buying guide – June 2011
There is an old saying “buy the best
you can find, not the best you can afford”, and never
has this been more true.
I have been buying 400’s since the late 90’s and
to date (early 2011) I must have bought and sold around 8 NC30’s
and 3 RVF’s for myself, and many more for friends over
the years, and a close eye on the bikes for sale on the forum,
and through the usual channels, it gives you a good gut feel
of what bikes are really selling for in real world conditions.
As such I feel I have a good idea of the state of the market.
The quality of used bikes has deteriorated quite noticeably
over the last 5 years. Back in 2005-6 it was easy to find a
good original used NC30, in excellent running order, good cosmetic
condition and ready to ride and enjoy for anywhere between £1000
- £1500 depending on where about’s in the country
you are. RVF’s again for between £1800 – £2500,
sadly those days are long gone. With the prices of 250 strokers
rocketing, and the 400 becoming “trendy” again to
owners of big bikes looking for something “fun or collectable”
prices are on the rise. Sadly the quality is on the decline
so keep reading it may provoke some thought before hitting the
“buy it now” button.
in 2011, the bikes on offer are not only far and few between
but also the quality of the bikes on offer has dropped to the
extent where most are quite possibly a money pit.
Depending on the bike you are after then I hope the following
will aid in spotting a dog over a good value useable enjoyable
for the NC30
as a rough guide based on the current market then expect to
pay between £400 - £5000
if you want a NC30 then you can pick a basket case job for
as little as £400 which will be missing
a lot of parts, perhaps not run properly or just be a complete
rusted hound ready to be broken for parts or launched in a
skip ready to take it’s place in landfill.
At the other end of the spectrum – say a nice late M
plate example, 20 – 30k on its clocks, couple of mature
owners since import, well looked after, original plastics
and paint, sensible mods, in excellent running order and ready
to ride and enjoy – then up to £2500 or
more wouldn’t be too far off the mark.
However a nice low miles and owners, original UK spec bike
would be worth quite a lot more. It doesn’t actually
mean it’s a better bike – but collectors and enthusiasts
prize them highly and they seem to be the pinnacle of NC30
Prices for the NC35
Again as a rough guide, prices are anywhere between £1000
- £4000 in the real world.
Ex trackbikes with knackered plastics or aftermarket kits,
scruffy and neglected bikes can be found for around a £1000
or slightly more. Good original examples upto £4000
can be found in dealers quite often, however in the
real world very few actually sell for the list price (to UK
The RVF in the mid 00’s always seemed to command high
prices over the NC30, but things have changed a bit of late,
with NC30’s being more sought after (and a lot easier
to sell) by collectors and buyers with deep pockets over the
So what goes wrong with the
Honda V4’s then ?
It may be a Honda, and look like a hand crafted
and built based on the RC30 or RC45 but that’s about
it. Sure the NC30 quality is truly excellent and even to a
standard back then the NC30 was way above anything else of
the era (not quite the same with the 35 though) but things
still go wrong and they have their fair share of faults /
Electrical niggles are a favorite.
• Rectifier’s are typical early 90’s Honda
and as such – crap frankly. Even a genuine replacement
will let you down within 5 years. Best replace with an aftermarket
item like an electrex or even search the forum on fitting
a 02 Yamaha R6 item (snip the connector and swop the 2 main
• Burnt out headlamp switch on switchgear – mainly
because people fit a standard 55/60w headlamp bulbs without
a relay, the extra current cooks the switch over time.
• Failed generators and windings, which in turn with
a knackered rectifier will boil or flatten a battery in no
time. Replace with an aftermarket rewind or genuine part.
• Batterys – the little V4 can consume a cheap
ebay battery within 3 years if little used or there are other
issues with the charging system.
• Radiators – often rotten and full of mud and
filth. If your 400 runs hot, then remove the rads, soak in
water for a couple of days and clean as much filth out of
the fins as possible. Be careful using a jetwash, bent fins
are easily made worse ! Replacement is the only cure if too
far gone, and budget upto £250 for a new lower radiator
or more !
• Carb’s – ah the fickle V4 can be a pain
to setup correctly. Once versed with the ins and outs of the
miniature V4 its not really a hard job. However mid range
flat spots are common with worn or badly adjusted carb’s,
and once clogged after a period of stainding, prepare for
a lot of work.
• Brakes can seize, calipers esp the rear can seize
on bikes not used for long periods.
• Butchered rear hub adjusters after 20 previous owners
have adjusted cheap chains with a hammer and screwdriver on
the eccentric adjuster.
• Aftermarket junk– let’s be honest, we
are all different, someone idea of neons on a bike being cool
is another man’s nightmare – esp when coupled
with some interesting taps into the loom and liberal use of
• Front wheels can buckle easily in a spill and as such
give the effect or worn discs – however
• Discs can wear rapidly, but before you replace make
sure it’s not actually the wheel that’s off.
More . . . . .