1998 Honda VTR1000F Super Hawk
No matter how happy we can be with our current bike(s) there always seems to come a time when our eyes wonder and we like/must have/need to try another bike. I have always told my friends that I am sticking to my current bike... at least until further notice. In addition, what makes this a rather strange or different move on my part is that I have always owned touring or sport touring bikes. And I would further clarify that the sport touring bikes that I have owned are 80% touring and 20% sport. A "mature" person's motorcycle. :)
Maybe it was my brother's influence when I saw him having fun working on his old 1979 R100RT or just a need for something different for my short rides. I did not want anything similar to my main bike and that being a touring bike. I am very happy with my touring motorcycle because it is made for eating up miles on end, light weight for a tourer, carrying capacity, good mileage and range, and a long list options available to meet just about anybody's needs. But on with my search... The first bikes I looked at were cruisers. And they were made by the least likely motorcycle company - BMW. The R1200C is a middle weight cruiser with a rather weak engine (in regard to HP) but has a good amount of torque. I found it very easy to ride because of it's low seat and low center of gravity and lots of torque. But in many regards it was overlapping what I currently have. As a matter of fact many of the C models are setup with the larger windshield and saddle bags. Then I rode a Super Hawk that a friend had for sale and asked me to check it out for him. The bike had sat pretty much since 2005 since that was the last time it was liscensed and the bike showed it by refusing to idle. That made it very hard to ride but I was nevertheless very impressed by the feel of the 90 degree V twin engine. Lots of torque and power across a very wide RPM range made it a pleasure to ride and I was limited to a large parking lot! I never got past 3rd gear!
I've had the VTR1000F Super Hawk for only 2 weeks but I have taken it out for short rides every day except for a few days when we had rain. For the last two weeks I have been working on little things on the bike. The engine and all running gear are in very good condition mostly in part because the bike only had 9,500 miles and the prior owner did a good job of maintaining the bike. The previous owner recently stopped riding the bike because of health issues so there were a few things that needed a little TLC plus I wanted to make a few changes with the extra parts that were included with the bike. I started the same night I got the bike home by washing and waxing it. Following is a partial list of what I did to the bike in the first 10 days:
- Replaced the touring windshield with the stock windshield.
- Replaced the stock mufflers with a high mount MIG exhaust system.
- A little WD40 fixed a signal switch that was slow to return to normal.
- A heavy throttle was fixed by using a little chain/cable lube.
- Front fork returned to normal from a 15 mm drop (maybe not as quick to turn but more stable).
- Front preload was set back to normal (it was set very light).
- Dampening was returned closer to normal from a very soft setting.
- Chain lubed - twice.
- Throttle lock (Vista Cruise) installed.
- Engine oil and oil filter replaced with Mobile 1 10W-40.
The bike came with a Factory Pro jet kit that was removed by the previous owner but it is running so nice that I don't want to mess with it in that regard. There are days that I think about that jet kit and ask myself "can it get any better than this?" but, I like said before, it is so nice as it is now. The stock jets are in the bike right now.
Today I took the bike out for my first long ride and away from traffic. Shortly before sunset I went to a small farming community located to the north west from where I live. We pass that area often when we travel west or north which is most of the time since we have very little riding area to the south (MX) and not much more to the east (Gulf of MX).
This area produces a lot of grain
A little McCook history
My goal was to make it to the small chuch that serves the community and take some photos if the daylight holds out. It's hard to call McCook a town because the main intersection is only a four way stop and there are exactly two convenience stores at the intersection. That's right, two of the four corners are empty lots.
Since the roads in this area are seldom traveled it gave me the opportunity to see what the bike can do at speed. I know the bike is fast but I wanted to know if it was stable and how the fairing and wind shield protected the rider. What I like about this bike is regardless how fast you are going simply twisting the throttle open takes the sag off the front end and the speed increases at a rapid rate. In addition, running thru the gears is a pleasure. The sound from the engine and the thrust is very nice. I find myself shifting at 4,500 or 5,000 RPMs but the engine redlines at 9,500! I'm still telling myself that this bike is too much bike for me. Time will tell.
The other bike...
I find the low bars nice at speed because the wind blast helps to support your upper body. Lucky for me that I have a rather quiet helmet although from about 80 and above it is loud when riding without earplugs. The same goes for vibration... very smooth until I'm above 80 when I start to get buzzing on either hand grips or foot pegs depending on speed. But at normal speeds I am surprised how smooth the V twin is. On the ride back I came upon a line of 5 pickup trucks in a line headed south. I came up behind them right before a long easy curve so I waited until after the curve to get around them. Once past the curve - which they took at about 60 MPH - I proceeded to pass them. I hit 70 MPH and only manage to be even with the last truck. Obviously they too were accelerating once out of the curve. I'm on a 2 lane road so I either drop back or get on it and pass them all. I twist the throttle a little and with a rush of speed and an intoxicating exhaust note I pass all the trucks. I look down at my speed and the speedometer is at an even 100 MPH and not even breaking a sweat. I twist on for an instant before I let up on the gas just to get a feel for how much more the bike can pull and once again ask myself if this bike is going to get me in trouble. That's what the brain says... my heart says that I need this bike.
It's old fashion with no ABS and carburetors just like my brother's R100RT. It even has a chain. I haven't had a motorcycle with a chain for many years. The old BMWs are known to be very reliable but so are the Honda products. It's rather light with a dry weight of about 426 pounds. It's a 265 mile ride (one way) to get my BMW serviced by a dealer but I have a Honda dealer only about 4 miles from my home. The Super Hawk has a forward lean but I'm telling myself that it's a form of exercise for me. I need to add here that the bike had the clip ons replaced with VFR clip ons that raise and widen the bars. That's a welcomed improvement for me. The bike is very easy to maintain - takes minutes to change oil and filter. Even changing sparks plugs is done in minutes. The bike has 2 cylinders with 100+ HP and 70+ lb-ft on a small frame. Yes... it is very different than my R1200RT and a joy to ride but it will never replace my RT for long touring. Just a different ride... my "other" bike.
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