Although automatic transmissions on 2-wheelers is commonplace on modern scooters, the motorcycle industry has been dipping their toes in the auto-waters for quite some time. Honda first attempted this concept with the Honda CB750A, which was semi-auto in nature, and then finally followed it up with the Honda Hawk CB400 Hondamatic…
This parallel twin also offered the semi-auto function, the rider manually shifting between neutral, low and high gears. The original Honda Hawk 400T, it’s more popular brother, was the full manual version. The goal of Honda, in offering an automatic motorcycle, was to appeal to a larger consumer base, looking for better fuel economy, but without the “hassles” of typical bike riding. Sadly, they seemed to have missed the mark, with an engine that did not offer great MPG, and lack of oomph that detracted from the thrill of riding.
This near-pristine example of the Honda Hawk CB400 has spotted in Williamsburg several times, but I never got a good picture of it. Now it’s been parked on my block several times, and here is is, in all it’s glory. I especially like the hard panniers, giving the impression this bad-boy is ready for long distance travel. I fear the mere 395cc engine would not make for the best traveling partner, and the auto transmission would leave the thrill back home.
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