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.
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.
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.
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!
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.