’75 Honda CB400F
If the CB750 was Honda’s first Superbike, that would make the CB400F Honda’s mini Superbike. Honda’s take on the Cafe Racer style popular in Europe at the time.
Where the little CB350 Four, that the 400 replaced, was slow and boring, the 400F was anything but. The CB400F is really not a lot more than a souped up and restyled CB350 Four. Some engine upgrades, the six speed transmission, new forks, rearset footpegs, a low handlebar, a new gas tank and the beautiful swoopy 4 into 1 exhaust (by the way, thats what ‘F’ stands for).. The rest was pretty much CB350 fare. Kind of like plain Jane getting a makeover and now other women look at her jealously. Where the 350 could get passed by kid on a skateboard, the 400 could hold it’s own against the two stokes of the time. A little faster the Suzuki GT380, a little slower than the Kawasaki KH400 and a lot slower than the Yamaha RD350.
The magazine reviews were glowing with praise for the CB400F, unfortunately for Honda however, the buying public wasn’t as enamored with the little Honda as the magazine editors. The riding position was the biggest complaint. Americans were used to sitting upright not leaned over the tank. Some changed handlebars, most just didn’t buy the bike. The CB400F was in production for only three years, 1975-77. Interesting thing, the 1977 model had higher handlebars from the factory.
You know who really loved the 400, racers!! That little bike could be hot rodded so good that it was called the ‘Giant Killer’. Even though production ended in 1977, it was still racing successfully well into the 1980’s. In 1982 I was a racing a Kawasaki GPz 550 and was beaten one day by an incredibly fast CB400F. It was no 400, it had been built by the master, Kaz Yoshima. The owner let me ride at the next race and I was blown away at how fast and well that little bike handled. I wanted one badly. However, the ‘she who manages the checkbook’…well you get the picture.
So here I am nearly thirty years later cruising ebay looking for bikes and what do I find, a beautiful CB400F. This one is sweet. The owner has done a beautiful job of, not restoring it but, giving the bike a bit of a makeover. New paint, new seat, new tires, carbs gone through, everything works as it should and the motor runs, as he put’s it, “like new”.
So, the price looks good, but with a CB400F in this kind of condition, it is surely to go quite a ways up. This is a very first generation CB400F…know how you can tell? The passenger pegs are on the swingarm, not the frame. I almost forgot, there is one thing glaringly wrong with this motorcycle however, the buyer has to get rid of those handlebars. If I were that motorcycle, I’d be embarrassed to be seen like that. Click on the pics to see a real gem of a motorcycle.