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Author Topic: New Member in Los Angeles / Hawk GT vs. CB-1 thoughts?  (Read 388 times)
joeldelman
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« on: July 02, 2017, 08:00:16 PM »

Hi All,

Just wanted to introduce myself... New member from Los Angeles, am an old rider (not too old, 51:-) returning to the sport, and after mulling over some overpowered / overweight / overpriced choices am narrowing my "buy" list to lighter, nimbler machines... pretty much down to a Hawk GT or a CB-1.

Seems like there are many similarities between the two bikes, and of course some significant differences. Wondering if any forum members have experience with both and might share their thoughts?

Of course differences in the riding experience are important, but also insights on ownership issues like maintenance, availability of parts etc. would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance!

Best,

Joel
joeldelman@mac.com
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a_morti
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« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2017, 08:21:41 PM »

Both are long in the tooth now but were technological marvels of their time, the hawk with its alloy frame and single swing arm, the CB with gear driven cams. Even so you'll need to be a competent wrench to keep them happy. There are no real special tools needed for general work on the CB, the hawk will need a mega socket for the rear wheel and a tool for the chain adjustment. Centre stands seem to have been an option on both, the hawk would need a special paddock stand if yours didn't get the centre stand.

Both have short tank ranges. The CB is starting to see parts become NLA, but most maintenance parts aren't a problem. You will have a hard time looking for bodywork if you ever find yourself in need of replacements. Not sure either way about the hawk.

Can't say I've ridden a hawk to compare but the CB is a joy to ride and the ergos much better than the diminutive size should permit. The CB engine goes up to 13.5k rev line and it urges you to use them. I image the hawk engine will be less encouraging?

Perhaps just see what comes up locally for a good deal? Either way you'll have chosen a top bike.
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spacetiger
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« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2017, 10:54:53 PM »

Hi All,

Just wanted to introduce myself... New member from Los Angeles, am an old rider (not too old, 51:-) returning to the sport, and after mulling over some overpowered / overweight / overpriced choices am narrowing my "buy" list to lighter, nimbler machines... pretty much down to a Hawk GT or a CB-1.

Seems like there are many similarities between the two bikes, and of course some significant differences. Wondering if any forum members have experience with both and might share their thoughts?

Of course differences in the riding experience are important, but also insights on ownership issues like maintenance, availability of parts etc. would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance!

Best,

Joel
joeldelman@mac.com


Joel,

I have 1 of each, they are different rides, but both scratch my riding itch.  What is your weight, height and inseam?  Also, are you riding solo or carrying "stuff"?  Based on your responses, I'll answer back based on my experience.  I am 180 lbs, 5' 11" with 31 inseam.

Jerry
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joeldelman
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« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2017, 01:33:00 AM »

Hi Jerry,

Appreciate the insights! My weight is about 160, height 5'9" and inseam 31 /32. Fairly trim, just gained a bit of a belly over the past few years which I hope to lose:-)

As to riding, I'd say primarily solo with minimal stuff on board... Just Sunday cruises up PCH and into the mountains, not a long distance traveling machine. May take my older son along occasionally, but not often (12 yrs, light weight.)

Best,

Joel
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Dash
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« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2017, 08:43:36 AM »

Ive owned both a Hawk and currently own a CB-1.

These bikes are like crazy cousins. Which is awesome.

Strongpoints of the Hawk:

- very nice engine (easy low down torque)
- nimble as hell
- indestructible
- nice styling
- very fuel efficient

Cons of the Hawk:

- Parts are harder and harder to come by
- standard exhaust chokes the engine
- doenst do 2 up too well

Strongpoints of the CB-1:

- very nice engine (well behaved in the mid range, screams like a banshee in the high revs)
- nimble as hell
- indestructible
- very fuel efficient

Cons of the CB-1:

- Parts are harder and harder to come by
- standard exhaust chokes the engine
- doenst do 2 up too well

See what I did there? Tongue

Hawk vs CB-1 comes down to the engine and brakes, if you ask me. I feel both bikes are a very similiar experience to ride. The Hawk has more to offer at lower speeds where rding is concerned, being a v-twin. its brakes are way worse than the CB-1's though. I had modified my hawk's brake to a bigger caliper to get it to stop properly.

The CB-1 needs to be revved like hell if ya wanna make decent pace, which some people might consider a con. The brakes of the CB are way better than the Hawk's though.

In the end, the main difference, in my experience, is the engine. low down low revs vs screaming mimi. Apart from that the riding experience is very much the same. Hope this helps.
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spacetiger
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« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2017, 09:47:05 AM »

Hi Jerry,

Appreciate the insights! My weight is about 160, height 5'9" and inseam 31 /32. Fairly trim, just gained a bit of a belly over the past few years which I hope to lose:-)

As to riding, I'd say primarily solo with minimal stuff on board... Just Sunday cruises up PCH and into the mountains, not a long distance traveling machine. May take my older son along occasionally, but not often (12 yrs, light weight.)

Best,

Joel

Dash gave you some good [performance] points.  I like the comment "cousins" because they are different enough to be different riding experiences but share some blood lines.  

I was thinking of fit, the Hawk is a slightly bigger bike than the CB.  That said, your dimensions should work with either one.  The common observations for the Hawk is sliding into the tank can nudge the private parts... the CB not so much.  

On the performance side, if you are riding in LA (I did from 1982-86) there is no question you will be splitting lanes.  In this one area, I think the Hawk has 2 advantages; it is a bit more narrow and the torque of the engine will allow you to not have to keep the revs up when moving through traffic whether you are going between cars or not.  On the narrow part, this includes your legs as you can bring them closer together than the CB.  For these reasons, even in N. VA/MD, I find the Hawk to be a more of an everyday bike.

I added the CB to the fleet for the wonderful sounds it can make - all while staying within "reasonable" speeds.  Once I can get all the bits sorted out (brakes, suspension, carbs) I know every ride will be a memorable one.

Forgot this.  They are unique and well thought out bikes that stand out.  Older riders who know their stuff will know what you are riding, so either will get you complements whenever you stop.

Let us know what you choose and tell us how it worked out even if it is the Hawk.

Jerry
« Last Edit: July 03, 2017, 09:50:09 AM by spacetiger » Logged
joeldelman
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« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2017, 01:27:49 PM »

Thanks guys, though you haven't made the decision much easier:-)

Wanted to follow up on the parts / maintenance issue... would you say that either is easier to keep on the road, based on availability of parts, shared parts with more popular Hondas of the time, or aftermarket?

Best,

Joel
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a_morti
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« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2017, 04:03:14 PM »

I'd say it's not much in it. THe hawk has an 18" rear which is becoming harder to find (at least less choice out there) while the cb shares tyre sizes with the duke 390 so that won't be an issue any time soon.

It's the not shared parts which become tricky such as bodywork but i doubt either is much better or worse than the other.
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spacetiger
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« Reply #8 on: July 03, 2017, 07:24:14 PM »

I'd say it's not much in it. THe hawk has an 18" rear which is becoming harder to find (at least less choice out there) while the cb shares tyre sizes with the duke 390 so that won't be an issue any time soon.

It's the not shared parts which become tricky such as bodywork but i doubt either is much better or worse than the other.

AM,

The Hawk uses a 150/70-17 rear tire.

You are right on the CB using the same tire size as the current crop of small sport bikes; the R-3, Ninja 300, CBR300.  The 2017 KTM 390 has moved up in rear tire size to 150/60 ZR 17. 

All the bikes including the Hawk use a 110/70 17  front tire.

As for the other parts, there are more related bike parts to the Hawk, so finding a part might be possible.  The CB-1 didn't share a lot of genes with bikes brought to the US, but, there are lots of bikes overseas that share bloodlines, so parts can be had.

As a member of the the Hawk site, I see they are sort of split too...
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joeldelman
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« Reply #9 on: July 03, 2017, 09:00:49 PM »

Just did a quick search on Craigslist nationwide... wow there are a lot of Hawks available out there, so spares readily exist in one form or another. CB-1s are a relative rarity, at least in terms of owners willing to part with them:-)
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Dash
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« Reply #10 on: July 04, 2017, 05:19:21 AM »

Just did a quick search on Craigslist nationwide... wow there are a lot of Hawks available out there, so spares readily exist in one form or another. CB-1s are a relative rarity, at least in terms of owners willing to part with them:-)

I wonder why that is?  Grin
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« Reply #11 on: July 04, 2017, 06:43:31 AM »

Space tiger - I was assuming it's the same as the japan model bros 650 which we got in the uk, strange it isn't but there again honda made all sorts of minor changes to the export models back then!
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See Bee-Won
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« Reply #12 on: July 04, 2017, 11:11:19 AM »

If I was after a 650 v-twin sport bike I would go for a Suzuki sv650. It's like a modernized Hawk with better everything. Very common and aftermarket galore.

Nothing like the CB-1 with its tiny four cylinder and gear driven cams is available new in the states or has been for a while. To me that makes it truly unique. Plus you get to hear its exotic GP wail without going up to crazy speeds. Try the same thing on a modern 600cc sportbike and you will get police lights in short order.  Cheesy
« Last Edit: July 04, 2017, 11:13:17 AM by See Bee-Won » Logged
Paulbwatertownct
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« Reply #13 on: July 04, 2017, 11:27:49 AM »

Joel,
I currently have both the Hawk and the CB-1.

I have owed my Hawk for six years and it's become my favorite street bike for solo back road riding. I have some simple mods to the bike which address the weak points that have been noted; Delkevic pipe to let the motor breath/rev a bit, Corbin solo seat to keep my man parts healthy, Penske shock and Race Tech valves to modernize the suspension, a braided front line to improve the brakes, VFR750 bars for better riding position, and a color matched Targa Hawk GT fairing to break the wind.

I have owed my CB-1 for about a year. It was not in great cosmetic condition when I got it but after a few rides I knew it was a keeper. It just received a beautiful new paint job in BMW Lemans blue and a decals under a clear coat. It came with a braided front line and the brakes seems great. Subtle mods include; Targa Nighthawk fairing to break the wind, Honda JDM turn signals, and the Kerker pipe it came with (although I just ordered a Chinese db killer/baffle to slip into the pipe). I may throw some VFR750 bars on this one as well, but I want some additional saddle time to decide.

Essentially these bikes a cousins but with very different personalities. The personality comes from the engine. V-twin relies on tourqe, I4 relies on revs.

I've taken a preference to twins over the years and currently have an Aprilia RST1000 sport touring, and a Aprilia SL1000 sport as well, those are for different riding moods. Previous twins include TL1000S and a Ducati S2R1000. I'm hoping I like the CB's I4 as much as the Hawk's twin.

A few other notes; if your bike doesn't have a center stand, keep an eye on eBay as the do come up and are invaluable.

The Hawk could use a six gear, the CB has one, although both are best enjoyed under 70mph.

The Hawk frame is based on an NSR250 and handles like one with corrected suspension. The CB frame is all its own and handles admirably as well, just one step short of the Hawk.

Contrary to another post I find the Hawk brakes outstanding and slight better than the CB.

Parts are are getting thin for both bikes, especially rubber parts, but Chinese knockoffs are starting to pop up. The CB shares many engine and carb parts with early CBR600F1 Hurricanes so cross reference as needed. Exhaust systems for the CBs are very rare and difficult to come by. It was the most challenging part of my build.

My Hawk has Bridgestone BT45 bias plies, my CB has Bridgestone EVO S20 radials. This makes a huge difference in road feel. My next set of tires for the Hawk will be the S20s as they are awesome and come in /70 profiles.

In my opinion, a fairing is needed on either one to really enjoy the bikes, but either bike is a great choice.

Best of luck with your decision.
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In the garage now: 03 Aprilia RST, 01 Aprilia Falco, 89 NT650, 89 CB-1, 90 NSR250R-SP, 91 CBR600F2, 99 XR250R, 13 Husqvarna WR150
joeldelman
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« Reply #14 on: July 04, 2017, 01:40:20 PM »

Thanks for all insights, very helpful... And See Bee-Won I had not thought about the SV650, thank you. Familiar with the bike but didn't think of it in the context of a "modern Hawk"... it might suit very well (perhaps a 2001 or 2002 model) given my wife's weariness with old car projects etc. and all that can be involved with keeping a more rare bike on the road.

Best,

Joel
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