Review: CBR400RR Honda (1996 model) The Good The Bad And the Ugly

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Firstly, I’ve rode this bike for about a year. I believe that in the UK and other markets, this bike is a grey import. In Singapore, it is also an import bike. Well to say, it is old, 1996 model, and there were models that were even older than this one, therefore, faults with the bikes systems were common.

A fast few facts about this quick little machine,

  • Produced by Honda from 1983 – 1999
  • Single Showa rear shock
  • 400cc engine producing roughly (55HP)
  • Twin Spar Frame

I’ve ridden this bike both in Malaysia and Singapore and the thing that impresses me most about this bike is the handling of the machine. It is a charm that seemingly was exclusive only to older sports bikes that the modern day sports machines do not posses. In contrast to the cold calculated machines of today, It felt so inclusive as you were riding along, as though, you were part of the machine and when going low in the corners, the smaller size and lower engine power is extremely forgiving and provides a good learning platform for riders whom are still learning. Yet, if you crack the throttle with experience, catching up to the larger capacity motorcycles in the corners is not impossible. Riding it through some of the more winding roads in Malaysia was great fun.

Now looking specifically to the engine where it uses an inline-four as its power plant. The engines spin off was quick, giving it a better acceleration from a standstill, say, from each traffic light to each traffic light. This was obvious when you stopped next to other bikes of similar capacities. The engine continues to rev until a SCREAMING 16,000 RPM. Though, the mid-range power was not very encouraging and sometimes in corners, you cannot really expect it to go like herpes if you do not scream your engine.

The shape and form of the CBR400RR is simply beautiful, it has the old charm, yet being a Honda, it was a step forward from its time and the bike often attracts looks from onlookers, especially if you ride it to your local coffee shop.

The shape and form of the CBR400RR is simply beautiful, it has the old charm, yet being a Honda, it was a step forward from its time and the bike often attracts looks from onlookers, especially if you ride it to your local coffee shop. The twin headlamps and twin tail lights are also a unique and distinguishing feature when on the road.

Though the exhaust is pretty loud, and I would usually have to “sneak” into my carpark at 1 – 2 k rpm slowly lest I wake the neighbors. But when gunning the throttle down the North-South Malaysian Highway, the bike has a very nice scream.

Under heavy braking, the twin spar  aluminium frame handles the forces very efficiently and keeps the bike straight as an arrow; I have once braked from 160km/h – 0 km/h, hard, braking.

Overall, This bike is a joy to ride and though it has various problems with the engine and electronics from time to time, it is still charming and extremely exciting to have a go on.

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2 comments

  1. I drive such a large bike, I really want something to ride which is quick nimble and fun. No way a second bike is in my future, Im lucky I have one. Good stuff….

    1. Thanks! The CBR400RR is really very nimble and fun to ride in comparison to many of the larger capacity motorcycles, especially the supersports and hypersports motorcycles!

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