1985 Nighthawk 700s Adventure conversion

Discussion in 'Land of the Rising Sun: ADV Bikes from Japan' started by DeusExMaxima, Aug 2, 2013.

  1. DeusExMaxima

    DeusExMaxima Adventurer

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    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:

    [​IMG]


    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
    [​IMG]
    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.
    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]

    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.
    #1
  2. AviatorTroy

    AviatorTroy Long timer

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    That is a beautiful bike. Just like the '70s CB's that are getting cut up for the cafe craze, I do wish if you wanted an adventure bike you would just buy one and leave that poor thing alone.

    Bet you will have fun tho, whatever you do! ;)

    Btw I always did think those 16" front wheels were just about useless. What about a 19" front 17" rear? Now that would be the best of both worlds.
    #2
  3. duckman

    duckman co conspirator

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    I'm with troy on this, i think the nighthawk s is the best looking of all Honda in line 4's ( and i was in love with a 81 750 for many years and miles) you have a mint example that survived being chopped, bobbed, and café ed don't follow the recent trend and adventure ize it.
    #3
  4. Flyboy52219

    Flyboy52219 Adventurer

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    I had the same bike (1984) from 1986 - 1991. Loved that bike. Anxious to see how yours morphs into an adventure bike
    #4
  5. everready

    everready Been here awhile

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    +1
    #5
  6. DeusExMaxima

    DeusExMaxima Adventurer

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    Shinko 705 tires mounted on the rims
    [​IMG]

    Raised the fender 1". I borrowed a rough-looking blue 700s fender I had laying around. Ill make it look nicer.
    [​IMG]

    Added cortech tail bag and saddlebags. Sabre rear wheel/tire is not on yet since its being worked on.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #6
  7. Somewhere Far Beyond

    Somewhere Far Beyond The Narrator

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    Very good indeed!:clap
    #7
  8. DeusExMaxima

    DeusExMaxima Adventurer

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    I have seen the selection of windscreens out there. I have a hard time justifying plunking down $150 plus for a piece of plexiglass, but I understand people need to make a living. I wanted to have a windscreen that is not too large to withstand the vigors off mild off road riding. After reading about others making homemade windscreens, i decided to give it a whirl.

    After a bit of experimenting with cardboard shapes, I decided build the windscreen in the following manner:

    I would use the windscreen on my bike as the shape for a lower fiberglass piece which would be the exact shape and contours of the existing windscreen. I used some damp cardboard and tape to position and extra piece above the windscreen by about two inches. By laying fiberglass on this mold, it forms the base for the windshield. I would then get a piece of plexiglass and bolt it to the base. Here are some pics to demonstrate my plan.

    First pic shows cardboard base taped to underside of windscreen to provide a lip:
    [img width=450 height=600]http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y97/DeusExMaxima/20130809_184226_zpsbea02a2e.jpg[/img]

    Second pic shows painters tape to cover cardboard and to form the mold:
    [img width=450 height=600]http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y97/DeusExMaxima/20130809_184629_zps2ea750df.jpg[/img]

    Third pic show fiberglass pieces cut to general shape:
    [img width=450 height=600]http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y97/DeusExMaxima/20130809_185326_zps4c72f7c9.jpg[/img]

    Fourth pic shows red outline of where clear plexiglass will go, yellow shows outline of proposed fiberglass base:
    [img width=450 height=600]http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y97/DeusExMaxima/3ffd8373-1ccc-413a-a498-9dbf2ab97476_zpsa204b0e5.jpg[/img]

    Tomorrow I plan to mix the resin and apply it to two layers of fiberglass. After it hardens, I will trim it to shape and sand it smooth. When the base is done I will get a piece of plexiglass and bolt it to the base. The base will stick to the original shield using strong velcro.
    #8
  9. DeusExMaxima

    DeusExMaxima Adventurer

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  10. ThumperStorm

    ThumperStorm Long timer

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    It is looking pretty good. :clap I like your vision for your bike. Modify away, they made a bunch of these models, no need to keep it stock. (I also noted where you said you would be able to return it to stock if you wanted. Maybe those who commented to you on not changing the bike didn't read that part :huh).
    #10
  11. DeusExMaxima

    DeusExMaxima Adventurer

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    Thanks Thumper. i think you are right. I can return it to stock very quickly although I really enjoy the bigger wheels.

    Here is the base of the windscreen trimmed and taped to the bike to see the effect.

    [​IMG]

    The wind is noticably less on my torso with most of it directed to my helmet. When i ride with my feet on the pegs, i dont feel like a parachute any more. When I attach the clear piece, I will probably be completely off my helmet. I do still feel it on my shoulders but thats ok.
    #11
  12. ML WYDELL

    ML WYDELL NED

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    Nice. What type of fork gaiters are you running?
    #12
  13. DeusExMaxima

    DeusExMaxima Adventurer

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    Thanks. I forgot the name but they are torn on the backside. Im probably going to find a universal rubber accordion type gator.

    EDIT: They are called Sealsavers....www.sealsavers.com
    #13
  14. DeusExMaxima

    DeusExMaxima Adventurer

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    I got a piece of .080" Lexan and shaped it with a curve on top. I did a mock up my holding it in place to see how it would look.

    [​IMG]



    Its about 10" higher than factory screen and it angles up more to direct wind over the riders head.
    #14
  15. DeusExMaxima

    DeusExMaxima Adventurer

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    So Cal
    With some machining I got the rear Sabre rim mounted and made a spacer to make up for the narrower Sabre drum.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #15
  16. DeusExMaxima

    DeusExMaxima Adventurer

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    So Cal
    [​IMG]
    #16
  17. modeselector

    modeselector Common as muck

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    Looking good:clap
    #17
  18. steveWFL

    steveWFL Long timer

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    man wow that is a nice project. are you going to do anything with that exhaust, appears to be exposed underneath for possible off road damage
    #18
  19. DeusExMaxima

    DeusExMaxima Adventurer

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    Yes, i plan to make a bashplate to protect the exhaust and shifter. i also plan to protect the oil cooler and headlight. In the works is a higher windscreen.
    #19
  20. jgas

    jgas Stoogely Adventurerer

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    This is one of the bikes I've been looking for a good used priced one, for the same conversion you are doing. My ideas are about the same as your, except I would add a leading axle fork with 21" front tire, or at least a 19" front wheel with a 19" trials tire or small knobby, from a 125cc bike. They make some DOT approved knobbies now that will fit on some bikes with 19" front wheels. On some you have to shave off the side knobs a bit for clearance, but any larger front tire helps off road prowess. Rolling over rocks and logs, jumping, even turning in all off road terrain is helped by a larger tire. Great conversion you are doing. For rear shocks you might check with some of the companies that make shocks for vintage off road race bikes. Long travel-remote resevoir kits are available for reasonable prices.

    As for it looking like a dirt bike, just say thanks! I think bikes converted by owners that actually work well on and off road are far cooler than what the factories turn out. About the only "perfect" do it all bike is really the old Honda Transalp, or maybe the KTM 950 Superenduro, which costs far too much to want to tear up off road. Even the Transalp is very expensive in the US since very few were ever imported. I modded a KLR 650 and made it work great off road, but it still only had 40 hp, which sucks on the street. Maybe I'll just stuff an inline 4 in a KLR next?

    I say just go for the off road look. I liked the square tank and headlight style on those bikes. In fact I almost bought one in 84, but decided on a CB 900 F, which was a fun bike I wish I had never sold.
    #20