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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What can anyone tell me about a hondamatic? I've seen a few for sale and am thinking about getting one for my wife. She's thinking about getting a bike but does not want to shift. I've heard that they have two speeds, a high and a low, but really dont know much about them. are they reliable or are they junk.
 

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I haven't heard anything about them for a long time. Have you heard that they are going to be making them again, or are you talking about getting a mid 70's bike?
 

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I haven't heard anything about a new one. My mom bought the 400 back in 78 I think, when it was first out in that size. There was a 750 that came out a year or two before that. The 400 was part of the then new Hawk{reserected name} line. Vertical twin, counterbalanced, single overhead cam, 3 valves per cylinder, 2 speed tranny. and it was a typical Honda, reliable and easy to work on. I was all of 19 when my mom had it. I was on my first bike myself, and I took great joy in teasing my mom about it, being an auto. Then my bike broke down, and I was jonesing real bad to ride. My mom took pity on me, and I swallowed my pride, and took it for rides. Well let me tell you, what an absolute sweet heart. Lightweight, very nimble, and probably the best bike to have in bumper to bumper traffic. It is a 2 speed, but it has a small torque converter like a car. You can take off in either gear and you do have to shift it, but without a clutch, you couldn't ask for it to be any easier. Acceleration is traffic acceptable. You can even surprise the odd person. One time that summer, I was riding with a handful of friends. We were going to the local beach for the usual summer mischief. We came to a 2 lane wide intersection, and lined up 5 wide across the lanes. It was hilarious! Two GS750s, an RD350, maybe a CB350, and myself, on the then barn door equipped 400. I had already been teased quite well for being on it. The other guys were revving their engines and getting over their handle bars. Well, I had to give it my best shot. I squeezed the front brake, and rolled on the throttle, loading the torque converter real well. When the light turned green, I let off the brakes and pinned it at the same time. Bam, I was the first one through the intersection. Yeah, they all screamed by after that, but I had my fun. Later that evening, on the curvy beach roads, I put the little Hawk in front of all of them and left them for dead. Revenge was sweet!
Sooo, do you think I liked that bike?? If you find a good low mileage bike that looks like it has been living a good life, please give it a good home. I think your wife would love it. If I stumble across a nice, one I'm going to buy it, and turn it into a "gentleman's cafe racer".
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I've seen a few mid 70's on ebay and am talking to someone who has one for sale, but he's in New Hampshire. It's a 78 for 900.00. He's supposed to send some pix. I'm curious as to why they stopped making them. I wonder if they just werent selling, or if they had problems. There seems to be a big following for them on the internet as far as hondamatic clubs and parts. Thanks for the info.
 

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As far as I know, they just didn't sell. They went into the early eighties. At first the 400s were known as the CB400A. Maybe a year or two later they were restyled and called the CM400A. I think they did grow to be a 450, but I'm not sure. The CB had, at least in my opinion, the better looks. The CM was part of the early 80s "let's see if we can make it look like a Harley" kind of thing. The CB also had Honda's "Comstar" wheels, so tubeless tires could be used, were the CM went back to spokes.
Suzuki had a small bore auto too. It was based on the GS400. It had the quasi-Harley styling also. It is even more rare than the Honda. I don't think I've ever seen one in real life.

If you aren't interested in the one in NH, may I have dibs on it? I live in NH, so I am curious. Maybe if it isn't too far away from me, I could take a look at it for you. Don't worry. If you really like the sounds of it, I wouldn't attempt to take it out from under you.
 

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I'd take a crack at one with my old gixxer. Cycle World did a test on a bunch of behemoths. The Boss Hoss had a typical 350hp small block Chevy in it. Don Canet, who is a fairly experienced launcher, was only getting low 11s with it.
The average dude at a stop light might be a bit timid off the line with something that big. It would be interesting, indeed. A high gear roll on, on the other hand, I think, would be a completely different story.
 

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I would think a sport bike could beat just about anything. We have a guy in town that has a Boss Hoss and I don't believe I have ever seen him get on it, just likes to cruise the really expensive way.
 

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I would think a sport bike could beat just about anything.
Not off the line, it takes a bit of talent to keep the front end down, and the back tire hooked up at the same time.

During the 6,000 miles that I owned a Rocket 111, I had plenty of chances to test it against the hottest sport bikes around, and once against a Boss Hoss. Nothing even came close from 0 to 60. That bike was so well balanced that any novice could launch it like a pro, just hold about 3000 rpm, let the clutch fly, and wack it wide open at the same time. The front tire stayed on the ground, and the rear tire stayed hooked up. The rev limiter kicked in right at 60 mph in first gear. I never timed it, but it felt like less that two seconds.
R-1's, and GSXR 1000's would pass me about the time I hit 90 mph.
 

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i wasn't talking about speed... i was thinking that it would just transform into something and eat it for supper..
 

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My friend bought an '80 or '81 Hondamatic 400 this past summer. The thing runs like a champ. It's very easy to ride. Only problem might be when it's time to upgrade. If you learn on an automatic, it may be tough to break the habit of not having to shift.
 

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The second bike I ever rode was a 750 Hondamatic
it was sweet, rode it for about 2 hours one day
at 55mph you could drop to 1st and it was gone, I
passed a car like it was sitting still
about 70mph or so when I hit 2ed
it didnt slow down a bit
I let off soon after that so I dont know what it would do flat out

EKU MSF has a CM400A with like 9 miles on it
they wont sell it
still looks like it rolled off the show room floor
Honda gave a EKU engineering class 4 of them
one year
they got taken apart and never out back together
in the mid to late 90s they were found in storage
the MSF guys comtacted honda and got the assembly sheet for all 4, found all the parts to 1 and put it back together like from the factory
they managed to get 2 more whole bikes out of the other 3
they sold them
But the 1 they still have, it sits in their office
 

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I sold Honda bikes back in the 70's and I sold quite a few 400a and some 750 mostly to Newbies as there first bikes they would ride them for about a year and put them away or upgrade to a bigger bike. So there plenty out there with low milage. Never seen come back with problems, The 400a was a slow bike. Great for a women who wants to start off riding. Back then you didn't see women riding bikes back then. Go for it. If she can't learn on that bike sell never learn on anything else.

If I remember right it took 7 to 8 quarters of oil.

Also you can look at Suzuki Bushman 400. But if she doesn't like it you'll be out of alot more money. There a girl here in town that has a tricked out Bushman 650 and she's every where. Even went to SD for the motorcycle rally 1300 miles one way.
 

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I owned a 76 CB750A for awhile. It had plenty of power and was just about as fast as a five speed 750 up to 80mph or so. It was really easy to do a wicked brake torque on! Just plop it in gear, hold the front brake, and apply generous amounts of throttle! It was a neat bike, but ultimately got boring for me since I'd already had a whole bunch of "normal" standard shift motorcycles. I've heard the 400's were a little underpowered, but for a first bike I'm sure it would be fine. I've never heard anyone complain about reliability issues.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I mentioned the burgman to her and she was like "a scooter!, no way". I told her if you dont want to shift you dont have many choices. I tried to get her onto a gz250 a while ago. I could have gotten a great deal on a real sweet one. But she balked at it, complaining about shifting again. I'd like her to ride because i enjoy it so much i want her to enjoy it too. She really likes going on rides with me so i think she'd enjoy being on her own. She just doesnt want to have to worry about going around a corner and trying to pick the right gear, and when to shift. I tried to tell her gear jammin is part of the fun.
 

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I mentioned the burgman to her and she was like "a scooter!, no way". I told her if you dont want to shift you dont have many choices. I tried to get her onto a gz250 a while ago. I could have gotten a great deal on a real sweet one. But she balked at it, complaining about shifting again. I'd like her to ride because i enjoy it so much i want her to enjoy it too. She really likes going on rides with me so i think she'd enjoy being on her own. She just doesnt want to have to worry about going around a corner and trying to pick the right gear, and when to shift. I tried to tell her gear jammin is part of the fun.

A bushman 650 is not a schooter. You might have a hard time keeping up to her in the first 2 gears. I know what my LC1500 can do and I've riden a 650 and I tell you what it's fast.
 
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