First impressions of the bike.

Well, I got the bike last night and took it out for a ride along the Green Road, a two-lane toll road which runs from Seto to Toyota, just so I could get it up above city speeds to see how it feels at those speeds.

Getting it to the Green Road I stalled it a few times moving off at lights. I felt like a total noob, sitting at the front of the queue and stalling. One time I stalled three times before moving off. Noob! The engine’s revving noise is so much more high pitched than the Transalp that I was opening the clutch far too early, a habit I’ve managed to break already.

The response from the throttle is instantaneous and the lift in speed is exhilarating. The Transalp is slow in comparison, but then there’s 37hp from the Transalp and 53hp from the CB400, so I shouldn’t be surprised. Also, the CB400 is fuel injected.

The handling is very different from the Transalp. For a start it is so much lighter. Flighty actually. I’ve had a couple of wobbles moving off on corners. It’s like someone has injected air into the steering column. The Transalp took more effort to turn, that’s for sure.

The seating position will take a little getting used to. My legs are bent more and my pants were nipping behind my left knee. The trouser legs were creeping higher above my ankles. The lean forward is very comfortable on my back, but the new weight on my hands made them ache just a touch today. I’ll get used to that very quickly. It’s also much lower and lighter than the Transalp so it takes much less effort to paddle it around in tight spaces. Even sitting at lights the 10cm seat height difference allows me to get both feet flat on the ground with my knees well bent. Of course the downside is less visibility.

Th CB400 has six gears to the Transalp’s five. At 80kmph in sixth gear, it revs at around 7,000 rpm, just over half way to the red-line,  and even then the slightest twist of the wrist is rewarded with a strong pull. This thing can really shift. Cruising is lovely. The engine is very smooth and pretty quiet toboot. I can imagine that it would sit very happily at 120kmph or more for long periods of time. One slight drawback on the Transalp is that the windshield is not as big, so higher speeds really feel like higher speeds (maybe that’s a good thing).

I was considering going on a 500km round trip tomorrow to Sports Land Yamanashi to join up with a few of the guys from Gaijin Riders who are racing up there, but someone is coming to get the Transalp in the afternoon, so I need to be at home for that. I intend instead to head out tomorrow morning up into Gifu for a nice run through the mountain roads. I’ll get a chance to experience the bike’s handling a bit better through the twisties. If I take any photos, I’ll post them up tomorrow.

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