From the Darkness: Honda Hawk GT NT650 Motorcycle Project

Over the past weekend, I pulled my motorcycle out of its multi-year outdoor / indoor hibernation, and it was not a pretty site. The once shiny motorcycle was corroded, rusty, and covered in dirt and debris. It was down right neglected. The sad truth is that this isn’t the first time that this bike was in such rough shape. I guess I shouldn’t have treated it like I did.

Throughout my entire youth I had worked on and ridden dirt bikes, so I had a fairly good idea of how to ride (and crash) on two wheels. It was some of the most fun that I have ever had, but ultimately, four wheeled vehicles were really where my heart was at. The feeling of sliding two rear tires down the street closed course, is just unmatched. However, about 9 years ago, all of my friends had bought motorcycles, and I didn’t want to be left out of the fun. It was peer pressure I guess. At the time, I didn’t know which kind of bike I wanted, but I knew it had to be custom and unique, because stock is boring. After some research, a bizarre series of events, and a fair share of good luck, I ended up purchasing a basket case motorcycle project off eBay. It was missing the gas tank, seat, rear cowl, subframe, exhaust system, and misc other stuff. Unlike my family and friends, I could see the hidden potential for greatness behind all of those missing parts. After all, it was a 1988 Honda Hawk GT NT650, which was a unique bike in stock form. Once customized, it could really be spectacular. For those of you that are unfamiliar, this bike is somewhat rare and odd in a variety of ways. It was designed with a V-twin engine, single sided swing arm, and a very short wheelbase. They were only made between 1988 and 1991, but many riders believe that they were way ahead of their time.

The first step in the resurrection process was attaining & building parts that it was missing. Over the course of a few weeks, I acquired the necessities, and built the rest out of fiberglass, steel, aluminum, and spare ’64 Chevy Impala parts.  I spent many long, cold, wintery, nights working on my soon-to-be dream bike, and I thoroughly enjoyed every single minute.  It was genuinely relaxing.  Eventually the Viper yellow paint went on with the white pearl stripes and I had completed my bike project, for the time being at least. This is what it looked like.

1988 Honda Hawk GT NT650

I then rode it periodically over the next few years, added a few new things, life took place, and it was stored in a variety of terrible places, including uncovered outside. Yesterday when the bike came out of its latest storage, it was disturbing, disheartening, and discouraging.  So much of my hard work had been severely damaged, including all of the polished aluminum parts, and many of the painted steel pieces.

I know, I know.  It is devastating. If I had realized that it looked like this, I would have jumped in long ago.  Let’s look at the upside though. It is now in the garage, and being completely cleaned, and updated with my latest ideas.  I’m thinking my less “stuff”, and much more aluminum.  It would be awesome to come up with an inverted fork front end for it with dual disc brakes, but as always, I’m building on budget, so that may need to wait until my lottery numbers work out.

Until then, progress continues…..

Got ideas? Thoughts? Cheap inverted fork front end? Opinions? Share them with me!

17 comments to From the Darkness: Honda Hawk GT NT650 Motorcycle Project

  • DJ Butler

    Extended rear swing arm? wouldn’t be easy with it being single sided and all, but i think it would look great with a longer wheel base.

  • Justin88na

    Turn it into a new school cafe racer. black it out, brush the aluminum and put some wire spoke wheels on it. Call it a day. :)

    • Wire wheels? Oh goodness that would be a tragedy! I’m thinking it will have cafe racer-esque features, like limited electronics and weight, but the wheels are staying….. well, at least the rear one. The front one is still questionable if I find a nicer front end.

  • Justin88na

    I bet you could find a dual disc front fork from CBR600RR for relatively cheap.

  • Todd D

    Wow Nice bike there looks like a lot of Potential there.Maybe put a turbo on it with longer swing arm and a 250 rear tire.

    • I actually bought a turbo for it a few years ago, but found out that the crankshafts in these bikes aren’t the greatest at handling high HP. In fact, they occasionally break in their naturally aspirated form. This made me reconsider the forced induction idea, and sell the turbo to a kid that was going to put it on his 4 wheeler. The tire is another great idea, but also somewhat limited because of the single sided swing arm. If I go too wide, it will hit the swingarm itself. I do need new tires though. When I do get new ones, they may end up wider than stock.

  • Jonny Hotshoe

    I heard the 05-06 CBR600 & 1000 front will bolt on without too much trouble. Extended swingarms and wide tires look good but don’t do it unless you want the handling of a cruiser and comfort of a supersport. ;)

  • JohnEd

    Be a real biker and keep it in the house in its’ next life!

  • Shaun3406

    Jeremy, That is Awesome! Love it! I have an ’89 that runs great, but has a rotten tank and cracked plastic in my storage. Yours has given me total encouragement on exactly what direction to go with mine. Thank you for sharing.

    Shaun

  • Micky

    I have a 89 nt650
    The 99 cbr600f4 front end is a direct swap
    Same bearings and spacers
    I installed it on mine

    Your nt is a great inspiration

  • DrGonZo

    YES YES YES!!!!!!!!! 88 GT here… can out handle newer bikes effortlessly…. can’t figure out how to lower my front end to compensate for the understeer nightmares i have when daydreaming into a turn just a little faster than usual… AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHAT KIND OF BACK COWLING IS THAT???????????

    • Hi DrGonZo. I’m happy to see you like the bike! Be sure to check out all that I have written about it right here.
      As for the back cowling – I made that with some 1×1 inch steel box tubing, fiberglass, and 1964 Chevy Impala tail lights. Naturally, I had to move the battery to in front of the shock, the coolant overflow bottle to inside the swing arm, and all the misc gadgets (fuel pump, relays, etc) to under the tank. I also made the exhaust, which I’m sort of proud of because it was fairly challenging to get the pipes to mate up happily in front of the motor. Are you on hawkgtforum.com? If not, you should join, as there are many much cooler Hawk’s than mine to drool over!

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