Honda brought out the Hawk GT (codenamed RC31) in 1988 and discontinued it in 1991 after disappointing sales. The Hawk was a pretty advanced bike for its time; alloy perimeter frame, cast alloy single-side swingarm, sub-400 lbs, in a sporty, naked motorcycle. But it was expensive, it cost nearly as much as a CB600 and had only a 650cc twin with less horsepower than the CB's four banger. Today things have gone 180 degrees the other way, the Hawk is a cult bike often selling for more used than it did new, while and old CB is just that, old.

I bought my Italian Red 1989 in 1991, it was a new leftover the dealer was anxious to be rid of. It's had a fairly interesting life. It's been tinkered with almost from new, initially with a Supertrap pipe, steel brake lines and other easy stuff. I used it to tour a little, rode it on a two week trip to Canada. After a bit I found myself with a couple of other motorcycles, a BMW and a Transalp. My friend Frank in NJ convinced me to sell it to him as I wasn't riding it that much. Several years later, after he'd also talked me out of the Transalp, I stopped in to see him. Frank said he wasn't riding the Hawk, saw I bought it back - for $1 less, I wanted to make a profit on the deal!

Since returning home it has been treated to a few more changes: A new front suspension has been built with cartridge emulators and Progressive springs, I adapted a Tokico 6-piston caliper to a bigger 320mm rotor, installed a Wilber's ride height adjustable shock, and put in a jet kit with modified air box.

I used it as a track bike for sessions at Barber Motorsports, Jennings GP, and Road Atlanta, before retiring it to a sunny day rider. I still find riding the Hawk an enervating experience, it is light, flickable, and torquey, the suspension is positively plush, and the brake is a one finger joy to use.

Guess it's a keeper.

At the Reg Pridmore CLASS school at Barber in 2003. Close-up of the trick front brake setup, Braking floating disc and 6-piston caliper. Jennings 2006, instructing at the BMWNEF school.


On the 1994 Canada tour, waiting for the Lake Champlaign ferry. Note the extensive touring equipment. We didn't know any better. Cult Bike!
Taken from Cycle World in , I think, 2007.

In 2015 Richard Backus, editor of Motorcycle Classics, put a hundred miles on the Hawk as he used it for the RIH vintage lunch ride. It was the first time he'd ridden a Hawk. He was delighted.