1976 Honda CB400F | Me & My Bike

Name: Tim Schneider
Age: 42
Home: Milwaukee, WI
Occupation: Owner, The Shop

“I bought this bike in the early ’90s from a radiator shop for $300. It was in really sh*tty condition. The original 4-into-1 pipe was junk, and the owner had fixed the leaky fuel tank with 3 lbs. of lead solder. I didn’t care—I was building a vintage racer.

“I wanted something that looked and sounded like a classic ’60s Honda Grand Prix bike, but cheap. I cleaned up the frame and welded some gussets, and modified race bodywork made for a CB450 twin to fit. The motor is actually pretty trick: The head is ported, compression raised and the crank is lightened. You don’t even need a tach; you can spin this one to the moon. I even machined and ported the stock carburetors to flow better—poor man’s racer!—and welded the tuned exhaust myself using Aircone parts.

“I’ll never forget the first time I raced the bike, during an AHRMA event at Mid-Ohio. This was the ’90s, when AHRMA was in full swing and Heritage Racing and Team Hansen always showed up with truckloads of gorgeous old Hondas. A Japanese racer—Ken Nemoto, maybe?—was there riding one of the Heritage bikes. Anyway, I’m getting ready for the first practice, warming-up the bike. This thing sounds really awesome when it’s revved, just like a tornado. So I’m revving it, and I see this Japanese racer come sprinting across the paddock. He bends down and starts counting my mufflers—he thought it was a Honda six! I held up four fingers and shrugged. Harry Barlow, who used to whip me on the track with his Yamaha RD400, said I should weld an extra muffler on each side just to fool people!

“I only raced the bike for 3 or 4 years; then I got too busy running my shop. It’s ‘sort of’ street-legal now, with a taillight and a tiny projector-beam headlight bolted onto the front. It’s just a really great motorcycle, so much fun to ride!” MC