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 Honda - CB A Automatique
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Honda D2-492-19-18
Photo ou archives : F-M. Dumas

Capacity : 400
Model : CB A Automatique
Production : 1978 -
Category : (R) Street Bike


CB 400 Automatic - 1979

A relaxed riding mode

After the failure of its 750 automatic, Honda drew some lessons from the experience. There was nothing basically wrong with the idea, but the basic bike was overweight and too expensive. Potential customers were scared off by the excessive size of the machine and by the initial outlay; users who were former motorists were put off by an appeal to their emotions. Out of this analysis came, in 1978, a new "semi-automatic" bike.

Clutchless Gear Selector

The 400A was closely related to the 400T launched in 1977. But, the engine was detuned by some 10 horsepower so that it was better suited to a more relaxed mode of riding. The transmission worked on the same principal as that of the 750: An hydraulic convertor allowed clutchless selection of a low speed – good for around 55 mph and giving good pickup, or a less responsive high speed. Naturally, a parking brake was provided, and it was impossible to start the engine with a gear engaged or the stand lowered.

Worldwide Sales

The 400 was not overly expensive and proved popular with the public. Several variants were marketed worldwide up to the early 1980s, in 400 and subsequently 450cc forms. Some fifteen years after the first CB automatic made its debut, there is no automatic two-wheeler – with the possible exception of the Spazio 250 scooter – that offers equivalent performance.


Engine: 395cc (70x50.6mm) air-cooled 360-degree parallel-twin four-stroke

Power Rating: 30 hp @ 8000 rpm

Valves: overhead camshaft, three valves per cylinder

Fuel System: carburetor

Transmission: 2-speed with hydraulic convertor

Suspension: telescopic forks (front); swinging fork (rear)

Brakes: disk (front); drum (rear)

Wheels: 3.60x19 inch (front); 4.10x18 inch (rear)

Weight: 384 lb

Maximum Speed: 87 mph

Better suited to the market than the preceding 750, the 400A remained on the market into the 1980s.

Motorcycle encyclopedia Moto Passion, realised by François-Marie Dumas, include almost 2000 photos presented with an exhaustive history of the motorcycles exhibited.

This unique collection has been realised with the participation of many specialists. With many thanks in particular to Yves Campion, Michael Dregni, Didier Ganneau, Jean Goyard, Helmut Krackowizer, Michel Montange, Christian Rey, Bernard Salvat, Mick Woollett, etc

One can order here

  • Original cards on paper (in french)
  • High resolution scans or original documents presented and signed with my name.

Please contact me at info@moto-collection.org for conditions and copyright.

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François-Marie Dumas

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