1981 Honda CM400 Custom from United States of America


Great older bike!


The headlight (high and low beam) / high beam indicator burnt out (at separate times). The head light had to be ordered from the dealer, because there was no generic part number.

It also leaks a little oil (not noticeably affecting the level). It seems that the oil spill is behind the engine/tranny.

Clutch seems to slip a little on hill when giving suddenly more throttle, for example when I go up a hill at 40mph, then give it throttle, the tachometer goes up, but the speed stays the same. But this is normal wear, and will probably be found on any bike over a period of usage.

General Comments:

This bike is good for most street riding. It has enough power for the highway, but still gets from 50-60+ mpg, depending on how I ride it.

The only things that have gone wrong with it, I would consider normal for the age.

One cool thing about this bike, is in 5th gear, the tachometer and speedometer match; for example, at 30mph, the rpm is 3,000, and at 60mph, 6,000rpm.

I have had this bike for several months, and have not had any big problems with it.

I have had a lot of people come up and tell me that they used to own a bike like this, and they say it is "indestructible".

This bike is almost 30 years old, but looks only 10. It rides like it is brand new. I would recommend anyone who can't afford a brand new bike, to get a bike like this one, or one as old, as long as they can find parts.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th October, 2010

4th May 2011, 19:58

Had my '81 CM400E for 17 years, no major service issues. Have had 2 Harleys in that time, but keep the CM400 around, just because it just keeps going!!!

3rd Apr 2015, 02:19

I have 2 bikes. A 1986 Yamaha Virago XV700C and a 1981 Honda CM400E. Both have their merits and demerits. The Honda in comparison is smooth sounding, smooth shifting, responsive when needed, and I am considering putting a windshield on it. That was my 1st bike and it ain't for sale. I alternate between the 2 on rides to work. The Yamaha's torque is unbelievable as well as the speed. Gives it wings. But it is a V-twin and has that Sportster look, feel, sound, and handling. Definitely a cruiser. Highway speeds are not a problem.

The Honda is great around town, but at 50 to 55 mph, the wind is very decidedly a factor, but the smoothness is hard to get away from - it purrs. It even resembles the Triumph 650 in lines and appearance somewhat. I make it do the work for a lot of commuting. From rides to work 15 miles away, to trips to the grocery story, to Walmart, you name it. It is fun to ride!

Improvements needed would have to include lighting. Converting to the extremely bright blue LEDs and possible additional sets for the crash bar. This one would benefit from the adventure set up as far as equipment goes. Forward controls could be a plus for both bikes, but doggone it, at greater than $700 for kits to convert, you would have to be crazy, so the mid-controls are to stay for now. There you have it.

Overall, the Honda CM400 series are very good bikes for what Honda intended them to be - work horses!