Mash have been selling their 400cc retro roadster in the UK for just 18 months, and have now launched a whole string of new bikes, including this 400 café racer, an unashamedly Brit-style 125 and even a geared 50 which looks much bigger than it really is.
The TT40 café racer is powered by the same 399cc air-cooled four-valve single as the roadster and, if the motor looks vaguely familiar, that’s because it’s based on the 1980s Honda XBR500. This smaller version also has fuel injection, but apart from that it’s much as Honda were offering 30-odd years ago, though now made by Shineray of China. In a fairly mild state of tune, it produces 27.6bhp at 7000rpm, backed up by 22ftlb at 5500rpm.
The rest of the spec continues the retro theme which, with that bikini fairing, suggests a Norton Commando racer (or the early 1970s in general). So the motor is mounted in a simple tubular steel frame with twin shocks. The forks eschew any multi-adjustment and USD cleverness, while the gearbox has just five speeds. Spoked wheels on alloy rims, Monza filler cap and ribbed seat with a colour-matched hump tick a few more of the retro boxes.
Like any bike that calls itself a cafe racer, this one has low bars and matching rear set footrests. It’s fairly committed but not uncomfortable over an afternoon’s ride. While 27.6bhp might sound underwhelming, the TT40 weighs only 151kg dry, and part of the spec is slightly lower gearing than the standard roadster.
The end result is that it’s surprisingly quick, pulling well from 2500rpm in every gear except top, with a fruity 4-6000rpm midrange, and even likes to rev on to the limiter at around 8500 (Mash claim a top speed of 95mph). Vibes are present but unobtrusive, and it sounds like a sporty single should.
The TT40 handled decently on Corsica’s serpentine mountain roads. The suspension might not be high tech – the only adjustment is rear shock preload – but it is supple and well damped. Stopping power is provided by discs front and rear with a four-pot caliper at the front and ABS as demanded by Euro4. They’re not linked, and the anti-lock is just detectable during hard stops in the dry. Surprisingly, you can turn it off if you choose.
It’s no secret that the TT40 is made in China, and it seems well screwed together, with decent switchgear, good chrome and alloy while the twin-pipe exhaust is in stainless steel. A two-year unlimited mileage warranty is part of the package. While it may not have the badge, it’s certainly got the look.
Engine: Air-cooled SOHC single, 399cc
Power: 27.6bhp @7000rpm
Seat height: 800mm
Weight: 151kg (dry)
On sale: November 2016