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Big-Bang Theory: 1996 Honda RVF400 for Sale

1996 Honda RVF400 R Front

Introduced in 1994 to replace the VFR400R, the RVF400 used a smaller, 399cc version of Honda’s gear-driven V4 powerplant with a 360° firing order. The updated model featured a revised fairing with cat-eye headlamps replacing the earlier bike’s round units, distinctive air tubes leading from the fairing to the front of the tank to feed the carburetors, although the airbox was not pressurized by any sort of ram-air system. Running gear saw a change to more modern upside-down forks and a 17” wheel replaced the earlier bike’s 18” item.

1996 Honda RVF400 Rear Suspension

Honda’s homologation V4 engines featured a “big-bang” firing order that has all of the combustion events taking place relatively close together, instead of spaced evenly. This naturally increases engine vibration, but creates distinctive pulses in the power delivery that allows the rear tire to momentarily regain traction in between during on-track moments at the edge of adhesion, aiding handling and increasing tire life.

There’s also the undeniably subjective benefit in terms of sound: the “big-bang” engines often have the rawer, more charismatic sound generally associated with V4 engines compared to more conventional “screamer” motors with evenly-spaced firing intervals.

1996 Honda RVF400 L Side

From the original eBay listing: 1996 Honda RVF400 for Sale

1996 Honda RVF400 NC35. This bike is in very good condition. Bike has 9589 km = 5753 miles. Engine runs fine, no problems. There is a crack in the seat “see pictures”. The passenger seat covers the crack so you don’t see it. You don’t see many RVF400 in this condition anymore. Bike is original, not restored. I have a clear California title for the bike.

1996 Honda RVF400 Dash

Sold officially only in Japan, all RFV400’s are grey-market imports. The seller is based in Japan, although this bike is supposedly in the US and has a clear California title. There is plenty of time left on the auction, with no takers yet at the $9,000 starting bid.

While these are obviously not as desirable as their bigger RC45 siblings, the RVF400 is prized by collectors for its motorsports heritage. And while the stock bike’s claimed 53hp is underwhelming on paper, the little RVF is reportedly a brilliant-handling bike, a “brains-over-brawn” bike for riders who like gear-whine that drowns out the stock exhaust.


1996 Honda RVF400 R Side


  • That light-side switch looks different than mine or any other RVF I’ve seen. The stock RVF left side switch doesn’t have the slider for turning on the parking lights (see link below). Also, the cluster looks odd. My cluster doesn’t have a little orange thingy on the bottom of the high-beam indicator. Both of those look to be VFR NC30 parts vs RVF parts, which raises a huge red flag. I doubt someone is going to just replace the housing cover and not the whole speedo ass’y.

    image of RVF switch: http://images.cmsnl.com/img/products/sw-assywinker_big35200MR8900-02_3940.jpg
    image of RVF cluster housing: http://images.cmsnl.com/img/products/case-upper-comp_big37110MW0671-01_e8d6.jpg

  • I bought one of these last year from this Board. Thing was truly mint and so much fun to run around on. I’m a little bit of an ape on it at 6’4 but damn it was a cool bike. Had to unload all the toys with a divorce but I’ll get another one day. (Hoping to step up to a RC45 next time around). Tell you what, can’t speak for this one personally but tight, nimble little things for sure!

  • Love to have this, more in line with my budget. Are parts for it hard to get?

  • Parts are pretty easy to get from Tyga for cosmetics and perfomance parts, and wemoto.com for just about everything else.
    Not as big a pain as you’d think – some parts can be expensive depending on exchange rates
    Just have to wait for stuff to get here, so best to order parts before servicing to avoid delays.
    Plugs are the same used in lawn tractors here so easy to get from Autozone for example.
    Holy crap amount of fun to ride on street or track!!

  • If taken care of properly you can get many miles out of a V-4 motor . (Don’t use crap oil in them , you will regret it !) If you need parts or engines the UK (E-bay) is a good source for stuff. I would even dare say if you plan on keeping your NC30 or 35 for a long time to score yourself a spare motor form the UK /overseas for a decent price to have on hand as spares . Changing out a motor is not a big deal and will keep your bike on the road a lot longer than having to overhaul your motor . For that matter from personal experience it also is cheaper to swap out a low mileage replacement motor than to pay for the parts and labor to rebuild your damaged/blown motor . As previously mentioned the regular parts to maintain your bike are not to hard to come by either at auto/bike parts or from online suppliers .

  • wouldnt this be called a “little-bang” engine?! awesome stuff…loved it when HRC spread their engineering know-how around, and pushed their high-end stuff down to these wee-little engines, too.

  • My friends ’95 has 33K kph on the clocks and it stills runs sweet! Not to hard to get one from japan legal to import this model but that’s starting to become easier as many of these mid 90’s bikes are starting to hit the 21 year + emissions exemption. I had pleasure of storing my friends rvf for a year while he rebuilt his house I got to take it out a few times his is unrestricted full power euro spec cdi and full tyga exhaust one of the best handling bikes I’ve ridden.

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