1992 Honda Nighthawk 750
Competent, ultra-reliable and underrated. The Nighthawk 750 can do just about anything you ask of it but it's getting long-in-the-tooth and badly in need of updating. It isn't sexy and there are no thrills involved but if you're looking for a practical all-purpose motorcycle you can't go wrong.
The Honda Nighthawk 750 is the grandson of the most significant motorcycle ever made-- the 1970 Honda CB750 (see my review.)
The Nighthawk stays true to its heritage: Air cooled 750cc inline-four engine, double-cradle frame, single disk front and drum rear brake, and chain drive. The differences are ones of evolutionary refinement. It has hydraulic valve adjusters for zero-maintenance valves. Electronic ingition means there's no more fiddling with the idle speed. The engine's width is narrower as Honda has relocated the alternator behind the cylinders. They also added a small oil cooler to supplement the air cooling. Wheels are cast aluminum rather than spoked. The exhaust is a more modern four-into-two variety (I suspect Honda used the four exhaust pipes on the original CB750 to make the point that it was a four-cylinder bike rather than for any practical purpose.)
Its little brother, the two-cylinder Nighthawk 250, is a popular training bike in the Motorcycle Safety Foundation course. Graduates of that course frequently choose the larger Nightawk 750 for their first bike.
Honda has been making this bike with almost zero changes since 1991. They sell a slightly different version in Europe with dual-disk brakes but you can't find it here in the States. The Nighthawk 750 has a enthusiastic following. Do a quick search on the web and you will discover many other people who share an interest in this impressive motorcycle.
This is a do-it-all bike. It doesn't do anything with exquisite skill but it does everything reasonably well and for that it deserves a lot of credit. In stock form it's a nimble commuter. Attach a windscreen and luggage and you've got a lightweight touring bike. It's fun to drive too. Though it's no racer it is quick enough and the handling is reasonable and responsive. It feels lighter than it really is.
The Nighthawk's reliability is legendary. It demands as little attention as any motorcycle and maintenance is cheap. Change the oil regularly and it will run forever.
I am in great admiration of the Nighthawk 750.
List price of a new 2002 Nighthawk 750 is $5,799. That represents a good value but you can usually find them for a few hundred dollars less when dealers want to clear identical but older models from their showrooms. Its rugged nature makes it a great candidate as a used bike as well.
The only trouble with the Nighthawk is, though it's a great motorcycle, it hasn't kept up with the times. Nighthawk enthusiasts are vocal with their opinions about what Honda should do to modernize their beloved bike but until that day comes if you're looking to buy a new one you should also consider Kawasaki's excellent ZR-7 and even the two-cyclinder Suzuki SV650. These bikes are priced comparably to the Nighthawk and represent a better value today.
As you can see from the photo I have added a windscreen, center stand and backrest/luggage rack to my bike.
Although I will probably sell this bike soon I will always have a special place in my heart for the Nighthawk 750.
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