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Discussion Starter #1
I've planned a 5,000 mile motorcycle trip to go on for the full month of August using my 1978 Honda CB400 Hondamatic. I'm going to be taking back roads and will be taking it slow(maybe 250 miles a day), I also plan on picking up a passenger halfway through.

Is this trip even possible with a 400cc size engine without burning it out? I know if I was taking interstates I would need an 800cc or so, but would average speeds of 60mph be ok for this size engine?
 

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I wish I could help you out but I don't know enough about that bike. I just hope it's in excellent, reliable condition. I just took a 2000 mile road trip on my Ninja 500 but that's a little different.
 

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Riding 2-up at a constant 60 MPH may be a little tough on a 400. Theoretically, if the bike was in top-notch condition and well maintained I think it could be done. It would be a worthy investment to buy a good roadside assistance plan (with towing) before you head out though, as well as a back-up plan for a rental car/bike.
 
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Mornin' Meeshme and welcome to the Forum. :D

Hmmm, I'd pretty much have to voice the same thing as everybody else so far. :cool: JMHO but I’m thinking if it were any other 400 out there?! But I’m considering that little HondaMatic has to be rarer then Gold-Dust out there?! If you have a problem would any current Honda Dealership even be qualified to work on it (much less even ever seen one?)? Mind you I think the old CB750A SOHC Four HondaMatic was pretty reliable but… Beyond the bike, 5,000+ miles but NOT take the Interstates at all?! Wow, that would be a challenge! My first trip ever was on a 250cc Single. Granted it was only 700/800 miles and highway speeds were a posted 55 mph back then. The bike did great, but at 16 I had felt like I crossed the Continent and back (was really shot!)! A year or so later, I covered a good part of North America on a 500cc twin (almost 12,000 miles worth) but again speeds were slower and I sure did use highways now and then. No, definitely would of not wanted to of carried a passenger cross country to boot on that old past beloved scoot either! Nuff’ said. The bottom line is I’m NOT a 100% certain you CAN’T do it BUT… I’m sayin’ are you 100% sure you want to?! This sounds like a GREAT trip to me (and I’m friggin’ jealous!) but I’d recommend holding out for a bit larger scoot (750cc) before proceeding. NOT the gospel, just a friendly suggestion.

LRG :cool:
 

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That may be asking a lot from a 30 year old bike. 5k can be quite a haul. I hope that you will plan for maintenance stops and locate repair facilities so that you have an idea where to go if something does happen. Better have that bike in grade A #1 shape before you leave.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you for your responses. My original plan was to ride single, but now that there are two, I should probably reconsider using that bike. Maybe buying a newer, more reliable, larger engine bike and selling it afterward would be a better option.
The Hondamatic is a pretty awesome bike, I didn't even know that there were automatic motorcycles before I ran into this one. I was going to sit down for a month and go through a maintenance check: carbs, brakes, seals, cam chain, maybe new tires. However like you mention, LowRider, if something happened to the transmission on the way there, I don't know if most mechanics would know what to do with it or how long it would take to find a part.
I look a 500 ml bicycle ride in Germany, 10 hours of constant peddling and setting up camp wherever we where when it got dark. I fell in love with that idea, so I'm doing it longer distance on a motorcycle. I think it's kind of an instinctual craving for independence and freedom that takes over men(and various women), like a modern day Oregon Trail pioneer. Except I have AAA and they were pretty much screwed if something broke down.
Do you know of any good books/websites/maps that really help out the motorcycle traveler? I'd like to use back highways rather than interstates(mainly because of the view), but I don't want to hit really curved roads where I'm having to go 40mph for half a state's distance. I don't know if there are maps made by riders that know of good travel roads.
 

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Have you considered renting one? You haven't said just where you are going but I know there are many places that rent motorcycles - and a variety of brands and styles. Might not be 'cheap' but you wouldn't have to do a lot of buying and selling. You might make some Internet searches for the area you'll be in and see if that's an option.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I'm starting in central Arkansas making a loop going to Denver, Yellowstone, Portland, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, and then to Kansas City. Rentals could be an option, but I don't believe I'm old enough to rent. I think the age is 25 and I'm 22.
 

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Sounds like fun. I hope you have a blast.

Reliability would be my first concern. If something were to go seriously wrong with a bike that old your best choice might be to scrap it and buy another one rather than interrupt your trip. If you have the cash to pull that off, great, you can sleep easy.

I would also caution you that you might have trouble finding room for both a passenger and gear. When I had small bikes like that I would carry an external frame backpack and let the frame ride on the bike seat. Then I could backpack once I got to the trail heads without repacking, and didn't need to get luggage racks for the bike. That wouldn't work with a passenger. Yes there are panniers and racks out there but you want to consider the space and the shapes and make sure it will work for you.

Rider and passenger comfort might also become a concern on a 250 mile a day ride on smaller bikes not designed for touring.

You might also consider an older Goldwing. They are often available cheaply and are quite reliable, and would be a better fit for what you're doing.
 

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You might also consider an older Goldwing. They are often available cheaply and are quite reliable, and would be a better fit for what you're doing.
I agree with that. There's so many places to see and visit to be stuck with something that could break down and no one around to repair. Plus two up riding ain't no fun on a small bike.

I had over 100,000 miles on my 81 Shovelhead, before I retired it for long trips. Main reason.....not many mechanics worked on the shovelhead engine if I had a problem. I didn't want to spoil anyone else's ride and vacation time by me being broke down. So I ride a later model.
 

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Look around for an Intruder, Boulevard, Spirit, SV650, Katana 600...early 90's. Or if you can't rent and can afford the payments and can resell willing to take a loss for the miles...if it works for ya!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Yeah, I bought the bike with the idea of it being an in-town vehicle, or strapping a hiking bag and tent to the back and taking camping trips out in the Ozarks. A Goldwing might not be a bad idea, there are definitely plenty of them out there. Maybe I could find something with a side car! haha I'll keep my eye out for the other motorcycles mentioned, too. Even if I would want to try to handle a difficult ride with an older bike, I don't know if my passenger would be so up for it. Apparently I have a lot more planning to do than anticipated, but I'm glad I got others' opinions before I tried to make an impossible ride.
 
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