Hogs in the ‘hood: Honda Hawk CB400

Honda Hawk CB400

Honda Hawk CB400

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.

The Honda Hawk CB400 meant for long distance?

The Honda Hawk CB400 meant for long distance?

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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7 Replies to “Hogs in the ‘hood: Honda Hawk CB400”

  1. We have the manual version of this bike in the shop right now needing some carburetor work. I have only seen a small few of the automatic version and I have ridden one before many years ago and can say that it was a very boring bike to ride. A bike that you have no real control over the engine is, in my opinion, not fun at all.

    1. This bike plays right into our discussion on Facebook the other day. Of course, that was regarding the new Honda NX700, but they were toiling away even back then, on bikes that did not inspire…

      No offense to the guy/gal who owns this one though…

      1. I would like to also say that I never mean to offend anyone with my comments. I am just one person with my own opinion and experiences with motorbikes. We all have our likes and dislikes. I like bikes and sometimes my own tastes are a little weird and my own friends think I am crazy. I take my hat off to anyone who decides to hop on a motorbike and ride because we are all a little crazy!

        1. Same here! I think most people understand that each individual has his/her own likes and dislikes. That’s what keeps the bike culture fresh.

          There have been plenty of bikes that are not my cup of tea – but it’s impossible not to respect the time and energy that went into it, no matter my personal taste.

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