The Littlest Superbike: 1976 Honda CB400F
Introduced at a time when “middleweight” machines almost exclusively featured single and twin-cylinder engines, Honda’s little CB400F was really a “because we can” middle finger in the face of the competition, a demonstration of engineering mastery. Out of the box, it offered no performance advantage over twins, singles, and two-stroke alternatives: the increased weight of the package was only partly offset by the additional power that higher revs allowed.
But that was hardly the point. Introduced in 1975 and built until 1977, this was really a more sophisticated alternative to those bikes that offered a smooth, silky 408cc four-cylinder powerplant and a six-speed gearbox when bikes from Britain generally had only four speeds…
Unfortunately, that same complicated specification led to relative high prices for the class, and that resulted in poor sales. If you wanted cheap speed in a package that handled, Yamaha’s RD bikes were the ticket. But Honda’s little four offered a much more refined package. With a distinctive four-into-one header that clearly advertised the bike’s specification, the rest of the bike was relatively conservatively styled.
While these weren’t especially fast right from the factory, legendary Honda durability allowed tuners to wring some fairly insane power from these for the race track… Tuner Kaz Yoshima built CB400’s to compete against much larger bikes and his could hit 130mph!
From the original eBay listing: 1976 Honda CB400F for Sale
I’ve reluctantly decided to sell my 1976 CF 400F Super Sport. A recent total shoulder replacement and a dangerous increase in local traffic have curtailed my riding pleasure. In an effort to accurately describe this motorcycle, this description may get a little tedious, but I would rather give interested parties an in depth look than leave out any important details. If I left out any information, please let me know.
History: I purchased this bike in September 2005 from the original owner’s family in Tennessee. It currently has 11,008 miles, it has a clear South Carolina title, and the engine and frame numbers match. It has never been laid down. It is in very good to excellent mechanical and cosmetic shape. When I acquired the bike it was obviously very well cared for and the previous owners kept detailed records since the original purchase. During my ownership I have kept up regular service and maintenance, and always stored in a climate controlled garage. Documentation includes original written sales receipt from dealer, most maintenance records, original owners manual and warranty booklet (in original plastic pouches). Also included is original toolkit that appears to have 10 oil drain bolt washers still sealed in a plastic bag. Also from the previous owners is a binder that contained a xeroxed copy of a shop manual along with the maintenance records and parts purchased in it. There were a lot of OEM items supplied with the motorcycle when I bought it that I cannot find receipts for, but they were in OEM marked sealed bags. Some were used in subsequent maintenance described below.
Items Not Original: The battery is about 7 months old and sale includes a hardwired battery tender with quick connect. The original tires were replaced by my local Honda dealer at 10,890 miles, so they have 120 miles on them. The new tires are Bridgestone Battlax BT-45’s. I also had the original chain and sprockets replaced at the same time, all OEM replacements. The previous owners had replaced the master brake cylinder/reservoir (OEM). Included with my purchase of the bike was a new starter/kill switch assembly as the starter button had an intermittent short, a very common issue on these bikes. After installing it, the new assembly (and brake reservoir) did not match the patina of the old turn signal assembly on the left-side of the handlebars. In an effort to make them all match (they look like they have a bronze/black anodized coating), I replaced the left-side turn signal assembly (OEM) again with parts I acquired with the bike. The brake and clutch handles look more like a pewter finish so they didn’t need replacing, they are original and still have the original heavy plastic coating and rubber tips. I still have the old left and right assemblies that are included with the sale, but not the master brake cylinder.
The listing includes lots of additional history and detail. Keep in mind the “numbers matching” issue that the seller mentions in his listing, although it looks like this really won’t be any problem for a potential buyer. Bidding is pretty active, so it seems like buyers aren’t being scared off.
At $2,949 and a couple days left on the auction, this looks like a good deal for such a shiny, original machine with only 11,000 miles on the clock. This is another one of those bikes that I’d love to pick up, if I only had the space to keep one. A great introductory classic, or a bike for someone who wants to spend more time riding than wrenching!