Considered one of the most iconic naked motorcycles in this part of the world, the Honda CB400 Super Four (or CB400SF) is a model so well known even non-riders could recognise. First introduced in 1992, the CB400SF (affectionately known as Super Four) has seen various stages of innovation, improvements and updates.
Having revolutionised the motorcycle world one series at a time, the latest generation Super Four (CB400 Super Four Hyper VTEC Revo) unveiled in 2008 retained much of its iconic outlook from earlier generations. This latest 2018 iteration, a further updated version, receives more 21st century technology, bringing Honda back into direct-contention with some of the other manufacturers.
The newly revised throttle bodies and updated exhaust system helps bump-up the Super Four numbers to 55hp (from 53hp) with 39Nm of torque (from 38Nm), while ensuring emission levels comply with increasingly stringent regulations around the world. It is fair to add however, that while single digit increases like these may not seem much, and is barely noticeable even if you were to jump from the older Super Four immediately onto this new one, every bit counts.
Also new on this 25th Anniversary Edition (Project Big 1) Super Four are LED headlights up front and LED taillights at the back, giving the motorcycle an immediate and much needed refreshed look.
The uprated suspension system also improves overall tyre-patch-contact, effectively improving grip through corners and wet roads. Personally however, I would have preferred a daily-cruiser such as the Super Four to have a mildly more forgiving rebound rate, especially at the rear. Then again, I reckon a Honda PCX will be a better option if you’re looking for pure comfort and ease.
Anti-lock braking system (ABS) is also equipped as standard equipment on all Super Four bikes from local dealer Boon Siew Singapore, something which I was thankfully not required to test during the three days and two nights I had with the bike.
The new Super Four also retains its original and iconic speedometer cluster design, but with a larger LCD screen fitted which displays all of the bike's vitals and gear-position.
Similar to its pre-updated cousin, the latest Super Four offers a near-perfect balance between performance, agility and comfort.
Between the daily hassle of tackling traffic in an urban jungle or when eating up the miles on clear open roads, its four-stroke inline-4 programmed fuel injection (PGM-FI) engine produces just the right amount of torque and power. Squeeze the throttle past the 6,300rpm mark and Honda’s signature VTEC kicks in, rewarding you with not just a scream from the newly revised exhaust system, but also a discernable forward-surge.
Gear shifts are easily manageable as well, smooth on the ups and firm on the downs, the feedback you receive through your left feet is immediate, precise and noticeable. Blipping the throttle for all downshifts was also extremely easy and satisfying, made more enjoyable as the exhaust barks while you decelerate.
The newly revised front and rear suspension setup feels a tad more forgiving compared to earlier models too. Point the handlebars in the direction desired, lean accordingly, and feel the grip as you negotiate the turns and bends. Weighing a feather under 200kg (wet), it is 47kg heavier than the KTM 390 Duke (43hp) and 13kg heavier than the Ducati Scrambler Sixty2 (40hp). That weight however, translates seamlessly to an increase of stability at high-speeds and is also smoothly compensated with the higher performance numbers.
Considering how well the bike is put together, I was however surprised to see uneven welding right above the radiator (as per image above). Understandably, it would have been hidden away under the half-fairing of the Honda CB400 Super Bol d'Or version, but the nakedness of the Super Four makes it an unpleasant sight. Given the sheer amounts of attention to detail the engineers and designers poured into the bike, an additional ounce of consideration could have been paid here.
From the very moment I got onto this Super Four, a brand new unit with only 8km on the clock from Boon Siew Singapore (Honda Motorcycles Singapore), I was already raring to go. While this will most likely be the last iteration for this generation, before the next series is unveiled, I must say it is without doubt the best you can get.
From superb handling characteristics and agility, to the perfect amount of power needed for daily commute, this Super Four is by far the most logical and practical motorcycle available in its category.