In the spate of GP racer replicas that littered the 1980s, perhaps none are as perplexing as the Honda NS400R. Patterned after the NS500 that Freddie Spencer rode into the history books (with a nod to the RS500 privateer machines), the NS400R shared the GP bike’s odd 3-cylinder arrangement. And while the NS400R was the biggest two stroke street bike in the Honda arsenal, it was seriously outgunned by both the Yamaha RZ/RZV500 and Suzuki RG500 Gamma. Still, the Honda brought some innovate touches to the party and should be considered for anyone interested in a GP replica from the era of the smokers.
Like the big Yamaha, the Honda NS400R arranges the cylinders in a 90 degree vee formation. But in the Honda’s case, there are two cylinders laying flat in the front of the motor, and the single rear cylinder sticks nearly straight up. This allowed Honda to centralize the mass of weight lower, and closer to the ideal location for weight balance. The lack of a 4th cylinder simplified packaging of the individual expansion chambers and triple flat slide carbs. This unusual powerplant was nestled into a boxed-section aluminum frame which optimized geometry for the GP-inspired 16″ front wheel. Dry weight was reported to be a relatively svelte 360-ish pounds, and with 71 HP extracted from the screaming three cylinders the Honda was perhaps the easiest of the big two strokes to handle.
From the seller:
1985 Honda NS400R in an original unrestored condition as it came from Japan starts and shift like it is a 2 strokes beast. All original including the windscreen which is a very hard to find an NS400R with original windscreen. The motorcycle still wears its original paint. It was not been dismantled nor been altered or tinkered with. I bought it from a motorcycle dealer in England who imported it from Japan. It was not cheap and easy to get it here and register it. I replaced the battery (Yuasa), chain (DID), the front tire (Bridgestone Battlax), grips and the handlebar weight with nos ones. It comes with a clear title Japanese and brochure. The bike is registered with clear Texas title in Hand and in my name. Checks/money orders have to clear before I release the motorcycle. Deposit is non refundable.
Area that needs attention:
Front upper and lower fairing
RPM needle sticks sometimes
Broken Left peg
Fun little Honda quirks abound on the NS400R. Front forks are air adjustable with anti-dive assist. Out back there is an aluminum swingarm acting on a Pro-link single shock with preload adjustment. The aerodynamic fairing covers the majority of the bike, and includes touches such as aero fairings on the forks AND the kickstand. Pretty cool!
The Honda NS400R is a real gem from back when the Japanese were trying all sorts of engine combinations to find success at both the showroom and the racetrack. Today these are hard to find in decent condition, and they always command a pretty steep price. Today’s bike is not perfect – as highlighted by the seller in pictures and text, but it is certainly presentable. There are some scuffs here and there which is to be expected from a used bike of this age. The solo-look seat cowl seems to be missing, and (to me) the front fender looks slightly different than the brochures for the red/white/blue models – but does look consistent to the Rothmans livery models. This might be due to variations in components for different geographies; experts on the model are welcome to chime in. The asking price for this one is, well, steep: $17,500 in Buy It Now format. You can check out all of the details here, and Good Luck!!