double duty as taillights and turn signals.

Tribute to an Icon: Ton-up Garage's Honda CB500 Four restomod
The rear frame work was much more than a cut-n-shut job though. Ton-up ditched the original twin-shock setup, and modded the frame to accept the rear mono shock and aluminum swing arm from a 1990s Yamaha FZR 400R sportbike.

Ton-up also tore into the CB500’s motor, but opted to keep everything OEM spec. So they’ve rebuilt it from the ground up, using only original Honda parts. The carbs were refurbed too, and treated to foam pod filters.

Tribute to an Icon: Ton-up Garage's Honda CB500 Four restomod
Then there’s that custom-built exhaust system, terminating in four cocktail-style mufflers. It had to sound throaty—like the stock bike—but without being too loud. “We recreated the lines of the original, but with a cleaner look,” Ton-up report. “It sounds quiet at low RPMs, and sounds like a loud Formula 1 car at high RPMs!”

The old wiring was ripped out and replaced with a brand new loom, with upgraded coils and relays along the way. There’s now a 7” headlight up front, and Motogadget bar-end turn signals to complement the LEDs in the rear. Even the new license plate mount out back has an LED built in.

Tribute to an Icon: Ton-up Garage's Honda CB500 Four restomod
The speedo’s a Motogadget Chronoclassic, slotted into a custom-made casing that attaches to the headlight ears via clever hand-shaped braces. The rest of the cockpit is neatly packaged, with new clip-ons, grips and controls, mini-switches and a Motogadget RFID keyless ignition. (Moving the start button to on top of the triple clamp was a nice touch too.)

Rear set foot controls round out the package, with smaller touches like upgraded brake fluid reservoirs not going unnoticed.

Tribute to an Icon: Ton-up Garage's Honda CB500 Four restomod
With so much invested in creating the perfect homage, Ton-up knew they had to get the paint just right. Again, rather than going for a straight replica job, they took inspiration from the classic CB graphics and added their own palette.

And they nailed it—the CB500’s new livery looks period correct, distracting you from the contemporary performance upgrades lurking below.

Tribute to an Icon: Ton-up Garage's Honda CB500 Four restomod
Once the Honda was all buttoned up, Ton-up took it to the streets for a proper shakedown. They’re pleased to report that it not only rides and handles great—but draws compliments wherever it goes.

It’s also for sale, but you’d better jump quick. A bike that looks this good is going to get snapped up rápido.

Ton-Up Garage website | Facebook | Instagram

Tribute to an Icon: Ton-up Garage's Honda CB500 Four restomod

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