At last! After 30 years.

by Rod
(UK)


I remember seeing the 400 Hondamatic advertised when it was first marketed here in the UK during the seventies. Being a keen biker who loves automatic cars, I would have loved to buy one but being newly married and buying a house there was no way I could afford to.

Forgot all about them until about six months ago when I rediscovered them on bike web sites. Started looking on eBay and eventually found a CB400A in good condition with low mileage that I could now easily afford.
Collection involved a train journey then riding it 150 miles home through a mixture of London traffic and a motorway through near zero temperatures.
It took about 10 miles to adapt to the the different riding technique and what a revelation! To cast off the tyranny of a clutch and gear pedal is sheer heaven. Heavy city traffic lost much of its frustration and on the open road performance is perfectly adequate to keep up with other traffic.
I was lucky in my purchase in that a thorough going over revealed the only defect to be a blown parking light bulb.
Why the Hondamatic was not a commercial success at the time is a mystery to me but I think a lot of it may be put down to negative comments from those who have never owned one and the fraternity who think that the sole purpose of a motorcycle is for them to play boy racers on.
Two months on and after several outings on the rural roads that I love I can only say that having owned many bikes since 1964 it is the finest machine I have ever ridden. For one who obeys speed limits it has all the performance I could wish for. Fuel consumption is not wonderful though at just below 60mpg but the sheer pleasure of the ride negates this. Oh, and I should mention that for a parallel twin the lack of any real vibration is a welcome surprise.

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