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Posts by tag: CB-1

Featured Listing June 14, 2018 posted by

Featured Listing: Museum Quality 1989 Honda CB-1 for Sale

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.

Update 6.14.2018:

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!

-tad

Featured Listing: Museum Quality 1989 Honda CB-1 for Sale
Honda November 21, 2017 posted by

Baby ‘Blade: 1992 Honda CBR400RR NC29 for Sale

The Honda CBR400RR was designed to appeal to buyers in certain countries that were limited to bikes of smaller displacement because of tiered licensing requirements or heavy taxes on larger machines. Racing classes in those markets also existed to campaign 400cc motorcycles, and were hotly contested by the usual suspects: Yamaha, Suzuki, and Kawasaki also had smaller versions of their popular sportbikes. Honda even went a step further, and offered a second 400cc sportbike in their V4-powered VFR400R. Unlike today's smaller-displacement offerings, these were grown-up sportbikes in miniature: instead of a simple single-cylinder engine or an economical parallel-twin, the CBR400 used a 399cc inline four with sixteen valves, gear-driven twin overhead cams, backed by a six-speed gearbox, and suspended in a stiff aluminum frame. Straight-line performance was modest by today's standards, but bikes in the class had handling that was often better than their more powerful, but generally heavier siblings.

Americans saw a variation of this bike in the short-lived CB-1 that used a slightly detuned version of the CBR's inline four, including the sexy gear-driven cams, but wrapped in a steel frame instead of the CBR's lighter aluminum beam design. A lack of bodywork on the CB-1 kept the weight reasonable compared to the sportier CBR and the bike was a good handler, but Americans just weren't ready for a pricey, naked machine like that in the late 1980s. Would the CBR have sold any better, had it been brought over? America had a pretty binary motorcycling culture through the 80s and 90s: people bought sportbikes or cruisers, with little interest in more practical machines. The CBR would have been similar to Yamaha's offerings, whose little FZR400 was actually more sophisticated than the bigger-engined, but heavier, steel-framed FZR600. FZR400 is certainly a cult bike now, but its relative rarity suggests the CBR wouldn't have been much of a success at the time, although I expect it might have sold better than the CB-1.

At the end of the day, without the laws and taxes that conjured the 400cc class into being, there isn't much to recommend the bike over the CBR600 or CBR900, aside from superlative handling. The main appeal here is rarity, agility, and the fun of a motorcycle you can cane the hell out of without needing the skills of a professional racer, or a helicopter airlift ride to the nearest trauma center.

From the original eBay listing: 1992 Honda CBR400RR for Sale

Very rare 1992 Honda CBR400 (baby Fireblade) NC29 legally imported from Japan and currently titled, insured and registered here in NJ. Bike has 13220 miles, fresh Motul (brake fluid, engine oil and coolant) fluids, TSR slip on, new NGK plugs, Continental Attack tires, carbs were cleaned and fuel tank drained/cleaned. This bike is very clean and in excellent condition. Please feel free to message if you have any questions. 

From the relatively low-resolution photos, this appears to be a very nice example of a cool, grey-market CBR400RR, but unfortunately the Buy It Now price is an eye-watering $9,500. New Jersey's DMV may not be as draconian as California's in terms of emissions requirements, but they're even more strict in other ways, so the NJ title and registration suggests that the seller hasn't cut any corners making this legal although, as always, caveat emptor.

-tad

Baby ‘Blade: 1992 Honda CBR400RR NC29 for Sale
Honda June 13, 2017 posted by

Big Bike Spec in a Small Package: 1990 Honda CB-1 for Sale

Performance motorcycles have gotten so powerful and fast that they're only even rideable by normal humans because of sophisticated electronics. If 99% of riders need traction-control just to keep their 190hp superbike on the road, couldn't it be argued that they're too powerful? ABS and all the other safety systems are amazing, but should be there just in case the rider gets it wrong, not to keep the rampant power under control. Are riders of these bikes actually having more fun? Maybe, but doesn't something like today's Honda CB-1 make much more sense for most riders?

Plus, if you do get dusted on a canyon road, you can always blame the machinery: "Hey look, this is a 400cc motorcycle! What do you expect?" If you're on a new BMW S1000RR, you really have no excuse for being slow, other than self-control and sanity. The 1990 Honda CB1 doesn't have that same problem, however, with good handling and modest power. The displacement screams "learner bike" but the specifications argue otherwise:

399cc liquid-cooled inline four, sixteen valves actuated by gear-driven overhead cams. Six speed gearbox. The combo was slightly detuned from the CBR400 for street duty, but it put out a respectable 55hp and could push the machine to 118mph, certainly plenty for the street and even a bit of freeway cruising. It lacked the CBR400's twin-disc brakes up front and uses a steel unit instead of the CBR's aluminum beam frame, but the engine is still used as a stressed member, increasing rigidity and keeping weight reasonably low.

From the original eBay listing: 1990 Honda CB-1 for Sale

Overseas they have a tiered licensing system.  50cc, 125cc, 250cc, 400cc, 750cc, and above.  Most young men cannot afford above 400cc, so the 400cc market is full of hot rod bikes.  This is one such bike.  Water cooled DOHC 4 valves per cylinder, direct gear actuation of the cams, no cam chain, six speed transmission, red line at 13,500 rpm, power kicks in at 9000.  Top speed is over 100 mph.  The effect of the photography makes the paint look like it is robin's egg blue, but it doe not look like that in person.  The blue paint is a nice metallic finish.  Accessory windshield is quickly removable.  Heated grips have been added.  Accessory adjustable handlebars also.  All stock otherwise.  Very clean, except for some pollen on the gauges in the photo.  Was my wife's bike but she does not ride it enough to justify keeping it.

There are no takers yet at the $1,900 starting bid and there are just over 24 hours left on the auction. It looks like it's in good shape, although that windscreen needs to go. Like the Hawk 650GT, the CB-1 has developed quite a cult following and with very good reason: unlike the CBR400, the CB-1 was officially imported, but few were sold and they're hard to find now, although they still don't sell for all that much.  It's the Goldilocks of motorcycles: not too big, not too small. And the price is just right.

-tad

Big Bike Spec in a Small Package: 1990 Honda CB-1 for Sale
Honda March 22, 2017 posted by

All You Really Need: 1990 Honda CB-1 for Sale

No one is arguing that we don't live in an era where "learner bikes" aren't very sophisticated machines, but no matter how impressive the electronics found on modern small-displacement bikes may be, and no matter stone-axe reliable the mechanicals are, there's something distinctly uninspiring about the weedy exhaust note of a single-cylinder KTM RC390. It's a great motorcycle in pretty much every way, especially considering the affordable price-point, but it definitely doesn't sound sexy. Something like this Honda CB-1 however, might appeal to both new and experienced motorcyclists, especially those a bit shorter in stature or riders who've realized the truth of the old axiom, "It's more fun to ride a slow bike fast than it is to ride a fast bike slow."

There's no problem with a lack of sexy here, although that's probably because the CB-1 wasn't really designed as an entry-level motorcycle: the 399cc inline four that motivates the CB-1 was shared with the sportier CBR400 that never officially made it to the USA, although they do show up from time-to-time as grey market imports. As you would expect, this mini-sportbike powerplant is very sophisticated, and has four tiny cylinders, sixteen valves, and dual overhead cams operated by gears, instead of the expected timing chain. The little four made 55hp and could push the 400lb machine to a top speed of 118mph. The frame is a less-sophisticated tubular steel unit instead of the CBR's aluminum beam frame, valves are bit smaller, and the CB-1 has a single-disc front brake set up, but it is otherwise very similar in terms of performance, except in top speed. Of course the CB-1 was geared a bit shorter and actually felt quicker in real-world riding than its sportier sibling.

This example appears to be very clean, although the gauges could use a little help. A trip to eBay should eventually turn something up, or fit something cool and modern from Acewell or Motogadget. The carb service mentioned by the seller is a nice bonus, as that could be a headache for a new rider, or even for an experienced wrench.

From the original eBay listing: 1990 Honda CB-1 for Sale

This is a fine specimen of a CB-1. It does not at all look its age. It's not museum quality, there are a few minor blemishes, but it is very close to perfect. The bike was just serviced: the carburetors were cleaned & synched and new tires were mounted. It runs perfectly, all the lights work, etc. It needs nothing but a new owner to enjoy the ridiculously smooth high-reving beauty.

The seller is asking just $3,100 for this particular bike, a bargain considering the performance and sophistication found here. There are near cult-like levels of devotion surrounding the somewhat forgotten Honda CB-1 and it's v-twin stablemate the Hawk GT, although that hasn't translated into increased values, as these are still very affordable bikes and offer performance, rarity, and relatively easy maintenance. Although handling is limited by the budget suspension, bolt-on upgrades from the era's CBR should sort that out easily and improve stopping as well with a second front brake disc and caliper. In an era of relatively simple and economical small-displacement machines, something like this offers up big-bike thrills in a very sophisticated, manageable package, with a low price tag, street cred, and good looks.

-tad

All You Really Need: 1990 Honda CB-1 for Sale
Honda October 13, 2015 posted by

Investment Strategy – 1989 Honda CB-1

Occasionally we see a special bike re-appear after many years and just a few miles, and though it could be seen differently, this is one of those - an anyone-can-jump-on machine, special handling if not performance, with 26 years and 9 miles.

20151012 1989 honda cb-1 left

1989 Honda CB-1 for sale on eBay

20151012 1989 honda cb-1 right

Harkening back to the CB-400F ( and marketed in some countries that way ), the CB-1 is peculiarly recognizable as a motorcycle, and while not a race-replica, you might not throw your daughter's date off the porch if he rode up on one of these.  Sharing but slightly detuning the liquid-cooled 399cc in-line four from the CBR400RR, the CB-1 makes do with 55 hp, geared down a bit so it gets away punctually if not with great speed.  Using a steel tube perimeter frame instead of hydro-formed thin-wall aluminum, it's a neutral handling if not lightweight package.  Built to satisfy progressive license requirements in Japan and Europe, it was value-engineered to appeal to junior riders, carburetted instead of injected, but did come with nice 41mm front forks, Pro-Link style rear suspension, and 310mm front / 240mm rear disk brakes.

20151012 1989 honda cb-1 left grip

20151012 1989 honda cb-1 right front detail

Spiriting away a plain vanilla model and storing it without fluids will eventually pay off big, all a question of patience.  With only 9 pre-delivery miles, this might be the time for this gem.  About the only usual upgrade that would be welcome would be a polished stainless exhaust.  From the eBay auction:

We are proud to offer for sale a Museum Quality Collector example of the rare 1989 Honda CB-1 also known as the CB400F or NC27 in some countries. This bike was developed for the Japanese market and also sold in the USA and Canada. Only offered for sale in models years 1989 and 1990 this is a very rare and desirable bike. The only owner of this spectacular motorcycle purchased it new on March 23, 1991. The bike was intentionally never started  or ridden and has the original Pre Delivery miles on it performed by the selling Honda Dealership. This CB-1 was purposely preserved in As-New condition and stored indoors in a climate controlled environment. The motorcycle has a charged battery in it and spins over quickly on the starter button. We have made the decision to not fill the carburetors or tank with fuel, fire up and run as many potential buyers would prefer to keep the bike in its present condition to be part of a motorcycle collection.

20151012 1989 honda cb-1 right front wheel

20151012 1989 honda cb-1 left rear wheel

Not a legislative requirement and not much of a bargain in the states, the CB-1 was withdrawn after 1990.  It needed the 400-4's cool factor, but over 15 years the game had changed, even for a fun machine with a 13,500 rpm redline.  In the 25 years since the CB-1, it has changed again, with singles and twins in the first-bike market with counter-balancers replacing the multiple cylinders.  Especially in the U.S., the CB-1 is a snapshot, when there were still a few bikes with not much plastic and no room for graphics.  With 7 days to run, the auction has more than 20 bids, showing that there are still some riders out there that want a motorcycle that looks like well, a motorcycle...

20151012 1989 honda cb-1 left engine

-donn

Investment Strategy – 1989 Honda CB-1
Honda August 1, 2015 posted by

My First Sportbike: 1990 Honda CB-1 For Sale

1990 Honda CB1 L Side

The Honda CBR400RR we featured last week was never officially imported to the USA, but its naked stablemate the CB-1 was, although in pretty limited numbers and for just two years: 1989 and 1990. It was a strange choice for Honda to make in the land of extremes, where we only seem to like motorcycles as toys from one end of the spectrum or the other: fat, lazy cruisers or uncomfortable, highly-strung sportbikes.

1990 Honda CB1 R Side Engine

But although these did not sell very well at the time, the CB-1, along with the Suzuki Bandit 400 and Honda 650 Hawk, have developed quite a cult following: they're inexpensive, extremely well-built, reliable, and easy to modify into serious little road-burners. Just find yourself a nice CBR600 front end to swap on and go strafe some twisties!

1990 Honda CB1 R Side Engine2

Most small-displacement motorcycles available in America have been very cheap and nasty economy machines geared towards new riders. But many experienced bikers want a sophisticated machine that offers thrills without the fuel consumption or 160mph top speed associated with bigger bikes.

1990 Honda CB1 Clocks

The engine in the CB was almost identical to the sportier RR: valves were smaller, the compression was lower, but gearing was revised so that the bike actually felt quicker around town. The sewing-machine four displaced just 399cc and produced 55hp and could push the 400lb bike to 118mph. More significantly, the CB had much more basic suspension, a single front brake, and used a different frame compared to the racier RR, with tubular steel replacing the aluminum beam construction, although weight was kept within reason by using the engine as a stressed member.

1990 Honda CB1 L Side Tank

From the original eBay listing: 1990 Honda CB-1 for Sale

Not too many sold in the US making it quite a rare sight these days.  I'm the second owner. It is a sweet little bike with nimble handling, low weight and a rev-happy (redline is 13,500rpm) engine. 

Easy to handle by a newbie but good enough for an experienced rider, comfortable.

The bike is in excellent original condition. Paint is shiny and deep. No scratches or dents. Tank is like brand new with an exception of two tiny chips(and I mean - really tiny, see pictures).

The bike has never been down. 

1990 Honda CB1 L Side Rear

With just 2,500 miles on the clock, this thing is practically new, and it's one of the nicest I've ever seen for sale. It's priced on the higher end of the CB-1 spectrum, but still very reasonable at $3,999. Yeah, you can find them for $2,500 but with bikes in this price range, the cash needed to fix them up can very quickly eat into the savings.

A great choice for new and experienced riders looking for a collectible modern classic that will get lots of thumbs up at bike nights and provide thrills on back roads.

-tad

1990 Honda CB1 R Side

My First Sportbike: 1990 Honda CB-1 For Sale