1998 Honda Nighthawk CB750
My father rode motorcycles in his younger years but gave it up even prior to having kids. It wasn't until I, the youngest child, left for college that he again began riding motorcycles again. He purchased a Honda Nighthawk. It was brand new but a couple model years old. After going for a ride on the back of his Nighthawk I decided that I too needed to get a motorcycle. That is not to say that I only purchased a bike because he did, but it certainly got me to purchase a bike sooner than I would have on my own. I ended up buying a bike I could afford, a rough 1981 Yamaha XS650. My father and I worked on it together to get it ridable then we immediately started going on trips together, me on my XS650 and him on his Nighthawk.
That picture was taken while I was living in Indianapolis for my sophmore to junior year internship. That was the typical setup. Father and son on two black Japensese bikes out for a trip. My 650 was in rough shape when I bought it and I was still just starting to get into wrenching on vehicles. Consequently, I sometimes had mechanical or electrical issues while on our trips. I was always thankful that the Nighthawk was so perfectly dependable. I got a ride on the back seat on more than one occasion.
If you have a motorcycle, then chances you have multiple motorcycles. You can't have just one. My dad and I are no exception. A year after I bought the XS650 I purchased an XS1100. My father likewise purchased a Kawasaki KLR and a Suzuki VStrom. Over the years the bikes we rode on expanded. Eventually the XS650 completely broke down on me and remained dormant for the next 5 years. I moved to Maryland. My parents spent more time in Colorado. When my father and I would ride together, it was in Colorado on his KLR and VStrom or in Maryland on my XS1100 and FJR.
I went several years without riding the Nighthawk or riding with my father as he rode the Nighthawk. Fast forward to 2014 and my parents are selling their house in Illinois. Limited garage space in Colorado means it is time for my father to start reducing his motorcycle collection. When he said he was thinking about selling the Nighthawk, I was quick to remind him he had promised to give me the first shot at it.
The Nighthawk is a great bike. It gets great gas mileage. It has plenty of space for the passenger. It has a great top speed and acceleration. It is not too big or heavy, and not too small. It is confortable in pretty much any road riding condition. You can imagine the Nighthawk going to school and getting B+'s in every class. It might not be an A+ in any one category, but the sum of its parts makes it a fantastic all around bike. I couldn't let my father sell it.
Well it turned out that would not be a problem. My father just straight up gave me the bike under the condition that I register and insure it and that I give him the first chance if I ever decided to sell it. This was extremely generous of him, but also a little crafty because now the bike would live in my garage in Colorado where he could ride it any time he wanted. It was a win-win.
Now I am back up to 4 motorcycles, which is perhaps a little more than I wanted. Then again, the limiting factor has always been my time for performing all the maintenance and repairs that goes along with 4 bikes. Since the Nighthawk does not fall into that "older than me" category, and since it has a proven history of reliability, I don't think I will have any issues.
Now as for what I will be doing with the bike, well perhaps commuting. Maybe Nikki will even ride it. Who knows. One thing I am sure of, at some point in the near future my father and I will be going for a road trip; him on the Nighthawk, me on the XS650, just like it all started 13 years ago.
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