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Proto-Monster: Low-Mileage 1989 Honda Hawk GT for Sale

1989 Honda Hawk GT R Side

Available for just three years here in the USA, between 1988 to 1991, the Honda Hawk GT sold pretty poorly. Introduced in an era when American buyers were snapping up fully-faired sportbikes, the Hawk was slower, more conventional-looking, and fairly expensive, so buyers here just weren’t sure what to make of it. Exactly what was it supposed to be? A sportbike? The basic suspension and single front disc limited ultimate performance. A safe, boring commuter? There were plenty of more economical options available. A bike for posing? The looks were far too plain to really impress if showing-off was your goal, considering you could get a racy CBR600 Hurricane for just a few hundred more.

1989 Honda Hawk GT L Side Rear

But the devil is in the details, and although the Hawk looks like one of the ubiquitous UJMs that were so familiar to riders who grew up in the 70s and 80s, it’s pretty clearly something special upon closer inspection. First of all, that rear swingarm: hey, where’s the other half! Unless you’d recently come across an NC or RC30, Honda’s Elf-designed “Pro-Arm” single-sided swingarm would have appeared impossibly exotic in the late 1980s. And instead of an inline-four, the Hawk used a 647cc 52° v-twin with single overhead cams and three valves per cylinder that produced 58hp.

1989 Honda Hawk GT Dash

They’re a bit small physically, but they’re also narrow and pretty light: the package weighed in at just 370lbs dry and, in stock form, the Hawk GT makes a killer canyon bike, with more than enough performance to embarrass much larger machines. It also offers up a very appealing and durable blank canvas on which you can paint your dream machine. Backroad blaster, trackday special, commuter, or cheap do-it-all sporty, a Hawk can be any or all of these. Throw on the front end from a CBR for improved suspension and dual front brakes, along with a CBR900 shock and a VFR rear wheel for wider rubber, add a fairing and a carbon-fiber tank to create a track-day special or surprisingly competent race bike.

1989 Honda Hawk GT R Side Rear

From the original eBay listing: 1989 Honda NT650 Hawk GT for Sale

This is about as nice a Hawk as you are ever to find. This bike is almost entirely original; except the gorgeous Muzzy Exhaust Pipe and some cool aftermarket side view mirrors. The bike has very low miles. The condition of the bike confirms the low mileage; it is near perfect. This bike starts easily but does require a bit of time to warm up. Once warm it pulls easily. The bike feels very light and flickable. It almost dares you to push harder. I have five beautiful Hondas but this one always makes me smile the widest! 

1989 Honda Hawk GT L Side Front

The Honda Hawk GT was really a bike ahead of its time: it took the Ducati Monster and Triumph Speed Triple to make naked bikes cool again, and the Hawk isn’t nearly as sexy as those machines, so values have remained low. But plenty of people shop with their head as well as their heart, and the little Hawk has developed a very strong cult following. Nice examples can be had for around $3,000 but this bike is priced far above that: the Buy It Now price is $6,500.00 with the reserve not met at $1,525.00. That’s big, big money for a Hawk, but this example is as perfect as you’re ever likely to find outside of a dusty crate in an abandoned warehouse. These bikes were made to be ridden, and ride them their owners do. Except for this one, apparently: it has just 4,355 miles from new.

-tad

1989 Honda Hawk GT L Side

8 Comments

  • These were really cool bikes, one in particular showed up at portland (pir) with a 2 bros kit and rc 30 bodywork, and the fuc&%in thin was bloody fast, like a buck fifty or there abouts if I remember right… Brilliant!

  • great bike, and pretty neat garage, seems like all the bikes are on eBay…

  • I raced against these in the ’90’s. If they could be made fast, they weren’t for long – offset crankpins without a center support had these things littering the track with oil & metal on a regular basis. Nice street bikes, though.

  • I have three Hawks in my garage… None of them are for sale.

  • I have an ’89 and not planning on selling mine anytime soon. Comparable mileage and condition. Slow but entertaining on the street. Would be fun racing as long as everyone was on equally slow machinery! As was said above with a CBR F2 front fork, upgrade front brakes, VFR 800 rear wheel with proper size sticky rubber, good CBR or Fox/ Ohlins/ Penske shock…you have yourself a really awesome handling cafe’ racer with some really clean lines. It gets attention everywhere it goes. Which is funny because in 1989 these bikes were apparently ignored. The Hawk would run circles around my Thruxton in the handling dept…that bike’s hinge in the middle was damn scary.

  • The eighties were an interesting time at Honda – they tried a bunch of designs, seemingly trying to figure out what these Americans (and others) wanted. And like you say Tad, with the NT650 they seemed to be competing with themselves. Apparently the world wanted the inline four with strangely painted bodywork. Or maybe they just tolerated the awful paint jobs because the bikes were so good. Then in 1993, Ducati came out with the V-twin Monster, a real hit, followed by Suzuki in 1999 with the SV650, probably the best all around middleweight ever made. What seems odd to me is that the other manufacturers didn’t follow. I guess by the nineties it was apparent that the market wanted liter bikes, but I’ve always thought that an updated Honda NT650 would have been well received, given the incredible sales that Suzuki and Ducati were enjoying with their twins.
    But the Hawk’s biggest flaw was it’s lack of power – 58hp claimed was really more like 50hp. Mine’s got intake and exhaust mods and a mild set of cams and is probably good for 60hp.

    • Exactly. And unfortunately the Super Hawk, while nice, was not all that Super or Hawk.

  • I was around when these came out in the 80’s. These were oddballs then and now. Excellent build quality and cool looking frame. But that’s about it. No bodywork, no power, and no brakes, but high price tag. If “CBR’d” them, they were ok. Most people just bought the CBR.

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