This is my first post and I don’t know much about bikes, so please bear with me… My lady and I are both interested in learning how to ride. A friend has offered me a free 1984 Honda Nighthawk 450 (original blue paint job!). There are 2 catches:
1) I need to travel ~500 miles to go pick it up and find a way to transport it back
2) It ran fine when it was parked. 3 years ago.
Any advice on how to proceed? The bike is in “good” condition per my friend and was regularly maintained prior to parking it for 3 years. If some of the experts here could weigh-in, I would love to know what will need to be done and what I can expect it cost. From what I gather the oil and fuel were NOT drained before it was left to sit. What is the minimum I would need to do to get it street-safe, and is the cost even worth it? Also, I have looked into transport options and a complete solution is ~$500. Driving down and renting a cargo van or pickup truck will cost me about $300. Is this free bike going to be worth the cost or am I better off putting the transport + repair money into a local bike?
Thanks in advance for any advice!
Response from a Reader:
Heres a “check list” and some input.
1. Does your buddy have the ownership / title? Getting a bike without title or ownership will create hassles down the line to replace.
2. Is your buddy in a hurry to get it out from wherever it is? I drive truck for a living and will quite often pickup items for friends and friends of friends and bring them home as long as I have help to load and off load the items and schedule pickup and delivery around my schedule.
3. If you don’t know any truckers (from work or personally) and are not in a hurry, post an add on craigslist, Kijiji or whatever community site you use in your area. Somebody may go from your buddy’s town to yours on a regular basis with a pickup truck and $50 worth of gas money makes the trip easier for them.
4. In my humble opinion (31 years riding m/c’s) I think that the bike is worth it. You know the previous owner so if you have any questions you can ask him and get a straight answer. Not to mention if anything goes wrong it doesn’t hurt as much if the bike didn’t cost 10 grand.
5. If you get the bike and spend a few weeks tinkering with it to get it running right you will… A have a better knowledge of the bike when something goes wrong 2 hours away from home (It’s going to happen ) and …B learned to fix a bike that if you really mess up you are not out 10 grand.
6 a. Basically when I get a newer bike I look at the frame for rust or damage.Damage? Send it to the junk yard. No damage? go to next step.
b. Clean all electrical contacts. This will keep you busy for a couple days.
c. Change all bulbs.
d. Change all fluids and filters
e. Change battery if needed.
f. Clean carbs using Evans technique.
g. tires… more than likely you are going to need to change them. They have been sitting for three years after all .
So for $500 to $700 you can have a great bike that is easy to fix, easy to ride and cheap to insure. As long as you are not in a hurry it would be a good deal.
O btw. I have 4 old (83 and 84) Hondas… and I love them. Each has it’s own use. I also get all kinds of good info from www.hondashadow.net
If you don’t go for it let me know. I have always loved the nighthawk line of bikes. Maybe your bud would give it to me!! LOL
Very strong response Nitro2u. I have to agree.
I would likely fly or ride the bus out, clean the carbs on the spot, and go from there. If you’re just looking at a cheap way of bringing the bike back, try UShip.com, you can find great prices there. The cost of ownership will be low assuming it’s in good shape. Clean out the carbs, flush the oil, flush the gas, and off you go!