1980 CB400 T Should I buy?
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Thread: 1980 CB400 T Should I buy?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Ruri's Avatar
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    Jun 2016

    1980 CB400 T Should I buy?

    Here is the Craiglist ad 1980 Honda CB400T . I've been looking for a project bike in the 400cc range. The price is obviously right, but since I am new to bikes I wanted a more educated/professional opinion. Are these the kind of problems a novice like me can get into and figure out? Most of it I know I can handle, the ones that worry me are the slow leak, carbs sync, and the drivetrain noise. Even the oil leak I assume I can figure out, but I just thought I might check with you guys to make sure none of these are signs of a larger problem a novice wouldn't notice. I think this would make a good bike to fill some time and gain some experience in the higher cc's above my tw and xt. As always thanks!

  2. #2
    Senior Member sponge's Avatar
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    Apr 2015
    Mesquite Nevada
    The good I see.
    1. running, Top end recently done
    2. Most troubles are minor, good starter project since most things are not too involved.
    3. Can be a very reliable bike.

    The less good
    1. the cb400t is an inherently boring bike. More cheap reliable transportation than 2 wheel excitement.
    2. 36 years, is 36 years

    A lot of things on his list can just be lived with until you feel like dealing with them. A few should be dealt with for safety reasons.
    The sticking throttle should be first. may just need a good cleaning and relube, but more likely it will need new cables.
    Petcock. Often cheaper to replace than fix. Old ones screens are usually trash anyway.
    Switch gear can likely wait a bit, but if you are taking the throttle apart anyway. Plastic bits may be trash. Original replacements can be hard to find, but swithes off other models can work fine. Sounds like they all need a careful disassembly, cleaning of old grease and likely buffing of contact points. It's rare that I get through something that old with out some plastic parts damaged.
    I wouldn't worry about the cosmetics at all. Even new it wasn't a real beauty queen. But then again beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Michael Bryce Winnick's Avatar
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    Oct 2015
    With respectful dissent, there is no such thing as a boring bike to ride. 70 mph is 70 mph. This bike is a cheap commuter that is a set of saddlebags and plexifairing III short of being a weekend get away for two. Bulletproof drivetrain with most fixes being inexpensive and parts generally easy to get whether salvage-aftermarket-donor bikes. The bike is stupid easy to work on. The girl is old enough to drink and smoke so she probably will. So what. This is a $350.00 bike that needs $500.00 in repairs and accessories to be a good bike. Always check the age of the tires irrespective of tread depth. Salvage and donor parts from similar bikes will get you roadworthy quick and cheap. Use it for a season or two and then find a CB 750 to take its place. CB stands for City Bike. Every motorcycle in the line up is good.
    Last edited by Michael Bryce Winnick; 08-12-2016 at 08:49 AM.
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  5. #4
    Senior Member Xracer's Avatar
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    Jul 2010
    Lake Placid,Florida
    There are so many places you can get NOS or better than stock parts. The 400F has become a cult bike so I'd not worry too much about not being able to get something. It's pretty much down to how far you want to get into it.
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  6. #5
    Senior Member jtomelliott49's Avatar
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    Charlie's Place has lots of Honda stuff. No relation, just have seen their adverts in Cafe Racer Magazine. And a local guy has ordered from them.
    Tom in Wichita

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  7. #6
    Senior Member stagewex's Avatar
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    Jun 2016
    New Rochelle, New York
    The price is ok and with everything he mentions sounds like the seller is trying to be as honest as possible. Go see it.
    That's a lot of "The Bad"
    You mentioned that you are a novice but learning to fix this stuff on a Honda can be forgiving.
    He mentions engine valve train noise. That could be something if serious you may not be fixing yourself. Bring a mechanic friend to check valve clearance to see if it's something simple.

    Even if you can fix all this with other new or used parts you could be putting another $500 to $1000 into the bike. Doesn't mean it's going to be a $1500 or $2000 bike after. Maybe go look at a bike for $1500.00-$2000.00 that needs nothing. They are out there.
    For a learning and wrenching experience project where you don't mind the sweat equity, offer $300-$350. Worst thing he can say is no. And I suppose you could get at least if not more than $500.00 if you parted it out. Of course I never take my own advice and admire folks that can save these things.

  8. #7
    Senior Member pred's Avatar
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    Mar 2016
    Philadelphia and Pittsburgh pa
    I vote No,
    ~ ~
    I think for ajust a little more you can deal with smaller issues,
    I dont like the miles on the bike and I would look for an older CB twin,
    If you can,
    Get this for $1100 or less,
    Ide beg, Borrow or Bag for this one near you
    And you would keep it for life!
    Great bike,
    Last edited by pred; 08-12-2016 at 11:03 AM.
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  9. #8
    Senior Member grewen's Avatar
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    Oct 2014
    Armstrong BC
    I would go in thinking that everything on the bike will need tinkering, repairing, or replacing. it's an old bike. i'm doing a Honda 110 right now and you can blow $1500 easily. I can't believe the seller is riding a bike with a sticky throttle. that might tell you something. if it's a hobby you want, it's a good looking bike and i'm sure you will be spending a lot of time fixing her up. good luck

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  10. #9
    Senior Member arbolmano's Avatar
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    Feb 2012
    Arroyo Grande, Ca
    Honda 400 twins are great bikes. Avoid automatic transmission units unless you love the strange. If you want a fixer, they be good. Find a second for parts. If it makes your heart go pitter patter, buy it man. Lots of parts about, easy to work on, and an overall great design. As long as title current etc.
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  11. #10
    Senior Member Michael Bryce Winnick's Avatar
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    Oct 2015
    Yes....stay away from Hawk a Matic. Anything in CB line is easy fix-easy parts-inexpensive-bulletproof-lots of fun.

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