HONDA CB400 (1992-on) Review

Published: 15 January 2010

"A junior, Japan-only derivative of a larger model, in this case the CB1000 'Big One'"

Honda CB400

"A junior, Japan-only derivative of a larger model, in this case the CB1000 'Big One'"

  • At a glance
  • 399cc  -  52 bhp
  • 46 mpg  -  216 miles range
  • Insurance group: 8 of 17
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  • Medium seat height (760mm)

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

The Honda CB400 Super Four, like most 400cc grey imports, is a junior, Japan-only derivative of a larger model, in this case the CB1000 ‘Big One’. As such it’s a chunky, good-looking, well-equipped roadster that’s both novice-friendly, reasonably versatile and sporty, too. Expect usual grey import foibles (secondhand, sometimes difficult parts/servicing availability); don’t expect giant slaying performance. Cute, likeable and fun, though…

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

The Honda CB400 Super Four is a brisk, lightweight bike that is easy to throw in and out of corners. Handling is generally excellent, it’s a doddle to ride and it pulls up well, too, thanks to the twin 285 mm floating discs with 4-piston Nissin calipers in the front and the 235 mm disc with a single piston Nissin caliper at the rear.

Engine 4 out of 5

The Honda CB400 Super Four has a straightforward but decent inline four-cylinder, four-stroke, liquid cooled 400cc engine which is very smooth and responsive at low throttle applications. However, at full throttle it feels a little restricted the engine and its potential for more performance is obvious. Later versions are fuel-injected. 

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

Again, the CB400 Super Four boasts typical Honda quality, refinement and a long production run which has ironed out all ailments, so no quality or reliability issues worth mentioning. On the other hand, many UK examples may have had a hard life in the hands of novice riders, so watch out for damage/abuse/neglect.

Insurance, running costs & value 4 out of 5

The CB400 Super Four has been a continued sales success for Honda in Japan and with good reason: it’s a great all-round bike and, although not as cheap as some, is decent value, too. From a UK buying point of view, that is queered slightly as the bike is only available used, as a grey import, so supply is limited and condition variable. But on the whole, a good value buy. Find a Honda CB400 for sale

Insurance group: 8 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 4 out of 5

The Honda CB400 Super Four boasts both typical Honda quality and the best part of a decade of refinement (on later models at least) so it stands out among grey 400s as being both decently-equipped and classy: the classic, chrome-finish dials and gauges, for example, are precise and easy to read. Later models have ABS. Compare and buy parts for the CB400 in the MCN Shop.

Owners' Reviews

13 owners have reviewed their HONDA CB400 (1992-on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your HONDA CB400 (1992-on)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.3 out of 5
Engine 4.5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.7 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.2 out of 5
Equipment 3.9 out of 5
5 out of 5

31 October 2017 by TJB

Our CB400 has been in the family for around 12 years and I'm a little surprised it's done so well. It's been stored outside for the last 7 years with only a hint of corrosion coming through. Engine is coming up to about 70k, though mixed KM and... Read more miles means it's likely aroun 60k, still, the engine runs fine. The gearbox is feeling it's age a bit with the occasional clunk between gears.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Great as a commuter and fun on the twisties. Stops very well with it's twin front discs.
Engine
4 out of 5
Not mind blowingly fast but likes to rev in the mid range. Blows out a bit early in the upper revs, I'd assume the VTEC version addresses this.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
Parts are easy to come by but replacing for OEM is pricey. I had a leaky Showa shock and replaced it with a Hagon as the OEM was the price of a second hand CB!
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

It's a gem

23 September 2016 by david hughes

Peach of an engine, chunky tyres, comfortable, sweet gearshift, strong brakes. Shame it doesn't look more interesting. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Drops a point for no ABS but brakes are powerful and progressive. Some might prefer firmer 'sportier'r ride but it handles speed bumps and potholes, well damped
Engine
5 out of 5
Completely smooth at all speeds. Pulls from low speed and can potter around town at 30mph in top, but when VTEC cuts in (6300rpm) it just snarls and flies up to the red line (13000)
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
It's a Honda
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Can be seriously economical, low road tax
Equipment
4 out of 5
Could do with gear indicator and passenger grab handle, as with all nakeds, better with a screen
Buying experience

Bought from dealer / importer

5 out of 5

CB400 Revo

12 February 2016 by Skuzzer

Imported this motorcycle in 2013 as shop soiled with 1 kilometer. Loved it from the minute I started the engine, sounds way better than other much more expensive bikes. Comfort seems to improve after an hour in the saddle. CABS brakes are amazing. No... Read more fancy gimmics like the new bikes, just the ride to enjoy.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Handles better than my ability allows. The bike is perfect for the narrow dry stone walled roads that I ride. Suspension seems harsh, but the roads are badly maintained.
Engine
5 out of 5
I get people telling me that the engine sounds great. Very smooth, almost turbine like. Performance good using VTEC or not. Generally quiet until VTEC kicks in, then it has glorious howl. Performance a little poor if attempting multiple overtakes and you do have to use the gearbox.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
No problems after 9,000 miles
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
Serviced by myself, this way it gets the best Synthetic oil. Tyres lasted 7,000 miles
Equipment
4 out of 5
Fuel gauge, two tip meters, ABS test light, HiSS as standard and that's about it. Best feature by miles are the C-ABS brakes. I added a voltmeter to monitor a lithium battery. A gear indicator (fitted to the latest model). An adjustable audible indicator warning device. Chain oiler. Added centre stand optional extra, essential in my view. Tyres are now Avon Storm 3D, better than the original Dunlops.
Buying experience

Imported myself, bought at auction in Japan for less than £4,000. Shipping, Duty, Tax, Fees to third parties in Japan brought the final total to just shy of £7,000!!!

5 out of 5

5 out of 5 bike.

04 October 2015 by Lloyd Foulds

Great bike. Handling, engine and brakes are all responsive. The engine gives power when you need it. Sure, if you want to race you will need to increase the fuel and air intakes but the bike will get you plenty of speeding tickets. I haven't needed... Read more many parts (only front shocks) and they were £110 fitted. Insurance has been cheap as well. It has a bit of storage under the seat which is big enough for my wet weather gear.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Very smooth ride.
Engine
5 out of 5
Does not suffer from the same vibration annoyances of some other more modern bikes. The four cylinder engine is great.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Only had to change the front shocks other than servicing parts in the last 17 years.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Really good economical commuter with loads of torque.
Equipment
4 out of 5
Not much to say here. It has everything you need. Fuel gauge, hazard lights, etc.
Buying experience

Definitely shop around for a good one. Too many youngsters have raced them so look for a more mature seller if you can.

4 out of 5

Little bike, big pleasure

30 September 2015 by Maldy

As I am a pensioner, my cb 400 super four is the ideal bike for me as it is not too big in terms of bike size, I can get my feet flat on the ground which is a good thing for me, the performance suits me perfectly it's quick and versatile, and has a... Read more good turn of speed, although I haven't opened it up fully yet, it cruises at 70 mph no problem, don't want to say on here what I have taken it up to, but I am a very happy owner of a 96 cb 400 super four project big 1

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
I can ride out for a good 3 hours before a break, raised bars up 40 mm to ease wrists and back
Engine
5 out of 5
Nothing to dislike
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
Well built no rust never broken down
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
Good all rounder
4 out of 5

A good bike for track days or flat road riding.

12 July 2015 by Martin Buck

A good but not great bike - for me. It may be a lot better for you. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Typical Honda quality, not race fast but acceptable and refined.
Engine
3 out of 5
The engine was the downfall for me. I ride mainly on tight, steep hills, where predictable power is at a premium. The VTEC ruined this for me, being a bit gutless down low, then coming in suddenly above 7k revs, usually half way through a tightening corner, causing many unnecessary dramas. It just didn't suit my riding style.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Fautlessly reliable. Smooth and comfortable.
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
Very economical, for a highly strung four.
Equipment
3 out of 5
No fuel gauge.
Buying experience

Bought from a bike shop, so I paid way too much.

5 out of 5

CB400 NC31 Version R

07 July 2015 by Tom Varley

I bought this bike as the first 'big' bike after getting the licence originally as something to ride for a couple of years before moving to something bigger. That was seven years ago now and the bike just keeps growing on me, felt no need to change.... Read more I wonder whether I'm seeing it through rose-tinted spectacles because it is my first proper bike but even if this is the case, the bike has always delivered and has done so much for me over the years. It deserves the praise I give it.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Others who have ridden the bike say it's smooth to ride and I'd agree. Gear changing takes an absent minded flick of the toe and it slips into gear (I've ridden other bikes and they've needed hoofing from one gear to the next, took it for granted before I'd sampled other bikes). Smooth engine and power delivery. Brakes (even before I put braided hoses on) were excellent and have got me out of many a problematic situation as it's twin floating disks on the front will wind your speed down RAPIDLY, without locking the wheels, so perfect for the new rider. I was honored to have spent two years riding roads like the A44 and Elan Valley as local jaunts and this is where, to me, the bike is in it's element. Corners and accelerations and braking and overtakes are it's thing, light enough to throw yourself into all on a very forgiving machine. I've scraped something leaning over, felt like I've entered warp drive coming out of corners and never had the problem of the bike beings too much for me to handle. Yes it's not as powerful as others, or quick, but it's a roadster and it was made to be one with the road. Definitely shows.
Engine
5 out of 5
Never had a problem. It was originally restricted to 33hp with washers between the carbs and engine block. No problem there, being such a small bike it took the restriction well. Taking them out obviously unlocked more but in both states I never had an issue with the engine. I've ridden other bikes and bigger engines are quicker, smaller bikes are lighter but the CB is right where it needs to be.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Other that the reg/rec burning out in the first year I got the bike, everything else has been superb. No problems with reliability and the bike's absolutely bulletproof with every mile. I've commuted to and from work every day with no problem, driven on longer journeys from Hampshire to North Wales with no problem. I've forgone the care a little and allowed the fork stanchions to pit slightly but this is fault of my own, the bike spent two years experiencing hell on the Welsh coast and even the constant battering of sea air wasn't enough to harm the bike. All the parts that make up this bike just seem to fit in place with ease, no mismatching or gaps or rattles, Honda engineering I suppose.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Good on fuel if going easy, can be terrible if the bike is ridden quickly (and the temptation is there, with such a small engine it needs to be revved to go like any of it's bigger cousins). Of course commuting when ridden well will get you well over 300km/tank, something I think is worth a mention since a tank only costs roughly 16 quid. Parts, contrary to what I was originally told, are easy to come by and cheap, just visit Wemoto for all your regular needs and Ebay for the breakers and you're set. I've always paid below £100 a year for insurance and tax is 30-something so it's all fairly cheap.
Equipment
4 out of 5
Fuel gauge, various useful warning lights, needles that don't jump about while riding, cheap and easy to come by tires (BT45 Battleax), underseat storage that isn't just a cubbyhole for a toolkit, great pillion seat (once a Triboseat is fitted). These are all things which I've come to apppreciate the most. I've never fit any heated grips but they;re probably a good shout, especially since the bikini fairing on the Version R provides no protection from the elements so winter riding is a continuous blast of cold from in front. The small screen is there just for looks, doesn't seem to do much other than house part of the wiring loom.
Buying experience

Privately, was a doddle as the guy was lovely, honest, open. Bought it for 1200 and I would've been happy to pay more if I had known what the bike was actually like further down the line and how much I've got from it.

3 out of 5

03 July 2015 by snooky cui angala

Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
3 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
3 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
3 out of 5
-
Equipment
2 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

CB400 NC36

15 January 2014 by dsimmo

I brought a 1998 CB400 Four 50th Anniversary Edition about 18 months ago. I use it for social riding, keep off motorways and only use for for A&B roads. It's a great bike, comfortable, good road holding, smooth engine, economical. The twin front and... Read more single rear discs work great. I will ask Honda UK at the London bike show why they won't bring it over here as I am sure they will sell plenty of them.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
4 out of 5

cb400sf version s

06 August 2013 by Anonymous

I have had a cb400 for 10 years. I have the version s which I think is the best. It has a 17" front wheel Brembo calipers, showa rear shocks, for some reason it seems a touch roomier than the standard super four. The later Vtech is too complicated... Read more service wise. These bikes should have been imported to the uk officially as they are brilliant commuters or first big bike. They are really forgiving and quite capable, long term you may get tired with the weak or revvy nature of the motor. The motor is very tough and will take a severe hammering. Motorway riding can be stressing as the engine is constantly above 7,000 rpm at 70 to 80mph. Fuel consumption is great at regular speeds and if I use motorways I cruise at 60ish. The handling and ride is great. Build quality is fantastic. Mine has a few upgrades but ideally I would like to put a cbr600 motor in it. If you are wondering whether to buy 1 or not then yes the CB500 is a good alternative but the cb400 is smoother and better built.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
3 out of 5
-
Read all 13 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 1992
Year discontinued -
New price -
Used price -
Warranty term One year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 8 of 17
Annual road tax £41
Annual service cost £80
Performance
Max power 52 bhp
Max torque 39 ft-lb
Top speed 115 mph
1/4-mile acceleration -
Average fuel consumption 46 mpg
Tank range 216 miles
Specification
Engine size 399cc
Engine type Liquid-cooled 16v DOHC transverse four, 6 gears
Frame type Tubular steel double cradle
Fuel capacity 18 litres
Seat height 760mm
Bike weight 168kg
Front suspension Telescopic forks, no adjust
Rear suspension Twin shocks, preload adjust
Front brake Twin 296mm discs, four piston calipers
Rear brake 240mm disc, single piston caliper
Front tyre size 110/80 x 18
Rear tyre size 140/70 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

1992 - CB 400 Super Four (Project Big-1) NC31 launched in Japan
1997 - 2nd generation, fuel injected and face-lifted NC36 version launched in Japan.
1999 - updated CB400 Super Four / Super Bol D'Or NC39 launched in Japan
2007 - updated CB 400 Super Four / Super Bol D'or NC42 launched.

Other versions

Bol d'Or (2005-11)

Photo Gallery

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