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OUT OF THE BLUE. A ‘78 Honda CB400T Brat From France’s Bad Winners

Posted on June 26, 2017 by Andrew in Brat, Classic. 9 comments

Clearly, France’s Bad Winners never sleep. Either that, or they have a rather serious amphetamine problem. Why, you ask? Because here you have their third new bike in five weeks. Seriously. This time it’s a superbly timeless Honda CB400T build that looks as good now as it will when cars start flying and mobile phones can out-think you in a chat about French Existentialism. They call it ‘Raw to Raw’. We call it our new addiction.

The Honda rolled into the Bad Winners shop in a very sorry state. Supplied by the client, to say it was in poor condition would be comically underplaying the bike’s condition. Walid and the boys say they knew straight away that they had their work cut out for them.

The inspiration for the build was nothing short of the whole of Honda’s classic bike back catalogue. If it made Soichiro happy, it was on the list. Now combine this with some real-world touches for driver comfort. These included a new Motogadget speedo and a smattering of other electronics to make sure the bike behaved itself as best it could in its new role.

As Walid mentions, the CB400T was essentially a good engine and a nice set of Comstars on an otherwise nondescript bike. So his first post of call was to liven up the rear with a total reworking, mainly with the aim of accommodating a more svelte, streamlined seat than the original frame would allow.

Of course, such major reconstructive surgery meant an engineering challenge in the form of relocated and rebuilding the suspension mounting points. Their new position gives the bike a much more upright, tough-looking stance at the rear when compared to the factory bike’s butt-down design.

Next, a tank from a CB360 was selected for fuel holding duties. While you might think that the swap would be an easy one, it involved cutting and reworking the tank’s interior to make sure it sat above the engine in just the right position and with the correct baseline to ensure the bike’s lines stayed true.

With the aesthetics sorted, Walid took to the engine like a Hollywood studio to a new superhero franchise. All the usual replaceables were looked after, ensuring that the new bike ran as well as it looked. This included a new set of pipes, made right alongside the Honda in the Bad Winner’s workshop. YSS rear shocks were installed, and the front bouncers were refurbished and trimmed of around a third of their original travel to ensure the stance was bang on cool.

Walid notes that the real challenge for him was the frame mods. While the addition of a simple rear hoop arrangement wouldn’t trouble most decent bike builders, moving and/or rebuilding things like suspension mount points requires more nous than your average bear. Get the measurements or engineering wrong with something like that, and you’ll be testing those new Kevlar jeans of yours much sooner than you or your lily-white butt expected.

Walid notes that his favourite part of the finished bike would have to be the way the new rear subframe now sits with the lines and the looks of the CB360 tank. That and the fresh coat of classic seventies Honda metallic blue. Like the bike itself, it seems to look even better than the original ever did. Nice work, Bad Winners. We can’t wait to see what you come up with next week.

Bad WinnersFacebook – Instagram | Photos by Guillaume Petranto ]

  • Andy Rappold

    I like the color . :/

  • E Brown

    A CB400T was my first bike, and I’ve owned two and teeter on owning another out of the kind of nostalgia that comes from associating it with my intro to riding as well as my teens/early 20s. That said, they’re ugly bikes and I’ve yet to see a custom shop make one look good. It’s something of a mystery, really. I’d blame the tank, seat, and Comstars but removing some or all of those elements never seems to help.

  • Dave Coetzee

    I like just about everything about it. A lot of builders mess things up with the shapes of customised mudguards but these are perfect!
    Only the tapered, angled section of frame under the seat, (esp, as per first 2 and last photos) somewhat distorts the nicely executed straight line of the tank & seat.

  • I’d love it for an ‘Monday to Friday’ bike. A little city riding. A little suburbs. Not too much of anything, just a nicely balanced ride with a kickstart to make you look cool/stupid when the mood takes you.

  • Michael Fear

    Very simple but in my opinion could use a rear fender . Where I live we get 65 inches of rain per year . So it’s wet much of the time , just saying 🙂

  • Artigas

    Does anybody have any idea how to get these carbs to work on pods? Mine would not no matter what!

    • tim

      ye, i have pods on mine., and as they let in so much air i just restricted the inside with some air filter material. and cut some fine steel mesh to to hold it in the pods, not for it to be sucked straight into the head.
      pods on mine are just there to clean up the look of the bike rather than trying to boost performance

  • tim

    what a brilliant take on cb400t, . What Tires are on this? 🙂

    • tim

      Avon and Heidenau just seen on your site 🙂 cant wait to see what you build next