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Featured CB400 v CB500F

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by Fr33dm, Dec 26, 2014.

  1. Hi guys and gals,

    I'm after your thoughts on these two machines. I'm looking to buy my first bike, like nakeds, won't use it as a commuter, but will be doing a lot of highway mileage. Riding position is nice with both of them, CB500F is a bit better for my long legs.

    Important differences for me and the ones I'd like your opinion on:

    CB400 CB500F

    Built Japan Thailand

    Engine 4 cyl inline 2 cyl parallel

    Front brakes Twin disk Single disk
    285mm 320mm

    Ground clearance 130mm 155mm

    ABS Optional Standard

    CB400 has larger fuel tank that could be added advantage. There are plenty of second-hand bikes available, but lower mileage ones are still around and above $8000.

    CB500F is newer so not so many of them available second-hand, but a brand new bike comes around $1000 less than CB400.

    So my questions are:

    Does CB400 have better/smoother engine than CB500F (inline 4 cylinders V parallel 2)?

    How big an advantage is front brakes with twin disks?

    In what situation bigger ground clearance might come handy?

    Is there any evidence that build quality of CB500F is inferior?

    I'm in "get ABS" camp simply because I'd like to have peace of mind and additional safety feature if it is available. But it doesn't mean I won't learn to brake properly and safely in any situation.

    All help and advice is muchly appreciated :)
    Thank you!
    • Like Like x 1
  2. Cb400 all day long mate.
  3. Howdy Fr33dm.

    I cannot comment on the CB500F , but i do own a CB400.

    ABS is great if you can get it, but I wouldn't call it a deal breaker, nor something you should solely rely on to save your bacon.
    My CB gets me approx 300kms on a full tank. The CB400 has a fuel gauge that scrolls from left to right when you hit reserve. The tank is 18 liters all up and 4 of that is reserve.

    The brakes on the CB400 are awesome.

    If there's any specific info you need , let me know and i'd be happy to fill you in.

    • Like Like x 1
  4. I was looking at the exact same 2 bikes. I chose a second hand CB400 over a new CB500F. I just think the whole package is 'built' better. Classic looks on the CB400, and Japanese build quality that cant be beat. The silky smooth 4 can cruise at 4k, or rev its nuts off at 13k. I was only looking at ABS as you are, as I was also new to riding. Up to you whether the 400 is too small or too revvy. There is a reason the CB400 ABS is like 3K-4K ride away dearer than the CB500F. (I also wasn't too thrilled at the headlight and 'fairings', seemed to cheapen it in my mind) The CB400 will never date, as is already dated - same really the last 20 years.

    If you havent already, you really should ride both before you make a decision

    At the end of the day, the decision is yours, and you cant get it to wrong either way really.

    PS: Mine will get 350km from a tank ridden moderately. The 500 will get better consumption. But buying a bike for frugality if your not commuting seems counter productive.

    Just finished taking mine out for a 3 hour blat up to Kinglake, Toolangi, and across to Healsville and then return same route. Mucho fun. :happy:
    • Like Like x 3
  5. I use 98RON and ride mine over the Westgate to work each day hence the lower kms from a tank. A lot of stop / start as i don't filter. Haven't really done a huge amount of long freeway riding although i have done the Kinglake / Healesville run.
  6. I only ever run 91 in mine. Given I don't thrash it, I never saw a difference in mileage or performance using 98, so I just stick with the 91. I also don't filter very often, if at all. I also don't commute, only ride it for pleasure, but that I get lots of (y).
  7. The fact that you have a bike is awesome enough. Make or model is beside the point, the freedom and thrill it gives you is what counts :D

    Being a CB400 is just an added bonus (y)
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Can't go past the 500 even if it is naked, the fuel economy is just a bonus ;)
    • Like Like x 1
  9. I do a lot of open road riding. And for me, this is what is important.
    1/ Fuel range. I do not like the feeling of: can I get to the next service station.
    2/ The first thing to wear out is the butt. A good saddle is a must.
    3/ How hard is it to get bags or a rack on it.
    4/ Wind protection. This can be tricky. In summer I want all the wind I can get.(250 Naked) Winter I don't want any wind.(Goldwing)
    Both bikes are good. Have fun finding yours.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Thank you very much guys for your thoughts. So far CB400 wins the vote hands down :)

    I understand twin disks in front brakes give some advantage while braking, and 4 cylinder engine sounds better. I'm not going to commute to work as it is just couple of kms from home, but I plan to ride on the weekends as I have Grampians as my back yard and GOR is not far away either :) Fuel economy is desirable but not a priority.
    And thank you Eric for pointing out few other important details to consider when choosing my bike.
    Unfortunately, I don't think I'll have an opportunity to test ride either of them before buying as I have absolutely no previous riding experience. So all I can base my decision on will be the feel I get sitting on them.
  11. When i bought mine , i sat on it to make sure both feet touched the ground (i dont like tippy toes) and i made sure the bike weight felt right. I didn't have a licence so i got the bike store owner to ride it up and down the road for me, so i could listen for any weird sounds, hear how it sounded at revs.. did the breaks squeal etc.

    Once i was happy with it, i got it professionally checked over to ensure mechanically it was sound etc.

    Ultimately i would suggest what both suits your needs but also feels good when sitting on it.

    A few things i wanted in a bike was a fuel gauge , good storage under seat.

    Here's a pic of a CB400 with a rack installed, and my bike with a krieger tail bag (and a demo of a full one) for your consideration.

    Attached Files:

    • Like Like x 1
  12. Great advice and very nice pics Jaytee, thank you!
    I'll have to look into installing saddlebags/panniers as I plan to go on longer rides, hopefully on one of those organised by Ned, and maybe do something as epic as Hongyi's ride from Brisbane to Adelaide :) I might get away with pillion seat as it's very unlikely I'll ever have a pillion with me.
    I read NR guide to purchasing your first bike (second hand or new) and also was thinking of having a friend with me who knows what to look out for when checking out the bike, especially if I buy privately.
  13. Do you have a license yet? If so, shouldn't be a big deal to test ride one Else, as Jaytee said, ask someone to ride it for you so you can at least hear them. You are looking at 2 very different bikes, one is the twin with maybe some more torque down low, the other a i4 that likes to rev and sounds sweeeet. YOU really need to ride them both for yourself if at all possible.

    Good luck with your decision. Let us know when/what you purchase.

    PS: I am also with JT, I like to be able to flat foot the bike. Tippee toes are not for me.
  14. Nope, booked my L's for mid Feb. So there is no hope in hell that a dealership or a private seller would allow me to ride it even for a meter. All I can hope for is to sit on it and pretend for a moment that I'm riding it (maybe asking a showroom staff to point a fan at me for a special effect :)) It's great idea to ask showroom staff to ride the bike and listen to the engine and brakes.

    I realise that these bikes will feel very different because of such difference in their engine design. As for feet on the ground, this is the least of my worries as I'm 5'7" and have 34" inseam.
    • Like Like x 1

  15. How far "west" in Vic are you?

    Theres a guy that does bike checks, and i used him, but he charges by the km ..
  16. 200km west of Melbourne CBD. It will depend on where I find my bike I feel, there is high chance it will be close to or in Melbourne as that's where all CB400s offered for sale on Bikesales are.
  17. Ok cool... if you find one in town , speak to Brett at http://www.madbiker.com.au

    He will do a full check for you , road test, checks with Vicroads etc to make sure its registered as LAMS etc
    It will set you back around 200-300 but it's worth the piece of mind.

  18. Excellent! Thank you very much for this Juz. That will be money very well spent in my books as this guy does much more than just test ride.
  19. I'd give another vote for the CB400 - I'm on my second one, having written off the first - and I'm off restrictions. I haven't ridden the 500 but what I like about the 400 is:

    Great brakes
    More than enough power for an L
    Under seat storage
    Lockable helmet holder

    Not to say that the 500 won't have some of the above, but there must be a reason Honda charges more for the 400...

    Have fun looking and good luck!
    • Like Like x 1
  20. My what long legs you have Fr33dm. My partner just insisted on measuring mine and assures me I'm a 31" inseam (I too am 5'7").
    Good luck with your upcoming L's test.
    ps: I recently purchased a pair of Daytona 'Lady Star' boots. I highly recommend them for the best in comfort fit and of course safety.
    • Like Like x 1