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Honda posted by

Honda Gone Wild – 1990 Honda Hawk GT 650

Image 1 - 1990 Honda Hawk GT 650

Honda Hawk GT 650

To the untrained eye, this bike can easily be mistaken for an SV650 or GS500. The exposed aluminum frame and body lines are definitely similar but the single-sided swingarm is a dead giveaway.

I would’ve loved to sit in the room with the marketing and engineers teams who opted to move forward with the Hawk because it certainly must’ve been an interesting conversation. Regardless, I think Honda had nailed the right combination of engine, chassis, and aesthetic much earlier than some of the other manufacturers.

Image 8 - 1990 Honda Hawk GT 650

The side profile reveals a couple interesting aspects of the Hawk. First, the design is very clean and subtle. Everything is tidy and there is nothing that looks like an after thought. The next piece I found unique was the riding position. The pegs are up and slightly back and the bars are fairly low and far from the seat. While the bars can be adjusted, it was clear Honda wanted to make this a capable canyon carver. An extremely narrow profile makes it easy for anyone to easily transfer weight and move around on the bike. The final and most intriguing aspect is the use of a single-sided swingarm. Single-sided swingarms are synonymous with European makes and Honda. Honda definitely has the engineering know-how to execute this but it’s odd they chose to actually use one.

Image 81 - 1990 Honda Hawk GT 650

The most vulnerable spec for the Hawk is the power. ~40 hp to the wheel is nothing to write home about but this is a relatively old motor that lived in the Shadow 500 before it found a home in the Hawk. Coming in a bit over 400 lbs wet didn’t help the Hawk’s case but as a total package there is an argument to be made.

Image 21 - 1990 Honda Hawk GT 650

No action on this auction which starts at $3K. Considering the mileage, condition, and price this could be a very interesting addition to any collection. Any aged Honda is pretty cool if you ask me. If you’re expecting crazy values in the future I wouldn’t hold my breath but it’s hard to go wrong for $3K.

-Norm

6 Comments

  • Had one about 10 years ago. Lord, is the thing slow and several time on the ride home I was looking for sixth gear which didn’t exist. Cool looks, so if you’re a city rider or tight mountain roads, it’s perfect but don’t think you’re going to feel comfortable about 70mph.

  • Before the sv650 these were the best entry level middle weight. It was the exact opposite of a 1970s bike. Instead of too much power and not enough chassis (brakes and suspension), it just lacked for motor. Always found it ironic that this is a smaller displavcement Honda Pacific coast motor. That bike (i had one infact), was also uninspiring in the engine bay. I still can’t fathom why anyone would go with a 3 valve head… guess that is why you see some many of those on bikes today, right?!

  • Still love the Hawk GT, as does a well-attended Hawk forum. The chassis is sublime and the bike flicks easily. An excellent starting track bike with proper tires and suspension.

  • I made my own fuel tank to fix it’s largest liability–it hits reserve at 90mi on a full tank of gas (now 130mi). New rear shock, gold emulators out front, and bone stock engine and it’s bulletproof and great fun. A 17tooth front makes highways not-so-terrible, but it’s not a bike for eating up long stretches of highway. The Hawk is never too slow–it’s always the rider that’s too slow.

  • Wow, i forgot about that tank capacity. At a trackday it must be 2 sessions and a refill. Hmm, or maybe not. Maybe a 45 hp motor at redline all day is less thirsty.

  • And it has a centerstand. Not sure but thinking that was a Honda accessory. I had a Honda CB-1 and bought one for it from honda. Great thing but not commonly found on these bikes. Nice bonus if you are a chainlubing type owner.

    Damn, i sound like I am trying to talk myself into another bike…

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