I really shouldn’t ever go on Craigslist. I mean, I almost never do but I did last weekend and found an old, neglected 1992 Honda CB750 Nighthawk with less than 12,000 miles under its belt. And for whatever reason, I immediately wanted it.
The tags expired in 2002, it’s been sitting in a parking lot somewhere in Maryland ever since. For some reason, the owner decided to get rid of it now, brought it to friends who run a Honda dealership in Virginia and they sold it to me for $600.
This bike has literally not been moved or touched in 14 years. It’s crazy to think that the last time this bike was out on the road, I was a second-year in college.
This is where my journey with this bike begins – and I invite you to come along. Advice, suggestions and smartass comments are, as always, welcomed and encouraged.
Our first evening together
Everything “perishable” on the bike is rotten to hell, but the body is in great shape – the bike has never been dropped, not a single dent or scratch on the tank.
The seat does not look very inviting … it needs new foam in addition to a new cover.
The turn signals hanging on for dear life only by their wires.
The exhaust pipes are beyond rescue.
The paint has seen better days.
And the list goes on …
I am not entirely sure yet if I want to restore the bike back to its old glory, or if I want to turn it into something entirely different, a café racer for example. For starters, I need to figure out if the engine is still okay. I suspect that it is but to find out, I’ll have to put in a new battery, replace the spark plugs, and give the air filter and the carbs a quick cleaning (a complete carb rebuild will follow after that).
Before I start wrenching, the bike is getting an air bath with the leaf blower, to get rid of all the dead spiders, leaves and debris that have collected in every crevice and hollow space of the bike.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: a leaf blower is an essential tool for every motorcycle mechanic (who is too lazy to pull out the air compressor).
The spark plugs look pretty rotten, I am worried that rust has seized the threads, so I’ll just give them a bath with liquid wrench and let them sit for a day or two.
A quick peak at the air box and filter reveals a surprisingly clean airway. I mean, it’s obviously not clean but considering that the bike hasn’t been moved in 14 years, I was fully expecting to find a family of mice residing in the filter.
While messing with the air box, I suddenly realize that there is a greenish-clear liquid spreading under the bike, slowing creeping towards me. I had noticed a few cracks in the battery earlier and made a mental note to use extra caution during removal, but apparently pushing the bike out of and back into the garage had “awakened” the cracks and acid started pouring out and dripping down onto the floor. $H!T
Hustling to get the bracket off I run into the next problem: the bolts on the leads are rusted so badly that I can’t get them off — I have no choice but to cut the wires instead in order to remove the battery.
Cleaning up an acid spill is quite the ordeal so I am calling it a night for the little red devil. Stay tuned for Take 2.