Honda Hawk11: A Masterful Mix of Retro Style and Cutting-Edge Tech

Retro Charm, Modern Riding Bliss

You know, there are motorcycles and then there are motorcycles—the kind that make you look twice, that put a grin on your face at the mere thought of twisting the throttle. The Hawk11? She's a machine that dances in that elusive space between past and present, a two-wheeled sonnet in the ever-changing world of motorcycling. And yes, the Hawk is back, folks, but not quite how you remember it.

The original Hawk GT, an icon of its time, had a personality, a kind of counterculture flair that earned it a cult-like following. It was the rebel at the motorcycle party, daring but never disrespectful. The Hawk11 seeks to capture that same mojo but spruces it up with a host of modern features, and she doesn't disappoint.

Staring down the Hawk11, you're greeted by a sleek design. Its half-fairing with a circular LED headlight is a nod to retro, but don't be fooled; there's nothing antiquated about it. The tail section—ultra-modern and streamlined—makes a statement, as do the blacked-out radiator covers and exhaust heat shield that moonlights as a belly-pan. Clip-on handlebars, neatly placed above a pair of circular drop-down mirrors, beckon you toward adventure.

Now, under all that aesthetic goodness lies a heart borrowed from Honda’s adventure darling, the Africa Twin. It's a 1,082cc parallel-twin engine churning out around 100 horsepower and 76ft-lbs of torque. For some, that might sound like heresy—why not use a unique engine to power a legend's return? But let me tell you, this engine is no slouch. It's a globe-trotting, terrain-chomping behemoth that's more versatile than you'd think. In this sports bike setting, it promises the kind of performance that can make even a grizzled rider smile.

Rideability, my friends, is not compromised. Honda has outfitted the Hawk11 with selectable torque control and a quartet of riding modes—Sport, Rain, Custom, and Standard—to make sure you feel as much in control on wet roads as you do carving through a mountain pass. The suspension setup—Showa forks and a single rear mono-shock—holds no surprises and should offer the kind of comfort and handling that modern riders demand.

While some could argue that Honda's strategy here is a Frankenstein job—borrowing elements from the Africa Twin and NT1100 to construct this machine—I’d counter that it's more like a well-made cocktail. A dash of this, a splash of that, and what you get is an entirely new flavor.

But let’s not skip over the little details that make this bike sing. A circular LCD display featuring '80s-style graphics adds another layer to this marriage of past and present. ABS comes standard, making it not just stylish but safe. And if you want to make this ride truly your own, Honda's teamed up with Japanese aftermarket pros like Moriwaki and Daytona to offer a variety of accessories to tickle your customization fancy.

Now, for those of you worried about the practical stuff: the bike weighs 214 kg and features a seat height of 820mm, making it accessible for riders who may not be built like NBA stars. It’s a well-thought-out package designed with different body types in mind.

For those itching to get your hands on one, mark September 29th on your calendar. At around $10,500 USD, it’s a premium investment for sure, but one that promises to age like a fine whiskey.

So here's to the Hawk11—retro but not dated, modern but not soulless, and every bit the enigmatic, engaging ride that the name Hawk promises. Fire up that engine, because it's time for a new chapter in an old story.

Pros:

  1. Heritage Factor: The Hawk11 revives a storied name, echoing the cultural significance of the original Hawk GT. This adds a certain allure for riders who appreciate legacy in their machines.
  2. Versatile Engine: Utilizing the 1,082cc parallel-twin from Honda's Africa Twin ensures proven performance and reliability, making it a safe bet for both new and seasoned riders.
  3. Modern Features: The bike is loaded with state-of-the-art tech, including selectable torque control, multiple riding modes, and a modern suspension setup.
  4. Retro-Modern Aesthetics: The design beautifully marries retro elements like the half-fairing and circular LED headlight with modern lines, creating an eye-catching bike that stands out.
  5. Customization Options: Through collaborations with aftermarket experts like Moriwaki and Daytona, Honda offers a variety of accessories for riders to personalize their Hawk11.
  6. Accessibility: With a low seat height of 820mm and a weight of 214 kg, the bike is more accessible for shorter or lighter riders, as well as women.
  7. Safety Features: Comes standard with ABS and Honda's selectable Torque Control, enhancing rider safety without compromising on performance.

Cons:

  1. Non-Unique Engine: The engine, while reliable, is shared with other Honda models like the Africa Twin, which could deter enthusiasts looking for something uniquely sporty in a heritage model.
  2. Hefty Price Tag: With an RRP of approximately $10,500 USD, the Hawk11 isn't exactly budget-friendly, especially for younger riders or those new to motorcycling.
  3. Limited Initial Availability: As of now, the bike is set to release only in Japan, potentially disappointing fans in other parts of the world who are eager to get their hands on this model.
  4. Not a Direct Successor: Fans of the original Hawk GT might be disappointed that the Hawk11 doesn’t carry over many of the elements that made the original model iconic, such as the v-twin engine.
  5. Weight: At 214 kg, the Hawk11 isn't the lightest bike in its class. This could be a factor for those who prioritize agility and ease of handling in their rides.

In summary, the Hawk11 is an interesting mix of old and new, designed with both heritage and modern-day requirements in mind. It’s a bike that will likely resonate with a broad spectrum of riders, but it's not without its compromises.

~$10,500

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