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CB400 VS GS500 Questions

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by MrRyannnnnnnn, Jul 14, 2010.

  1. I am tossing up between these two. But.. the GS500 being still a old carburetor bike kinda worries me.. I have had a VT250C and it being hard to start in cold weather really sucked. Because the CB400 is EFI I assume its alot easier to start in cold weather. Right? The GS500 being cheaper is a bonus. And also, this "VTEC" in the CB400.. Are all CB400s VTEC? or is there only non VTEC CB400s which are LAMS?

    Maybe im just being paranoid about not being able to start the GS500 in cold weather lol.. Does anyone know any performance differences of the two?


  2. I've had no issues starting the GS in cold weather.
    First time ever time, keep in mind I keep my bike garaged. (even cover it with it's own blanket!)
    Put on choke, start and then put on helmet, jacket, gloves, lower choke a little, leave and completely take off choke at my first lights.
    GS design has been around for nearly 20 years and has nothing more to prove as it's solid as a rock.

    CB400 is also a great bike but as you know a bit dearer even than the faring version of the GS particularly if you're buying new.
    I couldn't justify the difference for a number of reasons.
    Firstly that I'd be upgrading after restrictions and secondly I wanted the farings.

    Good luck with which ever you choose as they're both great bikes.
  3. The GS won't give starting issues until about 50,000km. Then it'll just be a carbie service and be right for another 25,000.

    The GS is not only cheaper but will probably hold a higher percentage of it's value when it comes to resale.
  4. That is right. It is simply a matter of turning the ignition key and pressing the red start button and it starts up first time every time with no issues whether it's hot or cold.

    As much as the 2 bikes in question may be similar but their looks and technology are miles apart.

    Not all CB400s are VTEC. I think from 2008 models on onwards they are. All CB400s are lams. The vtec rush is addictive especially with a nice aftermarket pipe as the noise transition from 2 valves to 4 valves is amazing.

    I'm sure the Gs500 will start too and if that's your only concern I wouldn't worry too much as there are plenty of people with gs500s that are happy.
    The cb is a more powerful bike all around especially when the vtec kicks in.
  5. Buy the GS. A healthy carburetted bike will not have cold starting problems in any weather conditions found in Australia.
  6. Somewhat agree, I've found that people having cold starting issues on line are from places where they have serious winters like in the northern states, canada, etc. conditions you get no where in aus.....
    Something my GS garaged with it's own blanket would never see.....lol
  7. I live in one of the colder parts of Australia and the bike wasn't covered and I never had a problem starting my GS500.
  8. Here in Sydney I have never had a problem starting my GS, although the guy I had bought it off had left the bike dormant for ages and the battery went flat.
    A few long runs to get the charge back and viola!

    Yep, full choke > start > put on helmet and gloves (left first) > choke off > ride.
  9. Just to clarify, I don't class having to churn the starter for a few seconds, rather than having the engine fire on the first compression, or requiring the choke to be on for the first few hundred metres to be a starting problem. It's just the way carbed engines have worked since before living memory.

    My DR lives in the open, mostly uncovered. We've had some -2 mornings just lately and she's gone after maybe 5 seconds of starter operation and been off the choke before I'm out of the gate. I see no reason to expect a GS to behave any differently.

    I wouldn't touch the Honda due to my pathological dislike of the breed, recently strengthened by finding out that Honda considered it acceptable to make an engine without a proper, full flow oil filter into the 21st Century. Fifty years after the benefits were conclusively proven. Masters of engineering and technology my arse.
  10. What tha. Where?
  11. I don't have any experience with the CB400 so won't comment, but we do own a new GS500 F and it's great.

    No trouble starting early in the morning on a cold Melbourne winter's day. Just dial in a little choke, and press the red button - starts first time every time.


    If cold starting is your concern, you can stop now... it's not an issue.

  12. Here.


    And, to a lesser extent, on a CBR125 thread somewhere.

    Now, I know that centrifugal oil cleaning is mentioned, and that it's a valid means of doing so. I knew the C90 had it and forgave it because the bike was so cheap and of such obviously archaic design that it was (sorta) acceptable. I was also dimly aware of it on the various little twins from the 70s/early 80s. But it's the system that Triumph were using in 1938 FFS. That Honda were introducing new models, albeit with old engine designs, into the 1990s without anything else is astonishing. That these designs lasted into the 21st Century without modification beggars belief.
  13. Interesting read - but how is it relevant to this thread , and said hondas reliability or longevity ? Might as well claim Honda are using an ancient design to propell their bikes - called the wheel and this is reason enough to
    hate em.
    Sorry if ya are a mech and have spent hrs rebuilding Honda engines for this very reason tho lol I take it back :)

    Just to add , I've got a cb400 and it's fine. Absoutley nothing wrong with it - you need to use the gears to get it and keep it
    moving tho. It won't pull in 4/5/6 at all if you are potting along and new to over take or avoid etc. You need to have the
    bike buzzing in a lower gear and it will pull quite hard to redline and give a nice grin. Not leathal tho.
    Fuel economy is pretty good ride is a touch soft in the arse ( needs thicker rear) but overall a nice bike. I don't feel the
    need to upgrade yet - and I'm on the precipice (spl?) of full license.
    spring rates )

  14. I don't claim the oil filtration issue to be directly relevant to the current CB400 and I apologise for the thread derailment.

    However, no company that considered continuation of such primitive oiling arrangements into the 1990s, and beyond, to be acceptable has any right to be regarded as the pinnacle of engineering excellence that Honda (apparently successfully) spins itself to be.

    So yes, in general, when asked for an opinion on whether someone should choose a Honda or any other bike, my answer will generally fall on the ABH (Anything But Honda) side of the fence. This is particularly the case when the ABH option is several grand cheaper, even if it carries less shiny tinsel.

    No, I'm not a professional mechanic, but I spent enough time at the bottom of the biking food chain to see a lot of Hondas that died prematurely due to camshaft lubrication failure. Enough to make me realise that the natural state of a Honda camshaft bearing resembles a ploughed field. Every so often, I'm almost persuaded that they've changed their ways but then I see something like the tinfoil horror that is a mate's CB500 twin (this in the UK) and realise that it's business as usual at the Big H.
  15. Does the gs500 have a clock and a flashy-when-empty fuel guage and hazard lights and auto choke and 2 helmet hooks and loads of mounting points and a comfy pillion seat and good sized under-seat storage and my undying love?
  16. Nope none of that,it has two clocks..straight out of the 70's, a trip meter and a healthy reserve means no need for a fuel gauge..it has a few hooks that you can lash stuff to and a 20 year history of being rock solid. Even on the coldest mornings I only need half choke and a blip of throttle to fire her up.She's cheap and easy to service too being two valves per cylinder.That's what sold me on her.
    Dunno about the pillion seat..it looks comfy..but I dont ride from that far back!

  17. Why do I suddenly get visions of HighTower from Police Academy ? LOL
  18. Fuel guage - nope, no need for one with over 400k per tank.
    hazard lights - nope, could be handy.
    auto choke - prefer to use my own hands (hehe)
    2 helmet hooks - yep, under seat on each side
    mounting points - it has good points for me to mount her (err that doesn't quite sound right?) with a descent bag on recent trip to Sydny and back.
    underseat storage - I can fit a bit under there..
    pillion seat comfy - looks ok but I'll have to wait until I can take one after restrictions to really find out.

    Having said all that, it was $2000 less (new) when I was shopping for a bike.

    my undying love - yep, kept in garage and has it very own special comfy blanket...... and wify is jelous of this affair.... lol

    All that said, I will sell it after restrictions as I'm looking for more power on the open roads due to my future really long touring plans with a pillion.
    But I still love this little bike and if allowed, wify again! May keep it with my new bike but I think she'll put her foot down if I have two affairs......lol
  19. The Suzuki doesn't need hazard lights. The Honda does.
  20. Pat, I shall have to rush out to the garage and tell my '98 model Honda Hornet that it has no right to have done 146,000kms with complete reliability. It will be amused, but I doubt, disappointed.

    As the the main issue, you don't state where you are from, but having ridden many carburetor bikes in Canberra I can assure you that cold starting with a choke is no big deal; as someone else said, if you can't start a bike on the choke and ride it 100 metres down the road and turn it off, then perhaps riding's too technically challenging anyway.