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Honda BROS 400 Naked Motorbike Review

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Honda Bros
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MCN overall verdict rating is 4

Strictly speaking, the BROS 400 is heavy, underpowered and outdated. But the cheap grey imports are surprisingly nice to ride – they’re well balanced, steer well and the engine is flexible, torquey and characterful given its 33bhp output. That also makes it legal for new riders on a restricted licence.


MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 4

Very similar to the Africa Twin engine (specials builders actually fit the bigger 750 in the chassis), the understressed motor pulls from low in the rev range unless you labour it in a high gear. Fuelling is classic crisp carburettor response, though power tails off higher in the rev range. Great around town, and it’ll sit happily at 80mph too. It has a surprisingly prominent and pleasant airbox noise too. 

Ride and Handling

MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 4

Suspension fatigue affects the Honda BROS – new fork oil springs and a new shock transform it. Then you can take advantage of the neutral handling, strong RC30-derived brakes and plentiful ground clearance. It’ll even take sticky tyres, though not in the correct front profile (which affects the speedo reading) – standard sized, modern crossplies are widely available and grippy enough unless you’re a lunatic or a trackday fiend.


MCN rating rating is 2
Owners' rating rating is 2

Basic - the BROS has a comfy, semi-upright café racer riding position but poor pillion provision. Underseat storage only accepts the standard tool kit, and the tank lasts around 90 miles before you need to flick the fuel tap to reserve. Compare and buy parts for the Honda Bros in the MCN Shop.

Honda BROS NT400 (1988-1992)

Detail Value
Engine size 398 cc
Power 31 bhp
Top speed 94 mph
Insurance group 9 of 17
  MCN ratings Owners' ratings
Overall rating is 4 rating is 5
Engine rating is 3 rating is 4
Ride & Handling rating is 3 rating is 4
Equipment rating is 2 rating is 2
Quality & Reliability rating is 5 rating is 5
Value rating is 4 rating is 5

Quality and Reliability

MCN rating rating is 5
Owners' rating rating is 5

Find a cared for BROS (ideally one that’s been loved and kept dry since import from Japan), and you’ll be astounded at the quality. Deep paint, quality fasteners and lovely finish all-round is nicer than most new bikes – including some Hondas! Understressed engine is unburstable, the chassis is tough. Make sure the eccentric chain adjuster/rear wheel hub isn’t seized, and there’s little else that goes wrong. Specialist backup is available too – new-old stock parts are readily available as well as pattern parts.


MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 5

Accept what the BROS 400 is - a smart, cheap new-rider friendly all-rounder – and it’s a great bike. It’ll cost pennies to run, and a good one is still a viable alternative to the half-arsed current field of 33bhp bikes. If you’re looking for a hardcore sportsbike then forget it, but the BROS is still a very capable and enjoyable first big bike. Find a Honda Bros 400for sale.


Insurance group: 9 of 17

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Model History

1988: Introduced as Japan-only model. Six-spoke wheels, Product 2 seat graphics
1990: Second generation – mostly identical, 18” three-spoke rear wheels, improved PGM ignition.
1992: Discontinued.

Other Versions

Honda NT650 BROS Product 1: Identical to BROS 400, but with more powerful 650cc motor, wider spaced gears, 112mph restriction and slightly lower rev ceiling. Available in Mk1 and Mk2 versions.
Honda Hawk GT: US-market version of the BROS 650 is branded differently with cheaper front brakes and higher handlebars. Otherwise identical, but even rarer.


Top speed 94 mph
1/4-mile acceleration secs
Max power 31 bhp
Max torque ft-lb
Weight 181 kg
Seat height 772 mm
Fuel capacity 10.9 litres
Average fuel consumption mpg
Tank range miles
Annual road tax
Insurance group 9 of 17
Engine size 398 cc
Engine specification 6v liquid-cooled v-twin, 5 gears
Frame Aluminum beam
Front suspension adjustment None
Rear suspension adjustment Preload only
Front brakes 320mm disc, four-piston Nissin caliper
Rear brake 240mm disc, single-piston sliding caliper
Front tyre size 110/80-17
Rear tyre size 150/60-17

Owners' Overall Rating rating is 4(2 reviews)

  • Brilliant little bike


    Average rating rating is 4

    Show Details

    Ride and Handling
    Quality and Reliabilty

    Have been riding mine for just over 2 months now and I absolutely love it. It's pretty much ideal for me as they cost peanuts to buy and run and I'm limited to 33bhp for two years. Of course its not all that fast but having come up from a Suzuki TS50, it goes like a rocket in comparison and the low-down grunt is addictive. Handling's fun too. Its even relatively comfortable over distance, although high speed motorway riding can be tiring if windy. Don't be put off by high mileages as the quality is fantastic, mine has done over 47,000 miles and still looks great and runs brilliantly. As charlesq says, you'll get way more than 90 miles to reserve, I've managed 120, and it cracks 100mph without too much trouble. Can't recommed it enough.

    18 October 2010

  • I loved mine


    Average rating rating is 4

    Show Details

    Ride and Handling
    Quality and Reliabilty

    This was the first bike over 250cc that I ever rode, and I remember thinking as soon as I pulled away the first time, "This is a proper bike." It isn't mind-bendingly quick but the engine is full of character with a nice little kick around 7000rpm, the ergos are focused enough to give a gentle introduction to sport riding, and the handling is a revelation if you're only used to standard 'learner' bikes. It's also reliable and parts are still easy to find as it shares plenty with so many other bikes (Revere, Africa Twin, Deauville). Highly recommended for a new rider -- in fact I can't think of a better bike if you're on a restricted licence -- and fun even for the more experienced. The cafe racer-ish looks and single-sided swingarm will make you feel cool, it's torquey and unbelievably narrow so perfect for commuting, and despite what the review above says you'll get well over 100 miles to the tank unless you're thrashing it. Don't be put off by high miles because the engine's virtually unbreakable. One of the best -- and best-made -- street bikes Honda have ever produced, in my opinion. The 650 (Hawk GT in the US) is even better, but rare in Europe.

    09 November 2009


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2 reviews and not one mention of mpg  tsk tsk tsk

27 August 2013 16:50

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