A show-worthy graduation present from Never Ending Cycles…
The Honda CB400F is one of our favorite Honda fours of the 1970s, a café-styled machine that sported a high-revving 408cc inline four and one of the most gorgeous factory exhausts ever designed.
“The 400F was actually a replacement for the CB350 Four, a bike that Soichiro Honda himself declared at the time to be ‘the finest, smoothest Honda ever built.'” –Motorcycle Classics
Fortunately, the CB400F was significantly faster, with Cycle World clocking a quarter-mile time of 14.1 seconds compared to the CB350F’s lackluster 15.9 seconds — quite the difference! While the two-strokes of the era were faster, the 400 Four oozed charisma, and few production machines better captured the high-revving character of Honda’s exotic small-displacement, multi-cylinder GP bikes.
The ’75 Honda CB400F Super Sport you see here grabbed our attention at the 2022 Handbuilt Show, and just recently at Mama Tried Show 2023. Nicknamed “The Graduate,” it was built by Ben Schattschneider of Oconomowoc, Wisconsin’s Never Ending Cycles, who’s been riding and wrenching on his own bikes since he was 18.
“We recently moved out of our garage into a 6000 sq-ft shop that will allow us to continue to build our brand and make our shop a ride-in destination for all motorcycle lovers.”
As “The Graduate” nickname implies, the bike was built as a graduation present from a father to his son. Highlights include a GSX-R front end with Tokico brakes, custom-laced Warp9 wheels with powder-coated spokes, NEC Tech electronics, Tuffside custom seat to match the custom tail, and a gorgeous blue and satin white livery.
Thankfully Ben decided to retain the iconic 4-into-1 “waterfall” header, matched with an aftermarket silencer. And while some of you won’t like the Firestone tires, they were a customer request.
While the bike is a joy to ride, a feast for the eyes, and has been invited to two of the nation’s most prestigious shows, Ben says he’s proudest of the relationships the bike has forged:
“It’s a very ‘pretty’ bike, but our favorite part of this build has to be the friendship we have created with the owners: Jim, Stephanie, and Slade. We built them a bike and it’s now been in two shows… We never set out to build a show bike, but here we are.”
Below, we talk to Ben for the full story on “The Graduate.”
Honda 400 Four Café Racer: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
As a child my father bought us a Yamaha three-wheeler…and it all started there. I’ve owned and wrenched on my own motorcycle since I was 18. I’ve always done my own mechanic work from fixing small engines to replacing engines in cars. It wasn’t until built and sold my first cafe racer that I was hooked.
We have built and delivered bikes across the country and have made several good friends along the way. We recently moved out of our garage into a 6000 sq-ft shop that will allow us to continue to build our brand and make our shop a ride-in destination for all motorcycle lovers.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the donor bike?
1975 Honda CB400F Super Sport.
• Why was this bike built?
This bike was started by a father and son from Kansas. After a long phone call with the father, he decided it was a bit more than they could handle, so he commissioned us to build it.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
We knew that the customer wanted a few key items: Firestone tires, clip-on bars, cafe tail etc. The overall design and concept came along as I was building it. The major influence was I was building this bike for essentially two people, and they had different ideas.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
The bike has an ’06 GSX-R conversion front end, Cognito Moto front hub and stock rear laced to Warp9 rims. Spokes were powder-coated satin white in our shop.
Dash consists of a custom NEC GPS gauge and integrated indicator lights on the top clamp. We chose to use the beautiful stock 4-into-1 head pipes and finished it off with a wide-mouth cone muffler.
The bike was completely rewired using our NEC Tech controller and reg/rec with a lithium battery hidden under the seat tail.
Custom one-off paint work, in a beautiful blue and satin white combo, finished off with the Tuffside seat and matching grips.
• Does the bike have a nickname?
The bike was built as a graduation present for the owner. It is properly named “the Graduate.”
• Any idea of horsepower, weight, and/or performance numbers?
The bike in its stock form would be around 37-hp and weigh in around 390lbs. I would guess with the mods we made, it should have around 40-42hp and cut its weight to about 320lbs.
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride this bike?
This bike has a cafe stance with the clip on bars giving the rider the feeling of a race-inspired bike. It sounds amazing with the exhaust setup and you can brake with one finger because of the Tokico calipers. It’s a very fun bike to ride.
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
We are very proud of the fact that the customers left it in our hands. I went out on a limb with the white spokes and fortunately they loved the look. It’s a very “pretty” bike, but our favorite part of this build has to be the friendship we have created with the owners: Jim, Stephanie, and Slade. We built them a bike and it’s now been in two shows and two write-ups. We never set out to build a show bike, but here we are.
• Is there anyone you’d like to thank?
I’d like to thank the owners, Jim and Slade; my beautiful partner in crime Jess; Chris at Tuffside for the great seat; and all of those people who believe in me, even when I don’t.