A Honda CB400 Super Bol D’or ordered.

Honda CB400 Super Bol D'or 2011 (ABS).

Well, I pulled the trigger and bought a new bike. As you can see from the title of the post, it’s  a CB400SB.

I  brought the Transalp over to the mechanic’s place last week to arrange to get the bike sorted out for the shaken (government inspection) and I mentioned to him a long-running clutch issue I’ve been having. I’ve been finding it very hard to find neutral when I stop the bike, and there have been occasions when I’ve been hitting phantom neutral between the lower gears. Once, whilst doing over close to 100kmph I tried to move up from 4th to 5th and it hit phantom neutral, i.e. the gears disengaged and I was coasting with no control over the engine. It scared the crap out of me to be honest and I lost a lot of confidence in the Transalp from that point.

Anyway, Masaki-san reckoned the cost of sorting it out could be substantial, and with that, coupled with the cost of shaken, he suggested that I consider getting a new bike. Firstly I reckoned I would be getting a second hand bike, with a budget of around 40万円, but then I realised that if I were to put that down on a bike and pay the rest over three years, it would work out at around 1.5万円 a month, which is not a lot at all. I had a chat with my wife and she reckoned a new bike would be preferable to a second hand one. i.e., no shaken for three years, a guarantee , no need for new parts, no worries. So, I should have it next week.

I took a couple of test rides on a CB400SB out of Honda Dream in Nisshin last week and the first time the bike was weird as hell compared to the Transalp. Firstly, the size is so much different. The Transalp is tall and top-heavy whereas the CB400SB is 10cms lower on the seat and probably even lower on the handlebars. My legs were tucked up under more. The grips are closer together which makes a big difference in the handling.

Then there’s difference in the engines. Firstly, the sound and feel are chalk and cheese. The Transalp’s v-twin is much more grunty and thumpy, whereas the CB400SB’s in-line four whirs like a wasp’s wings in flight, so much so that even at very low revs I thought that I was over-revving it. Then there’s the power. The Transalp gives out 37hp whereas the CB400 will give out 53hp, which is a bit mad seeing they’re both 400cc engines. The Transalp is clocked to 160kmph and the CB400SB has 190kmph on the clock. Check this  out:

I managed a second test ride the following day when checking prices with them. On the first ride the traffic was heavy so I could only potter along, but on the second, the traffic was light so I was able to open it up into 4th gear and it was impressive in comparison, not that I’ll be bothering much with the speed.

I was not as surprised with the handling the second time around and enjoyed the lightness of it. In fact, the CB400SB feels an awful lot lighter than the Transalp although they’re both about the same weight. The CB400SB has a lower centre of gravity so I reckon that’s what does it. I’m looking forward to having an easier to manoeuvre bike to be honest. It was like riding a little 250cc. That’ll do me.

CB400 Super Bol D'or ABS, white.

As you probably guessed from the above photo I’ve order a white one with the black and silver decals. I was going to order the red one with black and white decals, but a bunch of guys from Gaijin Riders phoned just as my wife and I were in the shop doing the forms and told me that they reckoned the red “looks gay”, and that the white was a much better looking bike. Personally, I don’t really care. I’m more concerned about what the paint covers, but with my wife also saying the same thing, and me not being that well decided, I’ve gone for the white. Hopefully I’ll have it by the middle of next week.

By the way, I got a 10万円 trade-in for the Transalp at Ito-KT in Seto. Honda Dream in Nisshin offered me 2万円.  Makes you wonder, eh?

UPDATE: Fastbike, the guy who sold me the Transalp has offered me 120,000円 for it, which is pretty cool considering I bought it off him for 210,000円 early last year. I’ve put a new chain on it, a new rear sprocket, two new tyres (one only a couple of months ago, and a set of heated grips. All-in-all, it owes me nothing having gotten almost two years good riding on it.

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8 Comments on “A Honda CB400 Super Bol D’or ordered.”

  1. klaus Says:

    Oh well, there goes a TA rider …. *~*
    But, hey, if you are more happy with the new bike – why not.
    And since uni teachers seem to make lots of ¥¥¥¥¥ – *_*!
    Hope you will have lots of fun with your new ride!!!

  2. Hi Klaus,

    How are you keeping chum? Yep, the TA will be gone in a week and a half or so. I hope I’ll not end up missing it, but judging what I’m hearing about the CB400SB I should be smitten enough not to.


  3. LTyama Says:

    I’m surprised that you got new motorcycle.
    Congratulations!! I hope you spend more better days with your CB.

    Anyway, Japan TA meeting will organize at “Michi no eki NARUSAWA, Shizuoka” on 24-25th this month.
    Person who has TA, had TA, and wants to get TA can participate the meeting. 🙂
    If you can, shall you participate the meeting?

  4. Hi LTyama,

    Unfortunately I’ll be working then so I cannot make it to your meeting. I wish I could go. I’d love to meet you some time. Please tell me about other meetings that you have in this area in the future and I’ll try to be there.


  5. Congrats on the new bike! I can imagine that having that transmission problem would always be weighing in the back of your mind. Better to get the new bike and peace-of-mind. That CB400 is a sweet looking ride!

  6. Hi Barron,

    To be honest, I never really had much confidence in the Transalp given its age. I know it’s a Honda, and I’ve heard everyone telling me about the bulletproof engine, but there’s more to a bike that it’s engine and there was always a doubt in the back of my mind about the bike’s integrity. It’s 20 years old after all.

    Are you still riding the same bikes?

  7. Yes, I am still riding the ol BMW. I did a Saddlesore 1000 a couple months back. That was fun! Of course TX is probably the easiest place to complete that kind of ride.

    Can’t wait to read more about the CB400. Got any special rides planned?

  8. Nope, nothing planned at all beyond where I’ll take it from the dealer’s en route home. The new semester starts next week so I’ll be busy as hell. However, that means the bike will be ridden every day from the day I get it. Most mornings I take a route to work which brings me along a road where 120kmph is not unheard of, or even faster. The TA would labour at over 120kmph, but judging by what I’m seeing on YouTube the CB400SB will be very happy cruising at that speed.

    That said, summer here is starting to wind down, so the best riding weather is coming soon. I’m sure I’ll be back up in Gifu as soon as my schedule allows.

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