Honda CBR400R rumoured in Japan

Honda to fill the gap between the CBR250R and CBR600RR

Posted: 3 May 2012
by Visordown News

JAPANESE magazine Young Machine is claiming that Honda is developing a new CBR400R to sit between the CBR600RR and CBR250R in the firm's sportsbike line-up.

The bike, an artist's impression of which is shown on the bottom right of the magazine's front cover (in case you're wondering, the main image is the Japanese-market Megelli 250R), is reckoned to have a parallel twin engine derived from the same family as the CBR250R's single.

Making around 50bhp, the 400 would have roughly twice the power of the CBR250R, but still less than half that of the CBR600RR, making it a perfect stepping stone between learner machines and full-on sports bikes, sales of which are dropping off worldwide as riders increasingly turn to less intimidating, slower bikes.

The enduring popularity of secondhand grey import 400cc machines like the old Honda VFR400R NC30 shows that there are still riders who'd like the style and handling of a sportsbike without the high insurance and 100bhp-plus performance. While those old 400s were made to meet Japanese licensing laws, and when new often cost more than 600s thanks to more exotic components and construction, the new rumours suggest a simpler, cheaper bike. With new 600s hitting the £9000 mark, more than twice the cost of the £4k CBR250R, the potential for an intermediate machine at around £5k-£6k is undeniable. And Honda isn't the only firm realising that, as KTM's already-revealed plans for a 350cc road-going replica of its Moto3 machine show.

In terms of appearance, Young Machine's artist's impression is by no means definitive. It shares some of the style of the CBR250R allied to a CBR600RR-style nose; a proposition that is believable in terms of the bike's rumoured positioning in the range, although with the CBR600RR already well overdue for replacement we'd be hoping that any new Honda sports bike – whether a 400 or a 600 – would show a new generation of styling.

What do you think? Would a mid-market sportsbike be in demand, or is Honda barking up the wrong tree?

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Discuss this story

This would make a nice, lean and mean, commuting machine. Expanding on the new 250 engine would probably result in really good gas mileage. My current Triumph Street Triple gets me 35 mpg. If the 400 could give me 60 or so, that would make me a potential long as it provides decent performance. I don't need 600R performance, just better than 250R performance...

Posted: 03/05/2012 at 16:01

yes please i'd snap one up

Posted: 03/05/2012 at 18:03

Cant see it myself.... at that sort of money why not just buy an SV650 or Er6?? Both good machines more power and cheap to buy and run....

Posted: 03/05/2012 at 18:35

400's are the perfect average rider track bike. This is why the gray imports are still so popular. Most people are average riders, even though you think you're shit hot, you're not. It makes no sense to not be making these things. I would buy one straight away for the track. I ride a 600 at track and yep its a hoot, but its bloody dangerous, lets face it, and yep I can ride, Im no pussy, but that thing will highside me one day, and I'd much prefer to be on a 400 thanks. Make them, please.

Posted: 04/05/2012 at 03:36

Oh, bladerideressex, those sv650 things are naff, thats why, they're commuter bikes only and pathetic for the track. We need a sports 400, simple.

Posted: 04/05/2012 at 03:38

If they can make it sufficiently light, with a decent torque curve, then yeah, I'll definitely get one. But a budget bike ? If so, knowing Honda it'll weight 160kgs dry and that's just not gonna be light enough to compete with an ER6 or a KTM.

Posted: 04/05/2012 at 06:55


What a load of rubbish. You could highside a 125 and still end up breaking your neck on the track.

The appeal of these 400's is purely for those who want less power for the roads - this will prove more efficient in not only economical terms, but also, will reduce tax and insurance for riders.

No doubt, this will also lead into more racer looking at a minitwin/400 class - generally much more affordable to enter and to be competitive than in 600/1000 classes.

Posted: 04/05/2012 at 14:44

Should be a handling treat. I can see the benefit of a parallel twin for servicing and simplicity but I don't like the idea of a 400cc p-twin in CBR chassis...has to be 4 cylinder! Then i am bias as ive only ever rode dirt bike singles and big straight 4's

Posted: 05/05/2012 at 14:29

yes Death, you're right, but the chances are a hell of a lot less - yes.

Posted: 07/05/2012 at 06:09

If they can keep the weight close to CBR250, yes. If it's going to weigh like 600 I4 bike, then no thank you. Look at re-sleeved Kawasaki ZX400. It's a heavy pig with low HP. What's the point? Lower insurance, that's it.

Posted: 07/05/2012 at 12:20

I wouldnt have a cbr400r... id have a cbr400RR though, upside down forks, clip ons are a must

Posted: 08/05/2012 at 08:38

Sounds good. Build it. We need more 400s on the market. They wont be as awesome as the NC30 though, simply as its going to be done cheaply.

Posted: 08/05/2012 at 12:58

lets hope they do make this, or a 650 twin for the sv/er6 market.
with supertwins at the tt im sure honda will be keen to have a presence in this class as its popularity increases, so they can have big names like mcguiness on it. theyd be silly not to have a lightweight bike in the tt if this years hype is anything to go by

Posted: 08/05/2012 at 13:23

I've been riding 30 years (yikes!) and ridden everything from 50cc to 2300cc. I have a 1992 CBR400RR in my garage and I love it!
Unless I get so old and decrepit I can't swing a leg over it I can't see myself ever selling it and as it's so well built i'd imagine it will outlive me.
So I like the concept of a new 400 and can see a niche, but for me personally unless my 400 got nicked why would I want to replace it?

Posted: 08/05/2012 at 13:43

If you're not that tall (inc many ladies) and just passed your DAS test and want a sportsbike, a 400 is just about perfect.
Bring them back ? Yes!

Posted: 08/05/2012 at 17:20

Please bring back the CBR600 but please put a 4cyl in it like the original.
As for weight I can't see it getting much lower than a 160kg 600 bike unless they do some serious trimming as it's pretty much all the same bits just squeezed into 7/8th the space.

Posted: 08/05/2012 at 20:31

Well I have a CB 350~s with a full fairing : claimed to be the "baby blade"
no more than a 33 bhp twin in a new skin
This CB400 will be nothing more than a revamped super dream unless it is given a 4 pot lump!!!!

Posted: 08/05/2012 at 21:52

needs a 4 cyl, can't stand lumpy power delivery. doesn't have to be a powerfull 400 just 60bhp would be great.

Posted: 08/05/2012 at 22:11

The planned change to the motorcycle licensing and the revised test legislation to be introduced January 2013 would mean a 400 of some sort is required for the 19 to 21 year olds (3rd European Driving Licence Directive).

At present I understand that the power must not exceed 47bhp and it will not be legal to restrict a bike by more than 50% so a simple exhaust restrictor or similar would be a viable fit on a new machine of 50bhp.

Posted: 09/05/2012 at 10:51

It looks like Honda are first out of the trap for marketing an A2 class bike, 35kW, 400-600cc, and new riders from 19 Jan 2013 will have to do 2 years on one. AFAIK it's he first bike acceptable for the A2 test (if it comes in at 47bhp/35kW)

It's a castrated machine thanks to the EU safety nazis...

Posted: 09/05/2012 at 23:13

I should have added that it will be the new rider's second bike, after serving 2 years on a 125, passing the A2 test, with another test for a full power bike after 2 years on the CBR 400r (after which there may still be a 2 year restriction to the CBR 400 - That's how the knob jockeys in Ireland's Dept. of Transport have worded it)

In the UK DA tests will only be available to over 24s...

If you want to avoid this bullshit get your full NOW!

Posted: 09/05/2012 at 23:24

The 400s of yesteryear are still amazing fun today. Imagine how good a modern version could be with the latest componentry and technological advancements!. Sadly, this sounds like a budget roadster not the spiritual successor that would have me signing up for a second bike

Posted: 10/05/2012 at 09:17

I've been wanting a new Honda 400 sports for years, but if the new 400 only puts out 50 bhp (i.e. less than the old ones) then it's a real let down. I'd want the same if not more than the NC30

Posted: 17/05/2012 at 19:26

Nice bike to me though.

Posted: 15/06/2012 at 22:52

I currently own and ride a 2012 cbr250r and I can tell you my first fill up was an astonishing 72.5 mpg! I would love a little more power like a cbr400r (or rr) with a p-twin motor!!! Please make this for the US as well!!!!!

Posted: 11/07/2012 at 06:33

I think its cheap looking plastic bike.
The Honda CB400-Super Four is probably one of the nicest looking bikes ever made. They should have brought its engine just slightly over 400cc to match the new A2 licence test requirements. The are selling the CB400-Super Four in Australia as the CB400-Super Four Hyper-V-Tec or something like that. Brilliant looking bike should be available in Europe with a 400+ engine.

Posted: 26/07/2012 at 01:55

Dear God,

I am so desperate for a nice 400, I'd take this Twin.

As mentioned above, it'd be dream caliber if inverted forks, clip-ons and 4cylinder ;) (Ok, please be inverted forks and clip-ons at least).

I hope this is real. More importantly I hope it makes it to Canada... here in BC we have an Insurance problem; only bikes under 400cc are dirt-cheap to insure (after that then it is the same or more than a car).


Honda, bring the CBR400R(R) to Canada/USA in 2013.

Posted: 28/08/2012 at 19:24

They need an A2 license sport bike for Europe. Which states:

A2: A motorcycle without side car, of at least 395cc with a power output between 25 and 35 kW
(33bhp and 46.6 bhp). No upper engine size limit, but the power to weight ratio must not exceed 0.2kW/kg
and it must not be derived from a motorcycle of more than double its power

So the first Japanese company to make a sport bike to match the following wins (400cc 35KW 47BHP)

Posted: 09/09/2012 at 12:04

Actually let me correct the above post. It doesn't need to be 395cc or above (that is the requirement for the test only).

It could be 350cc or even less. I think the idea really is to get a bike that looks like the 600RR type bike but with a smaller engine that produces 35KW (46.6 bhp)

Maybe a 350cc would be best idea for this class as it puts it in the middle the learner leagal 125cc and the 600cc full licence bike for over 21's

Posted: 10/09/2012 at 06:45

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