Can we talk Motorcycles too?


I am about to buy my first bike. It is a 1978 Honda CB400 that has been stored for 25 years and has 10K orig. miles. It needs a speedometer cable and has 2 golfball size dents in the gas tank. The guy wants $2K for it. Is this a square deal?

Jon Ruth

Flagstaff, AZ


If one of the carburators fails can you rebuild it and are the parts available? How about the voltage regulator. Maybe the clutch.


$2k seems very high to me. I would never pay that much for that bike. Whether or not it ends up being a real PITA to get running again depends greatly on how well it was stored. If there was gas in the tank, it’s going to take a lot of effort to get it running. Use a flashlight and check the tank interior. Look for varnish and rust. You’ll be chasing plugged carbs forever if you don’t address any rust problems. My rule of thumb on older bikes is no more than $100/cc. YMMV.


Heck no. For $2000 you could buy a much nicer newer bike and put money in the bank.

Are you wanting it for its automatic transmission because you aren’t schooled in shifting a bike, or does this one have that option? Then you have to ask yourself WHY has it been stored for 25 years? There has to be a reason.


I sold my 1981 Suzuki GN400x 10 years ago for $200. It had been sitting for a few years, it started but ran poorly. It needed a carb rebuild at the least, but the buyer raced and wrenched dirtbikes. Unless it’s a collectable, which it isn’t, $2000 for a 29 year old bike is not a square deal. Recently, I came across a 2000 Suzuki GS500 (twin) with 5k miles, the dealer was asking $1800. I think you can do a lot better. Hopefully you have some acquaintances that could offer you some guidance.

Ed B.


Did I mention it ran off the first kick has no leaks and looks like it came off the showroom, seriously, showroom (except for the dents of course)?
Just stateing the facts man.
Now I’m afraid I’ll insult the guy if I propose a small bid.


I thought it was a collectible, or is going to be a collectible next year (30 years old)? Check out my comment at 11:12AM



That’s a $500 motorcycle, AT BEST. That bike sold NEW for $959.00 If it’s not running, it’s a $250 bike.


In my opinion the price is way too high. I would suggest $400 - $1000 someplace. I doubt if it is going to go into the collectable range for some time. They made a million bikes in that time range and many of them are still around. I fact I have a CM200T, but I still ride it.


Sorry, but $2k is seriously overpriced. $500 or maybe a bit more if the tank wasn’t dented. I don’t see it as collectible. The older Honda 350 has some nostalgia value, but the 400 doesn’t have that going for it.


I think this bike and your wallet are going to become intimate friends. I’d shop around for something that’s been used more recently even if it’s got a lot more miles. Just rebuilding your carbs alone could be hundreds of dollars. Dry rotted tires, brake lines and a rusted gas tank could turn it into a project. I bought an '82 Honda Nighthawk 650 for $1200. When I first bought it, it had 5000 miles on it. 5000 miles later I’ve put about $2000 into it and it just broke down again the other day. For $3200 I could have bought a much nicer and more reliable bike. Like they say, pay me now or pay me later.


You can get a 2000 750 Honda for that price. Buy a newer, quicker bike. You’ll like the 400 for a while, but you won’t keep up with your friends on weekend rides.


I agree that $2K sound high. Unless you specifically want that bike, I would keep looking. I prefer older bikes too, but they can be expensive. When I put a 83 bmw back on the road after sitting for a few years, I spent over $1K to have the carbs rebuilt and a bunch of other little stuff cleaned up. If you want something collectable, the CB400 probably isn’t the best choice.


That’s a 500 dollar bike if it runs good and you really want it. Age has nothing to do with desireability or value.


If you love the bike, then fine, buy it. But you have got to understand you are paying a big premium for it. For that money you can get something with modern brakes that actually work well, and an electrical system that won’t give you endless headaches. It’s got to need tires - if the tires are 25 years old they are not safe at all. Can you imagine a blowout at any speed on a motorcycle? Two new tires, mounted for you is an easy $300.00. I guess my feeling is, either its a $500 bike or you could do so much better for $2000 that you should pass it by.


If it’s a nice bike, don’t get it for a first bike, because I promise you that you’ll lay it down at some point and feel terrible about denting it up. It is about the right size (smallish) and power (gutless) for a beginner bike, but you might look for something cheaper and maybe a little more modern.


The Kawasaki-Suzuki dealer down the road is selling “new” 2005’s 150 cc I think, for $999. $2000 is way too much. Move on, don’t insult him . . buy something else for a first bike. I’d buy smonthing smaller than you think you can handle, ride it awhile, take the m/c drivers test on the smaller bike, then look for something a bit bigger. Rocketman


I agree that it is about a $500 bike. I passed up a Yamaha 400 last year of about that vintage for $500. It started and ran OK too and had no gas tank dents and needed no parts from what I could see. Bikes are hot these days because of gas price concerns but you can do better with your $2000.