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Mini profile – Honda CB400 Four Super Sport

Honda CB400 Four Super Sport

by Guy ‘Guido’ Allen (November 2020)

Dynamite 400 was the sweetest of the Honda pack

Honda CB400 Four Super Sport

The appearance of a 1977 Honda CB400 Four Super Sport in an upcoming Bonhams auction (below) reminded us of how much fun these things were.

Honda CB400 Four Super Sport

While it was the big 750 Honda Four group leader that tended get all the glory, the 400 was, in our view, a sweeter and better-looking machine. It was far from perfect, but for its time was a surprisingly quick and capable mount.

Boasting some 37 horses at a heady 8500rpm, it had to be rowed through its six-speed to get the best out of it. However if you were prepared to put in the effort, it had good enough manners to keep a lot of bigger and allegedly quicker machines in sight. The engine, by the way, was a development of the jewel-like CB350 Four.

There were no tricks to the chassis, with very conventional and basic suspension at both ends. It sometimes copped criticism for being a little harsh. That lot was backed up with a single disc brake up front and drum rear.

At 185kg, it was okay in the weight stakes for its day, though that stacked up as 10 kilos heavier than the more powerful (44hp) Yamaha RD400 of the day. Surprisingly Cycle World magazine in the USA, in a 1974 road test, suggested the CB400, RD400 and Kawasaki's KH400 triple were, as road bikes, pretty much on a par for performance.

That may be true, but we reckon the two-strokes would have walked away on a racetrack.

The Honda had one significant edge: an electric starter.

Without question the styling highlight was the sinuous four-into-one exhaust system which, for some, provided sufficient reason to hand over the readies. That may have helped it in the showroom, as it was selling at a premium of around 10 per cent over its immediate competitors.

Honda CB400 Four

Basic stats:

Engine capacity – 408cc

Power / torque – 28kW @8500rpm / 33Nm@7500rpm

Wet weight – 185kg

Fuel capacity – 14lt

Top speed – 165km/h

Built – 1975-77

The machine at the Bonhams auction is showing 47,000km and carries an estimate of Au$3600-5400 (US$2700-4000, GB£2000-3000).

Honda CB400 Four Super Sport

Honda CB400 Four Super Sport

Honda CB400 Four Super Sport

Honda CB400 Four Super Sport

 

 

 

 

 

 

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