The Stallions Centaur CT400 is a product between Stallions Motorcycles Thailand and one of the largest Chinese motorcycle manufacturer Shineray Motorcycles. The engine is a 400cc air-cooled overhead cam four-valve single cylinder, that has a lot technical resemblance to the engine of the Honda XBR500 from the '80s, of course some things have changed. To clean up exhaust emissions, the engine now has electronic fuel injection, and small catalysts converters are hiding inside those authentic-retro-looking exhaust pipes.
The engine also has lost a bit displacement, as the Stallions Centaur CT400 is powered by a 398cc – and is in a very mild state of tune, giving you about 29 horsepower and 30Nm torque.
Everything is housed in a thoroughly conventional tubular-steel frame suspended by non-adjustable 35mm forks and twin rear shocks (which do have pre-load adjustment), with a single 280mm disc and rear drum brake.
Simplicity is the theme, which continues with the styling – a pleasing combination of '60s British and '70s Japanese that hits the nostalgic spot, right down to details like gaitered forks and ribbed black seat with white piping.
Once you're aboard, the motorcycle is small, slim and lightweight enough to feel more like a 250cc than a 400cc. That first impression is confirmed once you get going, because it's nicely balanced and very easy to control, with friendly manners. The riding position is upright and undemanding and in fact proved quite comfortable over a good long ride.
The rev counter gives the promises a 10,000rpm limit, but it's not even on flirting terms with the truth, as power maxes out at 7,000rpm and an ignition cut-out starts doing its thing at 8,500rpm. The good news is that there's no need to even venture that far, because torque peaks at 5,500rpm, and there's enough of it to propel the lightweight Stallions Centaur CT400 along at a fair rate.
The mid-range is strong enough to accelerate out of 40km/h or open corners in top gear, so this is a relaxing motorcycle to have fun on that doesn't demand a lot of gear changing. If you insist, it will creep up to an indicated 135km/h, but by then the wind-blast makes the ride less comfortable, laid-back 105km/h cruising is more its natural habitat, the engine smooth enough at that speed; vibes come in a higher revs when it's working hard.
On the streets of Bangkok, everything works as it should. The suspension might be basic, but it does the job, and wide handlebars coupled with low weight make the Stallions Centaur CT400 an easy motorcycle to flick around. The tires didn't give any nasty moments on damp and lumpy roads, and the whole thing inspires confidence. Except the front brake, which despite having a four-pot caliper feels more retro than we would like – probably a aftermarket braided hose will help…
The Stallions Centaur CT400 also impresses in town; slim enough to slip past the traffic light queues, and grunty enough to keep ahead when the lights change. The steering lock's good, the engine is smooth which all bodes well for city life.
Of course, the question mark is over how the Stallions Centaur CT400 will stand up to commuting on a daily base, though I have to say it does all look pretty good quality stuff, and many of the bolts are stainless steel. Time will tell…
However that turns out, the Stallions Centaur CT400 shouldn't cost and arm and a leg to run. The low power won't have you queuing up for new tires every 9,000 kilometers, and we have the impression that fuel consumption is low.
Is the Stallions Centaur CT400 worth buying? Well, if the price is as suggested below 140,000 THB it's a lot cheaper than a Yamaha SR400. The recently reborn Yamaha SR400 is very similar, with power , torque, weight, performance and riding experience, but without the huge price ticket.