They have a shiny new black one in my local bike shop and I’m smitten by its retro good looks.
Anyone have any experience with these? I’ve been googliing for it but all I get is links to the sleek modern streamlined version, which doesn’t stir my small head at all.
They have a shiny new black one in my local bike shop and I’m smitten by its retro good looks.
Is this the model that has an ‘automatic’ transmission. My brother has one of those he has owned since new. Late '70’s or early 80’s as I remember. He has it as a collectors bike now. It is a very good bike. Well made and easy to work on.If it is not this model, well, sorry.
I have ridden CB350’s (had one- 1970) and a 1972 (I think)CB 400. Good solid bikes. Basic compared to todays bikes but that just means that they can be serviced by the owner now.
None of this occured on Taiwan. In the USA.
Got any pictures or links? How much is he selling it for?
It looks very similar to this but I haven’t really examined it closely yet. The one I have my eye on might have a slightly more rounded tank. This is the style which, for me, is what a motorbike should look like.
Poagao (or Yellow House Man now), its in the window on the 2nd floor of the shop near us. The smaller side window that you can see if you’re riding into town. I haven’t been stupid enough yet to enquire as to price. It looks spanking new, so I’m guessing that Honda has reissued it.
That would be the CB400F… more info here
and you can google up heaps of info about the CB400F…
As far as I know Honda isn’t manufacturing them in their original form anymore, but it was one of their most popular models with a definite cult following and they sold by the shedload so there are a lot of used examples about that are either restored well or in just in good knick…
Honda does have a kind of re-issue tribute to the CB400F on their books for '04 - '05 called the CB400SS but it’s a slightly revamped version of the classic design… Since I’ve not seen it in Europe or the US I’d presume it’s only the Japan market that gets it, but I could be wrong… more info (and a chance to brush up on your japanese) here
if the one you saw really is box fresh it must be the CB400SS… not quite the same as the original, but still a nice looking bike IMO… I’d guess that the re-issue would use the same engine as the CB400 super 4, perhaps minus the V-Tech… I used to have one of these super 4’s and Honda’s 400cc inline 4’s are fan-bloody-tastic engines… as a re-issue you can bet it’s been through the Honda ‘perfection in engineering’ filter durings it’s re-design and as a retro come cafe racer type bike I’d bet the house on it being a peach of a bike for what it’s made to do… I’d guestimate that since the CB400 Super 4 V-Tech’s are going for around NT300,000 or less that the CB400SS should be in a very similar price range… go on… you know you deserve it…
Heh heh! Knew I could count on Plasmatron.
As I said, a slightly more rounded tank design than the originals, but still a sweet looking machine. And if its anything at all like the original model description in your other link, well, it’s pretty much exactly what I’m looking for in a bike and more or less perfect for Taiwan, I’d say.
I suppose now I’ll have to dash my hopes by asking how much it costs.
But just look at it – this is a thing of great beauty and exactly the one they have in the Xindian store.
Wow, what a lovely bike. I’ll have to go down there and take a look.
But then again, I suppose I’ll have plenty of time to look at it when it’s parked by your house, enit?
Oh, and that’s Master of the Lofty Sky Palace, I’ll thank you to remember.
They sold a lot of them for one very good reason. At the time it was by far the cheapest 4cyl bike on the market.
The 400/4 handled very nicely for a Japanese bike of that era. It has ok power but the useful rev band is very narrow. It’s okay until you want to overtake something, and then you’ll think you’re on a small-bore two-stroke.
Open throttle some… no response.
Open throttle wide… still no response.
Drop a gear and WOT… still no response.
Drop another gear and WOT… still no response.
Drop still another gear and WOT… bike finally wakes up and goes, but by now you missed your slot to overtake.
A 400/4 is a sweet little bike, but I’d be amazed if it was still reliable and not horribly bodged.
Yeah I had one a 96’ CB400? in Taiwan for a couple months… it didn’t deliver. That trottle reponse opinion nailed it to a T. The price wasn’t too bad, but the taxes weren’t worth it so I sold it for half what I payed for it.
Oh well, I don’t suppose I’ll be test riding it any time soon unless I win the lottery, so its pretty academic, but the Motorcycle Mechanic article Plasmatron linked to doesn’t seem to share your disappointment and anyway, you know what? I raced bikes for years when I was younger – from Vincents to Laverdas – and to be honest, fast bikes just scare the shite out of me these days. At the ripe old age of 46, my reflexes just aren’t there any more and I’d be a liability on a powerful bike.
Plus, it’s silly, I admit it, but dammit, I just like the way that CB400 looks. Is that shallow or what?
I rode a few of these in the states and have to agree with Hsiadogah…
As the article reads, it doesn’t get excited until 8,000RPMs, and from my experience is buzzy as hell up there. Below that, it’s even flatter than my RZR.
They were hugely popular for a spell in California during the early/mid 70s and most people used them like scooters in Taiwan…When I lived in San Diego, my roomate had one. It was the quick trip to the grocery store commuter, or trailered on road trips. It never went on the freeway or did any serious touring.
You can pick one up on Ebay to this day for almost nothing. One thing for sure though, it wasn’t fast, was buzzy, and had an incredibly narrow powerband, but it always ran and ran well. We beat the shit out of it for years, dropped it, looped it, rode it in the desert like a dirt bike, never did any maintenence (shame on me) and it ran like a champ. When our bikes/cars broke down, it was the backup transpo that always sat in the garage.
[quote=“sandman”]…the Motorcycle Mechanic article Plasmatron linked to doesn’t seem to share your disappointment and anyway, you know what? I raced bikes for years when I was younger – from Vincents to Laverdas – and to be honest, fast bikes just scare the shite out of me these days. At the ripe old age of 46, my reflexes just aren’t there any more and I’d be a liability on a powerful bike.
Plus, it’s silly, I admit it, but dammit, I just like the way that CB400 looks. Is that shallow or what?[/quote]I agree with you about the way a motorbike should look.
But what people have written about the performance leads me to believe that that bike has the same engine as the CB400 Super 4 I rented in Thailand a while ago. The thing is that it does have a fair bit of power – above 8,000 rpm. But below that, performance is frustrating. Not much fun in traffic. What you have written before – your preference for relaxed cruising, the 500 single that you owned and loved – leads me to believe you’d be much happier with a torquier bike. If the CB400 you saw had V-tec it might be OK but I think a V-twin such as the Honda Jade 400 would suit you better overall. Or if you can’t be bothered with the whole big-bike licence testing palaver there’s the Honda VTR250 which goes for around 210,000NT. Saw a nice one the other day. One of those would suit me just fine.
All right you lot! SInce you’ve so cruelly dashed my hopes on this one, I’d appreciate any of you who’d like to chip in with what I could/should be looking for.
You can see above what I prefer in styling – I don’t like modern-styled bikes that look as if they’ve escaped from the set of “Tron” (sorry Plasmatron, that includes your fugly-arse Kwaker – nothing personal ) I rode bikes for 15 years before coming to Taiwan and preferred big British twins (Triumph, Norton), big Italian triples (Laverda) and used to race them (Isle of Man TT, twice).
As I said, I consider myself too old and slow to ride anything like that anymore (or at least, of course I could still ride 'em, but I’d be too timid now to be able to get the best out of them, so what would be the point?).
My main problem is having lived here for 17 years riding basically farmers bikes, I’m out of the loop on what’s good, plus, I think I might have owned only one Japanese bike, ever, and even that – a Yamaha 500 single “thumper” – was kind of an anomaly, so I don’t know much about the pros and cons of Japanese machines.
So, chaps, what’s out there these days in terms of big white-plate bikes and lightweight yellow-platers? I’m not interested in anything bigger than 400-500 and of course I’m not interested in anything that’s not available locally.
Here’s your chance to rant about the shortcomings or lavish praise on the good 'uns.
Pics are always good, too.
I saw an old version of this bike on Borocay. It was gray with the lower sporty handlebars. It really looked fun and stylish. The best about that bike and the reason why I noticed it right away is because it was mounted on mud tires like dirt bikes. Now that’s a blast. Squezze that throttle and watch that sand spitting up 20 feet in the air in first gear.
An older foreign fellow was riding it. I could swear it was Sandman.
I like how the bikes sounds too with that 4 in 1.
hey… actually I liked that bike a lot, more it’s hooligan nature and performance than it’s styling though… but was just too bloody tall for it which is why I sold it and bought a BMW R1200GS (there’s a pic here if anyone’s interested)… much more fun for Taiwan’s roads and rivers, trails, rocky tracks etc…
I think the criticism of the old generation CB400’s and even the new super 4’s is a bit unfair… they are only 400’s after all… you’re never going to get mind bending roll on, or low down grunt from a little 400, but for what they offer I think they are great little engines…
back to the CB400SS… hold the press… i’ve just been looking into it’s specifications… the only info I’ve come across has been in Japanese, so it’s been slow going, but at the same time affirms my suspicion that it’s only the Japanese market that get the 400SS… anyway our assumptions that it shared it’s engine with the CB400 Super 4 were way off… it seems this is a different pedigree altogether, it turn out the SS monicker is not without reason, it is in Honda’s words a ‘sports single’…
the CB400SS is a 400cc air cooled, 4 stroke, single cylinder RFVC engine… (RFVC is Radial Four Valve Combustion Chamber, Honda blurb for a bog standard 4 valve engine design) so it’s a 397cc single! with a balancing rod to counter vibes, single large aperture carb, dry sump, wet clutch, 5 speed gearbox and somehow a 2-1 exhaust routing… Honda claim the balanced single design gives smooth even power with a bias toward low to mid rev range torque, which is just what you’d want from a bike like this… they claim a modest 29HP @ 7000rpm but it’s light at 145kg dry… it comes with Honda’s nifty HISS imobiliser in the key system which prevents it from being screwdriver started… plus it comes with the bomb proof reliability that comes as standard with a Honda badge…
all in all IMO it seems like an excellent choice for sandman’s requirements… plus as a single cylinder, air cooled retro it’d be a dream to tinker with if you’re so inclinded… not to mention it’s in Taiwan, all things considered most likely reasonably priced, and as of July you annual licence tax for it would be a shade over NT$2000…
BUT… if you’re brave enough to trust Italian electrics and reliability on the opposite side of the world to the old country, and money was no object, but handling and looking very very cool was… i’d say go with the MotoGuzzi Griso…
[quote=“plasmatron”]… if you’re brave enough to trust Italian electrics and reliability on the opposite side of the world to the old country, and money was no object, but handling and looking very very cool was… I’d say go with the MotoGuzzi Griso…[/quote]Nice looking bike. I like the Borile better though;
At $15,000 USD it’s just a dream, however.
[quote=“plasmatron”]I think the criticism of the old generation CB400’s and even the new super 4’s is a bit unfair… they are only 400’s after all… you’re never going to get mind bending roll on, or low down grunt from a little 400, but for what they offer I think they are great little engines…[/quote]I would be quite content to sacrifice some of the non-Vtec Super 4’s peak power for a smoother torque curve. I think a V-twin could help with that. I didn’t try it, but the Honda Jade I saw in Thailand looked very nice.
That CB400SS you described sounds great. I just wouldn’t want to spend that much on a motorbike though, given that it’s difficult to get adequate insurance here. So for (relatively) cheap and cheerful fun I would go for the VTR250;
hondamotorcycles.com.au/moto … 250+04.htm
90 degree V-twin engine, monoshock, nice brakes and everything else. Widely available here.
I realise the Meccano-like frame might not appeal to Sandman, though.
Had a MG for a wee while way back when. Hated it, plus the electrics would go haywire if there was even a long-range forecast for a sprinkling of rain next month. Not good in sunny Scotland.
And what was I saying about Tron-escapes? I do like your Beemer though. You did the right thing there, I’d say.
But anyway, the CB400ss is a single? Fuck me, my Yamaha 500 single was one of the most-fun bikes I’ve ever had – I’m sure the Honda won’t measure up to that, but it really, really, really is sitting in that shop with my name on it!
It’s basically a big farmer’s bike and I bet its exhaust note says “I am Sandman. Hear me roar.” Woo Hoo!
I went down there and asked about the various bikes. Seems to me the most bang for the buck would be the VTR250. Less hp than the Hornet, but what it has is spread more evenly. I would think that, since these bikes aren’t going to see highways much, more mountain work, lower-end grunt would be more practical. The VTR, new, goes for 228,000, and the store will arrange a two-year loan. If you put down 100,000, say, you can pay it back with payments of around 4500 a month, and end up paying about 9,000 extra in interest. If you have an ROC ID, there’s a better deal whereas you end up paying about 7000 more.
Not that I’m thinking of doing such a crazy thing. Oh no.
[quote=“Poagao”]If you have an ROC ID, there’s a better deal wherein you end up paying about 7000 more.
Not that I’m thinking of doing such a crazy thing. Oh no.[/quote]
You mean that the finance deal is available to people without an ROC ID?
A deal is available without an ID, so they claimed. A slightly better one is available with one.