1978 Honda CB400T Type II and CB400A

Bob Cummings and his wife, Paula, ride the roads of Fish Creek, Wisconsin, aboard a pair of 1978 Hawks, a CB400T Type II and a CB400A Hondamatic.

  • 1978 Honda CB400A and CB400T Type II
    Photo by Jeff Barger
  • 1978 Honda CB400TII
    Photo by Jeff Barger
  • 1978 Honda CB400A
    Photo by Jeff Barger
  • Bob Cummings aboard his Hawk, with his Opel Manta in the background in the late 1970s.
    Photo by Jeff Barger
  • Bob and Paula and their pair of Hawks.
    Photo by Jeff Barger
  • This 1978 CB400A was found on Craigslist in Nebraska and revived by the crew at Retrospeed in Belgium, Wisconsin.
    Photo by Jeff Barger
  • The CB400T was found in Kansas. After a thorough mechanical sorting, both bikes were also professionally detailed by Adam Stone.
    Photo by Jeff Barger
  • A promotional poster featuring Gene Simmons (left) and Paul Stanley (right) with a Hawk.
    Image courtesy Kiss

1978 Honda CB400TII and CB400A
395cc air-cooled OHC parallel twin, 70.5mm x 50.6mm bore and stroke, 9.3:1 compression ratio, 35.58hp @ 9,500rpm (claimed)
Top speed:
100mph (T), 88mph (A)
Two 32mm Keihin CV (T), two 28mm Keihin CV (A)
5-speed (T), 2-speed automatic w/torque converter (A)/chain final drive
12v, CDI ignition
Single downtube pressed steel frame w/engine as stressed member/55.5in (1,410mm) (T), 55.7in (1,415mm) (A)
Telescopic forks front, dual shock w/adjustable preload rear
Single 10.8in (274mm) disc brake front, 6.51in (165mm) SLS drum rear
3.6 x 19in front, 4.1 x 18in rear
378lb (171.5kg) (T), 388lb (176kg) (A)
Seat height:
32.3in (820.4mm)
Fuel capacity:
3.4gal (13ltr)
Price then/now:
$1,300 (T), $1,400 (A)/$700-$1,700 (T), $900-$2,000 (A)

Call it social media synchronicity, but just as I was getting ready to write this story I happened to check Paul d’Orleans’ “thevintagent” Instagram feed. What the heck?

Front and center is a photo of Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley of Kiss fame in all their outrageous rock ‘n’ roll glory posing with a 1979 Honda CB400 Hawk. Stanley is crouched on the seat and gas tank, one hand on the handlebar, the other giving a thumb’s up, while Simmons has one spiky boot up on the seat and the other planted on the ground, with his arms outstretched and batwings spread.

Paul d’Orleans’ comment under the photo is succinct: “Kissmobile! You will never forget this image. 1979: why oh why a Honda Hawk?” We may never know the whole story behind the Honda Kissmobile, but the good news is we do know why Bob and Paula Cummings own matching 1978 Honda CB400s, one a a CB400T Type II, and the other a CB400A Hondamatic.

A history of Hondas

In the late 1970s, Bob owned a Honda CB550. It was his daily transportation around his hometown of Greendale, Wisconsin, and he rode it to high school. Wanting a car and a motorcycle, he sold the CB550 and bought a 1974 Opel Manta. With the few dollars left over, he bought a 1978 Honda CB400T Type II Hawk. “I kept it for two years as I commuted to university,” Bob says. “I moved on to a CX500, and then a full-dress Gold Wing.”

6/13/2019 7:04:06 AM

I have a 1978 TII that I acquired in 2010. Very scruffy condition, but runs really well. I have replaced some items, but e-bay is still giving up hard to find parts. Speedo, seat, carbs for instance. Just a nice bike that enjoys being ridden.

11/20/2017 6:26:04 AM

are love these old honda bikes an are own one very powerful n reliable need to a team an build more of them

The sound and the fury: celebrate the machines that changed the world!

Motorcycle Classics JulAug 16Motorcycle Classics is America's premier magazine for collectors and enthusiasts, dreamers and restorers, newcomers and life long motorheads who love the sound and the beauty of classic bikes. Every issue  delivers exciting and evocative articles and photographs of the most brilliant, unusual and popular motorcycles ever made!

Save Even More Money with our RALLY-RATE plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our RALLY-RATE automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $5.00 and get 6 issues of Motorcycle Classics for only $29.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and I'll pay just $34.95 for a one year subscription!

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter