'82 CM 450A

I bought a 1982 CM450A for my future ex-wife in October of that year. Ended up giving it to my dad after a divorce. Got it back a few years ago after he had a stroke, and have been commuting on it. It now has about 14,000 miles (he rarely rode it).

The original Hondamatic was the 1976 CB750A, not the 400, which, I believe came along in 1979. In '82 the CM400A was punched-out to 450cc. Whatever reason Honda gave for the increase, the real reason was competition from the Suzuki GS450A--utomatic (Zook-a-matic?), introduced in 1982. Not a bad bike, but it had one FATAL-buyer-beware-feature...NO KICKSTARTER! Having a torque converter, it could not be push-started, which means that if the battery is dead, and no jump-start is possible, you don't ride. It did have shaft drive, though. Still, no kickstarter, dead battery, shaft drive wont' get you home.

The only real piece of bad engineering on the Hondamatic was the counter-balancer chain slack adjuster--on the models with a clutch, it's a five minute (or less) job to take the slack from the chain, but on the automatic, you have to remove the whole right side engine cover, which means removing the torque converter, to access the screw, which is simply loosened then tightened to adjust chain slack.

Fun bike to ride, and the clutchless operation can really be appreciated when wearing thick mittens over nearly frozen fingers. Manageable in snow, for when you don't pay close attention to the weather forecast.

Big Beard

Editor's Reply: Hey Beard, thanks for the good article and the tech info which is always appreciated by me and many of my readers.

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