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Discussion Starter #1
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!
 

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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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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.
 

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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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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.
 

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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.
 

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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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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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The girl is old enough to drink and smoke so she probably will.
LOL :p,

I'll agree that most anything 2 wheeled is more fun than most things 4 wheeled. But the whole hawk line leaves me wanting. They look meah, sound wheezy. Never actually owned one, but my neighbor did, guy was annoying, maybe a little transference.
So, if you don't share my aversion I still think it is a good learning project. like others have said, pretty easy to fix most things and pretty easy to ignore non pressing things.


So buy it, fix it up some, ride it until next spring (when prices are highest), and trade for something that speaks to you.
 
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I would jump on that in a heartbeat. If you keep it stock, it will one day be a collector bike.


Don't laugh. Have you seen the prices on CT70s?

Learn to wrench on this bike. Have fun with it. Make memories.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Guys, thanks for the advice. After much consideration, I sent the seller an email to check it out in person. I did also follow preds advice and I am looking into getting the price lowered on this guy. If by chance he just really wants it off his hands and will make a deal, I'd much prefer to own this bike. Only thing about the 550 that makes me hesitant is the fact it's in pretty good condition and won't take as much work to get looking pristine. I do prefer the 75's classic look. So either way, by the end of the weekend I'll be hopefully bringing a Honda CB home.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
So, because I have been mostly focused on finding a CB I almost missed this was posted two days ago... Considering that my TW has been gutted and customized a bit, I think it would be awesome to own one I can take offroad and be a bit more rough with... not that I don't take mine offroad now, but I am super conscious about being careful. No chain guard, some wires exposed, open air filter. It all kind of detracts from just being in the trails and having fun. I think if I could get him down 3-4 hundred, my CB dream can wait a bit. Hell If he comes down $400 for some reason maybe I can just take both home. Guys... I think I have a problem.
 

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I like that 550. Not a future collectable, it is already a classic.
 

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Ruri,
You do NOT have a problem that can't be fixed,
Just find the right bike!
I grew up on a CB 750 and I still love the looks of the older 4 Cylinder CBs,
When they pop up at very reasonable prices and sell fast,
That 550 is a lovely bike which will run forever given regular maintenance,
Im still looking for the Original condition CB350-Four, And if I run across one reasonable, Ill get it,!
Seen a few too far from Original I passed, I NEED the 4 to 4 pipes and all original look.
~ ~ ~
When you're stilling in your garage, Gazing at your fleet, The 550 will make you smile,
That little twin that needs all the work will make you grimace
~ ~
Keep looking and let the hunt be fun ! ! !
Be ready to pounce!
Peter B
 

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So, because I have been mostly focused on finding a CB I almost missed this was posted two days ago... Considering that my TW has been gutted and customized a bit, I think it would be awesome to own one I can take offroad and be a bit more rough with... not that I don't take mine offroad now, but I am super conscious about being careful. No chain guard, some wires exposed, open air filter. It all kind of detracts from just being in the trails and having fun. I think if I could get him down 3-4 hundred, my CB dream can wait a bit. Hell If he comes down $400 for some reason maybe I can just take both home. Guys... I think I have a problem.
OOOhhh a rainbow Warrior !
Hmm,
CB 550 or Rainbow,
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Yeah I am having problems here... Neither CB is for sale anymore :(. However I am seriously thinking of having this brought to me. https://fortcollins.craigslist.org/mcy/5729919613.html I have a friend who lives close to it and is coming to me with a truck next weekend to visit. I am considering having him bring this up with him. What do you guys think? I have already negotiated a hypothetical trade with the owner. I wouldn't be spending any money on it. I am waiting for him to send me some up close pics of the engine as I type. What do you guys think? The 95 TW is a no-go. He wants too much for what I am willing to spend. That and I don't really want a working bike...
 

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CL160 is a fine bike as long as the carts and engine are ok,
They actually more along pretty good,
Im older now and I hold off for what I want instead of what I can afford,
Get what you're dreaming of and lust after,
You will be more productive in your efforts in the long run,
Above all,
Keep riding
That being said,
The CL is a cool bike with a lot of support .
Ide grab it even if I only looked at it,
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I found what the owner claims to be a 68 DT1. I am trying to authenticate it is that year. It's in rough shape but the engine turns. He's asking $600. Should I get him down or is that a fair price should it be the real deal?
 
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