Our man Scott Redmond is bringing a ratty old Honda CBR400 back to life this winter, and this week he mulls over the pros and cons of making modifications or keeping his pocket rocket standard…
I’ve been dithering about reaching a decision on what route to take with this Honda CBR400RR project. The options were to upgrade the Honda with some modern parts, the biggest changes I have been contemplating was to ditch the entire front end in favour of something newer, the advantages being better brakes and superior suspension – though come at a cost! Having watched eBay to gauge prices for parts from my wish list, I’ve come to the conclusion that this way isn’t the path that I’m going to tread. In an ideal world I fancied using forks, yokes, calipers and a front wheel from a CBR600RR-3. The thing is these parts rarely turn up, let alone carrying a bargain price tag, and this isn’t helped by eager track day goers and racers who are there in the wings ready to pounce for parts for their RR-3 race bikes. There’s also been another reason that’s helped me to make my mind up, and that’s the fact that a well presented NC29 is still one hell of a good looking motorcycle!
The front end parts on my bike couldn’t be in a worse state. The whole lot needs attention. I have previously explained how the discs are worn out, and that the fork stanchions are heavily pitted, which is why the fork seals have been torn to shreds and allowed the fork oil to escape. One thing that I hadn’t noticed initially is the fact that the front wheel is buckled! Perhaps I was too blinded by the fact that the paint was in such a terrible state.
I know that alloy wheels can be repaired, so it’s something that I feel obliged to enquire about, though deep down I believe that finding and buying a decent secondhand wheel is the obvious way to go. I want to pull the forks and all parts attached to them off the bike, this would be made easier if I had suitable paddock stands. This is a prayer that’s been answered by way of a catch up with an old friend who was on a mission to empty his garage out prior to putting his house on the market!
He even gave me a selection of tools and other useful bits and bobs.
I also have a lead on some used NC29 parts that might be coming my way, details on what’s there are still a bit sketchy, but hopefully they’ll be some forks, discs and maybe a wheel!
What we’ve learnt
Keeping your options open is a good thing in principal, but it thwarts progress in the short term.
Some used parts are in high demand, especially anything that fits a bike that’s a race track favourite.