1989 Honda NT650 HAWK GT

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Penned by the hand of Toshiaki Kishi, the famous Honda designer who would later go on to be the architect of the CBR1000RR and VFR1200F, the Hawk GT was the second Honda to feature their Pro-Arm single-sided swingarm (after the RC30 introduced in Japan in 1987). Its technical features were a mix of high-tech and mundane. Along with the Elf-designed swingarm it used an aluminum twin-spar perimeter frame. This technological wizardry housed one of Honda’s staple engine offerings, a 52-degree 647cc V-Twin that featured single overhead cams, three valves per cylinder, liquid cooling and a five-speed transmission.

Honda introduced its famous three-valve, SOHC, 52-degree V-twin in 1983 in 500cc and 750cc form in their “American”-styled Shadow cruisers. That engine would evolve into the Hawk GT’s 647cc power plant. The engine’s design lives on today in Honda’s Shadow line. Original Hawk parts, like this battle scarred engine, are gold to Hawk collectors and riders.

Honda introduced the basis of this engine in a 491cc Twin that came out in 1983 in its Shadow and Ascot models. The Hawk GT pushed the Twin’s bore and stroke to 79mm x 66mm to gain the extra displacement. Suspension and brakes were also nothing to write home about. The non-adjustable front forks held a wheel sized for a 110-width 17-inch tire and held a single disc to handle all of the front braking duties. The rear shock was adjustable only for pre-load. The total package had a 53 inch wheelbase, with a 30 inch seat height and a dry weight of 370 pounds.

“A thoughtful blend of European styling, American V-Twin muscle and a Honda trademark – technological sophistication…It’s perfect for around town commuting, short distance touring, weekend pleasure riding. Even serious sport riding,” is how a 1988 Honda ad described it.
The Hawk’s initial color offerings of Tempest Gray Metallic and Candy Tanzanight Blue in 1988 gave way to the sole color offering of Italian Red, a not too subtle jab at the Hawk’s competition, for its remaining years of production.