Magazine Feature – 1978 Honda CB400A Hawk Hondamatic

In Japan, Standard by AbhiLeave a Comment

In 1976, Honda debuted the “Hondamatic” transmission on their popular CB750. It was designed to help bring in new riders who may have been intimidated by the requirement of using a clutch, but Honda quickly figured out that newbies may not necessarily want to start on the big 750. So two years later, the Hondamatic transmision found its way to the CB400 Hawk. This beautiful Tahitian Red example is noteworthy as it was featured in an issue of Motorcycle Classics last year.

The name “Hondamatic” implies that it was an automatic transmission, though that wasn’t entirely true. Consider this to be more of a semi-auto: while there was no clutch, there were still two gears and the rider had to use a shift lever to switch between low (good up to about 50 mph) and high. It wasn’t a commercial success, though Honda has taken up the manual again as of late in offering their DCT transmission in bikes like the NM4 and the new Gold Wing. For more on this specific Hawk, why not go straight to the Motorcycle Classics story?

While this Hawk is currently in Florida, it was in Wisconsin at the time of the magazine story, which explains why it went to Belgium, Wisconsin-based shop Retrospeed (interview with the owner here) for a whole bunch of mechanical and cosmetic work. Highlights of the work included rebuilt front forks, a carb cleaning, rebuilt front master cylinder, and a whole lot of new parts including steering head bearings, tires, chain, sprockets, battery, horn, and more.

Find this Hawk for sale in Marco Island, Florida with early bidding up to $5 and the reserve obviously not yet met

This bike-uriousity brought to you by Brady I!