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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm still in the planning stages for buying an FZ-09, and I'd love to get feedback from current or former Hawk owners as far as how the FZ compares to the Hawk. I know the FZ has far more power, but how does it compare in terms of handling and general fun to ride?

I've had my Hawk for over 22 years, and it has never let me down. I've already upgraded the shock (Penske 8983), fork (RaceTech springs) and front brake (EBC floating rotor, 6-piston Tokico caliper). I could spend a few thousand on the engine and really perk it up, that would be a lot cheaper than buying a new FZ. Not as nice as a new bike no doubt, but I can't get past the fact that I absolutely LOVE my Hawk.

I'd be interested in hearing thoughts from Hawkers (and anybody else).
 

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I've never enjoyed a hawk GT, but you don't know what you are missing. The FZ is so much fun to ride ans always leaves a smile on my face. The engine is a controlled explosion. Put some money into suspension and you have a fast light good handling new bike.

I don't know a lot about hawks, but it sounds like you should just keep it too. I doubt you could get enough for it to justify selling it.
 

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I've had my Hawk GT since '95. It's my newest bike- up until I bought the FZ-09 a month ago. As tweaked with emulators, Progressive fork springs, a Progressive 415 remote reservoir shock, and Michelin Pilot Road 3 radials, the Hawk is a much better handling bike than the FZ. The Hawk is much more stable, has a more controlled ride, and is excellent in the hills. From a power standpoint there's no comparison, and you'll never be able to get the Hawk to approach the FZ. There was an article way back where one of the major magazines (Cycle I believe) compared an Erion Brothers modified Hawk (pipe, 700cc kit, cams, etc.) to two other bikes. The heavily modified Hawk's best quarter mile was something in the 12.4 second range. Faster than stock, but vibration was intense and it was nowhere near the FZ's 10.7-11 second range. I love the Hawk and won't sell it. But the FZ has exceptional potential once the suspension and twitchy throttle are addressed.

I took my Hawk to my first track day last April. I was able to catch and pass other bikes approaching turns, and pull away through the turns. As soon as the track straightened out, they'd pass me effortlessly, and I'd have to get around them again before the next turn. It was quite frustrating having the second slowest bike out there. But the Hawk handled with the best of them, although it doesn't have the cornering clearance ultimately (plenty for me though). Picture of my son on my Hawk, and later on his own Hawk, at his second track day. He's better than me.
cph 1995.jpg My son on my Hawk when I got it.
Determined1.jpg At his second track day.

I have a twin-clicker shock and fork springs on order, and will have the ECU re-flashed by Nick. With these mods, I am anticipating that the FZ will be closer to it's full potential. The engine is addictive. I thought that the Hawk had good torque, but it can't compare to the FZ.

Keep the Hawk, but get the FZ. JD Hord still modifies Hawks by the way. I believe his website is hordpower.com.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Oh yeah, Hord is the only guy I would trust to massage my Hawk's engine. I bought my Penske and a load of other stuff from him. Thanks for the comments on handling, stuarth, very helpful feedback.
 

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I had an 89 with 60K plus miles and a pristine 88 with 18k I had a year. You have 22 years on it so there can't be much you don't know about it. You have some nice mods and it sounds like it still looks stock which means it holds it value better. You can't loose by keeping it and after you get your FZ-09 you will still be able to ride it and enjoy it. Power is nice but it isn't everything. I sold my 88 to finance a VFR800 which was a mistake. For now, I consider the FZ-09 to be my modern Hawk (on steroids of course and probably as close as I am going to get to a Hawk). Attached is my 88.


hawk ss.jpg ).
 

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I have a late 80's Hawk we call the Imitation RC 30.

This is because it has a kit available back in the day that had pre-painted body work

that looked a lot like an RC 30, along with upgraded wheels, brakes and suspension.

Bought it for $ 3000 from Ebay about 5 years ago.

Nice bike, but not even close to a FZ 09.

One thing to remember is you could spend a lot of money upgrading the Hawk motor and

suspension, but would never get it back on resale.

People just don't pay much, if anything for upgrades.

The money would be much better spent on a new FZ 09.

The much maligned throttle and suspension of the FZ 09 is exaggerated and easily fixed with $ 90 worth of

springs, and that's if you're heavy enough to even need the springs.

Most of the throttle gripes could be resolved by taking the slack out of the cable , getting used to the bike,

and saving the A setting till later after more seat time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'll never sell the Hawk, so I'm not worried about resale. A "Hawk on steroids" is what I would be looking for with the FZ. My typical fun ride is about 120 miles round trip (60 miles out and 60 back, retracing the same route) on winding country roads, speed is typically 50 mph-70 mph. For that kind of riding handling is more important than acceleration, thus my emphasis on cornering prowess. But the extra power of the FZ sounds intoxicating.

Another factor: I'm paying about $115/year for full coverage insurance on the Hawk, I imagine the FZ would run a lot more than that. The FZ-09 is the only new bike on the market now that really interests me (except for the Aprilia Tuono VR4, and I can't justify spending that much), but there's a part of me that wonders if I should just spiff up the Hawk's motor a bit and be happy with what I've got. Anyway, just thinking out loud, thanks to all for your feedback.
 

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... My typical fun ride is about 120 miles round trip (60 miles out and 60 back, retracing the same route) on winding country roads, speed is typically 50 mph-70 mph. For that kind of riding handling is more important than acceleration, thus my emphasis on cornering prowess. But the extra power of the FZ sounds intoxicating. ...
With the 09's torque curve (torque straight? lol) on a road like that you can probably just leave it in 3rd gear and have way more acceleration than if you souped up the Hawk and were wailing on it. And if you spiff up the Hawk engine you might be getting into reliability or vibration trouble.

I ride for tight twisties like you describe, haven't done anything to the 09's suspension yet but can tell it is plenty nimble enough.



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My imitation RC 30 Hawk.

Brought down from ranch to clean out carbs.

 

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You're preaching to the choir here boy!

I've owned 2 hawks over the years and never felt "As-One" with a motorcycle as I did with the HawkGT's. My first one was a street bike and I liked it so much that I bought a retired racer for trackdays (after I totaled the street Hawk on the Ortega Hwy.). Solid bikes both with the proper upgrades. Peske shock of course and all the rest. Bulletproof motors that work better when not working too hard. Forget top-end, it's all about the low and mid-range. It was great being the underdog at the track when passing Ducati riders in the corners. Of course I got left for dead on the straights. Learned soooo much on those little bikes! People also often mistook the track Hawk for a Duc. I'm sure you've heard the term DuHawki?

There is no comparison with the FZ09 and the HawkGT though. I've had my FZ for 3 weeks and 700 miles so far and I can tell you that there is a big difference between the Hawks 40 horses and the FZ's 107. Ergonomically way different too. The FZ09 is like a Supermoto. I don't remember how the Hawk felt bone stock, but with the upgraded shock and fork springs it handled better than the FZ09 does stock. I'm looking to change all that though.

Do yourself a favor and keep the little HawkGT and buy a new FZ. You'll be sorry if you ever let the little Hawk go, and engine mods will cost you a fortune and lose it's dependability. It'll cost you a few grand just to get 90 horses out of the Hawk, and probably blow up trying to use it. I think I met Hord at a trackday at Fontana's Auto Club Speedway 15 or so years ago(?). Badass HawkGT for sure but he spent most of the day dinking around with it trying to get it started/running correctly.

Someday I'll figure out how to reduce the size of my pictures so I can post here. Would love to show you pictures of my little RC30 at a trackday.
 

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Yoyodyne,

I have a Hawk that I bought new in 1989, and will never sell. I had Hord port the heads, installed a different cam and did all the typical brake and suspension mods. If you haven't already, I would suggest installing the RaceTech Gold Valve Emulators. Makes the forks act much more like modern cartridge forks. Also a wider front rim allows for fitting of more modern rubber.

In 1999 I bought a 996 SuperHawk which I also really enjoy except for two things. First as expected, it weighs more than the Hawk which negatively effects handling. Second to my surprise, on twisty backroads I find it more fun to be able to ring all the performance available out of the hawk engine and suspension. Able to pin the throttle early coming out of corners and feel the chassis trying to cope. On the SuperHawk you only use a gear or two in the twisties, and pinning the throttle in most cases will result in something bad happening. On the highway it will easily hit 100 very quickly in third gear (has 6 gears) so you never get to use all of its ability.

All that being said I still want an FZ-09, and think it will make a perfect starting point for a project bike.

Cheers,
Roy
 

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Welcome to the forum NT650, 3 months and your first post. ;)

In 1999 I bought a 996 SuperHawk which I also really enjoy except for two things. First as expected, it weighs more than the Hawk which negatively effects handling. Second to my surprise, on twisty backroads I find it more fun to be able to ring all the performance available out of the hawk engine and suspension. Able to pin the throttle early coming out of corners and feel the chassis trying to cope. On the SuperHawk you only use a gear or two in the twisties, and pinning the throttle in most cases will result in something bad happening. On the highway it will easily hit 100 very quickly in third gear (has 6 gears) so you never get to use all of its ability.
The forum gets a lot of newbies and riders with just a bit of experience on 25hp bikes interested in the FZ 09. Many of them can’t understand why 100+hp isn’t a good beginner bike. Or that a nimble 40 to 70hp bike is a joy to ride even for an experienced rider. It isn’t a lesser bike than a high power one, just different. It’s great to be wide open instead of calculating how much of the beast you can let loose.



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It’s great to be wide open instead of calculating how much of the beast you can let loose.
I agree wholeheartedly. I think I'm going to buy a nice 250/300/500 someday just to have something that isn't so powerful all the time. I drive a VW GTI 200hp 207lb and I miss my little 115hp '99 Jetta all the time. I had redone all the suspension and I usually had it somewhere near redline. I can't do that as much with the GTI, and the 09 is the same way. I use about 1/4-1/2 of its power most of the time...still love it, but some full power runs would be nice. Man it's nice to finally have the 09 out of the garage :D
 

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Agreed. One reason why I'm keeping the Hawk GT although there's a sentimental attachment too. The SRX600 is also a fun little bike, and they're not common so it stays. It keeps up with my friend's 2012 Moto Guzzi V7 Classic just fine, and it's just a kick to ride. Also had a '97 Miata, and that was fun in the hills. But it wasn't a fun car to commute in as it was pretty noisy.
 
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