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.||
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