Do you know how difficult it is to find parts for a 1991 Honda Nighthawk???? At least, it’s tricky to find parts that usually come stock, and usually last as long as the bike! Finding replacement handlebars for my bike has proven to be a royal bear.
Let me preface this by pointing out that I was very happy with the handlebars on my bike up until my little accident. They were the right size and height to give me a very comfortable seating position that I had no complaints about. However, when I had the accident those self-same handlebars got bent and as such needed replaced. Sure, they could probably be repaired, but they are buckled enough that I’d be constantly worried about a weak point in my handlebars that could potentially break at any time.
So I wanted handlebars that were pretty close to stock. Sounds easy, right? Not so. Honda apparently stopped importing major parts like handlebars for the Nighthawk 750 when they stopped selling them. An unusual occurrence, most manufacturers maintain inventory for years. Anyway, I could order them specially from Japan but they’d cost about $180. Lovely. I didn’t much feel like sinking $200 into a chromed pipe, so I went hunting for parts. Boy was that tough.
My initial thinking was that I could find salvage parts. I tried salvage yards over several states, but nothing. I mean, they only had a handful of 750’s, and even then they were usually lacking the handlebars and/or front forks. Those that did have handlebars, guess what? They were bent!
So aftermarket seemed my only option. Finally found a place that advertised “Reproduction handlebars” for the “Honda Nighthawk”. Excellent, I thought… and at $35 including shipping seemed like a really decent deal. One quick order later and the parts are shipped.
So I receive the parts. In order to protect them before installing, I left them in the packing material and started tearing into my bike. I removed everything… grips, throttle, switches… quite time consuming… and finally got the handlebars off. It was really obvious once the handlebars were off just how bent they were, and at the point they were bent they were also buckled. Definitely not repairable… well, maybe but my concern about weak points would remain. So then I tore into my shipping package containing my new handlebars. It was then I got that horrible sinking feeling. Yep, wrong handlebars.
What I got were handlebars for a Nighthawk 250, not 750. The front forks and everything are totally different… contrary to popular belief the 750 is a lot more than a 250 with a bigger engine shoe-horned into the frame.
So I go hunting again. No-one advertises Nighthawk 750 bars, and in fact finding the stock measurements proved to be troublesome. Yep, the handlebar measurements don’t appear to be in any documentation I can find… not the owners manual and not the maintenance manual that seems to list every set of dimensions except the handlebars. I started to look at my bank account with dread and think that maybe I might have to pay $180 to get my bike back on the road.
Finally, a Google search with just the right keywords turned up paydirt. I put in “Honda nighthawk 750 pullback” (pullback being one of the dimensions of a handlebar), and lo and behold I had a site link for a site that contained dimensions for handlebars from all sorts of bikes. Finally! Now I had something to work with; the stock dimensions of my handlebars.
So out I went on the web again and found a wonderful site called Old Bike Barn that could provide me handlebars in-stock within 1/2″ of stock measurements. Sure, they could’ve custom-made them to exactly stock… but I figured this was close enough for my tastes. $40 including shipping… not bad. Also ordered some chrome polish to polish up the rest of the chrome on my bike so my new handlebars don’t look too out of place…
So here I am, currently installed Fedora Core 5 x86_64 on my main PC, typing this entry on my laptop. My handlebars are due in Monday and unfortunately I get another weekend without riding. C’est la vie.