Honda Nighthawk 750 or Kawasaki ZR-7S

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jason Merrick, Oct 18, 2001.

  1. Jason Merrick

    Jason Merrick Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2000
    Messages:
    696
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Simi Valley, CA (Los Angeles)
    Real Name:
    Jason Merrick
    First bike, 95% for commuting... any impressions of either bike?
    Any other recommendations?
    ------------------
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2000
    Messages:
    5,030
    Likes Received:
    0
    neither [​IMG]
    a 750 might be a bit much for a beginner, if you're careful I think you'll be OK, and take an MSF course Http://www.msf-usa.org
    the honda CB750 is air cooled I think, for commuting that could be a problem if there's traffic and it's hot
    [Edited last by Philip_G on October 18, 2001 at 10:23 PM]
     
  3. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 1999
    Messages:
    6,873
    Likes Received:
    2
    First of all, if you're new to motorcycling, then be sure to take the Motorcycle Safety Foundation RiderCourse . Sign up today!
    Either of these bikes would be a great first bike in my opinion.
    The Kawasaki is a better motorcycle than the Honda hands down.
    * Looks better - Actually it's downright beautiful - the Honda looks boring boring boring. No-one wants to be on an ugly motorcycle.
    * Better suspension, brakes. A rear drum and single disc on the Honda to rear disc and dual front discs on the K - makes it much safer. Also, the Kawasaki has a modern cartridge fork compared to the old fashoned fork on the Nighthawk. Lastly, the modern uni-track shock on the ZR-7S completely and absolutely outclasses the Nighthawk's old fashoned dual shock rear end.
    * Better tire size - the Honda comes with small wheels that require high profile bias-ply tires. The Kawasaki has 17" rims which will support modern sportbike style radial tires. - I highly recommend Continental ContiForce tires for commuting duty. They are the best tires I've ever used in the rain, and in the dry they are the equal to tires costing twice as much (Dunlop D205s) and last longer.
    * Fairing - This will make a huge difference on those cooler days and when you get stuck in the rain by accident.
    * Luggage option - if you some day want to get some luggage to make your commute easier (belueve me it makes a big difference), Kawasaki has some K branded OEM Givi bags for the ZR (the best bags available). Nothing for the Honda.
    Both motors are about the same, the Kawasaki motor has an impeccable reliability history and since it was once a racing unit, there are many hop-up parts available should you decide to upgrade. The plant is old, but is proven and has an enviable history. The Nighthawk engine is more modern, but was designed as a sedate gentlemen's bike engine. Little or no aftermarket support should you decide to make things more interesting. Stock I'd count them equal, with Kawasaki's sophisticated KTRIC throttle position sensor edging it over the Honda in responsiveness.
    The one single advantage the Honda has is that it has hydraulic valve lash adjustment, which means no costly valve adjustments. The K bike has old fashoned screw and locknut valve adjustment (i think - I could be wrong here) with frequenct valve adjustment intervals. Ask your dealer's service department how much a valve adjustment costs on the Kawasaki and how often it should be performed. I seem to remember that the interval is ridiculously low from some web site. www.activebike.com had a review of the ZR-7 before they went down. They called it the single best handling motorcycle they had ever experienced, including dedicated race bike like Ducati's 996 and Honda CBRs. They absolutely gushed over it.
    However, do know that I love Kawasakis (I own one) and have a predisposition against Hondas in general. Check out this link: http://www.zr-7.com/ .
    ------------------
    Philip Hamm
    AIM: PhilBiker
    [Edited last by Philip Hamm on October 19, 2001 at 01:18 PM]
     
  4. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 1999
    Messages:
    16,738
    Likes Received:
    129
    I agree with Mr. Hamm--but I do think a 750cc machine, even something so innocuous as the air-cooled Honda Nighthawk, is a bit much for a beginner. (Have you ridden before? If you're acclimated to the instant acceleration of a motorcycle, then maybe you're ready for a 750. And if that's the case, I'd also consider the Honda CBR600F4i.)
    ------------------
    [​IMG]
     
  5. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 1999
    Messages:
    6,873
    Likes Received:
    2
    Ha ha ha Jack..
    The Honda CBR600F4i has about 95 hp and very fast steering sportbike compared to the mid-sixties or so HP of these more sedate neutral steering and much heavier 750 standards. If you don't like a Nighthawk or ZR-7S as a beginner's bike then a sporting 600 would definitely be out of the question! [​IMG] At least that's what I would think! Though you make a good point that either of these bikes can get a beginner in a world of trouble in a flash.
    Another bike to check out in this class would be Suzuki's SV-650. That is more of a sportbike though, to these "standards".
    Also, if you're not afraid of going used for your first bike, I'd recommending hunting down an older used Yamaha Seca II 600 or a Suzuki Bandit 600 for a year or so. They will be enough to get you in trouble, and have fun doing it. [​IMG]
    ------------------
    Philip Hamm
    AIM: PhilBiker
    [Edited last by Philip Hamm on October 19, 2001 at 01:36 PM]
     
  6. Oscar W

    Oscar W Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2000
    Messages:
    105
    Likes Received:
    0
    My first bike was an 'ugly' 92 750 Nighthawk that I bought new in 93. I put a Targa cafe-type headlight fairing on it and it looked pretty sharp. The Nighthawk was a great first bike for me. Reliable, easy to ride, forgiving, comfortable and can handle suprisingly well. I rode quite a bit with a MSF instructor who had a CBR600F2, I had no problems keeping up with him around the twistys until he started hanging off the bike, then I knew to slow down. I averaged about 10-12,000 miles a year on it till I sold it in 97.
    I am currently on a 99 VFR800, incredible machine! Like others have said here take the Safety Course, both the beginner and experienced rider course when you can. This class has saved my hide on countless occasions especially when I was starting out.
    Don't forget to wave when passing other motorcyclist, except maybe the Harley guys. They never wave back.
    ~ow
    ------------------
    My DVD's
     
  7. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2000
    Messages:
    5,030
    Likes Received:
    0
    quote:
    Another bike to check out in this class would be Suzuki's SV-650. That is more of a sportbike though, to these "standards".
    Also, if you're not afraid of going used for your first bike, I'd recommending hunting down an older used Yamaha Seca II 600 or a Suzuki Bandit 600 for a year or so. They will be enough to get you in trouble, and have fun doing it.
    [/quote]
    I agree..
    depends on what he wants... if he wants a sportbike an older CBR would be ok probably, an F2/F3 maybe, yamaha FZR600, the seca II is an ugly beast but I think the mill is pretty similar to the fzr600 (with a few less ponies, not sure though) a yzf600 is a stretch, but I think they come in at like what 87HP? with some judgement I think that'd be OK too. I think for a standard the bandit is a GREAT way to go if that's what he wants.
    something to keep in mind.. you're probably going to drop the bike best case, and dump it worst case, so buy something that you can repair cheaply, or replace if the worst happens. I think pretty much everything mentioned has a LOT of used parts available, so that's good [​IMG]
    [Edited last by Philip_G on October 19, 2001 at 07:39 PM]
     
  8. Jason Merrick

    Jason Merrick Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2000
    Messages:
    696
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Simi Valley, CA (Los Angeles)
    Real Name:
    Jason Merrick
    Thanks for the input guys...
    First off, I was already planning to take the MSF course, more than likely before I even buy a bike. For those of you who think a 750 might be too big for a beginner, what would you recommend? I am 6'00/250 so I don't think a small bike will work out very well, and I don't have money to throw away on a bike that I will have to replace in 6 months to a year. Another question... maybe everyone who is just starting says this, but I have no intention of hot-rodding around, hitting the canyon roads or using this bike for anything other than commuting... so is a 750 still too much?
    As far as valve adjustments on the Kawasaki, that ZR-7 link you provided showed US manual recommending every 6000 miles while European manual recommends every 7500 miles. Anyone know in general what a valve adjustment runs at a dealership? Is the dealership usually the preferred place to take your bike, or as in the auto world are they usually just overpriced average mechanics?
    I'm not interested in a sport-bike, I don't want to kill my back leaning over, yet I don't like the cruiser-look either which is why I am leaning towards a standard. I took a (brief) look at the SV650 and it seemed more hard-core sportbike then the other 2.
    Other than riding a 50cc years ago in South America while on vacation and taking a friends Interceptor around the block a few times in the late 80's, I am a complete beginner. So, any and all advice is truly appreciated.
    The main reason I am looking at a motorcycle is for economic reasons. Considering the valve adjustment differences, is the Kawasaki going to be MUCH more expensive than the Honda to ride and maintain? I will be putting about 1000 miles per month on the bike, 99% on the freeway during off-peak hours.
    ------------------
    [​IMG]
     
  9. Jin E

    Jin E Second Unit

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2000
    Messages:
    452
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  10. Jason Merrick

    Jason Merrick Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2000
    Messages:
    696
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Simi Valley, CA (Los Angeles)
    Real Name:
    Jason Merrick
    Well, after talking to a neighbor who rides, I am now considering a Suzuki SV650... any strong opinions for or against? His main reasons were the water-cooled engine (since I will be commuting in LA) and the high marks given to it by some of his friends and many articles he's read.
    ------------------
    [​IMG]
     
  11. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 1999
    Messages:
    6,873
    Likes Received:
    2
    Jason, the SV-650 is basically a full-on mini-sportbike from what I've read. I think it will be too small for your body. Not that the engine is too small mind you, but I think you'll be leaned over and uncomfortable on it. Go to a shop and sit on it and see how it feels. The ZR-7 and Nighthawk are both larger more comfortable "all-purpose" bikes. Personally I love my GPZ, which is multi-personality bike kind of a "Sport-standard" or "Sport-tourer" somewhat like Jin's VFR (but less sporty). The GPZ is much larger than the normal "sportbike" (or Jin's fine VFR), but the largeness is welcome when touring and commuting for my 6' 1" 210 lb body. Since I've owned this bike I'm sold on the concept of a sporty all-around bike that's sized to match my body. That's why I love the ZR so much.
    quote: As far as valve adjustments on the Kawasaki, that ZR-7 link you provided showed US manual recommending every 6000 miles while European manual recommends every 7500 miles. Anyone know in general what a valve adjustment runs at a dealership? Is the dealership usually the preferred place to take your bike, or as in the auto world are they usually just overpriced average mechanics?[/quote]Lots of quesitons here and everyone will have different opinions. I'm not sure about the expense on the valve adjustments. On my bike it's a 4 hour job at $60/hour for my local shop. However, my GPZ has more sophisticated shim-under-bucket valve actuation. I think that an older screw-and-locknut valve adjustment would make the job significantly easier. You'll have to call a shop. Also, I stretch my valve adjustment intervals without problems. They're supposed to be 7500 miles but I usually do closer to 10K.
    I use my local dealer for work, they don't gougue they charge fair prices and they know what they're doing. Don't worry about the Nighthawk or ZR-7 overheating in traffic. The ZR-7 has an oil cooler which will help out a greatly, and I think the Nighthawk does as well.
    ------------------
    Philip Hamm
    AIM: PhilBiker
    [Edited last by Philip Hamm on October 22, 2001 at 09:37 AM]
    [Edited last by Philip Hamm on October 22, 2001 at 09:39 AM]
     

Share This Page