I’ve always been a “slow bike [and car, for that matter] fast” kind of guy, mainly because I could never really afford the fast bikes I wanted, but also because I'm pretty sure I'd have gotten into trouble riding something powerful all the time. But some folks just prefer smaller-engined motorcycles: on the road especially, you can barely get a modern sportbike into third gear unless you’re on the freeway, and winding one to redline, even in second gear, is likely to land you in jail if you do it in or around civilization… But that’s never a problem with something like today’s pristine Featured Listing Honda CB-1.
The 400cc class came about because of regulations that heavily taxed and otherwise displacements over 400cc in some markets, not because everyone was clamoring for them. In Japan, the 400cc sportbike, and even 250cc four-stroke sportbike classes were hotly contested, with Honda, Suzuki, Kawasaki, and Yamaha all producing smaller, more sophisticated machines than we ever saw officially in the USA. But licensing and laws aside, there are also fans of smaller displacement bikes that have the experience and skill to handle a legitimate sportbike and don’t want to be stuck with one of the torquey, but fairly crude-feeling singles or parallel twins you normally find powering bikes in the class.
Enter the Honda CB-1. Powered by a slightly detuned version of the CBR400RR's engine, the 399cc inline-four had some serious mechanical specifications, including sixteen valves and gear-driven dual overhead cams. The result was 55hp and a 13,500rpm redline, plenty to motivate the 400lb machine and push it all the way to 118mph, assuming you were prepared to thrash the sewing-machine-smooth engine mercilessly.
The CB-1 was one of only a couple of 400cc, inline-four sportbikes that were ever available in the United States, and that sophisticated little screamer is the main appeal here, along with the simple, sporty styling that has aged very well. The CB-1 did lose the CBR's aluminum frame and made do with tubular steel unit instead, but saved weight by losing the fairing and the CBR's second front caliper and rotor. Smaller valves and different tuning meant slightly less outright power that the CBR, but lower gearing meant it was a better real-world bike as well.
Unfortunately, as polished as it was, the CB-1 didn't really sell very well here in the USA, where bigger is always better and 600cc supersports are considered "learner bikes." But its surprising sophistication had fans then and now, and has become a bit of a cult bike here in the States. But if you missed the boat the first time around and didn't get to buy one new from your local Honda dealer, here's your chance: this one has just 9 miles on the odometer and is amazingly clean.
From the original eBay listing: 1989 Honda CB-1 for Sale
There isn't much to say other than this bike is literally a brand spank'n new bike. There are only "9" miles on the bike, as in "nine". These miles were put on at the factory. The tires are original and still have the injection nibs on them. I bought this bike out of a collection because I am a huge CB-1 fan. I own another CB-1 that I ride and use with my kids. They are amazing bikes and have a cult following. I bought this bike about three years ago simply because it was so cool and such a time capsule that I could not pass it up. I have never ridden it. It only sits covered in climate controlled storage. I never had the heart to ride it because it is so perfect. It is the curse of its newness. I spent some careful time and money prepping it for long term storage when I fist took delivery of the bike. The dealer did a full inspection, started the bike, and did a leak down prior to putting it into its cryogenic state. If you intend to do the sacrilegious act of riding it, then the battery will need to be re-installed and a few other minor checklist things, but easy to do. I can do this for you if needed. I have full records of what the dealer did to prep it for storage. You are welcome to check with the dealer and inquire what they did. The bike is PERFECT! Serious buyers are encouraged to look at it in person. Please feel free to ask me any questions. I'll do my best to reply quickly. I live in the North San Francisco area. I can help with organizing shipping if needed. I would prefer an in person inspection before it gets shipped. Buyer must pay for all shipping and crating if needed. Local pickup is of course preferred. I have "ALL" the paperwork... I mean everything down to the original pamphlets, certificate of origin, title, etc, etc. I also have both original keys. Payment must be completely cleared in my account before I will release the bike.
There have been some questions about the long term storage of this bike so I feel I need to give some detail. When I received the bike it had no fuel or fuel residue in the tank, fuel lines or carbs. When I received the bike it had already been put into a long term storage state.
We I received the bike in order to test and run the engine we never put fuel in the tank. We did an external IV fuel drip to test the motor and it started immediately and ran perfect. After we were done the carbs were taken off and completely drained, dried and sprayed internally with an aerosol oil specific for storage. We sprayed the inside of the tank as well. The spark plugs were removed and the inside of the cylinders were sprayed.
Every single piece of rubber on this bike was generously coated with grease specific for long term storage of rubber and plastic. For example spark plug boots, all cables, hand controls etc. Much of this was wiped away for the photos but if you look at the chain that will give you an idea.
The forks were carefully inspected and treated but I need to look at the document to see what was done.
The engine was drained and then refilled with a specific oil to a higher level for long term storage to minimize any moisture buildup.
All of the exposed electrical was coated specifically for long term electrical storage. The battery was removed, I have a new battery ready to go.
The inside of the exhaust was treated to remove any moisture and the end of the exhaust was bagged and sealed. This seal was removed for the photos.
In summary this was a very expensive hibernation process that is fully documented over $2K. This was done at Marin Speed Shop as a labor of love by their master mechanic Max. Max took a great deal of time and care doing the research to ensure that this bike would stay in BRAND NEW condition for the next 30 years. Please call the shop to verify but only if you are a very serious buyer, respectfully please do not waste their time.
There are lots of small details I am leaving out but I'm almost certain that the shop still has the hibernation document if not I'm sure I do somewhere.
There is ZERO corrosion of any kind on this bike. If the buyer does the unthinkable and decides to ride it, I would suggest putting on new tires because tires do harden over time. That said the tires visually look perfect. I did not replace the tires because the tires are original to the bike as they were on the showroom floor and that's cool!
Hope this help, and good luck
My guess is that this could very well be the only brand new CB-1 in existence. If there is another one, it is probably in the Honda motorcycle museum in Japan.
Good luck on bidding and I look forward to meeting you.
Obviously, with basically just delivery miles, you'd likely need to go through the bike top-to-bottom before riding it. So perhaps the biggest question here is, "Does anyone really need a museum-quality Honda CB-1?" Well since the bike was originally a practical, affordable, and sophisticated do-it-all scoot, I doubt this will have the universal, drool-worthy appeal of something like an RC30, a bike that was sold in very limited numbers and had very exotic components. But somewhere, you just know there are a couple folks who've always loved this classy little machine or are looking to complete their extensive Honda collection. Regardless, it's obvious there is real interest in this bike: although nice, well-used CB-1s regularly change hands for around the $3,000 mark, bidding over at the eBay auction is already up north of $6,000 with several days left on the auction!