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  1. #1
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    Default 1983 Honda Nighthawk

    Well im new here to the forum (spotted an ad in cycle source)

    figured now is a good time to get my build thread going here.

    i bought my first bike a few months ago, picked it up locally off craigs list for a mere 600 bucks. 1983 honda nighthawk 550 with shaft drive. absolutely NOTHING wrong with this bike. damned near mint condition. owner had a tranny go out in his work van, needed 600 fast to fix it.

    anyway, it didnt take long to stuble across some bobber and short chop pics to know what i wanted to do with it. i was originally calling the build a bobber, but after more research, i guess its more accurately a short chop. either way, its chopped no matter what detailed name ya give it

    so anyway, this build has actually been going on for about a month now, with only about 5 or 6 days of actual garage time. i own a pizza shop, so i only get a day or two a week that i can work on it, but those tend to be really productive days. ive got a heated garage so when i hit the shop, i go to town as much as i can. but, i also sometimes dont get A LOT done, because i do a lot of research before each step that i perform. since this is my first bike, and my first build, i like to make sure i know what im doing before doing it.

    so anyway, this build has been going on 4 different forums, so there have been a lot of questions asked, and answered, which have lead to everything thats been done thus far. for this forum ,i'm gonna skip over all those questions and answers since they'ed be pretty redundant now, so i'm just gonna post up all my pics and get it current.

    hope yo uenjoy.... looking forward to everyones input, advice, jokes, cracks, whatever ya got :-)

  2. #2
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    please remember, i am copying/pasting this build from one that is already almost a month old. while i am trying to bypass most of the questions and answers, please bear in mind that there may be some text that might seem a little out of place. you'll also find that while you might read some ideas in the initial posts, you'll find that that later in the build my mind my have changed and the direction changed, based on queestions that were asked at the time. my apologies for that.



    so... here we go....

    side views of the bike. i would really like to keep the softtail rear end. although i want to figure out a way to make it as low as possible. whether that means rebuilding parts of the rear of the frame or moving the lower shock mounts up and back and moving the upper shock mount in and down. not sure yet. but we'll figure it out.



    Last edited by teamnaptime; 11-22-2009 at 3:53 AM.

  3. #3
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    i like the look on the front of the bike.. just needs cleaned up a little. i would definately like to change out the square light for a round one. i'll ditch the horn or move it somwhere else. i've got drag bars on risers that im bidding on. i want to put smaller, bar end mirrors on it. and i'll probably move the turn signals down on the forks and smaller, flush mount. or maybe even mount them on the back of the mirrors to do something different. sort of like newer cars and suv's.




  4. #4
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    the backend. i wish it could use a wider tire. but i've been told its not possible because of the shaft drive.i know i'll be redoing the turn signals and maybe flush mounting them onto the fender or something along those lines. not sure if i want to mount the plate off to the side, or keep it on the fender, albeit the new bobbed fender. i somewhat like the off the side look, but its also way overdone imo. thats why i'm thinkign id rather make a unique mount for the plate and turn lights on the fender and have something thats my own style.



    some angle shots just i ncase it makes it easier to visualize.








  5. #5
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    i'm not sure how to handle the issue of the softtail rear end. i would really prefer to keep it, since i will be ridign the bike around town, on some not so friendly roads. i prefer to keep the tire in contact with the road.

    so, keeping the softtail is a real desire.

    but i would also like to have the bike as low as possible and close up the gap between fender and tire. and i want a really low seat height. i'd liek to get it around 25-26" if possible. i'm thinking i can relocate the upper or lower shock mounts.

    also, is there any danger to getting as low as possible, while maintaining the shaft drive. most bobbers i keep seeing are chain drive. i've only seen a few that were shaft drive.. hope we can make this work !



    [

  6. #6
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    one thing i really dont like is the pipes. for one thing.. the bike is rather quite. which is nice when you're pulling in the garage at 3 in the morning.. but i'd like a little bit of growl from them. not loud like an obnoxious harley vrod or something. but just enough that yo uknow its there.

    also, on the nighthawk, the pipes are a 4 into 2 setup , and they run under the bike and out the side. problem is that they are lower than the frame. so you cant even use a motorcyle jack. maybe i might not ever NEED a jack, but i dont like not having the option. i guess the other thing that bothers me is that the pipes are taking up 3" of space, which is going to limit how much the bike can be lowered.

    so, i'm thinkign i'd like to bring the pipes out the side or someother way, and have straight pipes down the side of the bikes. perhaps keeping two on each side instead of 4 into 2. id like the pipes to end around the point of the rear axle. just not sure how to get them there...



    [

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    soooo those are all the pics of the bike for now...

    here are some of the things i'm leanign towards...

    i'm currently bidding on these handlebars on ebay.. the auction is over tommorrow, so i'll be watching it closely..


  8. #8
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    i'm goign to either make, or buy forward controls.

    right now i'm looking at the ones from tcbros.



    if i get those, i definatley want the knurled pegs instead of the smooth concave ones. i like the idea of having a peg that bites into my shoe a bit.



    and of course, they also have a linkage kit which just looks like it rocks.




    and, here is how they look mounted on a honda cb750




  9. #9
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    and here is a short video so you can get a better look at the bike, and here how it runs.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5KTGhvDBaxQ

  10. #10
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    well. i had a yearning to do SOMETHING to get started...

    so i went out and started lowering.

    i have wanted to keep the softtail rear but wasnt sure if simply using shorter shocks would make the bike low enough or if i would have to relocate the shock mounts..

    well, the shortest shocks ive been able to find online have been 10" which os only 3" shorter than the stock shocks and i knew that wouldnt be low enough but i wanted a visual.

    so i pulled the shocks and dropped the bike all the way down onto the fender. it only put the shock mounts at 9" on centers. and that was with the tire smashed up against the airbox and the fender. so i thought that maybe 10" WOULD be good enough afterall.

    but, i still needed a visual...

    so i grabbed some scrap angle iron i had layin in the garage and made soem quick and dirty struts on 10" centers. well..... it tunred out pretty cool. dropped the bike 2" which looks like a lot more than it is.

    [

  11. #11
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    so, i went ahead and moved the fork tubes up two inches through the trees and lowered the front as well.

    i LOVED the new stance.. but the kickstand didnt work anymore. lol.

    so i puleld it from the bike, and cut a few inches out of the shat, and welded it back together.. now its all good.





    except its still not as low as my truck


  12. #12
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    so as i was standing there looking at the ike and admiring the new stance.. i wished i had not lowered it last night because today was such a nice day i wished i could ride.

    so my buddy said, so go ride.

    i figured, alright cool. i guess this is as good a time as any to find out if i like a hard tail or a strut rear end.. so i took the bike out for about an hour long ride.

    now granted i had the strut rear and no suspension on the seat so i was prepared for a really really bumpy ride... not something i was looking forward to, and exactly why i wanted to keep the softtail..

    well.... after riding around for an hour i was convinced... hardtail is NOT that bad afterall!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    todays ride was enough to help me decide to go ahead and either strut the rear end or somehow make it a hardtail.

    i'm not sure that i can do a conventional hardtail because of the shaft drive being part of the swing arm.. but i saw on another forum where someone did sort of a strut/hardtail.. i think i might try it..


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    well, my bars came in yesterday, so of course i had to head out and put them on last night.

    i like them.. but they are definately not made for my stock controls and grips

    the straight ends on the bars are too short for the grip and choke and clutch componets on the left side. once everythign is clamped down as far in towards the center as possible, the grip actually hangs off about an inch and half.


    on the right side, its the same, the throttle and grip hang about an inch and a half off the end of the bar.

    its not so noticable on the right side, because the throttle has that stiff plastic, but on the left side though, there is no backing on the grip, so if i grab it naturally, my pinky slopes off the side.

    i'm thinking i can put a slug in the end and a shot extension piece ..

    it'll be temporary until i get new bar controls and whatnot to clean up the bars anyway.


    anyway, here's some pics.


    started stripping the bars, and remembered i should be taking pics


    just a little naked


    and all mounted back up. i like them, but like i said they are a little short side to side for all the stock controls and grips.

    its also pretty cramped with all the stock stuff and makes it a little difficult to see the instrument cluster. which i think i'll probably be ditching when the goin gets goin anyway.








  14. #14
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    well....... the fun has begun.

    woke up saturday morning to a box on the front porch....

    DAMN. tcbros got my hardtail to me in two days. i ordered like thursday night/friday morning at around 3 or 4 am, and it was here on my porch at 10am saturday morning.

    those boys rock.


  15. #15
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    not only did it get here quick, but it was packed extremely well, and just from looks alone i can tell what a quality product it is. everything is cut and bent perfectly. no burs or sharp edges, beefy, the whole 9. now i see why they come so highly recommended.

    so, since the tailend was here, i figured i better get started and stop procrastinating.[hr]
    let the teardown begin..

    seat. gone.


    tank. gone.


    battery. exhaust. carb boots. gone.


    outter rear fender. gone.


    and inner rear fender. gone.
    [hr]
    oops. i tripped and cut half my frame off!!


    removed all the foot controls, brake, and shift controls.
    [hr]
    well, thats all for tonight. started around 9pm and finished up around 4am.

  16. #16
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    i could have gotten more done except for a few reasons.

    1. its my FIRST time tearning apart a bike, so i've been taking my time and making sure i knew what i was doing, before doing it.

    2. EVERY part that came off, got a label attached to it and got bagged in ziplock bags. i bought quart size, gallon size, and 5 gallon size. i labeled all parts. and then small things like screws, bolts, etc, simply got bagged with the parts they belong to, but all componets of any specific area are in a singel bag, with a label on it. as i was pulling wiring, i labeled each end of every wire too, for what part of the bike it belonged, and what it plugged into.

    all the labeling took quite a while, but for a first timer, i think it was not only necessary, but i think it will prove to be a life saver down the road.



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    well, i got a little more done last night. took longer cuz it was mostly wiring, so there was a lot to lable.

    got the rest of the main harness pulled off the bike. and all of the front end stuff. ie: turn signals, fuse box, lights, horn, dash cluster, ignition, etc...




  18. #18
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    then i cut the left over nubs off the rear. still need to grind it before i think about welding on the hardtail. of course, there is still a chunk at the bottom that has to go, after i get the swingarm out of there.

    [

  19. #19
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    so, after i had everythign stripped, i got the bike frame setup on blocks, and as i was getting everything straight, i noticed something...

    my rear tire and swingarm are NOT aligned with the frame .

    the tire is offset to the left by about an inch or more.

    i'm guessing there is a spacer that someone forgot to put in there or something.. at any rate, i will NOT be goign off these measurements for the hardtail !!!








  20. #20
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    got a lot of work done last night.

    there is no reason to change the rim or axle plates. just have to make a new axle for it. basically, just what i drew above will work perfect. a straight axle with threads on either side.

    also will need spacers for each side.

    we got it all mocked up, axle plates in place and lower bars in place. using 1/2" all thread right now for a mock axle, and using nuts and washers for temporary spacers to get everything set right where we wanted it.

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