1984-1986 Nighthawk S versus 1991+ Nighthawk

Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by steven1955, Mar 27, 2008.

  1. steven1955

    steven1955 Been here awhile

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    I searched but didn't find an answer here or when I googled around. Not even in the giant "Official Nighthawk Thread."

    Ignore age and condition for the moment.. And think in terms of a commuter bike with some weekend use when not riding the DRZ.

    Is there any reason an 84-86 700 Nighthawk S might be a better bike than the 91 and newer 750 Nighthawks? Or were the newer bikes an improvement over the older bikes?

    I know the 84-86 is about 50 cc lower in displacement, and has a shaft drive. But other than that I don't see a whole lot of difference.

    Feel free to define better any way you like.
    #1
  2. airheadpilot

    airheadpilot Le Poulet du D├ęsert

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    I had a 1985 Nighthawk S for several years, and have looked seriously at the modern generation of Nighthawk very seriously since then. Overall, both are great bikes and you can go wrong. Both use essentially the same engine, transmission, and frame. Very little evolution - Honda really got it right first time.

    That said, I personally like the Nighthawk S better. Front brakes were a little better and they had that anti-dive front end, which really worked well. The shaft drive is a huge bonus. It makes for essentially zero driveline maintenance, as long as you grease your splines when you change the rear tire. The shaft drive never seemed to affect the handling substantially - you'll want to put decent shocks on any bike you buy. The S also had hydraulic lifters which meant that there were no valve adjustments to do ever. The cam chain and tensioner ought to last 100K miles, so you never need to open the engine. That little fairing was pretty nice, and I like the looks of the S better as well. I even did some touring on it and it was pretty nice.

    My only complaint with the bike was that the fuel capacity was really small. I typically needed to look for a gas station every 100 miles. Also, the petcock was this funky vacuum-activated affair, and I had trouble with mine. Often I wouldn't be able to go to reserve fast enough before the bike would die, especially around town. I learned to work off of the fuel gauge on the dash and look for a gas station before I went on reserve.

    If you get one, resist the temptation to screw around with the exhaust. Doing so will require mucho carbuerator work and it still won't be as good as it is with the stock exhaust.

    I miss the bike frequently and wish I still had it.

    Andrew
    1971 Ambassador
    1972 R75/5
    2000 XR650R
    2003 Burgman 400
    2005 FJR1300A
    #2
  3. James Adams

    James Adams non impediti ratione cogitationis

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    I have an '83 Nighthawk 650 which is essentially similar to the Nighthawk S of the same generation.

    I think that the S would be better in terms of maintenance required. The engine is very different from that of the newer 750--it has hydraulic valve tappets so it does not ever need valve adjustments. Like you also noted, it has a shaft drive so chain maintenance is a non-issue.

    They have very similar performance figures, though the Nighthawk S has twin front discs.

    Pick the one you like best! I got a Nighthawk 650 because it's what was available when I was looking. If I had to choose, I'd probably choose the 750 because it has a bigger gas tank and it's newer.
    #3
  4. Mike Butt

    Mike Butt Agent Provocateur

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    Paging Photog......

    I think a better question would be the '84 CB700S v. VF700S :D
    #4
  5. tbirdsp

    tbirdsp REMF

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    Not sure what you are thinking of, but the newer Nighthawk 750 also has hydraulic valves. I don't think the engine is that much different.
    #5
  6. rocker59

    rocker59 diplomatico di moto

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    1983-up 650, 700, and 750 Nighthawks are "all good".

    I owned a 650 back in the '83 - '84 time frame.

    Great bike.

    Hydraulic valves and shaft drive make for a great commuter. So do the <450lbs weight and 70+hp...
    #6
  7. Bald Kirk

    Bald Kirk Dances with Dirt Bikes

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    Honda is better than most manufacturers in keeping parts available for older models but the parts situation is starting to get iffy for the 700S.

    They are great bikes and the shaft drive reduces the maintenance on an already low maintenance bike.

    I loved the blue and black.
    #7
  8. Bugtussle

    Bugtussle Been here awhile

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    The 91-03 Nighthawk 750 has hydraulic lifters as well. I think one of the weak points on the 700S is the smaller size front wheel.
    #8
  9. Colt03

    Colt03 Been here awhile

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    my neighbor has an 85, it has been to Alaska, Nova Scotia, James Bay and over most of the US, he is pushing about 80,000 miles and has no plans to replace it, ( until he wins the Lotto ! ) He ordered a alternator chain tensioner a few years ago and replaced the broken one, Still going strong !

    Parts seem as available as for BMW's
    #9
  10. Photog

    Photog Charismatic Megafauna Administrator

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    Not gonna get into this one. I'll start writing CB700S Haiku and would be up all night in the throes of CB700SC lust. :tb

    I need to get mine outta the shed and back on the road.
    #10
  11. Marvin_ADV

    Marvin_ADV Been here awhile

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    The Nighthawk S kicks ass! Great style, good performance, low maintenance, I lusted for them as a teen. I like the blue ones but the red/white/blue in 86 was a very nice paint scheme.

    The only downfall I can think of is the 16 inch front wheel and tire selection.

    The newer version looks bland to me but probably has the same or better performance overall.
    #11
  12. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades...

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    I had a Nighthawk S and was selling Hondas through the 80's full time and up until last summer part time. I regret having to sell the S when I was laid off from work.

    I think the Nighthawk S had a better general finish. It didn't have some of the cheap looking parts of the new 750, like the brake pedal and the single disc front brake. I believe the old S runs quicker and likely handles better than the newer 750. In my eyes the S with the stock paint layout looks hotter than the new 750 as well. Even the old 650 has better lines. And when it comes to the shaft final drive, that definitely makes it a winner.

    I doubt the 16" wheels will be any disadvantage over the next ten years as far as tires are concerned. Many tire manufacturers still make good quality 16" tires for bikes like the S and the older sportbikes. From a mechanical point of view, what repairs or maintenance? You change oil and other fluids occasionally. I also agree, don't screw with the pipes, it isn't worth it. The bike sounds cool the way it is, just not loud.

    If I ever get another - and I'm picky, I want another 86 red/white/blue one - The only thing I do want to do is put on a set of 17" wheels, regardless of what it takes. My only reason is that is the only "dated" looking thing about the Nighthawk S is the fat donut tires. A set of 17's would update the look and it would be just as hot looking as ever.

    Can't tell I like them, can you?

    Oh, if you do like the look of the 750, don't let my comments stop you from buying. That thing will be just as bulletproof, with the exception of the chain drive. But hey, I get 15,000 miles per chain and sprockets on my dual sport with the crappy maintenance I do. You should get 20,000 miles out of a good O-ring chain and steel sprockets with a reasonable occasional spritz of chain lube.

    I think any of the hydraulic valve lash adjuster motored Nighthawks are phenomenal and on par with most anything out there new. The only BIG change on motors has been fuel injection, but the 83-86 550/650/700 and the 90's 750 have good carburetion anyway. I got 50 mpg with my 700.
    #12
  13. ctfz1

    ctfz1 Long timer

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    The Nighthawk S has the sporty look and a spin it engine (very smooth though) The 650 Nighthawk had the frisky engine.
    The 750 was designed on the power cruiser look and literally disappears under you, at no point does it intrude (or detract ) from the ride.
    Both are long term/ long ride champs.
    #13
  14. Mike Butt

    Mike Butt Agent Provocateur

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    In RWB please.
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  15. steven1955

    steven1955 Been here awhile

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    Thanks for all your replys. I feel that even the older Nighthawk would be a safe purchase.

    There's a clean looking 85 in the local CL, but the seller is not responding to e mails. (Hopefully it's not one of those CL sellers who don't know how to take their ad down when an item sells, so the ad lives for weeks cluttering up CL.) There are also a couple of 91s, also in CL but further away, but I like the looks (and price) of the 85 better.
    #15
  16. Photog

    Photog Charismatic Megafauna Administrator

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    :D

    I'm torn between doing a total rebuild on mine (RWB of course...) or saving for a pristine one in any color scheme.

    As for the OP--I think you'd like the 700SC. And you'd always find a buyer for it if you didn't.

    Mine was my do-it-all bike for a few years--tour, goofin' around on the back roads, etc. After "upgrading" to newer bikes, it strikes me that the 700SC really holds up well over the years as a fun, competent bike. It's just one of the bikes that's really made me happy.
    #16
  17. Dave in Wi

    Dave in Wi Long timer

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    #17
  18. Starwarrior

    Starwarrior Wannabe

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    Right on, here you go:

    [​IMG]

    Only cost you 787,500 yen. Plus a round trip ticket to Japan. I hope to get one when I get stationed in Oki. If I get stationed there.
    #18
  19. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades...

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    It looks great, but not quite the same look as the old S. The S was a built up hotrod look, where this is that early 80's superbike look. It has a rounder tank and smoother over all lines, and I miss the quarter fairing. Still, a good look that will never sell in the Cruiser/Sportbike extremes addled U.S. market. Maybe if they did what Yamaha did with the FJR and required deposits with absolute sales...
    #19
  20. yater

    yater Long timer

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    I know everyone SAYS this....but I'd put a deposit on one today. That bike will always be cool.
    #20