Disclaimer: E-Commerce Content is independent of editorial content and we may receive compensation in connection with your purchase of products via links on this page.
Honda posted by

Super Low-Mileage Super Hawk: 1998 Honda VTR1000F For Sale

In the mid-1990s when Ducati was dominating World Superbike racing and the all-important bedroom-wall-fantasy-poster competition, it seemed like everybody wanted to get into the v-twin market and "beat Ducati at its own game." It shouldn't have been that hard, right? I mean, Ducati made fast bikes, but part of why they were so successful in WSB could be dismissed as them simply exploiting rules that gave an advantage to v-twin motorcycles: obviously, 750cc twins can't compete directly with 750cc inline fours in terms of outright power, and the rules allowed a displacement advantage to keep racing relatively equal. But it wasn't as easy as all that, and the short-lived competitors to the Bolognese twins like the Suzuki TL1000R/S and Honda VTR1000F Super Hawk are proof of that.

On paper, it looked like a recipe for success: the Super Hawk was powered by a 996cc 90° v-twin that featured liquid-cooling and four valves per cylinder, so it really was closer in spec to Ducati's 916 but priced closer to their air-cooled 900SS. The half-fairing resembled the Super Sport as well, although the slick side-mounted radiators made it clear this was an altogether more sophisticated machine and of course it used an aluminum beam frame instead of Ducati's signature trellis.

But the problem was a distinct lack of focus: where the 916 was an uncompromising racing machine barely tamed for the road, the VT1000F was much more road-biased. Back when these were new, before Honda introduced the much more aggressive SP1 and SP2, folks did try to take the Super Hawk racing, but it was never really designed for that. The frame was designed to allow controlled flex for better roadholding while cranked over, but it was a bit too limp for racetrack use without significant modification.

Of course, the fact that the Honda Super Hawk wasn't a big sales success doesn't in any way mean it was a bad bike. In fact it was a pretty great bike, aside from the bland styling and stupidly small fuel tank that combined with mediocre mileage to limit range. Fit a set of aftermarket exhausts or run it dead stock, strap a jerrycan to the passenger seat, and just ride the wheels off it! Of course, the big selling point of today's machine is the incredible time-capsule condition, sporting a showroom-new 355 original miles, so this is either a great opportunity for a collector, or for someone who regrets not buying one new and wants to rectify that error now...

From the original eBay listing: 1998 Honda VTR1000F Super Hawk for Sale

Here is your chance to buy a new bike at a used bike price. I have for auction a 1998 Honda VTR1000F Super hawk, with only 355 total miles! Bike was ridden by the original owner for just a few hundred miles, then stored in his living room. Bike is in excellent condition, with only a few minor scratches (as pictured). New battery, with carbs and tank inspected and it runs great.

Part of the appeal of the Super Hawk is the famed Honda reliability and the Honda practicality, so it's a shame about that tiny tank, but considering the low prices these have been commanding for years, you're still looking at a lot of bike for the money. You might not get Ducati looks, but you get throaty v-twin sounds, excellent road-biased handling, decent comfort, and good reliability. This is a no reserve auction and bidding is pretty low so far, but active and creeping steadily upwards so I'll be curious to see where the bidding stops.

-tad

19 Comments

  • Totally underrated bike and probably one of the best values in motorcycling right now.

  • I agree. Great street bike and a great chance to pick up one that is not even broken in. And it will probably go cheap!

  • Didn’t these have the largest set of carburetors ever fitted to a motorcycle?

    • I think they were at the time, assuming “production motorcycle” of course. Probably part of why fuel consumption was so mediocre.

  • Rode one once and the engine sounds lazy and bored, then you look down and realize you’re already going plenty-five mph.

  • The real story behind Ducati’s V twin WSB victories was the rules where skewed towards the small Italian manufacturer.

    IOW, the FIM stacked the deck in Ducati’s favor. Note, the moment Honda released a homologated V twin they destroyed Ducati and then surprise, surprise – the FIM changed the rules again 😉

    The Superhawk is the perfect big V-twin street bike, the RC51 is really the perfect V-twin race bike of the era.

    • As always, we appreciate your input and you’ve accurately summed up the politics of WSB, but I’m not sure how that’s “the real story” since I pretty much said the same thing, with less editorializing. Which part of “but part of why they were so successful in WSB could be dismissed as them simply exploiting rules that gave an advantage to v-twin motorcycles” isn’t the real story? I mean, Ducati certainly did have an advantage because of the rules, but they also had good riders and a great handling bike. Honda proved the point you make by winning their first year out with the RC51, but then Ducati won the following year, then Honda won again the following year by a slim margin. “Destroyed” sounds more like an opinion than an actual fact, since their decisive win wasn’t repeated.

      Interestingly, my original draft touched on the disproportionate leverage Ducati has always wielded with racing organizations, given their relatively small size, but it seemed a little off-topic for a Super Hawk post. And “the RC51 is really the perfect V-twin race bike of the era”? Really? That’s… one opinion. I agree with you on the Super Hawk though: hugely underrated.

  • When these came out, I was 24. This was way too boring for me at that age. Just not cool enough. But now, at 45, this bike looks very nice. Now I’m more into comfort over performance. Funny how time changes perception. I’m a bidder on EBay right now. Best of luck to all the buyers and seller.

    • It looks like a REALLY clean example. Good luck!

  • You guys are nuts. They were a turd. No character at all and devoid of all soul. Think of the other V-Twins available at the time and honestly tell me you craved one of these. They are the VFR of the V-Twin world and the price quite rightly reflects it. Doesn’t float my boat all all I’m afraid

    • You said it mate – the VFR of the V-twin world. You may not appreciate the irony of your protest 🙂
      That is what makes the Superhawk so good. It was the VFR of the V-twin world!

  • Love this bike. Like the styling and the sound. I’ve owned Ducati’s in the past and currently own a Ducati Monster and a 2002 SuperHawk. 🙂 I just couldn’t decide. They are very different but both appeal to me in a different way. Of course I’m not a younger guy, so maybe it’s just my nostalgia for these older bikes.

  • Plenty-five. Love that. hahaha..

    I was totally going to say this is the VFR/Interceptor of the twin world. In my opinion not at all a bad thing. I loved both of the VFR’s I had the pleasure of owning.

    I also had an RC-51 as a track day bike. It was sooo fun.

    The point being – variety (for me at least) is what keeps it interesting.

  • I definitely disagree with the rules being skewed towards Ducati – at least in the early days of the 851/888. They were NOTHING against the big 4 from Japan in racing at the time. I can still remember the first time I heard Doug Polen approaching the Nissan bridge at Road Atlanta. Good stuff.

    • Homologation rules where skewed towards the smaller Euro manufacturers not needing to make many vehicles to allow special parts to be used as a base for a stock race series and then permitting in-between homologation models that didn’t need to meet sales quotas.

      Note Ducati would release homologation specials every time an Italian engineer had wine with lunch – the big 4 had to choose carefully when to up the game with super unique parts hence the very few true homologation bikes from the big 4 – they just produced stock bikes that where good enough to represent the brand. When Honda did step up with the RC51/SP1 the chassis was good enough to win out of the gate. That is why I say that Honda crushed Ducati with the RC51. First year victories are crushing 🙂

      I only bring this race heritage up because the Superhawk is often maligned and compared to the Ducati race success and dismissed because it had none..

      The Superhawk was never intended to be the race bike, that’s what the RC45 was for. Who ever buys this bike will grow to love it.

    • I read an article way back when about the Super Hawk and a team racing it, and they had to make a LOT of modifications for it to work. It was designed as a road bike and it’s great at that. When it was introduced, everyone expected [or Honda pitched it as, not sure which] a “Ducati killer” and in that light it’s disappointing. But it’s pretty clear it was never designed for that and, aside from limited range, it’s a really good bike. I even think the looks have aged pretty well. It’s a little bland, but still handsome.

  • I agree – it’s the twin cylinder VFR after all! 🙂 Gonna make someone very happy for very few $$$.

    But it is fun to talk about the racing side of things and the argument can always be made that for any sporty motorcycle the development of much of the key design elements are derived from racing.

    Manufacturers and sanctioning body relationships and favoritism is a slippery slope for sure. Plenty of angles on that story line. But I would prefer that they make some allowances to encourage more manufacturers to compete. Especially at the world championship level. I would have liked to have seen Harley had more success with the AMA effort too and potentially morph the project into the WSBK level. Who cares if the governing body gives them a little leeway to break into the game against the dominant supplier? It’s still down to way more than just the machine. Now granted most ‘Harley’ people don’t give a shit about road racing and many don’t even care about flat track which is the series they have dominated for years. With ‘help’ as some would say from the sanctioning body. Outlawed 2 strokes when Yamaha came to the party. I mean – have a spec series already which is pretty much what you end up with. z z z z z.

  • Tad, you do have a point. I recall that Moriwaki had a complete line of parts to take the VTR racing. Carbon bodywork, cams, valves, fuel & airbox system, exhaust that I believe could be paired up with the HRC ignition. Or you could just send them a cheque for about 4 million yen and they would drench a VTR in Moriwaki parts add lots of secret sauce and deliver a complete race bike.

    Even Honda of Britain had to base their WSB Firestorms on the Moriwaki engine, carbs and other bits due to the lack of HRC kits.

    But with such minimal HRC support and with HRC’s momentum and effort behind RC45 2.0 with conventional swing-arm and ridiculously expensive suspension components it was left to the hopefuls and privateers to try field “race” VTR1000 Firestorms.

    Which is perhaps a blessing in disguise – it means that not every VTR1000F was thrashed to bits and ended up gutted for club racing use. Many seem to have survived and survived well – so now 20 years later they can be more appreciated as the masterful street bikes they are. Leaving many RC51’s and SP2s thrashed to bits LOL

  • eBay is listing this one as SOLD for $3,401.

    Congrats to the new owner on a sweet ride!

    -Mike

Search

Subscribe by Email

Get all our new posts delivered to your email automatically. Spam free! Enter your email address:

FB Like Box

Archives