Undoubtedly a modern day Japanese classic bike, the Honda VFR400 NC30 is a jewel of a motorcycle. To all intents and purposes a scaled down version of its big brother the iconic (and now very expensive) Honda RC30, the VFR400 features a 399cc V4 motor with gear driven cams, four 34mm Keihin carbs, and in standard form produces just shy of 60bhp with a 14500rpm rev limit. By today’s standards 60bhp is nothing to shout about, but it is as a complete package that the little NC30 really shines. The chassis features a monoshock rear end with Honda’s Pro-Arm single sided swingarm and 41mm inverted forks. Standard wheels were 17 inch front and 18 inch rear. With a dry weight of just 170Kg and a short wheelbase, a good VFR400 handles beautifully, and on a twisty road a well ridden NC30 will keep up with just about anything even today.
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With the usual Honda reputation for quality and reliability a good used NC30 can make a great buy, but tread carefully before parting with your cash. The NC30 is quite a sophisticated little bike that rewards careful maintenance, and many owners may have ignored this. They are not the simplest of machines to maintain and VFR400 parts can be expensive. Good original plastics are very hard to find, so many bikes will have had a race replica paintjob by now.
The popularity of the little VFR to club racers means that some may have had a previous hard life as a track bike, so check carefully for obvious signs such as evidence of previously lockwired parts and poorly repaired crash damage. A good one will reward a caring owner with a lot of fun without spending a fortune, but a buying a cheap VFR400 NC30 can lead to heartache. A damaged project bike might sound like a great idea, but this is one bike where buying the very best you can afford will pay dividends in the long run. If you are in any doubt, have it professionally inspected before you buy.