This is my 1982 Honda Nighthawk 450. What a fun little bike these are. This is about as close as you can get to a perfect city commuter bike. I am of course partial to a CB350 or kin, but this Nighthawk 450 sure fits the bill pretty well too.
In the late 70’s and early 80’s bikes motorcycles were going through a lot of changes. Many were dropping their mechanical ignitions in favor of electronic systems. Consoles and gauges which were once steel were fast become plastic. Larger amounts of body work were becoming common place, and some funky wheel combinations were hitting the market.
These nighthawk 450’s are great little bikes for what they are. They are great for zipping around town or quick jaunts down the interstate. The motors are smooth, make good power, and are relatively low maintenance. This was definitely a transition motorcycle for Honda. They were beginning to make motorcycles that were styled a bit more sporty and aggressive. The same features you see on this bike can also be seen on the CB750F, CB900F, and CB1100F models of the same time period. They were using well formed fuel tanks and plastic body work that was designed more for aesthetics than it was for function.
Honda did not jump to plastic headlight buckets and gauge clusters on this model like they were about to do on the Honda Magna’s and Sabre’s. They did however switch to a real dorky style of wheel. It is styled like a Comstar Wheel, but it can be disassembled. The radial supports unbolt from the rim and hub so the wheel can be taken apart. I would bet that the singular glaring reason Honda started using these wheels was the cut costs. It is easier and faster to cast several small pieces than one large one. Personally I have always preferred a spoked wheel in every case.
These Nighthawk 450 motors were essentially the same beast as the CM400 and CMX450 motors. They really do run smooth and reliably. This is an excellent first bike for someone just getting into riding, or is even perfect for someone like myself who prefers to ride a small and simple machine rather than the big hogs and performance driven bikes that most are drawn to. In almost every case a bike like this is all you need to have a great time on two wheels. The small stature, light weight, and peppy motor make it a blast to zip around on. It is very maneuverable, and the seat is soft and wide. The Honda Nighthawk 450 is indeed a great all-around bike.