Rumors are fun, aren’t they? Well, here’s another one for you. Honda just may be building a lightweight, 800cc, v-twin motorcycle. A motorcycle which, in some ways, may be the spiritual successor to the NT650 Hawk GT sold in the United States between 1988 and 1990 (and sold elsewhere, at least in some parts of the world, as the “BROS”).
The Hawk GT is a “cult” bike here in the United States. At any given time, several individuals are in their garage tinkering with their Hawks. Building subframes for them, sculpting farings, boring and stroking them, taking them all the way up to 800cc and beyond. There are people who spend thousands and thousands of dollars on their twelve year old Hawks – something they gladly do instead of buying a new, performance motorcycle. Why? That’s hard to answer, but it certainly has something to do with the light weight of the Hawk GT, its handling (which is superb, and still a benchmark of sorts), and its single-sided swingarm (the Hawk was one of the first mainstream bikes to use this endurance racing design – even before the Ducati 916).
Several web sites are devoted to the Hawk GT, and several are raced every weekend (including at least one bike that is raced in the AMA pro thunder class by Kiyo Watanabe).
These “cultists” have been longing for a Honda that enhances the virtues of their beloved 650. Is Honda about to deliver such a bike? Maybe so. At least according to some reports in Europe and Japan
This is a market segment tapped, to some extent, by Suzuki’s SV650. The SV650 is a successful and reportedly wonderful bike (we’ll be riding one in the next week or so, and report our own conclusions). There are always those who want more displacement, however, and at least one kit is being developed to punch the SV650 out to 750cc’s.
If Honda can deliver an 800cc bike with a dry weight matching that of the SV650 (365 pounds), or even lighter, the Hawk cult members will think they have died and gone to heaven. The bigger question is whether such a bike will sell in quantities sufficient to satisfy Honda. We think it would, in part by reaching another growing market segment, i.e., women motorcyclists.