Wednesday, February 03, 2010

New rolling stock

1975 Honda CB400f. What a sweetheart, eh? Super Sport. Hey, how ya doin' buddy? Well gee, I'm O.K. I apologize for all the cheese. I'm just a bit giddy about my new acquisition. The entire time I owned the CB550K I resisted temptation to chop it up and turn her into a cafe racer. A Velocette she would never be but I dig the look. I sold the bike to one of my neighbors and he rides the crap out of it and seems quite happy with it. It's also cool that he rides it past my house twice a day, weather permitting, so I get to see and hear it. When I sold it I was thinking someday I'd like to get a CB350 four and build a cafe racer. I don't know why but I have a thing for small bikes. My choice of a 350 rather than the 400 was easy; 400's are superior in pretty much every way to the 350 thus making them more pricey. I figured I'd never find one in my price range that wasn't all cut up. I was chatting with a guy I work with and mentioned that I'd like to find a 350 etc., etc... He says he has a 400 that he'd like to unload. I figure it's real nice and he wants two grand. He says he was asking $200 but he'd come down on that. I was completely geeked at that point. I could do nothing but bug him about it until yesterday. He said I could come look at it and he'd pulled it out of the shed. Well, I always have a ramp and tie-downs in the truck so I followed him home, and the 400 followed me home.

That should probably buff right out.

This thing is about as complete as you'd want it to be. All the hard to find stuff is there. The carbs are in pieces laying in a pile of their own filth. Sad really. I have a plan for her but it will probably be a very long time before this thing is running and anywhere near what I'd consider cool.

The guy threw in the pink milk crate for nothing.
I was shocked at how small this thing is. I hadn't seen a 400 in the flesh in a very long time and it's much smaller than the 550. It's about like the RD350's. I've got a love for the early 70's roadracers and this thing will probably get the look of Kaz Yashima's so called Z-1 killer.

Apparently, Kaz is still around but is not on the internet. As nice as the stock pipes looked on the 400's I might have to talk the Old Man into builidng a set of pipes like that to anger the neighbors. The seat is decidedly Laverda SFC. Oil cooler, giant NGK sticker on the tank, Z-1 steering damper. I like it. I've got a set of clip-ons I think I can make work. The bike in the picture has a Lester mag on the rear. I used to have an aversion to mag wheels on bikes. Now I think I'd sell a kidney for a set of pristine gold Lester's for the little CB. I won't be racing or anything and I'm not going to put 10 grand into a bike to make it half as fast as an R6 but I could certainly achieve that look for a reasonable price and that's really all I'm shooting for anyhow. More or less reliable, fun, and aesthetically pleasing in a very 1975 wabi-sabi sort of way. That's it for now. Rock on.


tvi said...




Grumpyunk said...

Way cool, Kid. I love the "That'll buff right out" thing. You makin' the funny is always good for a laugh.

$200 bucks is quite the deal. Now get to work.

You and yer old man need to take a ride down this way come Spring.

red said...

Very nice! Killer deal, they're tough to find.

Surly said...

Yeah, 200 was the asking price. The actual deal has yet to be struck. There will be some bartering involved.

Gymi said...

Love the 400F, great find,can't beat the price. Going to make a great project. Small bikes are just a blast to ride, they make you feel like a superhero. Let me know when you need it painted.


Surly said...

Gymi, this time I'll have to take you up on the offer. The last Honda paint job was a fiasco.

Dan Larson said...

Excellent deal you got there. I'm the guy with the Flickr page you got the Yoshima pic from. BTW that bike was white.
I have some experience with 400F's, my 5th one is sitting in the garage waiting until I've collected the necessary parts to start going to town on it.
Your bike is a '75 with non-stock raised handlebars. If you'd like some tips on how to make it perform with relatively little money, drop me a line.
These are great little bikes. I put 80K miles on my first one and I'd still have it if it were not stolen during my second tour of Europe in '86.
Happy trails!

Surly said...

Thanks for the comment, Dan. I hope you don't mind me lifting the photo but as it was a scan from a magazine...
I was aware of the year and the bars were perplexing. Clearly taller than standard but drilled with the wires routed in them and seemingly long enough. 550 maybe.

Dan Larson said...

Oh, not at all!

The stock bars have maybe 2-3" of rise and the wires were routed in them to keep a cleaner look. Problem with that is there would be shorts after a while, which would blow the main fuse unless you fixed the problem.

You've obviously seen my CB400F set on Flickr but have you seen this set?

Ongoing project ;)

Dan Larson said...

I'm an admin of a CB400F group on Flickr. Check out the performance upgrades discussion.

Dan Larson said...

Just scanned another Yoshima article from '76: