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Topics - DesertDragon

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General Motorcycle Discussion / What's Your NightHawk Worth?
« on: January 22, 2018, 08:57:18 AM »
There are multiple ways of looking at value, based on perspective.

If it's your bike and you're keeping it, it doesn't matter... unless you consider the implications of your modifications and maintenance, or lack thereof when you eventually decide to sell it for whatever reason.

If it's your bike and you're selling it, you don't want to give it away, but to sell anything, you need to be somewhere in the ballpark of market pricing, or find someone who WANTS the bike regardless.

If you are looking to buy, it helps to know what you should expect to know what a "good deal" is.

Keep in mind that not all motorcycles are created equal, and over time even more so.

The NightHawk has been out of production since 2003, and so after 15 years, even the later models have entered the "classic" phase.
Classic is a somewhat loosely defined term for a vehicle, because it is also based upon subjective popularity.
An old vehicle that nobody wants doesn't make the cut.

Hagerty is a well known valuation company for classics, as opposed to KBB which loses accuracy for valuations over time.
They use a significant amount of real world transaction research in their valuations.

I looked up the value of my bike, a very clean 1996.
Here's what found...

Current Values
#1 Concours  $3,400 - Showroom condition without a blemish
#2 Excellent  $2,700 - You have to look hard to find imperfections
#3 Good       $2,000 -  Visible imperfections
#4 Fair         $1,400  - Needs work

The prices for these bikes has been rising, and is likely to continue, as there is no resupply, and a strong demand. 
It may pay off for you in the long run to keep your bike in good condition, noting that premium prices are paid for stock condition machines.

If you are looking to buy a great condition, low mileage NightHawk, good luck finding an excellent bike at a poor condition price.

On a supply note, I took a look at CycleTrader. 
Out of over 376,000 bikes for sale on the website, in the entire country there were a total of 6 1991-2003 NightHawks for sale.
Obviously the trader is not the only source, but indicative of the lack of supply.

The advertised prices of the few available appear to be in line considering this isn't bike buying season.

I guess the bottom line is, if you're looking for a cheap used bike, it likely isn't going to be a CB750 NightHawk.
In fact, in the not too distant future, you may not be able to find one period - unless you are quick, have lots of cash, or get lucky.

General Motorcycle Discussion / Merry Christmas!
« on: December 23, 2017, 10:29:13 AM »
Here's hoping that you all have a great Christmas with family and/or friends, and if your weather permits, have a great ride!
West of the Grand Canyon here, it's sunny and 60's for Christmas...
I'm thinking I'll get the "sleigh" out...

Ho! Ho! Ho! 


General Motorcycle Discussion / Secret Motorcycle Greetings... Revealed...
« on: November 05, 2017, 03:06:49 PM »
Being an avid "waver" myself, I couldn't pass up this link..
An oldie, but a goodie.. (IMHO)

If you take a look, be sure to check out the comments...
P.S. Assuming "reciprocity", I generally go with the "Backhanded-out Big-One" (which is actually a big-two...)
      My take on it was my bottom line slogan - "Keep the rubber on the bottom" 


Poster Rubo had mentioned his notice of performance difference when he switched his 750 to a premium fuel diet on a thread a while back.
I did the same with my bike as an experiment and there was a lot of discussion on a thread - More fun with fuel.
According to HpPants, it might have been the secret "Unicorn Gravy" additive.. 
Most of my early mileage results were based on local low speed driving for comparison purposes with regular grade fuel, but I also have been doing more driving on the Interstate where the posted limit is 75. 
My '96 CB 750 running primarily Interstate has delivered 53 and 55 mpg's on the last two tanks. (Typical was 45 on regular).
Each tank included several full throttle idle to redline "blow out the carbon" runs between my two town exits on the freeway...
Mobil says they have something added to increase mileage. 
Whatever it is, it seems to be working well for me.

General Motorcycle Discussion / More Fun with Fuel....
« on: September 01, 2017, 11:31:06 AM »
After a member's thread on "real or placebo" for a fuel switch prompted a lot of conversation, it got me to try super in my bike.
I noticed some positive differences in the fuel switch for my 96 750 from Mobil regular to Mobil super...
Quicker warm up, increase in idle speed, elimination of "stumble" near redline, and an improvement in mpg was what I noticed.
Some of this can be explained, and some seems to be a mystery and/or flys in the face of "consensus" opinion.
Between rides, I've been doing a lot of research, and it is amazing just how much controversy there is on the regular/super topic beyond this forum.

I did learn a few things.  Read on if you're interested.

Octane rating:
One of the few things you can tell about a fuel by looking at the gas pump.
Also one of the things that is tested, that must conform with reality.
A surprise to me, is that "octane rating" is NOT equivalent to, or a measure of "octane content".. e.g. super grade with a rating of 93 does not (necessarily) mean that it contains more octane than the fuel from the next pump displaying 87. 
What it DOES mean is that the super/premium rated at 93 "acts" like it has a higher octane content when measured.
This can be due to actual octane content in the fuel, one or more of a large number of base stock combinations, additive additions, displayed components (typically ethanol / mtbe) mandated for emission purposes, or substances included for engine improvement/advertising (Techroline?)
So, the "octane" rating is really not an "octane number" at all - It is called an anti-knock index (in the fine print), because that's what it is.
Octane or "octane acting" components act to slow down the combustion process... (more push, less BANG)
It assists in prevention of premature ignition (knock) which can destroy an engine over time.
The "consensus" opinion with regards to "octane rating" therefore, is if you don't have knock from a given fuel, you don't "need" a higher rated fuel to prevent knock. 

Fuel formulation:
Although the octane index is not an octane measure, and more isn't necessarily better (unless you need it to prevent knock), the way that the fuels get to that number can be very different by fuel grade.  One of the major differences, is in the addition of alcohol (ethanol) to the fuel.
Although alcohol has less measured energy than "gasoline" (BTU/unit of measure) it will provide the fuel to which it is added a relatively higher octane rating.
Alcohol also burns hotter, absorbs water more readily, and evaporates more quickly at the same temperature than does "gasoline".

Ethanol is a very common regular unleaded additive, but NOT a universal premium fuel ingredient. 
Therefore, in addition to the higher rating, that extra 20 or 30 cents per gallon for super may be buying you more "actual" gasoline, rather than an alcohol/gasoline mix.

Engine Control:
One of the primary cited reasons that "premium fuel" is a "waste" is because modern engines have computer controlled, multi-sensor systems that monitor both external environmental conditions and internal engine performance, and then dynamically modify engine operation based on sensor input to optimize for desired programmed factors (e.g. fuel economy/performance/emissions/etc). 
These systems can also allow an engine that would otherwise "knock" itself to death, run well, or at least acceptably well, with the same grade of fuel.

Engine types:
There is a considerable difference between an air cooled and water cooled engine in terms of their operational temperature, yep - air cooled engines run much hotter.  There is also more operational variation in them, as they don't have the mitigating factor of a water jacket surrounding them.
If you look at what's available out there - Lots more water cooled engines - Their operating temperatures can be modified (kick on the radiator fan) which is something an air cooled motor can't do.

How does this relate to using a "higher grade" fuel in the CB 750, and any actual or perceived improvement in performance....
While there is some pure opinion which follows, at this point, I think the following may be factors that align with my improvement observations...

Fuel Formulation:
Since the super I used didn't have ethanol in it, but the regular grade did, my Nighthawk, without any vapor recovery capability would lose more fuel to evaporation because the ethanol more easily evaporates.  Over time, this would mean there would be less fuel left to burn.
Alcohol also "loves" to absorb water, and the resulting regular fuel solution would contain more water (and less energy per unit volume) over time.
These factors may or may not be significant, but in my case, since I go on a large number of short trips (gas tank heated up each time) over an extended period of time (weeks), even small differences will add up.  All else being equal, these factors would serve to increase measured mpg.

My CB 750, being air cooled, and therefore running hotter, especially in my high desert, high temperature environment, has an increased need for for a slower combustion process to run optimally.  The bike is not equipped to dynamically alter any performance characteristics beyond spark advance.
As temperatures increase, equivalent performance requires improved "octane" to maintain optimum performance. 
(this appears to be generally accepted, and is used in racing prep design calculations)
With regular fuel, the bike may not be knocking, but that doesn't mean it's running ideally either.
I did find an interesting fact for recommended fuel grade for The Harley.
With a lower compression ratio than the 'Hawk, but also equipped with an air cooled engine, their minimum recommendation is 91 (super).
The manufacturer rating requirement for a fuel grade cannot possibly address all possible conditions, but in my case, based on some performance curve calculations, the recommended fuel rating is apparently not sufficient for my engine's needs.  If it were, there could be no improvement.
Improvement was obvious to me, and apparently some others, and although I agree that "runs better" is a subjective assessment likely to be impacted by "placebo bias", when a significant change is measured, it's no longer subjective.
The most obvious change in performance for me, was near redline, which tends to require more help from the fuel in prevention of pre-ignition. 
I cannot think of any other reason why just a change in fuel eliminated a stumble if the lower grade was adequate....

Still interested? 
If you are willing to gamble a small wager (~$1 - $1.50) on a tank of fuel, see if it makes a difference for you.
Whatever you can measure, I'm interested to know your results, good, bad or no difference.

On the "placebo or real" thread, I mentioned that it might be an interesting experiment to capture results.
I'm thinking that brand, grade, octane rating and additive (ethanol and/or mtbe) of the fuel and your bike type would be a good start.

One benefit of participation...
You need to ride to find out if there's a difference!


Stablemates / My Prior (MC) Love Interest was....
« on: August 14, 2017, 08:45:07 PM »
My Prior (MC) Love Interest was this Honda VF1000R ....

From the side....

She was good to me, I doubled my money, but talk about high maintenance...
6 hour valve job every 600 miles (factory recommended)

Much happier with my more sedate, less maintenance and dependable...

Dragon Mate:


Your Honda Nighthawk / My '96 CB750 "Dragon Bike"
« on: August 13, 2017, 03:20:36 PM »
So, I've had my '96 NightHawk for 11 years now, and I thought I'd share some photos I took just after she had a bath...

Thanks (Once Again!) to Mollusc for helping me out with how to post Flickr pics.. 
I updated the post with actual pics....

My '96 front view...

Notable mods: 
Avon Storm 3-D front tire
Fork Boots (I have 2 miles of gravel before I get to pavement - Ding proofs the fork tubes / seals)
Rifle Fairing with sport windscreen
Progressive fork springs

Right Side:

Notable Mods:
Crusaider Radar (antenna attached under front of fairing)
Fiamm Horn(s)
Case Savers / Pegs
Joe Rocket Manta XL Tank Bag
Corbin Gunfighter Seat
Saddlemen Gel Fleece Pad

Left Side:

Notable Mods:
Front Fender Extension
Fiamm Horn(s)
Hel Stainess Steel Brake Line
Case Savers / Pegs
17 Tooth Front Sprocket
Clear Rear turn signal covers

Case Saver / Peg Closeup:

Right Rear Closeup:

Notable Mods:
Progressive Rear shocks
Avon Storm Tire(s)
Gold X-Ring Chain

Since I have a long ride on dirt, it isn't often the bike is this clean!


The case originally happened a few years ago but the %!$%#@ driver recently took a plea so she wouldn't get 20 years.
She chased after and MURDERED a biker intentionally.

Similar to a recent case where a driver tried to kill a biker for kicking his door after the car driver illegally swerved into his lane...
In both cases, the drivers were behind the wheel of a Nissan.
Apparently, drivers of these cars (in some cases) have issues.

In both cases, had the biker let it go, it probably would be another econo-box occupant that was killed or injured at some later date by one of these psycho's.

Sometimes, it doesn't matter what you do, or what you did.

Keep your eyes open folks, examples of brain dead self entitled idiots out there are happy to run you down, or off the road actually exist.

Every time I'm on a bike, I assume that I am invisible to EVERYONE.. Except the people that are trying to kill me.
If they don't try - great.  If they do, I'm ready.

Sounds crazy ? - Yep Crazy drivers willing to kill you for being in their way.  That is crazy.

While I would never start an incident, I also won't be a victim.
Lucky for me, I'm in an open carry state.

General Motorcycle Discussion / The Four Stroke Engine...
« on: July 29, 2017, 10:23:02 AM »
Okay, so each of a four stroke engine's cycles is described by the significant action occurring in each, to wit:

Intake - fuel/air mixture is drawn into the cylinder as the piston goes down
Compression - the mixture is compressed as the piston goes up
Ignition - the spark plug sparks, exploding the compressed mixture and driving the piston down
Exhaust - the leftovers from the combustion process are expelled through the exhaust as the piston goes up...
...and the process repeats...

I'm thinking that more descriptive terms could be applied to each cycle...




General Motorcycle Discussion / Did you name your bike?
« on: July 18, 2017, 02:19:38 PM »
Well, it seems to me that every bike I've ever ridden or owned had a personality.

I thought it might be interesting if anyone else out there named their bike(s).

My current scoot is a 1996 Honda NightHawk is in the stock "Shining Pearl Yellow', so of course, her name is Amber.
She's just reached drinking age (21), she's in great shape and has never let me down (or stranded) in the now 11 years I've owned her.

If only everything else in my life was as reliable (and fun to ride!)


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