In 1975 Honda wanted to add some pizzazz to it’s CB750 4 cylinder line. They had previously built a 350cc 4 cylinder, but it was just a bit anemic on power. So the engineers came up with an enlarged engine, to 400cc, and revamped the frame to mimic the “cafe racer” style that was becoming popular in the US in that era. It sported setback foot controls, all chrome fenders, a shorter cafe-style handle bar, and a beautifully executed 4-into-1 exhaust.
At the posted 32 horsepower, this beautiful machine is no drag strip queen, but coupled with the excellent 6-speed (rare for Hondas of this vintage), and relative light weight of well below 400 lbs, this baby is no slouch on the highway.
Read virtually any contemporary description of this bike, and the word “jewel-like” inevitably enters the conversation, and rightly so. Hit the starter button (there is a kick start as well, which requires minimal effort) and the engine just purrs (not roars) to life. The stock exhaust is extremely quiet, which is nice, because it allows the rider to experience and enjoy the wonderful cacophony of 4 carburetors feeding the overhead cam engine. The redline is 9,500 RPM, and a properly ridden CB400F wants to be flogged right up to the limit through every gear.
I purchased my first-year-of-the-series bike, sight unseen (except for online photos) from an agreeable seller in Florida. I will have to say that of the many cars and bikes I have purchased online, this is the first and only where I felt the bike, when it arrived, was actually in BETTER condition than described. Virtually every component on the bike has been beautifully refurbished or replaced with correct parts. The tank and frame.. beautifully repainted by an obvious professional. It is one of my few new garage acquisitions that has needed literally nothing on arrival, except to get out, ride, and enjoy.