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.


| March/April 2017



1978 Honda CB400A and CB400T Type II

Photo by Jeff Barger

1978 Honda CB400TII and CB400A
Engine:
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)
Carburetion:
Two 32mm Keihin CV (T), two 28mm Keihin CV (A)
Transmission:
5-speed (T), 2-speed automatic w/torque converter (A)/chain final drive
Electrics:
12v, CDI ignition
Frame/wheelbase:
Single downtube pressed steel frame w/engine as stressed member/55.5in (1,410mm) (T), 55.7in (1,415mm) (A)
Suspension:
Telescopic forks front, dual shock w/adjustable preload rear
Brakes:
Single 10.8in (274mm) disc brake front, 6.51in (165mm) SLS drum rear
Tires:
3.6 x 19in front, 4.1 x 18in rear
Weight:
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.”





bike on highway

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