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Honda posted by

Little Brother: 1989 Honda VFR400R for Sale


This post is in our archives. Links in this post have been updated to point to similar bikes available to bid on eBay.


Looking very much like their very desirable VFR750R, the Honda VFR400R shares similar engine configuration, style, and that distinctive “PRO ARM” single-sided swingarm. The sophisticated V4 featured straight-cut gears in place of a chain or belt and drove twin overhead cams. Early VFR400s used a 180° crank, but the NC30 shared it’s 360° “big bang” configuration with the VFR750, giving the bike a distinctive growl to go with the cultured whine of the gear-driven cams.


A big-bang engine groups its combustion events close together, in stead of spreading them out evenly. In theory, this gives improved traction, as the tire has a chance to recover grip in between pulses, although that may not be a huge advantage in a bike with just 59hp and 30ft-lbs of torque… Power was modest, but had just 350lbs dry to push, and was spread across a very wide, forgiving powerband.


These bikes didn’t sell well when new, which wasn’t really shocking: a period literbike could be had for similar cash and that huge increase in power could cover for a lot of sins on the road and on track. But that was hardly the point, and Honda only needed to produce a limited number to qualify them for racing. Originally intended for the Japanese market, a few made their way to the UK and mainland Europe as “parallel imports,” these used to be very a very affordable way to pick up sophisticated Honda tech, but prices for these have been rapidly increasing of late, now that the RC30 is well out of reach for many collectors. Bidding on this example is north of $9,000 at this time, with the Reserve Not Met.


From the original eBay listing: 1989 Honda VFR400R for Sale

The VFR400R(NC30) is known for its handling, turning quicker than most other 400s on the market. You don’t have to ride the NC30 to know that it is right. Everything about it just looks right. The scaled-down version of the RC30 is perfect in it proportions and in its detail. The reduction in size makes it neater still.

The engine gives the impression of that of a larger machine. Peak torque is at 12,000rpm, but it doesn’t drop off, giving a long, flexible spread of peak power. It will hold any top gear cruise speed up to 100mph, will pull wide open in top from 2,000rpm and runs without a hiccup to 15,000rpm.Asked whether the quality of engineering is worth owning, the answer would be yes. The build quality is nearly as good as the RC30.

This bike is in excellent un-restored condition with very low miles. I approach all my bikes with the idea of preservation over restoration. When purchasing a bike what I look for is low miles and all original, this bike fits those traits very nicely. Please examine the pictures very closely. You can see it has not been restored but it is an excellent original condition. There is some minor chips and patina showing that it is a 27 year old bike. The bike was recently cleaned from top to bottom. Everything was cleaned, all fluids changed, brakes bled and then put back together ready to ride. Here’s a list of a few things that were done.

Wheels powder coated, forks rebuilt, new rotors and pads front and rear plus brakes bled, new tires Bridgestone T30’s. All the plastics were cleaned and polished and the small cracks were welded on the back side so they won’t crack any more than they already are. All the gauges and cockpit pieces were cleaned and polished. Brand new chain and sprockets


The seller also includes this helpful startup video of the bike being offered, and the original listing includes plenty of additional photos if what we’ve included here doesn’t satisfy your NC30 lust. Aside from a few minor cosmetic imperfections mentioned by the seller, this is a very nice motorcycle and 6,000 miles is barely broken-in for a Honda, so this one is ready to display or ride, whichever strikes your fancy.




  • I’ve seen this bike in the flesh bidding is up there more than I expected.

    • Please elaborate! What are your thoughts on the condition? Does it look as good in person as it does in the photos?

    • Haha, thanks for the vote of confidence buddy. 🙂

  • Nice!! And the best color scheme, too! One thing that people don’t often talk about, NC30 has surprisingly tall first gear, because, like the bigger brother, it was kind of aimed for F3 class racing, and Honda didn’t bother to do with SP version, so this was it. What a lovely little bike with great color combo, I wish I could afford one.

  • This RC-30 “mini-me” is outstanding. Peak torque at 12000….he he.

  • Best Honda paint ever!

    • I had a zxr 400 from the same year. It was a great bike and I still consider it as one of the bests I have ever ridden. I am really curious whether this one is better because of the v4 engine or not. Hope I can check it once! 🙂

  • Have to agree with Big bang. Best Honda paint ever!

  • This is Greg’s bike. I’m sure it is just as spotless in person as it is online.

    Did not expect it to go as high as it did, I’ve been finding them all over JPN for $7k-$8k. They don’t last very long, but I see them.

  • Why the brake rotors were changed and calipers + front forks were painted just at 6K miles?

    • Exactly what I was thinking…

    • Because in Japan there is a lot of salt in the air and very few people have a garage. The coating on the wheels was flaking a little and they were faded. The rotors had some corrosion that was not possible to clean off or restore. I couldn’t stand looking at them after the bike was cleaned up so they were changed for cosmetic reasons only. A very common thing with bikes form Japan.

  • That’s the nicest NC30 I’ve ever seen.

    • Thank you

  • Like 916 and Joe, I’m wondering why you would powder coat the wheels at such low mileage…

    • He did the wheels on his MC16 as well, I think I remember reading on instagram somewhere it was just an ‘at the same time’ kinda thing but I’m not certain. OE paint was probably pitted, and powdercoated wheels are just sexy. No idea why he would replace the rotors and paint the forks though. He gets these bikes by the container and depending on what it is will either turn and burn or he will take it apart, restore it to an extent, and put it up for sale.

  • wow this bike looks amazing, the next best thing after an RC30,.. ,Good luck keeping the white wheels clean though…

  • Just to weigh in here, having owned one just like it for 25 years, the forks are not correct for this model year(adjustable cartridges )came after 1989., would also wonder why rotors and rear sprocket were changed if miles were 6,000, I think seller does not know full history, also, you can buy used instrument cluster for $150 bucks in Japan

  • I am extending myself out here. If any of you are interested in purchasing the bike and would like questions answered please call me. My number is in the auction. Also, I can guarantee the speedo is the original one. If you saw how clean and original the bike is under the bodywork and had experience imports bikes from Japan you would believe the km’s to be original too.

  • eBay shows sold at $11,200. Congratulations to buyer and seller!


  • I believe a few record

  • Sorry, I phone, a “new record

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