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Double test Honda CB 400 / Yamaha SR 250

Look back ahead

Reconsideration as a forward strategy is also very much in vogue in the small class. Two examples: Honda’s CB 400 Four and Yamaha’s SR 250. Yesterday’s design with today’s technology in the two grays?

Whether it’s a retro or naked bike, whether it is a spoke rim or a chrome mudguard: Praises what makes you old in the modern motorcycle world.

Also particularly popular with Japanese constructors and designers. Take the Yamaha SR 250 for example. "Classic" is emblazoned on the side panels. What can you do even more classic about an SR? Actually nothing, on the contrary: Equipped with an electric starter and disc brake in the front wheel, the SR 250 (importer Zweiradtechnik Könemann, phone 0 51 93/5 00 31) looks much more modern than its great ancestor.
The little single willingly takes up his work at the push of a button. And not only that: what escapes with a full blow from the chrome-plated rear silencer, styled as a classic megaphone, indicates significantly more displacement. The driving performance brings you back down to earth very quickly. With measured 19 instead of the promised 17 hp, the speedometer needle climbs – assuming a long run-up and a slight gradient – almost the 130 mark. On the flat the SR still reaches 115 km / h.
In order to breathe this dynamic into the petite 250, the two-valve engine has to be turned properly. It is also possible below 6000 rpm, but for proper propulsion the single should always be kept at speeds between 6000 and the red area at 8500 rpm.
The chassis of the Classic reveals itself entirely in the tradition of its big sister. As long as the road is level, it behaves perfectly. But if the asphalt throws waves, the exit becomes seafaring. Like a ship with a list, the SR 250 staggers from one bump to the next, only to break through mercilessly through holes that are too large in front and behind. Then the handle on the brake lever follows automatically to bring the whole load to rest for a moment. When you slow down, you suddenly realize why the SR 250 is nicknamed Classic. The disc brake, actually an advanced device, looks the same? what effect and dosage concerns? more of an antiquated drum brake, as it does its job in the rear wheel of the Classic.
Nevertheless: For those who are looking for a small, classic-inspired motorcycle, the SR 250 Classic offers everything your heart desires at a price of 4999 marks.
The CB 400 from Honda offers even more. Especially four cylinders. And four has been trumps since the legendary CB 750 captured the hearts of fans. Honda was proud of the four-wheeler back then, so proud that they had "Four" emblazoned in large letters on the side cover and each individual cylinder had its own silencer flanged to the manifold. Now, Honda is also remembering the tried and tested formula in the small class: practically everything on the CB 400 Four (importer: Motorradzentrale Dasing, phone 0 82 05/10 87) is four: four-cylinder, four-stroke, four hundred cubic centimeters – and of course four silencers. Anyone who sees them shining together with the engine, which is finely ribbed despite the water cooling, has to admit: This four looks so much like a motorcycle that the current Japanese two-cylinder functional goods can safely hide behind it.
Visually, the CB is by no means a trump card. Only those parts have grown that were simply neglected at the time due to the sheer four-cylinder euphoria: the diameter of the stanchions, for example (41 millimeters) and the brake discs (295 millimeters), the width of the swing arm and that of the beautiful spoked wheels (3.00 x 17 / 4.00 x 17). Everything about the Honda is contemporary, but everything is also quite difficult. The CB 400 Four weighs 213 kilograms with a full tank.
The engine, of which a nominal 53 HP remained on the test bench, has a hard time with this. It is velvety soft, cultivated yes, but without a cock. You only feel a hint of this when the tachometer needle climbs regions beyond the 7000 mark. This cautious thirst for action continues up to 11500 rpm, and the smooth-running gearbox should not be used beforehand if it is to go forward halfway quickly.
These speed and gear orgies do not fit the nature of the Honda. High handlebars, low footrests, comfortable spring elements without any trace of sporty hardness. In addition, a double loop frame, which acknowledges faster curves with clear stirring movements: Here the gentleman rider is asked, preferably alone, because the high passenger footrests spoil the two-way fun just like the weak engine. Swinging relaxed from curve to curve, knowing that you can rely on the front brakes and the grip of the 140 mm rear tire: The four-driver wants to relax and enjoy.
But that includes steam from the depths of the lower speed range, and the four small individual cubic capacities cannot offer that. The CB 400 needs a long 10.9 seconds in the pull-through evaluation from 60 to 100 km / h (Honda CB 500: 9.4 seconds), and also the 5.9 seconds from zero to one hundred (CB 500 in 5.1 seconds) are not a glory sheet. It is incomprehensible why Honda did not give the gearbox a sixth gear and why it was so unfortunate that the gradation was chosen so that the top speed was reached in fourth gear.
This also has an unpleasant influence on drinking habits. In other words: the Honda drinks when it is threshed. At full throttle over 9 liters. In view of the modest top speed of 158 km / h (CB 500: 182 km / h) and a tank capacity of only 15 liters, more than ample. If you move it quickly on the country road, it is a good six liters.
PThe Honda collects bonus points in front of iced coffee or the disco: The »Four« is the star. But the stakes are high: 11,500 marks. It seems as if the price calculation was based on the rev counter: the red area starts with that brand.

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