Styled to resemble cafe racers of the 1960s, the Honda CM400 motorcycle series was geared toward beginning riders with a small 395 cc engine and simple design. The CM400 came in "A," "E," "T" and "C" models. In production for only three years, it was small, light, classically styled and had manageable power.
Honda released their first CM400 series motorcycle in 1979 and made it available in automatic or manual. The 1979 CM400T came in just two color schemes: candy presto red and candy holly green. Both had orange and red pinstripes. Designed for new riders, the top speed was limited to 100 mph. The CM400 series inspired the Honda Nighthawk, which debuted in 1982.
Engine and Transmission
From 1979 to 1981, the CM400 series used the same power plant. A 395 cc, single overhead cam, three-valve, parallel twin paired to a five-speed gearbox produced 43 horsepower at 8,500 rpm. The air-cooled, wet sump four-stroke had a compression of 9.3 to 1, a 70.5 mm bore and a 50.6 mm stroke. According to motorprofi.com, the zero to sixty time for the "T" model was 5.8 seconds. By no means were these motorcycles fast, which made them suitable as starter bikes.
The original 1979 CM400A was an automatic. The automatic version had the same mechanical specifications as the others but the top speed was limited to 80 mph. The CM400E came without a tachometer. The "E" stood for economy. The CM400T was the most powerful. The "T" stood for touring. With a top speed of 100 mph, it had additional features, which included a tachometer. The CM400C came with the most features including upgraded brakes, black Cornstar wheels and dual carburetors. The "C" stood for custom and was only available in 1981.
Wheels and Brakes
The CM400T and CM400A had a disc brake to the front wheel and a mechanical drum brake in the rear while the CM400E had a drum brake in the front. The CM400C had dual piston front calipers for better stopping ability. The front tire had a size of 3.50-18 and the larger rear tire had a size of 4.60-16. Depending on the year and model, the CM400 came stock with black five-star rims or chrome wire-spoke rims.
Features and Specifications
In 1979, the CM400 was considered a touring motorcycle, which led to the 2.5-gallon fuel tank. The 395 cc engine was fuel-efficient. Dual exhaust added to aesthetics and increased the flow of engine waste. The flat seat, plastic fairings, single headlight and mechanical components added up to a curb weight of 406 pounds.
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