The Honda CB-1 NC27 was a naked street bike first manufactured in 1989 for Honda’s domestic Japanese market. As a result, it has an unusual 399cc engine displacement, a size not generally seen outside Japan. However, this motorcycle was imported to both US and Canada, and many reached UK shores as a gray import. Another unique quality of this particular Honda street bike was that it was designed to be commuter friendly, with surprisingly good fuel efficiency. While it was praised by motorcycle critics and loved by riders, the CB-1 NC27 never became as popular as other Honda bikes, and production stopped in 1990.
The liquid-cooled 399cc engine in the Honda CB-1 definitely delivered up to expectations, giving out 55bhp at 10,000rpm. This was more than enough to propel the 400-pound CB-1 NC27 to speeds in excess of 110 mph. The bike came with 41 mm telescopic front forks and a Pro-Link mono-shock component in the rear. These worked great to provide a comfortable riding experience at high speeds, while the 70-17 tyres came with disk brakes for safer handling and stability.
Riders also loved the low seating position of the Honda CB-1 NC27, which was very similar to the larger Honda CBR600. The first and secondary gear ratios were also more in tune with larger bikes, giving CB-1 owners an advantage in taking off from standstill. Equipped with a typical Honda six-speed racing gearbox, the Honda CB-1 NC27 was a fun and exciting ride. One unique thing was that even with its sporty performance, this Honda bike gave efficiency figures as high as 50 mpg, depending on the riding conditions. With its 2.7 gallon fuel tank and good efficiency, the CB-1 makes a good touring bike.
One important point is that the Honda CB-1 was also sold in some countries under the name CB400F. However, this was a marketing decision in certain export markets to connect with the original CB400F (1974). If you look closely, the 1989-90 CB400F bikes are actually identical to the CB-1 NC27. Today, there are very few CB-1 bikes left in good condition, they are still in demand from collectors and enthusiasts. In the UK, genuine spare parts are hard to come by, except from a few expert dealers. The air filter is especially important, since the CB-1 NC27 engine tends to overheat if there are any leaks in the inlet tract. However, the Honda CB-1 NC27 still delivers a real dose of power for surprisingly low running costs, so if you get your hands on one, count yourself lucky!