Honda RVF400 Used Bike Review

Date 30.3.2012

Presented by
  • Motorcycle Trader

blog-img

Buying used: Honda RVF400

When you’re looking for a used sportsbike or a track toy, you might be tempted to head straight for the 600cc class, which for years has featured the sharpest tools in the motorcycle pallete. And, on most days, I’d be right there beside you.

However, there are some really entertaining alternatives out there, none more so than Honda’s brilliant little RVF400.

Styled to look like Honda Racing Corporation’s premium RC45, the RVF shares a V-four engine configuration with liquid-cooling, running four valves per cylinder and boasting gear-driven cams.

The latter gives the powerplant a very distinctive growl that becomes a shriek as it climbs towards the 14,500rpm redline.

It doesn’t take a zillion revs to get off the line and there’s a decent midrange, something Honda tuned in specifically.

Built from 1994 to 1996, the RVF featured a bank of 30mm carburettors and a single exhaust at the other end. Power was in the region of 39kW (53hp) – ample for a package weighing in at a fairly svelte 165kg.

The chassis also came in for serious modification, including the frame, steering geometry, an upside-down front end (still 41mm and made by Showa), a revised swingarm (still single-sided), and new wheels. There’s a 17in item on the rear, enabling a much bigger tyre selection than the previous 18 incher.

Really, the big news with an RVF, for those who haven’t ridden one, is how tiny it is. It’s low, narrow and weighs bugger all – which adds up to big fun.

A brief spin on the bike shown here reminded me of just how good the RVF is. It’s a pukka sportsbike with ample performance (top speed is a touch over 200km/h), decent quality suspension, pin-sharp steering and strong brakes.

The six-speed gearbox is a no-fuss affair, while the clutch is light and progressive.

Buy a good one and you’ll be rewarded – and they’re learner legal bike in most states.

This one was for sale at Melbourne’s Stafford Motorcycles and presented as a solid offering, with 13,700km on the clock. It’s priced at $7000.

THUMBS UP

– Tiny and light

– Loads of character

– Pin-sharp handling

THUMBS DOWN

– Tiny (not so great for taller folk)

– It’s a grey import

SPECIFICATIONS

Honda RVF400

ENGINE

Type: liquid-cooled, four-valves-per-cylinder, four-stroke V-four

Capacity: 399cc

Bore x stroke: 55mm x 42mm

Compression ratio: 11.3:1

Fuel system: 4 x 30mm CV carburettors

TRANSMISSION

Type: Six-speed constant mesh, wet clutch

Final drive: Chain

CHASSIS AND RUNNING GEAR

Frame type: twin-spar aluminium

Front suspension: USD 41mm Showa fork

Rear suspension: Showa monoshock

Front brakes: Twin 269mm discs with four-piston Nissin calipers

Rear brake: Single disc with twin-piston Nissin caliper

DIMENSIONS AND CAPACITIES

Dry weight: 165kg

Fuel capacity: 15lt

PERFORMANCE

Max. power: 39.5kW (53hp) at 12,500rpm

Max. torque: 36Nm (26.6ft-lb)) at 10,000rpm

Max speed: 200km/h-plus

OTHER STUFF

Kilometres: 13,700km

Price: $7000

Test bike supplied by: Stafford Motorcycles, Melbourne,

Tel: (03) 9459 3427

*Dealer price