Honda NS 400R

 

 

 

Make Model

Honda NS 400R

Year

1985-86

Engine

Two stroke, 90°V-three cylinder, reed valve

Capacity

387 cc / 23.6 cu-in
Bore x Stroke 57 x 50.6 mm
Cooling System Liquid cooled
Compression Ratio 6.7:1

Induction

3x 26mm Keihin carburetors

Ignition 

CDI 
 Starting Kick

Max Power

 72 hp / 52.5 kW @ 9500 rpm 

Max Power Rear Tyre

59 hp @ 8500 rpm

Max Torque

5.1 kgf-m @ 8000 rpm

Transmission 

6 speed 
Final Drive Chain
Gear Ratio 1st 2.500  / 2nd 1.714 / 3rd 1.333 / 4th 1.111 / 5th 0.965 / 6th 0.866
Frame Double cradle

Front Suspension

Air assisted forks. adjustable anti-dive
Front Wheel Travel 120 mm / 4.7 in

Rear Suspension

Pro-link adjustable preload
Rear Wheel Travel 100 mm / 3.9 in

Front Brakes

2x 256mm discs 2 piston calipers

Rear Brakes

Single 220mm disc 2 piston caliper

Front Tyre

100/90 -16

Rear Tyre

110/90 -17
Dimensions Length 2065 mm / 81.2 in
Width   720 mm / 28.3 in
Height  1150 mm / 45.2 in
Wheelbase 1385 mm / 54.5 in
Seat Height 780 mm / 30 in

Dry Weight

163 kg / 259.3 lbs
Wet Weight 183 kg / 403.4 lbs

Fuel Capacity

19 Litres / 5.02 US gal

Consumption Average

30 mpg

Standing ¼ Mile  

13.03 sec / 164.2 km/h

Top Speed

202 km/h

 

 

In 1983 Freddie Spencer, riding for Honda, became the youngest 500cc World Champion ever. Two years later, in belated celebration, Honda released the NS400, a bike claimed to be a road-going replica of Spencer's machine. The result is a fast, small, very light, two-stroke sports bike, beautifully finished with quite outstanding handling and road-holding. It may be 100cc smaller and considerably less powerful than the brutal all-or-nothing factory racer but they genuinely do have enough in common to warrant the Grand Prix replica tag. Like the racer, the NS400 is a liquid-cooled, three cylinder two-stroke of an unusual configuration, a V3.

 

 

The outer pair of cylinders are arranged forwards and down with a vertical middle cylinder. It is a light, narrow unit, no wider than a parallel twin. The 90 degree, V3 layout allows the chassis to be kept extremely compact. Mounted in a lightweight aluminium box-section frame, the engine weight is low and carried forward to give a good centre of gravity. The carburettors are carefully arranged inside the V to keep the engine short, hence the wheelbase can be kept short too. Weighing only 3591b with a 54.5in wheel-base, the NS is the lightest and quickest bike in its class. It is fast, nimble and responsive. You can change lines on it as quickly as on a genuine racer.

Unlike many sporting two-strokes, the power the NS makes is not that peaky or rough. Honda use their own version of an exhaust power valve called AT AC (auto-controlled torque amplification chambers) on the front two cylinders to help the power spread at low revs. Even so there is little or no acceleration below 5,000rpm but there is a gradual build up between 5,000 and 7,000rpm, at which point it starts accelerating Ike crazy, screaming revs all the way to the redline. Surprisingly, it does this smoothly. If any two-stroke can be said to have manners, then the NS has more than most.

 

 

Peak power is at 10,000rpm, and it falls away immediately afterwards. Kept on the boil between 7,000 and 10,000rpm through six close gears, it is an indecently quick bike. Anywhere between 50 and 100ph, typically piling on the speed out of a comer, it will embarrass even 1000cc machines with the sheer fury of its acceleration.

There is no point in having a 130mph 400 unless you can regularly use all the performance, nailing the power to the ground with confidence. Fortunately, Honda have designed the perfect rolling chassis for their potent motor.

On road or track, the handling is always sharp and precise. The steering is quick and comfortable and the bike has excellent brakes.

 

 The only limit to its road-

holding seems to be the edge of the tyres. While other two-strokes display hesitant, unconfident handling with the power often being snappy, vicious and unsettling, the little Honda is an integrated, professional sports machine. Beautiful to look at and dazzling in performance, the NS400 is a worthy replica of a championship-winning bike. The worst thing you can say about it is that it is a shame they did not make it a 500. As it is, the NS is exciting and pretty near faultless.