First Ride into Gifu on the CB400SB

On a bridge over the Yahagi River, Toyota.


My mate David and I took off into Gifu for a jaunt to Origawa Dam. It’s a decent run up over Sanage Mountain for me and into northern Toyota where I meet David at a Mini-Stop. Then we swing north and into Gifu, along great roads with few sets of traffic lights and not a lot of traffic.

With David and his BMW R1200GS

There was nothing like getting out on the cliched open road to get a good feel for the bike. David drives at speeds I would never try. He takes his big, lumbering Beemer into bends with a lot of confidence, always leaving me well behind, but he doesn’t mind my being slow. He’ll pull up at the next turn off or junction and wait patiently for me to catch up. That means I don’t feel under pressure to keep up with him. I was really slow with the Transalp on bends. I simply never trusted the grip on the tyres so I’d never bank below my comfort zone. However, with the CB400 I felt a lot more confident. For sure it’s the seating position, the seat height and the handlebars being shorter. All of these things combined to make bends much less daunting.

But let me qualify this. I’m not talking about any old bend. I’m talking about the bends which contour the side of the Yahagi River. They’re serious twisties. David will disappear from in front of me and I’ll gingerly follow, scared of the unseen around the corner, the car coming the other way, the walkers, or even the forest debris. Before I would simply be scared of losing the bike from under me, but I had a blast on the CB400. It was much easier to confidently dip and turn into bends.

On those lovely big curving country roads it was a lot of fun. The combined ABS braking system makes for much better slowing. If I apply the front brake there’s a computer under the seat which applies pressure on the back brake to maximise slowing power. There’s no shuddering as with other ABS systems. The ABS applies with tremendous smoothness.

Needless to say, after three hours riding I was very confident in my handling, with all necessary to control the Transalp already like a distant memory.  If my wife hadn’t booked up my Sunday with a trip to a railway museum, I’d have been away back out again. Even at 7:30 on Sunday night I’m looking for an excuse to get on the bike. I’ve noticed that we’re low on milk. Maybe I could go the long way to the local convenience store. Maybe I could go the very long way to the local convenience store!





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11 Comments on “First Ride into Gifu on the CB400SB”

  1. Simon V サイモン Says:

    Just remember that all that extra confidence is taking you closer to the limit of your own ability…

  2. Very true Simon, but I’ve been worried that my lack of confidence was making me indecisive and jittery when I’d be better off feeling more relaxed and at ease. Caution will not leave me in a hurry.

  3. LTyama Says:

    Hello, Damien-san.
    Did you ride CB on R155 at about 2:30PM?
    I rode opposite way on R155 to Nagakute.
    I found guy wearing black wear & helmet rode CB with top case toward Mizuno.

  4. I saw you LTyama. I saw the white Transalp bike and thought it looked like yours. You were very close to my house. Not even 5 minutes away. Why were you in Seto?

  5. LTyama Says:

    My parents live in Fujigaoka & I come to their house.
    In that time, I went to DirtFreak (Dirt motorcycle gear shop at Mizuno) to buy some kind of wear. But it was closed because of Monday is their closing day.
    I forgot that. 🙂

    Anyway, I’ll leave here tomorrow but I’ll be back on next Saturday.
    If we have time, I want to talk you at Cafe in Seto or Nagakute.

  6. Dirt Freak is very close to my house. Next Saturday is my daughter’s undokai, but I’m free on Sunday if you’d like to meet up for a coffee.

  7. LTyama Says:

    How about 11AM on Sunday at Komeda coffee “Owari-Seto”?
    If you are OK, please send me e-mail.

  8. Would you like to join me and a friend on a ride on Sunday morning? We are thinking about maybe riding up into Gifu, or down to Gamagori through Toyota. We would be leaving Seto at around 8:30am.

  9. LTyama Says:

    I’m sorry I come to Nagoya by car in this time.
    So, I can’t join the touring with you on Sunday.
    Depends on your schedule, I change the schedule of coffee meeting when I come back to Nagoya next time.
    Have a nice riding.

  10. LTyama,

    Can you meet me this evening for a coffee, or on Sunday afternoon? What’s your email address so that I can send you my phone number. Or would you send me your phone number please?

  11. LTyama Says:

    My cellphone address is “sgtyama(at)”.
    I have appointment of meeting my friend from 3 p.m.
    After receiving your e-mail, I’d like to coordinate to meet you.

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