Originally Posted by tkent02
They are not vastly better. Quite a bit faster, better brakes, some have nicer suspension, some don't. Maybe ABS. Some newer bikes are lighter, but a lot of them are not. The suspension and brakes can be upgraded on the old bikes, quit inexpensively. Newer bikes require less maintenance, but they are not more reliable. (unless you choose not to do the required maintenance)
Look, I'm an old bike fan too (I have a CB750K1 and a CBX), but I don't think anybody riding a CB400F back-to-back with a CB500F wouldn't came away absolutely astounded with how much better the new bike is. It's like night and day.
BTW, I owned two 400Fs too, and it was a great bike to look at and trundle around on now and then, but by today's standards, it was a total POS with miniscule power, a wooden disc brake in front and a hair-trigger drum in back, terrible suspension (especially fork compliance), etc. While it was one of the smoothest bikes of its era, it has the characteristic inline-four buzz and would be considered a relatively vibey bike if sold today.
Old is great and if you like the simplicity and basic nature, go for it - a bike like the CB400F can certainly be an everyday bike or even a touring bike if you want. But it just is not even on the same page in overall functionality.... a CB400F compares to a CB500F about like a 1975 Honda Civic compares to a new one.