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Honda posted by

Quirky Track Day Fun: 1985 Honda NS400R for Sale

Warning!

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

While I’m not the biggest fan of the 1980’s in terms of style, I love the free-for-all philosophy that went into motorcycle design of the period: four-strokes, two-strokes, and rotaries. Turbos. One, two, three, and four cylinder engines, innovative suspensions, and all manner of weirdness.

This Honda NSR400R embodies some of the best features of the era, when experimentation and new ideas seemed to be popping out of the woodwork.

1985 Honda NSR400R R Front

In general, Honda has become a very conservative manufacturer, although a few of their more recent offerings show off a bit of that old experimental spirit as they try to produce some actually useful, interesting motorcycles for normal riders, instead of chasing the ever-decreasing market share of pure headbanging motorcycles we’re all here to read about.

1985 Honda NSR400R L Rear

All of Honda’s NSR bikes are pure racing or race-replica two-stroke motorcycles, often over-the-counter, turnkey factory race bikes like the NSR250. The NSR400R fell into the latter category: a streetbike meant to evoke Honda’s pure race machines.

1985 Honda NSR400R Dash

This bike featured a liquid-cooled, two-stroke 90° V3 with the two flanking cylinders canted forward and the middle one pointing up, and put 72hp through a six-speed transmission, making it very quick for a middleweight sports machine. Period reviews refer to it being a very polished bike, with little of the unrefined frenzy common to two-strokes: liquid cooling quiets the clatter somewhat, and Honda’s ATAC power-valve smooths the power delivery and plumps up the low end. Power still comes on in a two-stroke rush, just a more dignified, manageable rush. Very Honda.

With unusual modular wheels and very light weight, handling was some of the best of the period, which makes the fact that these weren’t available in the States more of a shame.

1985 Honda NSR400R L Front

From the original eBay listing: 1985 NSR400R for Sale

Very rare 3 cylinder 2 stroke purchased from a private Honda collection in the Northeast got home put fresh gas in it and started right up. 13,392 original miles very nice condition sorry no title.

With the slightly dull, all-black fairings instead of customary Honda graphics or the traditional red/white/blue paint, and a bit of surface rust on the exhaust, this is clearly meant for one thing and one thing only: budget track-day thrashing. With workman like number-plates, safety wiring, and Dzuz fasteners for easy maintenance, it has all the features required and keeps costs down.

1985 Honda NSR400R R Rearset

But that’s a shame, since such a cool bike deserves at least a nice, ten-foot track bike paint job. At the very least, I’d get some aftermarket fairings painted up decently and ditch those stuck on numberplates for a solo-tailpiece and a bit of foam padding: if you can’t title this thing for the road, you might as well go all-in!

Honestly, I’d love to pick something like this up. My main concern would be finding good tires for it!

-tad

1985 Honda NSR400R R Side

7 Comments

  • The listing ended today and it looks like he sold it off line. Just wondering though, for future reference, is it hard to find parts for a bike like this, motor parts, exhaust, suspension parts and can modern sized wheels be fitted? It might be fun to ride a bike like that around the track. I like my race bik (s1000rr), but it might fun to have a relatively low powered, unusual bike like this one to take to an occasional track day.

  • Some parts can be hard to find for this bike but if you really wanted one of these bikes you’d know that and understand that the older a bike the more likely it’s gonna be harder to find parts. Doesn’t matter what model/brand lots of older bikes stuff is starting to come up discontinued / nla. You can fit nsr 250 wheels from the MC21 on the bike along with the fork front setup bolts right on seen a few bikes with this conversion done.

  • Why is right foot peg safety wired up?

  • It’s not- the master cylinder-to- brake pedal retaining bolt is. The peg is temporarily flipped up for starting/kick starter arm clearance.

  • Yep – sold offline and on its way to Texas to help finish my Freddie Spencer track day rep. Meaningful maintenance parts such as cranks heads cylinders and some electrics are hard to find. I have 2 complete NS400 motors here in the wings as parts sources. Other bits are easier to find. This one will be mated to some RS250 HRC forks and swing arm & alloy tank, RS500 wheels and RS500 bodywork to create an NS500-like look with minimal weight and maximum track day thrashing fun 🙂 I think this was the right NS400 for the job, I was hesitant to grab any of the more cosmetically presentable NS400’s just to then tear it apart and use as a donor bike.

    • Sounds like this may have been the perfect bike for your project: a bike that’s been solidly maintained by someone ambivalent about aesthetics. Would love to see some pics of the finished bike, if you’re willing to share!

  • Grab the relevant edition of “practical sportbikes” and feast your eyes on the buffet of ns400’s that 5 innovative Englishmen modified according to your their own tastes/budget/twisted minds!!
    It’ll make you want to buy one!!

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