Is there a bike(s) that you pined for when new but did not end up buying only to purchase much later on? Why did you not buy it when new? Was it hard to find years later and did it live up to your expectations after all of those years? What about it was different than you had imagined way back when? I am not referring to motorcycles that were picked up just a few years after their release once prices had dropped. Instead I am thinking of bikes that had passed you by (or vice versa) when they were new that you eventually went on to own a decade ore more later.
Motorcycles were a part of my life from very early on as my Dad was into motorcycles. For me it all started with a Honda Z-50 Mini-Trail when I was in grade school. That experience was made even sweeter due to the fact that my Dad also primarily rode Honda’s. I would continue to ride dirt bikes until I graduated from high school. I lost touch with motorcycling when I went off to college. While I had never been a street rider, by the time I managed to graduate and land a decent job there weren’t any new street bikes out that that captured my attention. That all changed in 1988 when I was passing by the magazine rack in a local store and the cover of Cycle World magazine caught my eye. The motorcycle featured on the cover was the new Honda Hawk GT. I had never seen anything like it before and was instantly enamored with it.
That attraction hit me hard and I soon found myself heading for the nearest Honda dealership. I recognized the beautiful blue Hawk as soon as I walked in the door. I’m not a big guy and the Hawk fit me like a glove. I soon found myself talking to the salesperson about writing up a deal and filing out the paperwork despite the fact that I had only dropped by to look at the Hawk. At the last minute, my senses caught up with me, at least what little sense I had in those days. It wasn’t a time in my life that I was proudest of and would have been the worst time possible for me to buy a motorcycle. So I bailed at the last minute and would find myself on another motorcycle for nearly 20 years.
The motorcycle that I ended up with after I finally did start riding on the street was of course a Honda Hawk GT. A 1988 model in Candy Flair Blue. Just like the bike on the cover of Cycle World and the one that I so desperately wanted to buy back in 1988. That also happened to be the only year Honda would offer the Hawk here in the States in any color other than red. In addition to the blue, the Hawk GT was also available in Tempest Gray back in 1988. For me it had to be blue and it had to be stock which wasn’t as easy to track down as I had imagined. I travelled from Portland to Seattle to buy a nice clean one and it was well worth it.
The Hawk was probably just about the perfect bike for me to use to reacquaint myself with motorcycling. It was so well suited to the twisty winding local roads here in NW Oregon. It also was in need of some attention and much like my father before me, I had as much fun tinkering with it as I did riding it. But riding the Hawk was wonderful and memories of my very first ride upon the little Z50 came flooding back as there is nothing else quite like riding a motorcycle. While plenty of guys went on to race their Hawks over the years (one of the reasons so few original examples are still around) these machines were really pretty docile which suited me just fine. My seemingly Hawk never failed to start a conversation. Plenty of guys lamented over the fact that they had once owned one but went on sell theirs, which they still regretted. Others had no idea what it was thought it was a brand new bike. The Hawk was clearly ahead of it’s time from a design perspective arriving long before “naked” bikes would become a thing.
I never thought I would sell my Hawk but after eleven years of ownership that is exactly what I did. While my wife is supportive of my passion for motorcycles, enough so to encourage me to go for a ride at times when I am down, she herself has absolutely no interest in them at all. I had purchased a second motorcycle (a 2013 Honda CB1100) since buying the Hawk. Since I could only ride one at a time I finally let the Hawk go after we bought yet another Honda, a 2005 Honda S2000 roadster, so that we could enjoy the open road together. My Hawk went on to a new owner who was very familiar with these motorcycles and travelled all the way from Coure de’Lane, Idaho to make the purchase. I was happy to see the Hawk go to someone who truly appreciated it for what it is and who plans to keep it just like it is. I’m proud to say that it left my garage in even better condition than when I first brought it home.
That’s my tribute to my 1988 Honda Hawk GT. I’m looking forward to reading your stories…