Honda NC23 CBR400RR - Light Restoration

Published on 16 April 2023 at 13:48
Honda NC23 CBR600RR rught hand side
Honda CB600RR NC23 left hand side
Honda CBR600RR Instrument panel
Honda CBR600RR NC23 front view

Google is a funny old thing - probably one of the greatest assets ever when researching something but it can lead you astray. I discovered this recently when somebody offered me a rather nice looking Honda CBR400RR - a machine that I have always adored and never thought I would have. I was intrigued because I remembered many stories from way back of how these things were complete animals when it came to performance and they produced about 60 BHP or 150BHP per litre, which was pretty impressive back then. When I googled it though I kept seeing the figure of 111 MPH as a top speed, which seemed low given that a well tuned Aprilia RS125 will get fairly close to that.

A further search gave me the answer - most of these bikes were grey imports from Japan and a that time Japanese law stated that bikes had to have a restricted top speed - unrestricted bikes were capable of more. Quite a lot more. It depends who you believe as to exactly how much more but I have seen a GPS verified run of 134 MPH so I'm going with that.

The bike revs to something like 14,500, sounds absolutely incredible and handles well enough to keep up with many 1000 cc bikes in the real world of twisties and pot holes.



Before this one came along the only Honda 400 I had ever ridden was an old 400/4 that one of the lads I was in the same apprentice intake with had. I had a Kawasaki KH250 2 stroke triple at the time that felt way quicker so I was left feeling very underwhelmed by the experience. This little CBR is from a different planet, definitely one of the all time greats in my book.

The example that has ended up in my grubby little hands is almost as grubby as my little hands in some areas but it's all there and all original except for the period correct Micron end can. Being a grey import the odometer is in kilometers, in English money it's done about 25k miles. There is some damage to some of the plastics but nothing major, it needs a really good clean up, I may get the alloy wheels refurbed as they let it down a bit as they are. The engine sounds sweet enough but the petrol is old and really stinks, I think it will run even better with some fresh stuff in there. the tyres have plenty of tread on them but are probably a bit old, I have not looked for the date code yet. The fork seals need changing, hardly surprising, really. The brakes have been recently sorted with new pads back and front, the discs are good, the calipers are not sticking - quite a bonus, I usually end up rebuilding calipers on just about every bike that comes in. It will get an oil and filter change, even though he oil looks pretty much new, I just don't know how long it's been in there and it's not worth risking the engine for 20 quids worth of oil.

Some bikes are routine bread and butter that help me pay the bills, this one is a bit special to me and will most likely hang around for a good while. It can keep my lovely GPX750R commany for a while, I can't see either bike going down in value.

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