Penny-pinching car geek's guide to racing, track days, and car build. DIY projects, product reviews, and interviews.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Completely rusted out tank - Tank repair

This is a cheater post--no DYI projects here.  I bought my hawk for dirt cheap.  Dirt cheap for a hawk.  Most vintage bikes from the 80's will be worth about 1500 dollars in working, good condition.  My hawk was working, low mileage, but it had a completely rusted out tank.  I realized that when I picked at some bubbles on the paint with my fingernail; gas started pissing out.  Uh-oh.  Unfortunately it is super-hard to find an intact NT650 gas tank.

There are some options.  The most simple one is to get a tank off of a CBR600F2 or 600F3.  These
are widely available for cheap.  (Sub 100 on Ebay)  Put a modern Harley right side petcock, which is not vacuum operated--just like the Hawk-- and are universal.  By modern, I mean post 1975.  Put some spacers, extend the tabs, bolt on and widen your seat.  Done!  However, I won't be going that route. 

On an NT650, you have this tiny 3 gallon tank.  Which means you can go 150 miles on a trip.  That is another reason people install the F2/F3 tank; its bigger.

One great thing about this small tank is that it is super narrow.  This is the primary reason I will not be going with an F2/F3 tank.  Also, I love the looks of the stock tank.

I don't have any exterior photos of the tank, but here is what it looks like on the inside:
The horror!! The horror!!
What it is is an epic crap POR-15 coating.  So what will I do?

Fortunately I found these guys:
They'll take the tank, sand-blast the outer surface to get all of the paint off.  Then they'll bake it to burn out the previous coating.  They'll cut a hole in the tank to sandblast the inside as well.  Any pinholes (which I have plenty of) in the tank that go through the tank walls will be filled in, any parts of the tank that need welding will be welded in.  The inside will be coated with a badass proprietary coating and the outside will get a few coats of primer.  Apparently the tank will never rust again. 

I am not bad at rattle can paint jobs.  I did side covers on my old '72 scrambler and it looked glorious.  I'm going to do the same to this tank.  I'm thinking about a crazy color like yellow or a light orange, but I have a feeling that darker colors contrast better with the aluminum frame.  I'll keep you guys posted. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

I am back! New project- Honda Hawk GT NT650 (RC31)

Well, a long time has gone by since my last entry.  I am 29, single again, and I've relocated to the Washington, D.C. area.  I took a few years off of motorsports, except for the few kart rental races I've done at Orlando Karting Center.  I have steadier income now, so I wanted to get back into motorsports.

Honda CL450 Scrambler
Before I moved to this area, which I did two months ago, I lived in Orlando, Florida.  Even though I Cafe Moto group.  Cafe Moto is one of the biggest vintage motorcycle clubs in the USA.  I rode a 1972 Honda CL450 Scrambler, then a 1982 CB750SC Nighthawk.  (I think that second link is pretty funny.)  Besides that, back in law school and before I started the LoHP Miata project, I dabbled in motorcycle track days.  I also rode motorcycles before I did my first moto-track day.
haven't been on the motorsports scene, I still got my gasoline kicks with the

So it is appropriate for me to return to motorcycle track days.  I bought the ultimate modern hipster-motorcycle, and a great beginner racing bike that you do not grow out of.  The Honda Hawk GT, also known as the NT650 RC31.  This is a lightweight, small, single side swingarm (SSA or SSSA as my old autocross friend Mike calls it, for Sexy Single Side Swingarm) bike.  This is by far the best handling motorcycle I've been on.  It is very easy to get into turns, and I imagine its cornering speeds are high.

Yours truly.  This bike actually needs a LOT of work.

I have project goals as well.  Of course, first and foremost is to make myself a faster rider.  But the other, more tangible and less wishy-washy goal is to build a street-track dual purpose bike.  Eventually, and hopefully within a few years, the bike will have fairings and will be raced in vintage motorcycle series.

The gist of it is to build a bike that will fly around a track, but is easily converted back into streetable form.  I have very interesting ideas to execute.  For example, a high priority on this project is to make it as easy and least time consuming as possible to get the bike ready for the track.

Anyways, I hope this blog continues to be read.  I apologize for the huge gap of absence and the abrupt change in the theme (4 wheels to 2 wheels), but I don't think I'll disappoint you with the contents.

PS: The Nighthawk is for sale.  Kept indoors in Orlando, FL.  17k miles, just had valve adjustment done with new chain and sprockets.  The only real blemish is in the right side of the tank.  Dented in from when I dropped it on my truck bed.  Oops. 

Till next time,