Technical Discussion Topics related to Technical Issues

issues with getting a hawk

Old 06-16-2010, 01:49 PM
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issues with getting a hawk

Hey I found what looks like a decent deal on a Hawk through Craigslist. I was just wondering the quirks that the VTR1000 may have. I've never been on or really even been near a sportbike twin cylinder.

Like on a lot of I4s the second gear will usually go out from botched shifts. This happened to a Yamaha of mine, but I rode my friends 600rr one time and it had a very VERY positive throw into second where it was quite difficult to find neutral and thats how it should be. How is the Hawk?

Also, are there any heating/cooling issues since the rear cylinder gets no air and it 'trapped' by the seat?

I know the usual stuff, check the tires, chain, sprockets, bodywork for scratches/cracks, brakes, coolant condition, oil level and condition, air filter (probably not possible on a test ride), signs of forks leaking, rear shock rebound (is pre/comp/reb all adjustable F&R on the Hawk????, sounds from the suspension, stuff like that....normal stuff

Also, are the jets usually so small like on 600cc I4s that having it sit up for a few months/years would cause them to clog the main, thus causing sputtering at WOT?


Basically, is this bike 'special' in that it needs additional attention compared to your average run of the mill sportbikes? I heard the RC51 had overheating issues and it is based on this bike, correct? Just wanting to know what to look for and if it will be a solid ride for years to come.


Also, and quite important to me because I just passed up on a 600cc Honda Shadow 1997 model because it looked like a headache to maintain. Is everything spaced out on this bike and easy/FUN to work on. I already found the manual for it and the maintenance seemed sparce, but it just says inspect the suspension while my Yamaha had grease the swingarm and head bearing every 16k. Is it hard to support the front and rear to perform these duties and changing the fork oil?


Sorry to keep going, but just wondering how you think this bikes compares to other sportbikes. I know its a bit heavy, because my YZF600r was and its 12lb lighter than the Hawk.

why did they quit making this bike? Did it not sell or was there too many problems associated with it. Also, I saw mention of a clutch cylinder. Is that for real? They couldn't use a simple cable like every other bike i've seen?


Thanks for any responses and sorry to bombard with the Q's but this bike looks like it could be quite the keeper. Plenty of power to grow into, twin torque, not a break back riding position and if you guys think it is easily and inexpensively maintained then I'll go check it out. It is quite rare...there are only 3 on eBay and this is the first one I've seen on craiglist. Also, my old biking buddy use to talk about his Super Chicken when we were working on and riding my Yamaha. He knew quite a bit about motorcycles and it is saying something that that was the bike he chose.
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Old 06-16-2010, 02:28 PM
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I can pass on a few things but some of these guys on here are invaluable when it comes to these bikes. The big item is the cam chain tensioner. That seems to be the first swap guys will recommend. That is a weak point id say. Possibly the R/R also. If you search around and read a bit you can pick up on the do's and dont's. Humor,knowledge and sarcasm go hand in hand here so dont be offended The Hawk is just flat out noisy by nature. Backfires through the carbs are pretty common especially with aftermarket pipes. Easy to work on and a blast to ride. I recommend. Im sure others will chime in so good luck man.
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Old 06-16-2010, 02:55 PM
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I had over 5 years and 59,000 miles of fun on mine before totaling it last October. No real issues. Never ran hot, as such, but could roast the calves at a stoplight on a hot summer day. Not an issue once you get moving though.

Suspension upgrades would have been nice, but she was plenty capable on the numerous quick-paced mountain and backroad rides she took me on. Super-fun to throw hard into a turn and then stand her up & power out. Just don't get too greedy with the throttle leaned over, like I did a couple times, or she can run right out from under you.

The Super Hawk does require a positive shift into second, and it's not buttery-smooth like most of the current sportbike transmiissions, but again, plenty capable if you do it right.

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Old 06-16-2010, 03:18 PM
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best bang for the buck bike out there. buy one!
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Old 06-16-2010, 07:02 PM
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I just purchased my '99 a few months ago and i love it . Before my Hawk , all i rode was inline 4's . The superchicken is very user friendly and a blast to ride . There are a few mods and upgrades that improve the function of the bike and working on the bike as well but every model has its pro's and con's . Also for the $ you wont find a nicer liter bike .
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Old 06-16-2010, 09:45 PM
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The 1-2 shift tends to be clunky. Neutral is easy to find.
Cooling issues are rare.
The stock suspension offers only preload and rebound adjustment front and rear. Most riders can't get the proper amount of sag with the stock fork springs. The rear can be raised with shims and the front forks can be raised in the triple clamps to make the bike turn quicker.
Clogged pilots rather than mains are the likely result if the bike hasn't been stored properly.
There are a lot of high mileage Hawks.
Regular maintenance is the key. Oil changes are easy. Buy a front and a rear stand. Occasional greasing of the rear suspension linkage and steering head bearings is part of normal maintenance. Honda isn't overly generous with grease.
I don't know why Honda stopped making them.
The clutch is hydraulic. The clutch lever is adjustable. There is no clutch cable to lube, adjust and replace.
There isn't a street bike that I want to own more than my VTR but I've made some changes that make it better for me. I couldn't tolerate the stock suspension and brakes but road tests of the stock Superhawk were positive. You might want to check the Technical and Modifications - Performance sections of this forum.
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Old 06-17-2010, 05:08 AM
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The sole reason they stopped making them is that both the European and Australian market started using environment ratings like the Euro2/Euro3 which meant rebuilding the VTR to comply... And even if they had the components from the Varadero (same base enigne with FI different tune) they preffered to kill the VTR instead of spending the money... Stupid deciscion if you ask me... I guess they concluded the buyers would expect upgrades to the rest of the bike as well...
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Old 06-20-2010, 04:50 PM
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Thanks everyone. I've done some reading through the forum and see they only get 30mpg. Not a huge deal, but quite noticable when you're used to 50 or more.
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Old 06-20-2010, 08:10 PM
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This is not the bike to own if you are concerned about MPG! Also, you're lucky to get 120 miles per tank.

The joy in owning a Superhawk isnt in bragging about fuel economy. But, as you pull away from every stop light doing a power wheelie you wont even think of how much you're spending!
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Old 06-20-2010, 09:50 PM
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Originally Posted by midwest22 View Post
... as you pull away from every stop light doing a power wheelie at 3500 RPM you wont even think of how much you're spending!
Sorry, had to correct you there for accuracy.
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Old 06-21-2010, 03:29 AM
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here's a link to the posting. IT looks very clean in the pics, if thats saying anything?

Called him up and said there's no problem with 2nd gear. He even went as far as saying all the gears were good, but I've never heard of problems with any gear besides 2nd.

http://jackson.craigslist.org/mcy/1794061310.html

it has 10000-11000 miles btw....not 1100.


IS $2700 too steep? In 04 I bought a 97 600cc for $3500 and feel I overpaid for it. It retailed new for $7000 as I later bought a new one for that price. Its just now the bike is 12yrs old and it will need a CCT as has been said and a good chance of cleaning the carbs (not a big deal on dirtbikes, somewhat of a deal on a I4), maybe not too bad on the big twin. I've also read about the rotor or stator frying and needing replacement with one from an R1.

I forgot to ask about consumables (tires, chain, sprockets, pad life).

I'll try to check it out this week and see if I can tell if its been stored indoors all of its life and ever been dropped. I really dont need to get it since Im saving for a house, but the Hawk has been calling my name all week. I thought I'd see if I can score it for $2000 and have a $2400 cap if its really nice.

Also, it seems greasing the swingarm will be a bear of a task. It has no rear grab handles to string to the ceiling and I'm reading that the engine mounts there as well. I've only greased a TTR125L before and it wasnt bad at all because I could pick the bike off the floor and set it on a small table/stool.

btw, I read the RC51 cannot hold steady throttle and always has to be accelerating. I doubt this is a problem with the Hawk since its made as a street bike instead of a race replica, but just gotta know because sometimes you have to cruise the streets and in traffic.

Sorry guys, But I cannot seem to stop with the questions and Ive already editted 5 times or so. Anyhow, can the rear seat be used? I see it has a cowl, but can it be removed to ride a pillion or to strap on some soft luggage with bungee cords? thanks

Last edited by mjoekingz28; 06-21-2010 at 03:50 AM.
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Old 06-21-2010, 05:50 AM
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Originally Posted by mjoekingz28 View Post
here's a link to the posting. IT looks very clean in the pics, if thats saying anything?

Called him up and said there's no problem with 2nd gear. He even went as far as saying all the gears were good, but I've never heard of problems with any gear besides 2nd.

http://jackson.craigslist.org/mcy/1794061310.html

it has 10000-11000 miles btw....not 1100.


IS $2700 too steep? In 04 I bought a 97 600cc for $3500 and feel I overpaid for it. It retailed new for $7000 as I later bought a new one for that price. Its just now the bike is 12yrs old and it will need a CCT as has been said and a good chance of cleaning the carbs (not a big deal on dirtbikes, somewhat of a deal on a I4), maybe not too bad on the big twin. I've also read about the rotor or stator frying and needing replacement with one from an R1.

I forgot to ask about consumables (tires, chain, sprockets, pad life).

I'll try to check it out this week and see if I can tell if its been stored indoors all of its life and ever been dropped. I really dont need to get it since Im saving for a house, but the Hawk has been calling my name all week. I thought I'd see if I can score it for $2000 and have a $2400 cap if its really nice.

Also, it seems greasing the swingarm will be a bear of a task. It has no rear grab handles to string to the ceiling and I'm reading that the engine mounts there as well. I've only greased a TTR125L before and it wasnt bad at all because I could pick the bike off the floor and set it on a small table/stool.

btw, I read the RC51 cannot hold steady throttle and always has to be accelerating. I doubt this is a problem with the Hawk since its made as a street bike instead of a race replica, but just gotta know because sometimes you have to cruise the streets and in traffic.

Sorry guys, But I cannot seem to stop with the questions and Ive already editted 5 times or so. Anyhow, can the rear seat be used? I see it has a cowl, but can it be removed to ride a pillion or to strap on some soft luggage with bungee cords? thanks

I guess I'm of the mind that a bike depreciates in value until it kind of bottoms out, and it just kind of sits there like that for...a long time at least, if it's still in decent shape. At 2700 if its in solid shape and doesn't need much, I'd say you're not getting hurt.

It'll need a regulator/rectifier from something other than a honda at somepoint; the rest of the charging system is fine. 2 APE cam chain tensioners or other suitable replacement, and you'll be fine. You can start throwing lots of other money at it as well (just like any other bike) But the best bang for the buck IMO, is decent braided brake lines and some slip on's or a full exhaust with tuning to match. I wouldn't let niggling worries like how to grease the swingarm bearings dissuade you from the bike.

The seat, if stock, is super soft and not to my taste...not good for a longer trip. Seargent, Corbin or other seats, but yes, the cowl comes off, and though the pillion accommodations are sparse, they're there if you need them.

As far as throttle, it's fine. It's abrupt, especially if you're coming from an inline-4 600cc, but you'll get used to that, and enjoy having the vast majority of your ponies available between idle and 3500. It makes for a superb streetbike, that is pretty low effort to ride.

You won't regret buying the bike...it's an enormous bang for the buck.
Enjoy.
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Old 06-21-2010, 06:21 AM
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Many Hondas have had rectifier and cam chain problems and the SH is no exception. I don’t know if we have MORE issues than a CBR600, say, or if our bikes stay around longer and see more miles so have to be worked on more. I’ve seen more CBRs in junkyards, so maybe that there is the answer.

I think the YZF600R and SH are in the same basic class. It’s probably easier to lose 20 lbs on the Honda than the Yam, but both are heavy compared to modern sportbikes. That said, either bike is light compared to, say, VFRs and S3s or cruisers like the Shadow you looked at. It’s really about what you compare the machine against.

Yamahas have had a problem with second gear for a long time. (I had a FJ1200 that ate second gear, too, and the fix was VERY expensive.) This is one of the main reasons I picked the VTR over the YZF600R. I don’t think this has ever been an issue with Hondas.

Once upon a day hydraulic clutches were seen as the future. Lots of sport bikes had them in the late 80s and 90s. In daily riding they’re ok, but a cable actuated system would probably shave a few pounds off the bike and make repeated hard launches easier. If the VTR was a drag bike this would be a mod I’d consider, but as it is… It’s a non issue.

Tweety is probably right about why the bike was pulled off the shelves, but it also sort of missed its target, at least over here in the USA. Suzuki’s TLs were a lot more brutal and sporty and Ducatis had more character.

Honda built the Superhawk as a light VFR and in a way it competed against weirdo ST bikes like the Triumph Sprint RS / Buell Thunderbolt rather than 916s. They also never updated it and it sat on the floor for ages. This is the same basic story as the 919, 599, Hawk GT, CB-1, CB1000…

As a secondhand buy for someone who owns a machine to ride, the SH can’t be beat. There is nothing made like the VTR today and with some upgrades it rocks very hard. Just look around at some of the bikes in the gallery section…

Hope this helps.
CR

Last edited by Crashrat; 06-22-2010 at 05:33 AM.
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Old 06-24-2010, 02:32 AM
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Hey guys, when I got back from vacation the bike had been sold. Guy said he got $3k for it.

He also told me he has a buddy who has a 03 RC51 for $3k with 6k miles, but went down after a 12 o clock.

Thanks for all the help in my questions, but I guess now is not the time for a bike since I'd only have the weekends to ride and I spend most of that playing tennis, road bicycling and maintaining my Saturn that goes 1500 miles weekly.


It seems the best time for a moto is when you're out of a job, but then you cannot afford it.

later
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Old 06-24-2010, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by midwest22
... as you pull away from every stop light doing a power wheelie at 3500 RPM you wont even think of how much you're spending!
Sorry, had to correct you there for accuracy.
Thanks for the correction and its a very good point! It takes about 12,000 RPM on our 600RR to do the same as what occurs at 3500 on the Superhawk. The grin factor is off the chart!
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Old 06-24-2010, 12:08 PM
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BTW, as for if you are (were in this case) getting a good deal on the bike. A LOT has to do with the economy where you are buying it from. In my part of California, Id say $2700 for that bike would have been a good deal. HOWEVER, if you have ever owned a Honda (or any other bike for that matter) in the past, you know that once you buy a stock bike there is <generally> a huge drive to put the basic mods on it. The first mod being a new exhaust! The stock exhaust is pathetic, along with all the other exhausts honda makes.

Considering this is a <relatively> expensive mod because it has 2 pipes, I would look for a bike that already has a system on it. The previous owner will basically get next to nothing for the mods! Also, if/when you get an exhaust you NEED to jet it! If you dont have the tools/garage/confidence to do this, then plan on a few hundred there as well.

If you take that '98 VTR1000 for $2700 (or as the seller said $3000) add a $1000 exhaust plus jetting $200, you can see that we are already up to $4200 and you havn't even touched the brakes or suspension.

Oh, and sorry guys who own '98 -'00 hawks, but there is a reason why I looked for an '01+. Look at this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honda_VTR1000F and notice the "Improvements" section. Just having a slightly larger gas tank is well worth it. As it is I can only squeeze out about 110 miles per tank (and mine is an '01). Plus its good to have the gas gauge so you dont have to remember to set your trip at every gas stop.

As for the RC51...

A. You need to ask yourself what your riding is really going to be like. I always wanted one and ALMOST got one a little while ago but just couldnt come to grips with the seating position. Even with risers, I hear its not very comfortable. (then again this is coming from a 40 yr old so, as they say, your mileage may vary)

B. With it being a dropped bike, and in this case one that really went down hard, you are asking for a lot of potential headaches.
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Old 06-24-2010, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by midwest22 View Post
Oh, and sorry guys who own '98 -'00 hawks, but there is a reason why I looked for an '01+. Look at this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honda_VTR1000F and notice the "Improvements" section. Just having a slightly larger gas tank is well worth it. As it is I can only squeeze out about 110 miles per tank (and mine is an '01). Plus its good to have the gas gauge so you dont have to remember to set your trip at every gas stop.
Sorry pal... But you just got screwed big time... By yourself...

You have the same size gas tank as every VTR made in '97-'00 all over the world... And every VTR in the US regardless of the model year...

The reason is that the US market never got the larger tank, on any year... The rest of the world did though...
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Old 06-24-2010, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Tweety View Post
Sorry pal... But you just got screwed big time... By yourself...

You have the same size gas tank as every VTR made in '97-'00 all over the world... And every VTR in the US regardless of the model year...

The reason is that the US market never got the larger tank, on any year... The rest of the world did though...
Interesting! But I woudln't say I got screwed since I did get the model that DOES have the gas gauge on it in the LCD display (regardless of how big the tank is). I spent many years on a bike that I had to always set the trip...that was a bigger factor than the actual tank size.

Well worth the upgrade from '00 to '01! (at least for me)
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Old 06-24-2010, 01:18 PM
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Well... My 97 has a gas gauge... But that's just one of the odd things about it...
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Old 06-24-2010, 02:07 PM
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Four

I have four.....My whole family rides VTR's
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Old 06-24-2010, 06:43 PM
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I can't believe you would go soft with a gas gauge, Tweety. Next thing you know you're going to tell me you have a steel side stand!
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Old 06-25-2010, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by mjoekingz28 View Post
Thanks everyone. I've done some reading through the forum and see they only get 30mpg. Not a huge deal, but quite noticable when you're used to 50 or more.
On my '01 Redhawk I get 40+ consistently and on the '05 Grayhawk, I'm getting 40-41 mpg. When I first got the Grayhawk, I was getting crap mileage (I think ~ 30) and after running Seafoam through a tank of gas, it went right up to 40.

I suppose riding styles play a factor. I don't baby mine all the time, but I don't try to leave the ground with 'em either.
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Old 06-25-2010, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by wyldryce View Post
I guess I'm of the mind that a bike depreciates in value until it kind of bottoms out, and it just kind of sits there like that for...a long time at least, if it's still in decent shape. At 2700 if its in solid shape and doesn't need much, I'd say you're not getting hurt.

It'll need a regulator/rectifier from something other than a honda at somepoint; the rest of the charging system is fine. 2 APE cam chain tensioners or other suitable replacement, and you'll be fine. You can start throwing lots of other money at it as well (just like any other bike) But the best bang for the buck IMO, is decent braided brake lines and some slip on's or a full exhaust with tuning to match. I wouldn't let niggling worries like how to grease the swingarm bearings dissuade you from the bike.

The seat, if stock, is super soft and not to my taste...not good for a longer trip. Seargent, Corbin or other seats, but yes, the cowl comes off, and though the pillion accommodations are sparse, they're there if you need them.

As far as throttle, it's fine. It's abrupt, especially if you're coming from an inline-4 600cc, but you'll get used to that, and enjoy having the vast majority of your ponies available between idle and 3500. It makes for a superb streetbike, that is pretty low effort to ride.

You won't regret buying the bike...it's an enormous bang for the buck.
Enjoy.

There are many, MANY people with tons of miles on stock cam chain tensioners and there are no real statistics on failures. You'll only really hear about the ones with problems, not the ones without. Don't run the bike on the sidestand and don't engine break and it seems they last quite some time (20k or more). You'll hear both sides of the story. The bike is a ton of fun and I don't think you'll find more fun, especially for under 3k!
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Old 06-25-2010, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Crashrat View Post
I can't believe you would go soft with a gas gauge, Tweety. Next thing you know you're going to tell me you have a steel side stand!
Actually I do have the stock sidestand... But the 5 mm plate I used to lenghten it is aluminium... A steel plate is too heavy and keeping it stock lenght was a nuisance...
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Old 06-25-2010, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by ranchomice View Post
There are many, MANY people with tons of miles on stock cam chain tensioners and there are no real statistics on failures. You'll only really hear about the ones with problems, not the ones without. Don't run the bike on the sidestand and don't engine break and it seems they last quite some time (20k or more). You'll hear both sides of the story. The bike is a ton of fun and I don't think you'll find more fun, especially for under 3k!
Funny, if you mention the CCT's people start arguing that they are "really no problem"... But I never see people argue that the stock R/R is "really no problem"... And there are loads of people doing serious mileage on that as well... I wonder why there is a difference? (No I really don't but that's not fun to say...)

It cant be cost... The R/R at worst kills your battery, so that's in the hundreds of dollars to fix... The CCT's potentially kill your engine and that's in the thousands...

As for "no real statistics"... EEEP! Wrong answer... The statistics say they can really blow up at just about any mileage... The sample is pretty low, but that doesn't change the fact that there are statistics...

There is also a service bulletin from Honda that they should be replaced "as a wear item", unfortunately it doesn't specify a mileage or wearlimit/indication...

Now... That was the facts... This is my opinion... You see I keep those separate and I let people know that so they don't confuse them like in your posts when you represent opinion as facts... BTW sorry in advance ranco, I like you... But...

If you are going to step in and correct someone, give an unbiased answear with all the facts... A biased answear to the other side isn't any better than the first one... So I feel it's justified to warn/inform people when they ask about buying... But I also feel wyldryce should have given more info as well if he's going to make that statement...
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Old 06-26-2010, 07:38 AM
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Sure, I suppose I could have given more data about the CCT. Seems moot now, as it doesn't seem as though he's in the market for a SH anymore. As far as whether its a necessary mod...well of course it isn't. Until your particular motor locks up due to slipped valve timing and piston to valve collision. It's ultra cheap insurance, and seeing as many of these hawks have 30k+ on them (mine has 45k) it seems reasonable prudent...much more so than not running it on the side stand (why? how is that different than cornering?) and not engine braking (how exactly do you avoid or WANT to avoid that?). If you don't want engine braking, ride a two-stroke.

-R
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Old 06-26-2010, 09:42 AM
  #27  
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Running the bike on the stand isn't much different to corners as far as angle goes, but when you are in a corner you don't hold that angle for ever...

The reason it's bad in general is that on start up with less than optimal oil pressure and a few oil channels in the upper corner of the angled engine not getting full oil flow it will increase wear on that part, possibly leading to failures later on... Nothing proven and measurable, but logic says it's probably true... So it stantds to reason that keeping the bike level until you have full oil pressure unless you are moving and thereby sloshing the oil in all directions is a good thing...

BTW the CCT's are in one of the most hard to reach oil channels on the engine (flow wise), so if it in any way becomes oil starved they should get the full effect of that first... Brilliant engineering, really...
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Old 06-26-2010, 09:44 AM
  #28  
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BTW, the reason I though you could have given more info to start with... The discussion is getting old...

Don't give the guys "who doubt" an excuse...
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Old 06-30-2010, 08:08 PM
  #29  
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Thanks again for all the support and here is a video clip that holds Honda in a good light.

Not sure if any of you have seen it, but it really amused me.


Hitler gets a BMW is what it was called. I have it saved on my computer and tried uploading to here but it said it was missing a security feature.

It seems to be gone from the internet and youtube, so now its a hidden gem. If you want to see it, tell me how to upload it.
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Old 11-20-2010, 04:23 PM
  #30  
haha yeah
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Random comment on a comment...

Originally Posted by ranchomice View Post
There are many, MANY people with tons of miles on stock cam chain tensioners and there are no real statistics on failures. You'll only really hear about the ones with problems, not the ones without. Don't run the bike on the sidestand and don't engine break and it seems they last quite some time (20k or more). You'll hear both sides of the story. The bike is a ton of fun and I don't think you'll find more fun, especially for under 3k!
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