NC30/35 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 bike.

Prices for the NC30

Now 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 ownership.

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 buyers anyway)
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 later NC35.

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 / quirks.

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 wires around)
• 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 gaffa tape.
• 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.

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