Sunday, January 17, 2010

Welcome to the latest addition

I’d been keeping an eye out for a good used bike for the missus as she’d indicated a interest in getting back on two wheels after a rather long hiatus. I started looking for  an older Honda 400 Four, or even 350 Four002 for web as they are both great little motorcycles – with “little” referring to the fact that they were built to about 90% scale of a full sized motorcycle of the day, a CB550F for example. That made them the perfect bikes for a smaller sized rider, and with lots of power and zip they were fully capable of any legal road speeds and then some. Since she’d owned and ridden a 400 Four back in the day, there was the nostalgia factor as well.
Little did I know that in the intervening years they had become collector’s items, commanding a ridiculous price if in any kind of decent running condition. So the search continued until this past week when I came across this ad.
Capture
The bike was a 3-hour drive from home which normally would have stricken it from the list immediately, but I’d always had a soft spot for the Ascot, and this one was all original except for the exhaust and the mini-fairing. When the seller turned out to be a motorcycle mechanic who was also (and perhaps more importantly) flexible on price I became very interested indeed.
And so it was that after a few days of information sharing and negotiations, the deal was struck, and I am now the proud owner of a classic. Or perhaps I should say Miz Liz is now the proud owner of a classic so she can no longer accuse me of taking up the entire garage with “my” stuff.

Pretty, eh?

21 comments:

  1. Good choice! I hope that the missus will enjoy the ride. It is an excellent re-entry bike. I chose a Honda Hawk GT650 to begin again with riding, and I was very happy with it, being a bit vertically challenged myself. Save riding to both of you!

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  2. That appears to be a well taken care of find. Searching always beats settling for the first thing to come along. Wishing many miles of safe riding to you and the Mrs.

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  3. Sonja - I think she will too. The problem will more likely be prying it out from under me so she can go for a ride. :)

    AZHD - While the search can be time-consuming, sometimes it's also the most fun. And in this case I think it paid off with a pretty good find.

    And thanks to both for the good wishes.

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  4. That Ascot is going to be a hoot to ride. One of the ladies in my WITW chapter has one in pristine condition. She's had many bikes but the Ascot endures.

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  5. Stacy - thanks for dropping in. I expect this bike will be a keeper (although I've said that before).

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  6. Canajun, what a great addition! I love the Ascots, as well as the CB's of various displacement. Enjoy!

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  7. Canajun:

    I've always liked those 400 classics. When I started riding again I purchased a Suzuki GS400s to get me feet wet. The 400's are in high demand here in BC since they fall under the 300cc category for insurance and most new bikes are 250 then jump to 500 which doubles your insurance costs.

    It looks to be in very good shape, enjoy . . .

    bob
    bobskoot: wet coast scootin

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  8. What a sharp bike! Very clean! It's good to see people keep older bikes on the road. I like the mag wheels and the centerstand. I wish you and your wife many happy miles with it.

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  9. Lance,Bob, Ken - Thanks guys. Looking forward to getting it on the road once the snow has gone.

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  10. I have some history with a CB400F. I hope you don't mind me linking to it on my blog; it's easier than retyping it all here.

    http://treadlife.blogspot.com/2008/12/museum-of-mind.html

    As for the Ascot, it's on my "someday" list. Watch out for the starter gears, though; they have a reputation for fragility.

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  11. Jerry - Thanks for the link. I've had 2 400Fs - or more precisely I had one and my wife had one (at different times). What I really liked about it was how you could literally throw it around on just about any surface - in fact it was perfect for demonstration days at the advanced riders course I was running at the time. I was a bit tall for it mind you, but for a 5'1", 100 lb rider it was the perfect size.
    But that's all hindsight and to be honest I'm not sure if it would live up to the memories 20+ years later.

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  12. Sorry I'm late but a summer riding accident had actually put me out of commission longer than I would have liked.
    I wish you and your family a Happy New Year
    All the best for 2010

    ps: I rode a Honda CB400 from ingapore to Vietnam in 1990 and it was a great machine then...just right for the Far East

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  13. Baron - Thanks for stopping by, it's good to hear from you. Didn't hear about your accident, but I sure hope everything is okay.

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  14. Thanks all's well now...it was pretty hellish but I'm good now...I might even publish some of the damage for you guys to see. I didn't talk about it before because most everyone was full swing into their riding season and the last thing you want is to scare anyone. MQ01 knew about it and has been very supportive to me via emails but I did ask her to keep it quiet because like I said I din't want to spoil anyone' riding season.
    here is what happened:
    ...I was knocked down from the back by a DUI cager on my way to 7- to grab some pop cans for the boys at home. Before I knew it I found myself on the pavement, broken jaw...no lower palate teeth,forehead bleeding like a pig and a left side and arm that hurt like hell..to top it all off the Hospital did not detect the conccusion on the first go round..so I also ended up being totally depressed (In addition to the physical pain and healing I had to undergo)
    Almost 7 months to get really back on my feet...I am fine now and looking for a new Bike...

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  15. Baron - Thanks for the update. Glad to hear you're recovering/have recovered. Welcome back.

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  16. Very popular bike in NZ - they never seem to wear out.

    Excellent blogspot by the way!

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  17. Dear Canajun:

    Congratulations on acquiring a first class ride for your Missus. The Ascot is thoroughly reliable, full of guts, and fully capable of doing a long-distance trot with verve and panache.

    And it is something of a cult bike. My girlfriendbough a Honda Aero Shadow 750, than immediately bought a Honda Rebel 450 to practice on. The interest in the Rebel 450 (made only for a year or two) was astounding. Customised Rebel 450's were selling for a king's ransom.

    Your wife is likely to have that bike forever. But should she sell it, you get every dime you put into it.

    Congratulations on finding this beautiful motorcycle and for having a steady riding partner.

    Fondest regards,
    Jack • reep • Toad
    Twisted Roads

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  18. Geoff - Thanks for stopping by, and for the compliment. Interesting they'd be so popular down there when it's only very, very rarely you'll see one around here, and even more rarely that one will come up for sale, so I consider myself fortunate to have found it.

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  19. Jack - As per my last comment, it does seem to have something of a cult status, or at least is a rarity in these parts. It certainly looks to be a "keeper" at this point barring unforeseen issues. And it came with a parts bike so spares shouldn't be a problem for most mechanical problems I might encounter.
    Now all we have to do is sit and stare at the snow for another 3 months or so before we get to really try her out.
    Thanks for stopping by.

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  20. WONDERFUL!!! congrats, excellent family addition.

    and ps, baron, its awfully good to see you :)

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  21. Ms. M. - Thanks! Looking forward to getting it on the road once the snow goes :(

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