It seemed appropriate that our 50th motorcycle to be featured on Retro Write Up should be a Honda. So many of the motorcycles we have featured thus far have been creations based on Hondas. Tiago’s Honda CB175 was our first bike to make it onto Bike exif which increased our readership internationally. We have had Hondas in all shapes and sizes, from homebrewed bobbers to R150 000,00 state of the art cafe racers.
Our featured Honda is a 1980 Honda CB400T Hawk. Although Honda was producing an extensive range of four cylinder powered motorcycles by the mid 1970s, they still felt that there was a market for the less fussy and uncomplicated parallel twin powered motorcycles like the Hawk. The Honda Hawk was released in 1978 and was produced until 1981.
Powered by a 395cc 3 valve per cylinder parallel twin engine producing 43hp, the Hawk was good for a genuine 160 km/h top speed. They sold well in South Africa. I remember them being used as commuters and courier motorcycles. My friend David rode one back then with British aftermarket open exhausts. Lovely sound!
The Honda Hawk was the first Honda motorcycle to be fitted with Comstar rims. These five spoke aluminium rims soon became standard fitment on most of Honda’s 1980s models, including the CBX. The benefit of Comstars was that for the first time, tubeless tyres could be fitted.
Werner, the owner of this Hawk, based the look of this motorcycle on a CX500 that he had seen which had been built by an international builder of custom motorcycles. The V Custom crew executed the build to Werner’s specification.
What I like about this motorcycle is that although it has unique custom character, it still retains much of its Hawk heritage. The original tank and sidecovers have been retained. The custom made seat still leaves the ability to load a pillion and is quite comfortably padded compared to the ironing boards which have become so popular on the brat bikes. This white seat, the bobbed fenders, small taillight, black wheels, clubman handlebars, small speedo, wrapped 2 into 1 exhaust and the paint colour are the elements which convert this basic commuter into a custom motorcycle which remains practical. Well done.
In March we set ourselves a target of featuring 100 motorcycles by the end of 2013. Thanks to people like Werner and all the other gents and ladies whose rides we have featured, we are half way there. Thank you all. We look forward to making our target.