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Honda CB400A


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1978 Honda CB400A Hondamatic

After the failure of its 750 automatic, Honda drew some lessons from the experience. There was nothing basically wrong with the idea, but the basic bike was overweight and too expensive, Potential customers were scared off by the excessive size of the machine and by the initial outlay, users who were former motorists were rut off by an appeal to their emotions. Out of this analysis came, in 1978, a new "semi-automatic" bike.

Contents

Clutchless Gear Selector

The 400A was closely related to the CB400T launched in 1978. But, the engine was detuned by some 10 horsepower so that it was better suited to a more relaxed mode of riding. The transmission worked on the same principal as that of the 750: A hydraulic converter allowed clutchless selection of a low speed -good for around 55 mph and giving good pickup, or a less responsive high speed. Naturally, a parking brake was provided, and it was impossible to start the engine with a gear engaged or the stand lowered.

Worldwide Sales

The CB400A was not overly expensive and proved popular with the public. Several variants were marketed worldwide up to the early 1980s, in 400 and subsequently 450cc forms. Even fifteen years after the first CB automatic made its debut, there was no automatic two-wheeler (with the possible exception of the Spazio 250 scooter) that offers equivalent performance.

1978 CB400A

1978 Honda CB400A
1978 Honda CB400A Hondamatic
1978 Honda CB400A Hondamatic
1978 Honda CB400A Hawk Hondamatic in Candy Sapphire Blue
1978 Honda CB400A Hawk Hondamatic in Candy Sapphire Blue


The Honda Hawk Hondamatic designated CB400A'78 was sold in 1978. Two colors were available: Tahitian Red and Candy Sapphire Blue. The fuel tank and side cover stripes were black and orange. The "HONDAMATIC" decal was on the side cover. The left lever was not the clutch lever (because it was an automatic transmission) but a parking brake lever. There was no tachometer -- instead there were gear indicator lamps. The engine was a 395cc 4-stroke OHC parallel twin with two CV carburetors. The transmission was a 2-speed automatic with torque convertor. The serial number began CB400A-2000025.

1978 Honda Hawk Brochure

1979

1978 Honda CM400A
1979 Honda CM400A in Maroon
1979 Honda CM400A in Maroon


The Honda CM400A'79 Hondamatic 400 was sold in 1979. Two colors were available: Candy Presto Red and Candy Holly Green. The pinstripes were orange and red. The speedometer had a 100 mph (160 kph) limit. The "CM400A" side cover decal was white and red. The engine was a 395cc 4-stroke OHC 3-valve parallel twin with two carburetors. The transmission was an automatic 2-speed with torque converter. The serial number began NC02-2000009.

1980

1980 Honda CM400A


The Honda CM400A'80 Hondamatic 400 was sold in 1980. Two colors were available: Candy Presto Red and Candy Holly Green. The pinstripes on the red bike were bright red while on the green bike they were both dark green and light green. The speedometer had a 85 mph (135 kph) limit. The "CM400A" side cover decal was white and red. The engine was a 395cc 4-stroke OHC 3-valve parallel twin with two carburetors. The transmission was an automatic 2-speed with torque converter. The serial number began NC02-2100016.

1981

1981 Honda CM400A
1981 Honda CM400A in Blue
1981 Honda CM400A in Blue
1981 Honda CM400A in Blue
1981 Honda CM400A in Blue
1981 Honda CM400A in Blue
1981 Honda CM400A in Blue


The Honda CM400A'81 Hondamatic 400 was sold in 1981. Two colors were available: Candy Bourgogne Red with Red Brown Metallic and Candy Sword Blue with Blue Gray Metallic. The pinstripes were gold. The speedometer had a 85 mph (135 kph) limit. The "CM400A" and "HONDA" emblems were gold. The engine was a 395cc 4-stroke OHC 3-valve parallel twin with two carburetors. The transmission was an automatic 2-speed with torque converter. The serial number began JH2NC02*7BM2000001.


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