Nighthawk Restoration
Various photos of the process of restoring my '92 Nighthawk 750. Many of these are just for reference so I know I can put things back together properly.

The bike has definitely been well enjoyed over its 20K miles. Low-sided at least once on both sides, apparently had a violent chain evacuation at some point, and possibly looped a time or two.

The drive sprocket and housing were completely caked in greasy sand that took several days to get clean. The tank had been dented up pretty good on both sides, particularly on the left. Previous owner(s) did some makeshift repairs, pounding out the dent and doing their best to fill it, and then slapped some black paint on it. At one point it appears to have had a batman logo on it to boot!

I have completely stripped, filled and painted the tank (more than once, but that's another story). I have the Honda logos for the tank (they are actually from a 2016 CBR500, $0.99 vs $23.00, don't tell anyone) but I haven't installed them yet as I may want to do another touch up sand and polish before calling it quits completely. It isn't perfect by any stretch, but it's really not bad for a rattle can job done in the yard having to stand over it with tweezers to pick out all the crap that lands in the wet paint. Clear coated the tank with Spraymax 2K two-part clear to be gasoline resistant. Aside from feeling like I'm taking a 50/50 chance of killing myself with that stuff, it is amazing! I used Rustoleum engine enamel clear on the rest (Spraymax is only good for 48 hours after initiation, and you can't buy it locally). It worked out ok, but if I had it to do all over again I would use the Spraymax on everything.

The rear fairing was destroyed, 5 or 6 major cracks through it, huge chunks missing out of it near the tail light (hence the looping suspicion) . I ended up drill-stopping and drilling through the cracks and then using a plastic milk jug/rubber cement/wax paper technique to create molds for all the places that need repairs. I used JBWeld plastic weld epoxy to fill and bond the damaged areas. Again, not a perfect job but it turned out pretty decent, perfection requires a greater dedication to sanding than I am willing to commit. That plastic weld is awesome though, other than the fact that it smells like cat vomit.

The wheels were in moderate shape, though it looks like they took some significant abuse trying to fit inappropriately sized tires onto them. Hopefully they will seal well. I replace the tires myself using Avon M26 (I think) tires. That was a lot of work, but actually not to bad if you are careful and don't get impatient. Plastic milk jugs worked a treat again to protect the rims while installing the tires. I wasn't sure how I wanted to paint the rims (other than I didn't wanted to leave them in their degraded silver/gray state), so I decided to flexi-dip them so that I could rethink my decision later if need be. I painted after installing the tires as the Flexidip was unlikely to survive the tire installation. That stuff goes on great and is a real pleasure to work with. I even tore it off the front wheel and re-did it when I decided that leaving the silver strip wouldn't work, and it really was no big deal. I would have been so upset had that been enamel. I may get them powder-coated in matte black at a later date if they don't have any problems holding air. Do note that many people report problems with Flexidip damaging the underlying finish vs. Plastidip. I don't know if this is actually a product problem, or an application problem, but I wasn't concerned about it since the finish on the rims was already borked.

Beyond that, I have rebuilt the carbs (twice), replaced the sprockets, chain, clutch, clutch and brake cables, brake lever, turn indicators, foot pegs and pads, countless springs and bushings and other assorted doo-dads and recovered the seat. I also ground and painted the swing arm, but mostly in the interest of corrosion control. I am in the process of re-assembly now and hope to have it all ready before the 4th of July weekend. Things that still need to be replaced after I am "done" include the flat-spotted clutch cover (from a low-side), the damaged left-side (sprocket) cover, the brake pedal which has its own unique shape, and the ignition and/or keys as it's jinky as heck right now.

When everything is replaced as it should be, I will be about $2500 in (not counting labor). Not too bad for a labor of love.
164 photos · 249 views
1