Gear Cam Drive 15K RPM V4: 1989 Honda VFR400

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This 1989 Honda VFR400R is quite a special bike, being essentially a scaled-down version of its big brother VFR750R homologation special, right down to its 15,000 RPM, gear-driven quad-cam V4, Pro-Arm single-sided swingarm and iconic HRC livery. Designed for and sold primarily for the domestic Japanese market where restrictions made access to larger bikes relatively difficult, these 400-class bikes weren’t quite as quick as 750 variants (making ~60 HP or about half of de-restricted, non-JDM versions of its larger stablemate), but weigh around 40 pounds less and reportedly offer even better handling. This one’s summarized as being in very nice rider condition with 30k original miles and sorted mechanicals. Find it here on Japanese Classics in Richmond, Virginia for $5,500. Special thanks to BaT reader Kyle K. for this submission. The VFR400R was produced from 1986 to 1992, though these third-gen, ’89-on NC30 models are the most sought-after, thanks in large part to twin-headlight styling that mimicked the homologation RC30 VFR750R. This one is especially cool with its likely factory RC30-style HRC livery. The seller admits to a few cosmetic blemishes here and there, and a decent sized gallery of photos show some scratches on the tank but no obvious dents nor any easily noticeable fairing cracks or other damage. No fairing-off photos are provided, so here’s a cutaway of the gem-like 399cc V4, detailing its wonderfully complex gear cam drive. These third-gen models rev to 14,500 and make 59 HP–exactly half of de-restricted, non-Japanese market VFR750R’s. Says the seller: “The electric start allows the bike to easily fire right up. Idle is smooth and the power band is endless with peak torque hitting at 12k while the close ratio 6-speed gearbox shifts flawlessly. The carburetors have been rebuilt and a tune up was just performed.” The cockpit shows some fading and wearing of black painted and anodized parts, possibly suggesting the bike sat out under the sun for a few years–it could probably be cleaned up and restored without too much trouble if you’re looking for perfection, but it’s not distracting. While it’s true Honda built far more 400’s than 750’s (~3,000 made), these smaller bikes offer nearly identical styling and engineering for a fraction of the cost–check out this $38k 750 featured on BaT back in 2011.

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