HONDA CB400 (1992 - on) Review
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£110|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
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 & brakesNext up: Engine
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.
EngineNext up: Reliability
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.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
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.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
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.
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.
|Engine type||Liquid-cooled 16v DOHC transverse four, 6 gears|
|Frame type||Tubular steel double cradle|
|Fuel capacity||18 litres|
|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|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||46 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£45|
|Annual service cost||£110|
8 of 17
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||One year unlimited mileage|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||52 bhp|
|Max torque||39 ft-lb|
|Top speed||115 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
|Tank range||216 miles|
Model history & versions
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.
Bol d'Or (2005-11)
Owners' reviews for the HONDA CB400 (1992 - on)
14 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.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£110|
Annual servicing cost: £200
I was surprised by the sound of the CB400. very nice crisp sound, the bike also looks much better in person than it does in pictures, the worst thing would be driving in stop start traffic. I find the bike gets very hot and very close to overheating at low speed, but this is fairly common among some 4 cylinders anyway.
is a very comfortable bike, the most comfortable bike I've ridden.
Sounds great and is very reliable.
Only ever had one problem where the throttle cable snapped. Thought it would be a simple fix but the entire bike had to be pulled apart to replace it.
The ride is excellent, I wish there was a fuel gauge for the bike, my only true complaint.
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 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.
Great as a commuter and fun on the twisties. Stops very well with it's twin front discs.
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.
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!
Peach of an engine, chunky tyres, comfortable, sweet gearshift, strong brakes. Shame it doesn't look more interesting.
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
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)
It's a Honda
Can be seriously economical, low road tax
Could do with gear indicator and passenger grab handle, as with all nakeds, better with a screen
Buying experience: Bought from dealer / importer
Annual servicing cost: £50
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 fancy gimmics like the new bikes, just the ride to enjoy.
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.
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.
No problems after 9,000 miles
Serviced by myself, this way it gets the best Synthetic oil. Tyres lasted 7,000 miles
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!!!
Annual servicing cost: £120
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 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.
Very smooth ride.
Does not suffer from the same vibration annoyances of some other more modern bikes. The four cylinder engine is great.
Only had to change the front shocks other than servicing parts in the last 17 years.
Really good economical commuter with loads of torque.
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.
Version: cb 400 super four
Annual servicing cost: £80
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 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
I can ride out for a good 3 hours before a break, raised bars up 40 mm to ease wrists and back
Nothing to dislike
Well built no rust never broken down
Good all rounder
A good but not great bike - for me. It may be a lot better for you.
Typical Honda quality, not race fast but acceptable and refined.
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.
Fautlessly reliable. Smooth and comfortable.
Very economical, for a highly strung four.
No fuel gauge.
Buying experience: Bought from a bike shop, so I paid way too much.
Version: NC31 Version R F3S
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
This bike is perfect for being restricted! i was looking for bikes to comply with my license for ages but i kept coming back to the honda. first off a 44 is ideal because you dont have to restrict it much to begin with. i have riden it without the restrictor and there isnt much difference expect on motorways. the bike its self is very stable and perfect for flicking over and pulling of cracking cornering. the equipment is fairly basic but nothing is missing. would reccomend a MPH converter to avoid confusion though. never had a problem with reliability. bit fussy in the cold but with the choke on the handlebars it makes life easier. never let me down yet. the engine and exhuast sound amazing and sounds like a much bigger bike. overall i am finding this to be the perfect bike for getting about during my restriction period. cheap, reliable and will put a huge silly grin on your face.
I've got a grey import 1993 which is terrific. Simple, cheap and is a great 'B' road bike. Motorways are easy, but without fairing the normal buffering by the wind makes it as tiring as another non-faired bike. Starts reliably and does everything on the tin. Its not an international tourer, but it didn't cost a faction of the price, but provides the same fun. I choose the routes for the most fun. I wonderful bike.
I had a 95 model that was a grey import, quite a long time ago now and quite a few bikes later I honestly think this was the best bike I have ever owned. Ok it was not all that fast but it was fast enough for fun but also suitable to ride all day without being at all uncomfortable. Lack of fairing amounted to the usual windy ride but I didn't mind it then and I still don't. The economy was unbelievable for a 4 cylinder revy machine and the engine was so smooth it really was a nice ride, so much so that I know my Father used to sneak out on a sunny sunday afternoon occasionally, he still doesn't know that I know that!! The build quality and finish was far better than any Honda's built in europe and other parts of the world and I still think that it is the same now, if you see a late Grey import they are far superior in quality of finish. When I bought it it was more expensive than alot of bikes available at the time bit it was worth every penny. I never had any problems getting any parts the insurance was cheep even though at the time I was still a young lad. My brother was so impressed that he got one aswell, although his was a bit newer and it was the SF version R, so his bike got a bolt on can, with a different front pipe which gave more ground clearence at the cost of no center stand, a black painted engine, lower gearing so that it had quicker acceleration and slightly rear set pegs with a bikini nose fairing. I am not sure but I think I read once that they made a SF version S aswell which was also a bit sporty with the normal round headlight. To my knowledge you can still get this bike new in Japan, Australia and New Zealand although now it has a Vtec engine and ABS is an option. If I had enough money now I would get a brand new CB400SF Vtec imported to keep for sunny days to enjoy a truly brilliant bike, a proper Honda. On a different note if you fancy a short tour of Brittany by bike then check out www.longwayroundbrittany.co.uk