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Old 08-02-2013, 11:06 AM   #1
DeusExMaxima OP
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1985 Nighthawk 700s Adventure conversion

I have had my 1985 blue/black 700s for some years now and love riding it. Last year I started doing more touring using my Triumph Sprint ST.....and a lovely bike that is. I have been reading about adventure biking and have been seeing a lot of adventure bikes around. I decided I wanted to do some ADV riding. I looked on craigslist for bikes and found the following: There are two kinds of ADV bikes... 1. Street bikes converted to allow dirt riding, and 2. dirt bikes that can be ridden in the street. In the first category are the V Stroms, the Bimmer f800, 1200, 1100, etc, Triumph Tiger, etc. In the second category are the Honda XL600, 650s, Yamaha XT600, Suzuki DL, and KTM, etc. The first category has an entry level of about $4000. U just cant play in that group for under that, with exceptions (I saw a DL650 on CL for $1999 today!) The second category has a entry level of about $1000. I looked into buying a nice 80s XL or XT. I then went to a local mcycle store and sat on some dual sport bikes and clearly decided that the first category was my preference. I just didnt want to shell out thousands.

I have had people comment that my NH looks like a dirt bike. Normally this offends me but I noticed that the XL,XT variants do sort of resemble the NH S...square headlight, small fairing, long rakish forks, etc. I decided that I would convert my Nighthawk to adventure bike riding with the idea that i would keep all original parts and be able to restore it back to original.

I already had two brothers muffler, headers, jetted carbs, fork gators, highway pegs and engine crash bars on the bike. Here is a pic:




My goal was make it an adventure bike by adding luggage capacity, dual sport tires, and a bash plate, taller windscreen and other adventure stuff. I remembered that I had a luggage rack in my garage. I sanded and painted it flat black and installed it on the bike. I also found an unused Shad 40 liter rear top case. I used the adaptor that came with it and mounted the case to the rack. I was just the right size for the bike. I had some V strom handguards and I added those. I also mounted a Cortech tank bag to the tank. here is the result

I realized that finding 16 inch dual sport tires was very very difficult. I decided to get better sized wheels. I could have fitted an entire front end of another bike and machined all sorts of things and fitted a rear wheel. But i wanted to keep it simple and cheap. I needed a 17 or 18 inch wheel for the front. I discovered that an 18 inch wheel from an 85 Sabre fits on the bike with no modifications using the Nighthawk axle. The calipers fit on the Nighthawk rotors which are the same as the Sabre rotors. The wheel bearings are the same too and the width of the rim is the same as the Nighthawk - 2.5 inches. The spoke pattern is also the similar but I was not too concerned about appearance too much.


I had a center stand kicking about in the garage so i added that as well to make it much easier to work on the bike.



Tomorrow I will fit an 18 in dual sport tire. I am also looking at getting a mid 80s rear wheel so i can fit a 17 inch DS tire in the back.
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Old 08-02-2013, 11:11 AM   #2
Dubl-A
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Interesting...Although I would beef up the suspension at the very least. Keep us updated
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Old 08-02-2013, 12:19 PM   #3
Hank.SD
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Will the 18" wheel give you enough clearance when the fork is compressed?

I love conversions, but I gotta say I think you're bastardizing a nice looking classic Honda with this choice. I love the Nighthawk S and they are getting hard to find clean. Yours looks (looked) pretty darn nice!

To each his own though, and I'll definitely follow your progress.
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Old 08-02-2013, 03:13 PM   #4
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I plan on beefing up the suspension when I have a chance to take it on some trails. I imagine I will install firmer from springs at the very least, as well as swapping to better rear shocks.

I dont plan on riding aggressively in the dirt. I think i would be better to drop this bike rather than a $14,995 bimmer F800gs. Not that Id want to drop either, but my investment is much less with the Nighthawk and I believe the NH is a capable bike in the ADV role.

I plan on using lower profile tires to make up for the taller rim.

Ill be picking up a 17" rear wheel from an 82 vf750. It has the drum brake and shaft drive. The only mods needed to make it fit is to drill out the drum and fab a spacer. NH bearings go into the vf wheel and it should work.

I will be checking out some cortech soft bags on cl tonight as well. Ill post pics as i proceed.
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Old 08-03-2013, 06:42 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hank.SD View Post

I love conversions, but I gotta say I think you're bastardizing a nice looking classic Honda with this choice. I love the Nighthawk S and they are getting hard to find clean. Yours looks (looked) pretty darn nice!

To each his own though, and I'll definitely follow your progress.
Agreed.

I had a red '84 when they first came out. Very fond memories. That bike did me right. But hey, its your bike.. good luck with the conversion!

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Old 08-04-2013, 04:55 PM   #6
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I understand about being concerned about chopping up a bike like some do. My plan is to keep everything intact to i can remove the adventure items and the bike will be original still. On the nighthawk forums there are a lot of people who swap whole front ends, body panels, rear ends, seats, etc. I dont plan to do any of that but I do appreciate all the feedback and I will keep you informed of my progress.
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Old 08-04-2013, 10:20 PM   #7
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I got a set of Shinko 705s on my Sabre wheels.



The rear wheel needs a bit of machine work to the internal spacer and the drum. I mounted the front wheel and some Cortech saddlebags I nabbed off of CL. i need to figure out a good mounting solution for the front fender.

Here is how is sits thus far:


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Old 08-05-2013, 01:47 PM   #8
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Front fender on with 1 inch spacer:

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Old 08-05-2013, 05:55 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeusExMaxima View Post




Front fender on with 1 inch spacer:

705's are a brilliant tire. Good choice for your project, will work in anything other than mud & sand.
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Old 03-25-2014, 02:26 PM   #10
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Update - I added a taller adventure style windscreen and some winglets on the side of the front cowl. Also had seat re-covered and re-shaped.

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Old 03-27-2014, 04:12 PM   #11
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Coming along nicely

Progressing right along. Well done.
Do you have an idea of what she'll look like when your done? Or are you winging it?
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Old 03-29-2014, 06:30 AM   #12
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God I had an 85 Nighthawk S and it was one of the best bikes I have ever owned....by far the smoothest! Good luck!
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Old 03-29-2014, 02:37 PM   #13
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I likey!

Did you consider the GL650 silverwing front wheel from the same vintage before settling on the 18in? Those are twin rotor and 19x2.15
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