Motorcycle Forum banner

1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited by Moderator)
Hello, I am planning on buying my first bike. It is a 1981 Honda CM400T with 9.6k Miles at $800. I do not know much about motorcycle motors and was curious what this orange stuff was on the motor/wiring. The previous owner is an older man who said it was mostly garage kept.

I was also curious of the opinions on what you guys think of this bike and if you think it would be good as a first bike/reliable for me to drive around town and cruise around on.

Another thing is when I start the bike it makes a weird noise like in this video, but it runs fine and starts up every time, I was curious if it was something major

- Startup vid of similar bike with the noise

-pic of bike

-pic of bike


Thank you for everyone help in advance, I just don't want to get something that will end up being worthless for $800.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
650 Posts
Bikes that sit tend to rot. Tires get flat spots, tanks get junked up, cards need to be cleaned, lines go brittle, etc. For someone who doesn't know much, it's probably not a good choice unless you're the wrench type and want dive in to learn as much as you can. Parts for older bikes can also be very hard to find even if you have the know how. Something much more recent is probably a better choice for the inexperienced. Keep saving and you'll have a bike before you know it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,997 Posts
Welcome from Seattle :)

In general, older bikes are for guys who are good with a wrench. If you are into fixing it up, then you will probably love it.

One thing l found with older bikes is that they need more than they appear, almost without fail. Tires and carb work usually to start. Little things here and there. They require more tinkering.

When l was searching for a bike, l came across one bike that looked very clean, it ran great, etc. The ad said it just needed new tires, the carbs cleaned, and a new piece of glass for the windshield. On the surface it sounded like a fewhundred bucks, but when llooked closer, it would have cost an additional thousand bucks.

As far as the actual riding part, that little Honda is a great starter.I started on a little Honda 450. I should have ridden it longer before moving up to a bigger bike. It was great.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,145 Posts
Sounds like the starter gear isn't retracting quickly enough after the engine starts, makes that gear noise until it does. That might mean anything from a new replacement/rebuilt starter, or just a new spring & clean up the assembly.

That 'orange' looks like fuel dribbled out of the carb over the years & stained the float bowl + whatever is below it (the wiring)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the awesome replies guys, I took into consideration what all you said, and I think I will learn more about the motors and how to fix them etc, save up more, and just buy something newer in a few months from now. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
201 Posts
ah the CM-400, great little bike had one as my first bike and have since owned 3. that yellow on the carb was once gasoline, which means that there's a bad gasket on that carb. I would count on a rebuild of the carbs, not that big a deal really, and take good look inside the tank, could be some rust if it's been sitting. also replace the tires asap, tires for a CM-400 are cheap. give it an oil change, then ride the hell out of it, I think they're an ideal first bike, enough power to handle a highway for stretches but not too much power for a new rider to get into trouble. it's a pretty lightweight bike. they're also a simple reliable bike. oh and that sound you talked about, every CM-400 I've owned made that sound. don't sweat it. as for price, I think $800 is a bit high. I'd offer $650 and settle at around $700
 

·
Charlie Tango Xray
Joined
·
768 Posts
My old 1980 CM200 makes the same starter noise at the beginning of the season, but goes away after I start riding it again. It just hasn't been a big enough issue for me to pull the starter to lube it. I agree the CM400 would make a great first bike. Honda sold a lot of them for good reason. They were fun to ride and easy to maintain. And because they sold a lot of them, parts are easy to find. Seems like people today won't buy older stuff because they refuse to do any wrenching, no matter how minor the wrenching might be.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
ah the CM-400, great little bike had one as my first bike and have since owned 3. that yellow on the carb was once gasoline, which means that there's a bad gasket on that carb. I would count on a rebuild of the carbs, not that big a deal really, and take good look inside the tank, could be some rust if it's been sitting. also replace the tires asap, tires for a CM-400 are cheap. give it an oil change, then ride the hell out of it, I think they're an ideal first bike, enough power to handle a highway for stretches but not too much power for a new rider to get into trouble. it's a pretty lightweight bike. they're also a simple reliable bike. oh and that sound you talked about, every CM-400 I've owned made that sound. don't sweat it. as for price, I think $800 is a bit high. I'd offer $650 and settle at around $700
Awesome, thank you my cousin (the guy im buying it from) said exactly that too. He also said the guy he bought it from said the carb was rebuilt pretty recently..is there any way to double check that? Also what are some key things I should look for when checking this bike out when I go?

And the rust in those pictures, is that rust going to affect anything?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
201 Posts
Awesome, thank you my cousin (the guy im buying it from) said exactly that too. He also said the guy he bought it from said the carb was rebuilt pretty recently..is there any way to double check that? Also what are some key things I should look for when checking this bike out when I go?

And the rust in those pictures, is that rust going to affect anything?
only way to really know if the carbs have been rebuilt is to open them up and see how things look, if the bike starts up idles alright and revs up (rev it to near redline) then I wouldn't sweat it. the rust, which there appears to be very little of is purely cosmetic. should be a great beginners ride, if you have any questions just ask, I know the these bikes pretty well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
only way to really know if the carbs have been rebuilt is to open them up and see how things look, if the bike starts up idles alright and revs up (rev it to near redline) then I wouldn't sweat it. the rust, which there appears to be very little of is purely cosmetic. should be a great beginners ride, if you have any questions just ask, I know the these bikes pretty well.
awesome thank you, is there any way I could possibly contact you via like text or something or is that against this website rules? I'm going to go there tomorrow, and ill take a video of the starup/idle etc and post it on here
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
I actually just bought my first motorcyle (I've been a longtime scooter owner and I just needed to upgrade in size), and its actually a 1981 CM400T as well. I got it non running from a guy in Springfield, and with a little bit of cleaning (the same kind of cleaning I'd do on a scooter), the bike now runs, but boy does it have a buttload of problems.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
only way to really know if the carbs have been rebuilt is to open them up and see how things look, if the bike starts up idles alright and revs up (rev it to near redline) then I wouldn't sweat it. the rust, which there appears to be very little of is purely cosmetic. should be a great beginners ride, if you have any questions just ask, I know the these bikes pretty well.
I might need to really start hitting up this thread... I'm a DIY kinda guy, but it seems like there is a lot of places to start and not a whole lot of info on the bike.
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top