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Author Topic: Am I looking for a unicorn?  (Read 2176 times)

Offline cb750

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Am I looking for a unicorn?
« on: July 19, 2016, 07:40:34 AM »
Good morning,

I'm looking for my first motorcycle. My dad had a CB650 back in the late 80s and has pointed me toward Hondas as good reliable bikes (he also sold Honda in college). I've taken the MSF Basic Rider Course through Motorcycle Ohio (on a 250 NH) and need to get a bike to practice with.

I'm looking for a 90s model Honda Nighthawk 750 for no more than $1100. Doesn't need to be pretty, but needs to run and allow me to gain experience before having to put money into it.

There was one on CycleTrader that I procrastinated on and missed...argh. Perfect '93 model 750 at $1k. But everything I'm coming up with now is either 250cc versions needing a lot of work to get moving, or way out of my price range.

Am I on a fool's errand looking for a bike of this age for that price?

Offline AHenry014

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Re: Am I looking for a unicorn?
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2016, 08:59:28 AM »
Unfortunately, finding a bike like that is going to be fairly tough, and for two big reasons...the time of year and maintenance.  I know where one lives makes a big difference in price (a dude in Socal can ride nearly year round but me in New England gets half a year), but a NH 750 is sought after for the same reasons you want one, and command a premium for it.  Anything around 1k is generally going to need some work, unless you come across a gem someone just wants to unload.  I would be surprised if something around that price didnt need tires, which will run a minimum of 300 bucks or so.  Keep in mind, anything more than 5yrs old on tires should be tossed in the trash, no matter how much tread is left. 

I would offer you my 700s, as it would be a perfect sorted bike for you to ride, but it would nearly be doubling your budget (and i have no idea where you are located).  Keep a hawk eye on craigslist, and touch base with people you know that ride.  They may know someone with a bike tucked away that could be just right for you.  I would consider broadening your horizons as well.  My first bike was a great 96 Suzuki Bandit 600 that needed nothing.  I paid 1300 or so for it. 
-Alex

Offline dkruitz

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Re: Am I looking for a unicorn?
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2016, 09:16:38 AM »
Not at all.   But you should expect to have to do some work or updates to one, unless you're very lucky.  Chances are the tires will be over 5 years old.  It will need oil and a filter, might need brakes, and if it sat over a year the carbs will need to be cleaned. None of it is difficult, you just have to be diligent.  If you buy older bikes you'll either spend a fortune letting a mechanic do the easy stuff, or you'll put in some sweat equity.

Edit: in regards to tire comment above, just got some nice Avon Roadriders from Chaparal motorsports on ebay for $210 shipped. Unless you mount 'em yourself, you'll need to take the wheels to a tire shop to do so.

Offline AHenry014

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Re: Am I looking for a unicorn?
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2016, 09:20:13 AM »
right, i was factoring the cost to mount and balance in since most dont have the ability to mount/balance themselves.
-Alex

Offline cb750

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Re: Am I looking for a unicorn?
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2016, 09:40:30 AM »
That's pretty much what I expected. I can find early 80s models and 250s that need a lot of work, but not any newer models. The one that I mentioned above had over 45k miles on it, which probably explained the price.

On broadening the scope...that's what I'm thinking. This is in my area...I'll have to run it by my motorcycle friend...

http://cincinnati.craigslist.org/mcy/5688076250.html

Still looking though. With insurance and gear over and above the cost of the bike, I may price myself out of this pretty quick. We'll see.

I'm in SW Ohio.

Offline Rubo

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Re: Am I looking for a unicorn?
« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2016, 09:45:02 AM »
Good morning,

I'm looking for my first motorcycle. My dad had a CB650 back in the late 80s and has pointed me toward Hondas as good reliable bikes (he also sold Honda in college). I've taken the MSF Basic Rider Course through Motorcycle Ohio (on a 250 NH) and need to get a bike to practice with.

I'm looking for a 90s model Honda Nighthawk 750 for no more than $1100. Doesn't need to be pretty, but needs to run and allow me to gain experience before having to put money into it.

There was one on CycleTrader that I procrastinated on and missed...argh. Perfect '93 model 750 at $1k. But everything I'm coming up with now is either 250cc versions needing a lot of work to get moving, or way out of my price range.

Am I on a fool's errand looking for a bike of this age for that price?
You can buy mine 10k miles price of 1k if you can get to Massachusetts
Nothing wrong just does not fit me ergonomically.
going to need tires next season.
New carb float needles , grips,Daytona handlebar and have the stock as well.Runs really well.Did the shim on main jets and it flys.

Offline alwhite00

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Re: Am I looking for a unicorn?
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2016, 01:40:17 PM »
I paid $1,500 for a 13,000 mile 93 750 - Great shape other than a small dent in the tank, Runs like a dream. You may want to save a few more bucks & up your budget slightly.

Offline Adventurer

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Re: Am I looking for a unicorn?
« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2016, 03:04:02 PM »
I'm in Southeastern PA (Berks County) and just ran a quick Craigslist check for you. It seems that if you up your budget from $1,100. to $1,300.-$1,500.ish, there are a few to choose from which would appear to match your description, at a glance. Keep in mind that Craigslist only allows you to search in a 200 mile radius from your specified zip code...so if you're willing to drive, as I was (drove to Binghampton, NY and trailered her home), if you punch in neighboring zip codes, you might find something for $1,100. or less, if you hit it at the right time, or are patient (which I know is hard, when you're on a mission). Hope this helps and best of luck. They're out there.
Every day is a gift.

Offline dkruitz

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Re: Am I looking for a unicorn?
« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2016, 03:11:51 PM »
And I know you're thinking timing now, but in 3-4 months, the prices and availability will be better - 2nd last bike I bought was from MN in October on eBay no less, and got it delivered for less than I could buy one for here in TX.

Craigslist far and wide, and look under ride share there for possible delivery options.


Good luck on the hunt!

Offline cb750

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Re: Am I looking for a unicorn?
« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2016, 05:55:13 AM »
Good advice. I did just that - searched CL in surrounding areas - and found quite a few 90s Nighthawks for reasonable prices. Also stopped into a local cycle shop today and their advice was pretty much "You'll only get a project bike for $1k."

Time to save and increase the budget I guess.

Offline Adventurer

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Re: Am I looking for a unicorn?
« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2016, 05:58:29 AM »
Good advice. I did just that - searched CL in surrounding areas - and found quite a few 90s Nighthawks for reasonable prices. Also stopped into a local cycle shop today and their advice was pretty much "You'll only get a project bike for $1k."

Time to save and increase the budget I guess.

Great News! Glad to hear it and thanks for sharing. Looking forward to the pics, if/when you might opt to pull the trigger on one.


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Every day is a gift.

Offline cb750

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Re: Am I looking for a unicorn?
« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2016, 05:30:26 AM »
Just an FYI for anyone reading...this popped up in my area. Going to see it on Thursday (hope it lasts that long). I'll be taking a friend who rode a 750 NH for ten years to check it out. It's obviously been repainted, but otherwise looks in great shape. it's a '91 model NH 750.

Wish me luck!



Offline AHenry014

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Re: Am I looking for a unicorn?
« Reply #12 on: August 01, 2016, 05:50:00 AM »
nice! details on mileage and price?
-Alex

Offline alwhite00

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Re: Am I looking for a unicorn?
« Reply #13 on: August 01, 2016, 10:25:48 AM »
Looks pretty good - As said, Miles & price?

Offline cb750

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Re: Am I looking for a unicorn?
« Reply #14 on: August 02, 2016, 11:08:56 AM »
Oops.

23,800 miles and asking $1499. It's a dealership that took it in on trade.

Offline DesignFlaw06

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Re: Am I looking for a unicorn?
« Reply #15 on: August 02, 2016, 11:11:11 AM »
That's not a terrible price.  New paint makes me nervous though as it can be a sign that the previous owner covered something up.  From the picture, it looks like a decent paint job.

Dry rot around the tires, chain slack, and look for anything the paint may be trying to hide.

Offline cb750

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Re: Am I looking for a unicorn?
« Reply #16 on: August 02, 2016, 12:44:14 PM »
That's not a terrible price.  New paint makes me nervous though as it can be a sign that the previous owner covered something up.  From the picture, it looks like a decent paint job.

Dry rot around the tires, chain slack, and look for anything the paint may be trying to hide.

Interestingly that was my first thought as well. "Why was it repainted?"

I'm having two experienced Honda guys check it out on Thursday. We'll see...

Offline Adventurer

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Re: Am I looking for a unicorn?
« Reply #17 on: August 02, 2016, 12:54:43 PM »
Re: Paint. Maybe they just really love orange? My buddy's willing to drive out-of-state to buy an orange, two-door Jeep Rubicon, b/c the dude just loves orange, like none other.
Every day is a gift.

Offline DesignFlaw06

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Re: Am I looking for a unicorn?
« Reply #18 on: August 02, 2016, 02:10:04 PM »
Re: Paint. Maybe they just really love orange? My buddy's willing to drive out-of-state to buy an orange, two-door Jeep Rubicon, b/c the dude just loves orange, like none other.

Entirely possible.  Dealership said they took it in on trade, so find out what the guy bought.  Was it orange?  :think2: haphap


Going in to these types of things, it helps to be more skeptical than not.  There's always a chance it can give you some negotiating power with regards to price.  Why would someone put in the effort of painting a 25 year old bike worth $1500?  Actually, if the dealer is selling it for $1500, they probably only paid $750 for it. 


The level of detail of the paint job will tell you a lot about the care and effort the previous owner took.  If it's rattle can, run.




Offline cb750

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Re: Am I looking for a unicorn?
« Reply #19 on: August 02, 2016, 02:22:19 PM »
Hmmm....good points. It's awesome having a board of knowledgeable people to look at stuff.

Assuming everything checks out and the tires are new, repainting wasn't covering any issues, and everything's in good condition, what's a good price? I'd like to get it down to $13-$1350 INCLUDING tax and title. Is that too ambitious?

Offline Captainkirk

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Re: Am I looking for a unicorn?
« Reply #20 on: August 02, 2016, 08:55:49 PM »
Here's what NADA says:

http://www.nadaguides.com/Motorcycles/1991/Honda/CB750-NIGHTHAWK/Values

As you can see, they are pricing it in the VERY GOOD category...given mileage, repaint and unknowns, I think I would classify it more towards GOOD.
Still if the basics are there:
1) solid frame and chassis
2) functional electrical system
3) functional brakes and clutch
4) good, EVEN compression numbers
5) no exhaust rot (look on the bottom of the mufflers just past the header pipes)

it could be a fair deal. If they are not willing to budge on the price, perhaps you could use 'consumables' as a leverage point...such as new tires or a new battery. Those are the first things that will go regardless of how 'nice' they are claimed to be. Tires should be replaced at 5 years regardless of wear. Batteries should be replaced at two years. Just because it starts doesn't mean it's a good battery. If they won't budge on the tires maybe you could offer to buy tires if they mount and balance for free? Or buy one if they give you two with mount & balance?
There are ways to work this to where it makes sense. And with a dealer, even though they will probably tell you to go play in the freeway if there is a mechanical issue, you would have SOME recourse in the courts if it occurred. Not so with a CL buy.
Measure twice, cut once

Offline DesignFlaw06

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Re: Am I looking for a unicorn?
« Reply #21 on: August 03, 2016, 05:27:31 AM »
Assuming everything checks out and the tires are new, repainting wasn't covering any issues, and everything's in good condition, what's a good price? I'd like to get it down to $13-$1350 INCLUDING tax and title. Is that too ambitious?

Be aggressive.  Know what you're willing to spend.  Here's the approach I take to buying vehicles.  I have my number in mind.  You give me your best price, out the door, and if its lower than mine, I'll take it.  If not, I'll keep looking.  Don't tell them what you want to spend, otherwise they'll make it just over that amount.  If they say they aren't budging on price, then make them throw in some stuff like CaptainKirk said.  The last car I bought, I made the dealer detail my other car.  I didn't trade it in, I just wanted it ready for me to sell.

It's easy to get caught up in the moment, especially with it being your first bike.  I'm guessing $1500 out the door wouldn't be an issue.  $1300 out the door,  they may balk at.  Be aggressive, but ask yourself if $200 really worth continuing the search?


Offline cb750

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Re: Am I looking for a unicorn?
« Reply #22 on: August 03, 2016, 07:36:03 AM »
Interesting. I'm hardly an expert, but those NADA values seem low compared to the current market. Maybe I'm missing something. If not, maybe I'll continue looking for one in the "good" range. In my experience they're all >$2k.

I am willing to spend their asking price if tax/title/fees are included assuming everything checks out...but I don't want to. I'd like to get closer to $1300 so that my total involvement in this craziness with helmet/jacket/gloves doesn't get too high.  haphap

I guess I could do that too: get them to agree to a lower price provided I buy a helmet/gear with them. We'll see...

Offline Captainkirk

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Re: Am I looking for a unicorn?
« Reply #23 on: August 03, 2016, 09:26:53 AM »
NADA is generally lower than the KBB values, as KBB reflect retail prices on used bikes and NADA values are what most insurance companies use when determining replacement value....
Personally, I'd rather go with that figure, because that's what they would write you a check for. Dealers use KBB because it allows for a higher asking price that can be verified by a buyer.
In the end, any used bike is truly worth what you will pay for it and what the seller will allow it to go for...nothing more, nothing less. The dealer does not want this bike sitting around on their floor all winter; trust me. It's already August. You can make it happen if you get aggressive.
Measure twice, cut once

Offline Johna136

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Re: Am I looking for a unicorn?
« Reply #24 on: August 03, 2016, 03:36:58 PM »
I know it is not original but I think the orange looks pretty good.  The rest of the bike we can see in the picture all looks pretty good.
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