Last week we introduced the beaten up old Honda CBR400RR that our man Scottie Redmond has picked up as a winter project. Well, now he’s got it back to the workshop where he’s discovering the true delight (or should that be horror?) of what he’s bought. Over to the man himself…
I wanted to buy a project and that’s exactly what I’ve achieved. From where I’m standing it’s a pretty good start. In return for my £550 I’m now the proud owner of a well used and, dare I say, abused NC29. Beneath the damaged red screen and beyond that gold anodised ART exhaust can is a pretty original example of this double R CBR400. The once factory fresh paintwork is pretty dull looking and I wouldn’t be too surprised to find out that it’s been repainted in the past, as usually the Honda paint finish lasts the test of time. The fairing is held on by a few fasteners and has pretty much had it. It’ll be the first thing that I’ll be removing. The paint on the wheels is pretty flaky, the rear rim appears to have had its edges polished in the past, proof at least that someone loved this CBR once upon a time.
The forks look shabby, weirdly though the fork seals are oil tight and the stanchions are free from any aggressive pitting. The discs look worn, but not quite at the throw them in the bin stage just yet. There’s even decent pressure on the front brake lever, and all three brake calipers feel like they haven’t seized up. They will all need a good check for safety though!
That’s a job that’s not fighting for its place on the to do list that’s forming inside my head yet, however.
With what remained of the trashy fairing removed I get a glimpse of the exhaust headers, they don’t look like they’re too old, which is a good sign, it also means that I shouldn’t have to buy exhaust headers, the silencer on the other hand won’t be joining us on the longer journey.
I’m puzzled why someone would’ve painted the sides of the radiator in a rather fetching Smurf shade of blue? They didn’t stop there, the rear subframe also got a few coats by the look of it from what I can see.
The front saddle is made from a rubberised material, that’s help it survive, the rear pad isn’t! It’s ripped and exposing its foam for all to see. Amazingly, nobody has chopped the rear mudguard down and it’s even sporting a pair of original JDM winkers. If I decide to change anything at the back of the bike I know from past experiences that I could sell the rear mudguard assembly on for a decent price to someone doing a faithful restoration. Other than the mashed up fairing anything I decide to change, replace or improve will be offered for sale to recoup some funds.
I’d love to hit the starter button, feed in a bit of choke and hear that gear driven cam inline four burble into life, but sadly that’s not going to happen just yet because there’s no battery fitted. Like Prince Charming clutching a glass slipper I try over a dozen batteries from bikes that I’ve broken up for parts recently, but not one of them came anywhere near fitting in the small hole that a proper NC29 fitment battery would fill.
With a cooling mug of tea I run the registration number through the DVLA MOT checker as I wanted to discover when it was last on the road. In the past an old tax disc would be your only lead, now I just sit and tap J518 HMA into the website and await the results.
I get the answer to my question, plus some bonus information too. It was last on the road in 2016 and its MOT expired on the 14th September 2016. I’m guessing it’s been sat around doing naff all since then. Another cool feature on the DVLA search is that it reveals any advisories from its last visit to a MOT centre. There’s some good information in the list of things pointed out. A loose chain and low rear pads were hopefully dealt with? Pointers to dodgy front discs and a noisy exhaust would’ve been more expensive to rectify. Even that dodgy fairing gets a mention because it was loose!
Another thing that catches my eye is the recorded mileage, my phone screen informs me that the bike was showing 97,381km, yet the clocks on the bike say 39,836! I doubt anyone would’ve bothered to clock it, and the chances of it going around the clock and knocking up over 40,000 kilometres isn’t an option either!
Chances are somewhere between then and now the clocks have been changed. Without a paper history trail I take most mileages with a pinch of salt, it’s a good job that I didn’t pay any real attention the mileage when I bought the bike, thinking about it I didn’t ever ask what it was. I now need to sit and work out a forward plan, then I can get the tools out and get in among it!
- Purchase of bike £550
What we’ve learnt
- A CBR400RR uses a very small battery
- Our CBR400RR could’ve covered a 100,000 kilometres
- An online MOT check can teach you a few things about your bikes history