Posts by tag: V3

Honda November 14, 2018 posted by

Featured Listing: 1986 Honda NS400R for Sale

Update 11.15.2018: This bike has SOLD in less than a day! Congratulations to buyer and seller! -dc

Honda considered themselves to be a four-stroke company and had to be dragged, kicking and screaming into the two-stroke GP era. After the abject failure, at least in terms of race results, of their oval-pistoned NR500, Honda finally relented and applied their usual tenacity and innovation to the two-stroke NS500, and that machine provided the inspiration to today's Featured Listing, the road-going Honda NS400R.

Seen here in Freddie Spencer-inspired colors, the NS400R obviously differed from its Grand Prix sibling in terms of displacement. Why just 387cc, instead of something closer to the racing version's 498cc? Well Japan had regulations that led to much higher costs for 500cc machines that made them impractical for the vast majority of riders so, instead of creating two different versions of their bike for domestic and overseas sales, they created just one well-conceived and thoroughly-developed version.

The NS400R and its racing inspiration both had liquid-cooled, two-stroke V3 engines, but the roadbike reversed the racebike's asymmetrical cylinder layout, with two of the three cylinders projecting to the front and a single pointed up towards the underside of the tank, and the package produced 72hp in a very civilized package.

In addition to the unusual 90° V3 engine configuration, the NS400R used Honda's ATAC powervalve system and electronic ignition, a six-speed gearbox, TRAC anti-dive forks, a Pro-Link rear suspension, modular Comstar wheels, and radial tires, a relative novelty at the time. The entire package weighed in at around 400lbs wet and handling was considered to be the very best the era had to offer, although it's been unfairly overlooked for years.

From the Seller: 1986 Honda NS400R for Sale

Northern Beauty

Selling a 1986 Honda NS400R with 33,219 km. (20,641 miles). The bike has Ontario ownership (title), and there are no liens against it. The bike is located about 30 miles east of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It was originally purchased at Esquire Honda in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario in April, 1987. The current owner purchased the bike from the second owner in 2007 in Thunder Bay, Ontario. In its history it has received new tires, steering head bearings, new steering head damper and one fork stabilizer.

The bike experienced a driveway tip over about three years ago, which caused a scrape to the left side fairing lower. It was professionally re-painted to match the original, and is not detectable. Only a small scuff mark appears on the left side lower cowl. There is a small dent on the right side exhaust canister, as shown in the photos. There is a scuff mark on the kick stand, which has the painted fairing attached, and the mirrors, while original, have faded in colour. There are several tiny stress cracks around the windshield fasteners and on the seat cowl fasteners, but they are very small, and not noticeable unless you’re looking very closely. Other than the aforementioned blemishes the bike is in excellent condition, and only needs a new owner.

It starts eagerly, and I’d be happy to send a startup video to show its running ability.

The owner can assist with shipping and, for a fee the bike can be taken to the U.S. border crossing at Niagara Falls/Buffalo (90 miles) or the Ivy Lea crossing in upstate New York (120 miles).

$5500. USD

Honda's decision to go with a 400cc model may have cost them sales at first: the NS400R made less power than the competing RG and RZ, but it weighed significantly less as well, so performance was roughly similar. But being a 400, there was a perceived lack of credibility and, for a while, prices on the used market reflected that, although values of the NS400R have been rising quickly over the past few years. But not this one: the seller is asking just $5,500USD, although it is in Canada. If you've been looking for a clean example but have been put off by the asking price for recent offerings, rent, borrow, or steal a van, make sure your passport is up to date, and hit the road. Because you won't find another example at anywhere near this price.

-tad

Featured Listing: 1986 Honda NS400R for Sale
Honda September 27, 2018 posted by

Cutting Edge: 1985 Rothmans Honda NS400R for Sale

Not too long ago, all kinds of weird and wonderful sportbikes from the mid-1980s were available for reasonable sums. Until recently, they weren't really old enough to be considered classics in terms of styling, and they weren't even close to modern machines in terms of outright performance or handling. It probably didn't help much that they're just plain weird to modern sensibilities: consider Honda's NS400R, with its two-stroke V3, anti-dive forks, odd middle-of-the-road displacement, and the slightly awkward, upright styling common to bikes of the era.

The 80s saw the Japanese brands finally come into their own and race and showroom success, combined with a strong economy, saw experimentation across the industry. Not all of it worked, of course, but that's beside the point. The bodywork of the NS400R seen here hid a liquid-cooled, 90° two-stroke V3 engine meant to evoke Honda's Grand Prix racing machines that used a similar configuration. The bike featured a six-speed gearbox, Honda's ATAC powervalve system, electronic ignition, TRAC anti-dive forks, a Pro-Link rear suspension, Comstar wheels, and radial tires that were considered very cutting-edge at the time.

Weight was very light, at just a shade over 400lbs wet and the bike's claimed 72hp means performance is a match for the RG and RZ, in spite of the NS400R displacing just 387cc. Why the smaller displacement, when an NS500R would have made for a more authentic Grand Prix experience? Well, regulations in the bike's home market meant significantly increased costs for 500cc machines: Suzuki actually sold an RG400 for Japanese two-stroke fans, and Yamaha detuned their RZ500 to meet power restrictions. Faced with the prospect of a detuned 500 or the need to sell two different models, Honda simply created one, very refined machine with their NS400R, but the perceived performance deficit hurt sales.

It's a shame: handling was superlative and the bike is often mentioned as a forgotten gem of the era. Of course, prices for bikes like the Suzuki RG500Γ have been rising rapidly over the past few years, dragging Yamaha RZ500 prices along with it, and the NS400R has been sucked into their wake. Two strokes are long dead and gone, and fans of smoky, lightweight sportbikes have been snapping them up quickly, especially really nice, low-mileage examples like this one.

From the original eBay listing: 1985 Rothmans Honda NS400R for Sale

Very nice condition. Runs great. 1509 original miles [2429 kilometers]

This is not 100% OEM. The two main items that are not OEM include the:

  1. Bodywork: brand new aftermarket bodywork (OEM bodywork included)
  2. Brand new Jim Lomas expansion chambers (OEM exhaust included).

Carbs ultrasonically cleaned, rebuilt and jetted. Also synced with Motion Pro carb balancer.

When fitting the Lomas chambers I pulled the cylinders to inspect them. No issues and still see cross-hatching in the Nikasil.

  • New base and head gaskets and ATAC gaskets.
  • New clutch (metal and friction plates)
  • New chain/sprockets 
  • New air filter
  • Fresh antifreeze
  • New spark plugs
  • New rubber boots from air box to carbs
  • Rebuilt fuel petcock
  • New regulator rectifier
  • Tires are in great shape

Everything works like it should. No leaks at all.

I'd be curious about the condition of the original bodywork, if it's not the stuff in the picture shown off the bike. If it was an original Rothmans, why the replica bodywork? I'm not implying anything shady on the part of the customer. Honestly, I've said forever that if I got something weird or rare, I'd personally source aftermarket panels and paint them up, then store the originals safely away, but it's not clear that this is what the seller has done. Either way, it looks damn nice, and the seller helpfully includes a recent video of the bike. And, while the NS400R was sort of languishing, forgotten and a bit unloved compared to the Gammas and RZs for a while there, prices have begun to move steadily upward, and the seller is asking a $7,700 Buy It Now price for this one.

-tad

Cutting Edge: 1985 Rothmans Honda NS400R for Sale
Honda April 26, 2018 posted by

Featured Listing: 1985 Honda NS400R

Update 4.28.2018: SOLD! Congratulations to buyer and seller! -dc

Despite giving up 100cc to the competition, Honda's mid-'80s GP replica made waves when it was new for its build and ride quality, which proved hard to match for the 500cc offerings from Suzuki and Yamaha. Though the bigger bikes easily outpaced the Honda, Big Red's homage to Freddie Spencer made a pretty sweet street bike in its own right.

Loaded with mouthful acronyms, the bike was tech-heavy, featuring anti-dive forks and exhaust valves that aided the characteristic low-RPM torque woes. The bike put out 72 horsepower, which had a little under 400 pounds to push around, so its lack of performance was purely relative. There are still plenty of ways to scare yourself aboard an NS400.

This 1985 Honda NS400R recently was imported from Japan, and by the looks of things has been fairly well maintained and is fairly clean. The obvious caveat is that it does not have its lower fairings, which will be a dagger for serious collectors.

From the seller:

1985 Honda NS400R / NC19 – a street-legal 3-cylinder 2-stroke GP race-replica of Freddie Spencer’s GP winning NS500 – somewhat similar to the contemporary Suzuki RG500 Gamma (I have one as well) and Yamaha RZ500 – both of which I have had many over the years. What the NS400R gave up in power, it made up for with sweet handling.

Unmistakable sound, smell and performance of a two stroke road bike. Rare when new – this is a lot of history and performance for the money. Here is a quick walk-around – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17iRwpVf8TE

I do not have the original belly pan, but parts are available out of Yahoo Japan. Well priced for a collectible / rider and easy to enjoy at this price.

1985 Honda NS400R Specifications

Engine – liquid-cooled 3-cylinder 2-stroke
Capacity – 387cc
Bore/stroke – 57 x 50.6mm
Power – 72bhp @ 9500rpm
Torque – 37ft-lb @ 8500rpm
Carburetion – 3 x 26 mm Keihin flat slides
Transmission – 6-speed, wet clutch, chain final drive
Frame – Box section alloy
Suspension – 37mm telescopic forks TRAC anti dive. Pro-Link rear
Brakes – 256mm discs, 2-piston, floating-calipers. 220mm disc, 2-piston, floating-caliper
Wheels – 100/90 x 16, 110/90 x 17
Weight – 163kgs
Top speed – 135mph
Wheelbase – 1362mm
Fuel capacity – 19ltrs

If you're in Seattle, run by seller Sodo Moto and take a look at this rare and interesting machine. Asking price has been reduced from $8,500 to $6,750.

Featured Listing: 1985 Honda NS400R
Honda December 1, 2017 posted by

Triple Time: 1986 Honda NS400R for Sale

Honda's two-stroke NS400R was ostensibly intended to capitalize on their Grand Prix racing efforts, but with less displacement and one fewer cylinder than rivals from Suzuki and Yamaha, it got lost in the shuffle at the time and suffered from a perceived lack of hairy-chestedness, compared to its 500cc competition.

So why did Honda go with a 400cc triple instead of a 500cc four, like Yamaha and Suzuki? Well in fact Yamaha and Suzuki did produce 400cc versions of their engines, in order to make these performance machines more appealing in their home market of Japan, where taxes and licensing laws made owning the 500cc version prohibitively expensive. So instead of building different versions of their repli-racer to suit the laws of different countries, Honda simply used the 400cc version for all markets.

The performance gap, especially between the NS400R and the RZ500 is actually pretty minimal, due to the Honda’s light weight: the liquid-cooled 387cc V3 produced a claimed 72hp and the bike weighed just 360lbs. A six-speed gearbox helped keep the two-stroke “on the pipe” and the bike featured sophisticated suspension at both ends, with TRAC anti-dive forks and a Pro-Link rear setup. Modular Comstar wheels were fitted with radial tires, a relative novelty at the time.

From the original eBay listing: 1986 Honda NS400R for Sale

This bike has been meticulously restored from bottom to top as a shining example of the replica Honda put out in honour of the legend Fast Freddie Spencer! For the hard core era two stroke enthusiast and collector, this machine will not disappoint you!

I also have another 1986 NS400R that is in parts. Everything mechanically is there for restoration except some of the body fairings. I would not be fair to part this unit out as a result. I am prepared to sell both as a package or separately. 

Ask and I can send you the link to the Youtube video.

Period reviews praised the bike’s handling, and the overall package was surprisingly refined, considering the bike’s light weight and racy specification. I wonder if that didn't hurt the bike's reputation, although it should have been a bonus at the time. It's the same thing that let down the RZ500: in an effort to make a better road bike, Yamaha lost sight of why people were interested in a big-bore two-stroke in the first place, and the result was needlessly heavy and somewhat less exciting than Suzuki's Gamma. The NS400R doesn't have a weight problem, but it doesn't seem to have the RG500's wild reputation, either. They were relative bargains for a long time, but values have risen significantly over the past few years and this restored example is being offered for approximately $9,400 US. Note that this bike is currently in Canada, so keep that in mind before you hit the Buy It Now or Make Offer buttons.

-tad

Triple Time: 1986 Honda NS400R for Sale
Honda October 5, 2017 posted by

Three to Get Ready: 1986 Honda NS400R for Sale

The 1980s were a very exciting time in the motorcycling world, especially for fans of Japanese bikes, and a huge variety of machines were available in a dizzying array of configurations: two-strokes and four-strokes, singles, twins, triples, fours, and even six-cylinder engines. And it wasn't just engines that saw the application of innovative new technologies: anti-dive forks, electronic ignitions, and radial tires all became common on sporting machines for the first time. Of course, race-replicas were very popular as always, and into the mix came the Honda NS400R that combined all of those elements into a potent little package.

At the center of this unusual machine was a liquid-cooled, 90° V3 meant to ape Honda's GP machine of the period. Although with the two flanking cylinders canted forward and the middle one pointing up, it was actually the reverse of the racing machine's configuration that had the single cylinder pointed towards the front. As you'd expect, the two-stroke had Honda's ATAC powervalve to give the bike some additional midrange grunt and the 387cc engine put out a claimed 72hp through a six-speed transmission to the rear wheel. Overall, the package was very refined, with a claimed weight of just 360lbs. Handling was a definite strong point, helped by TRAC anti-dive forks up front and a Pro-Link rear, with modular Comstar wheels and radial tires at both ends.

Also, because I'm into weird details, I have to point out the tiny triangle of fairing that folds out when the sidestand is extended. Does it serve any practical purpose? Of course not. Did it cost real money to develop and manufacture? For sure it did. But that's the kind of detail that defines bikes of this period.

So why a 400cc machine, when Suzuki and Yamaha were producing race-replicas closer to the actual racing displacement of 500cc? Well bikes intended for the Japanese market were limited in terms of power and displacement throughout the period, and Honda likely wanted to make sure a single version of the bike could easily be sold in all markets. Unfortunately at the time, a perceived power and performance deficit compared to the RG500 and RZ500 likely hurt sales, but I think that's far less of an issue now: none of these bikes are especially fast by today's standards and the handling of the NS400R is famously good.

From the original eBay listing: 1986 Honda NS400R Rothmans NC19 for Sale

NS400R a road going replica of the GP motorcycle. 2 stroke with a V3 engine.

The bike is imported from Japan. Not registered yet in the US. This bike is sold without title. (NO TITLE) Sold as is with NO warranty NO refunds NO return.

Start engine! Runs OK, new battery.

This bike is original, with 25,488 km (15,837 miles) This motorcycle is 31 years old. Some scratches so look carefully all pictures and video. Sold as is.

Buyer responsible for vehicle pick-up or shipping to your location. (Bike in Carson now.) If anyone wants to come see the motorcycle, please contact me.

These flew under the radar for a long time, compared to the 500cc Suzuki and Yamaha, but prices are on the rise now. This recently-imported example looks shiny, and the seller claims it is original. A few scrapes and scratches mar the bike, and the lower right-side pipe does have some damage, although maybe that'll buff out? There are no takers yet at the $5,800 starting bid with a couple days left on the auction. As always, the lack of a US title may be discouraging bidders, as that can be difficult to navigate, and many would rather not deal with the headache.

-tad

Three to Get Ready: 1986 Honda NS400R for Sale
Honda August 17, 2017 posted by

Threesome: 1986 Honda NS400R

The Honda NS400R is a bit of an odd duck in the annals of rare bike collections. Bigger than a 250 but lacking the brutal thrust of the 500cc smokers, the V-3 two stroke is neither fish nor fowl. Nearly all other two strokes are apples to the NS400R orange. With typical Honda flair and technology, the NSR is finished to a very high standard and offers a more evolved package than the competition. Instead of focusing solely on the HP game, Honda polished the edges and created a softer sport bike. But make no mistake - the NS400R is quite capable of madness in the canyons when piloted by an experienced rider.

1986 Honda NS400R for sale on eBay

To make a NS400R, imagine taking a parallel twin and 90 degree V-twin power plant and stuffing them together in the same case. Retain two cylinders up front, and one in the rear (for packaging). Beef up the single cylinder moving parts to compensate for only having one piston rather than two (to quell vibration), toss in some power valve and exhaust chamber wizardry (ATAC system) and bolt it all to a six speed gearbox. Slide that contraption into a sweet aluminum perimeter frame, bolt up a trick TRAC anti-dive fork and Showa rear shock, and drape it in aerodynamic bodywork with intricate detail (even the kickstand has a freaking fairing!) and you've got another Honda masterpiece.

From the seller:
Up for sale is a very rare beast which was sold new in Calgary Alberta Canada and I am the second owner. This bike has sat in a collection for over 20 years and has been started regularly and kept up the way it should have been. I took bike out and have put 250 klms on the machine and worked flawlessly as it should. Everything is 100% and factory Honda not aftermarket ebay panels. These bikes are climbing in value extremely fast and are not going to stop that's for sure.

The only flaw in the bike is a small hairline crack forming by one of the bolts on the faring. I am putting this up for sale this one time for I have found a brand new on in the crate still. Bike is perfect needs nothing at all and is currently located in Alberta Canada with a clear title and can be crated up professionally to ship for an extra charge.

This two owner bike is definitely interesting. The seller does not note the model year, which I sussed is an '86 due to the "G" digit in the provided VIN (not to mention the big "1986" on the VIN plate). The bike looks clean and is claimed original, but no notes of maintenance or refresh on the running gear - a potential issue for a 31 year old bike with 15,534 on the all kilometer clocks. Certainly it has not set the interwebs on fire as of yet; only a few bids and far below $2k with a reserve in place.

If you are in the market for a NS400R - and there is really no reason you should not be unless you are no longer breathing - this could be your next ride. The bike is located in Canada, meaning that importation awaits US buyers. While that is a negative in this case, it should not be all that surprising considering that Honda never imported these to the States in the first place. You are past the 25 year mark at this point, so for states other than the one at the bottom left of most US maps, it might not be that big of a deal. Check it out here, and then jump back to the Comments section and share your thoughts: is the NS400R too big, too small, or just right? Good Luck!!

MI

Threesome: 1986 Honda NS400R