CB400 4

 

“Yeah, I’ve heard that (insert A2 licence legal new machine name here) is a really good first bike.” Hmm, is that what they call damning with faint praise?

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RD400Congratulations, you’ve passed your A2 motorcycle licence and are ready to join the world of motorcycling. Looking at the list of new machines available there are some brilliant bikes. The latest tech, up-to-the-minute styling and performance that your dad would have killed for from his first big bike. But the bigger boys at the bike meet – the ones who’ve been riding for years might not be that interested in your shiny new wizz-bang A2 250.

But turn up on a 47bhp classic and they’ll be drooling all over it. You’ll be the king of the hill. Morebikes spotted these at the Carole Nash classic bike show at Stafford this weekend. Honda’s 37bhp CB400-4 is a nippy, revvy four-stroke machine, that’s easy to ride, with decent handling and a reputation for reliability. Yamaha’s two stroke RD400 makes 43bhp in a slightly more frenzied fashion, but is easy enough to ride once you get the knack and has the genuine 70s two-stroke aura that makes motorcyclists goes weak at the knees.

Both bikes were immaculate and recently restored. The Honda was a little pricey at £2700 – for some reason this is a bike that refuses to sell for silly money despite a generation of us knowing just how good they were. But this one was also truly immaculate and showed just 15,000 miles in 39 years.

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The Yamaha seemed expensive at £3850, but there‘s a huge following for old RD400s and no one ever said classic biking was logical. Neither of them will depreciate either, meaning you’ll get your money back (and more, probably) when your full unrestricted licence arrives.

For more classic classifieds see Classic Motorcycle Mechanics magazine every month

Tony Carter

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