This is the third installment of the Project Bike series. For Part 2, click here. To start at the beginning, click here.

I’ve been a busy girl…a lot of the stuff I ordered came in, plus there have been a few surprises (inevitable with a bike like this). In order of importance, I wanted to get the speedo/odometer working, change the oil and get some of the little things taken care of, like the bent brake lever and faded plastic.

The $30 speedo gear drive assembly I found on eBay was super easy to install, especially since the Nighthawk was equipped from the factory with a centerstand! Makes pulling the front wheel much easier. About 30 minutes later it’s back on and yay, I’ve got a functional speedo/odometer!

While it’s on its centerstand, let’s get the oil changed (three drain plugs since some oil is in the frame as well–more Honda ingenuity: cleans up the engine area with fewer hoses running to/from the oil cooler) and put on a new filter.

Which is not Honda’s best design…. It sits in a jail cell behind the scalding hot bars of the four exhaust header pipes. I stuffed a bunch of rags underneath to catch and soak up as much oil as possible, then carefully maneuvered my (gloved) hand in there to fish out the filter once it was off.

Honda Nighthawk 700 oil filter
If it looks like there’s not enough room to finagle the oil filter out of there, it’s because there almost isn’t.

At this point, Joan was finally in completely healthy running condition, so I did what anyone would do: I went for a long ride into the mountains, then down the coast (stopping for ice cream in Ventura) and back home. Happy girl.

Until I went out the next morning to ride to work, and discovered the battery was completely dead. Bollocks.

I HATE flooded batteries. This is 2019, they shouldn’t even exist anymore. I probably could’ve sourced a sealed AGM battery, but since I have industry connections I might as well use them, so I reached out to Shorai about purchasing a lithium battery.

Lithiums aren’t cheap, but they’re lightweight and they last a long time. The nice guy at Shorai offered me a stellar industry discount that cut the price in half, and a few days later I was installing it.

A new Shorai is often smaller than stock (as long as the polarity is the same as your stock battery, it will still work), so they helpfully include a bunch of foam panels of various thicknesses so you can pad the compartment for a perfect fit. In my case, it was almost perfect out of the box and I only needed to use two of the thinnest panels.

Now fully functional again, it was time to address some of that sad, faded gray plastic.

After doing some internet research on auto detailing forums, I found this stuff called Solution Finish. At $12 for a 1 oz. bottle on Amazon, it ain’t cheap, but as I discovered it’s well worth the money. Just check out the photos below.

This stuff is magic.

Honda Nighthawk switchgear restore to black
Left switchgear, before (left) and after (right).
Solution finish restore motorcycle plastic
Brake fluid reservoir, before and after. It’s now such a shiny black, it reflects the sun!
Solution finish restore motorcycle plastic
Left side plastic on the engine looks almost like new!
Solution finish restore motorcycle plastic
Rear mudguard before (top) and after (bottom). The overall difference this makes to the bike’s appearance is subtle yet shocking.
Solution finish restore motorcycle plastic
This is the stuff: Solution Finish. Available on Amazon. I’ve only used less than half of this 1-oz. bottle so far.

Running total investment so far: about $150.

Click here to continue reading Part 4!

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  1. You go, girl!

    I have a ‘93, CB 750 Nighthawk (wish I had your dual disks) and treated as much black plastic as I could mask to spray-on bed liner. Also found 0000 steel wool does a decent, scratch-free job on chrome and many other non-painted, metallic surfaces. Regarding water spots on the engine, CLR or polishing compound on a rag may help.

    Finally, I just finished removing the gold, reflective rim stripes I had installed 5 years ago with new and very inexpensive red. They come in many colors and you peel off curved, 18” sections. The adhesive had polymerized on the old strips, leaving behind a few sections with stuck-on gunk 😟. Goof Off to the rescue!

    Last bit of personalization was 18” tassels on the handlebars. Right 😀.


    • Hey, try water and aluminum foil on the chrome to remove rust! Itnsounds weird but it works amazing. Just cold up some aluminum like a cloth dip it in water and scrub the rust. Wipe with a dry cloth to remove residue.



  2. Hello there, I purchased my CB700SC about the same time as yours and have been working on this each week. I am interested to see how your bike turns out. If you have any questions let me know, I would be glad to help if I can. Keep up the good work!
    -Bryan King in North Dakota

  3. Hi Bryan,
    Did you get your bike restoration project finished?
    I have the same bike as the one in Jenny’s article(s) but it’s an ‘86 and has the red, white and blue color scheme. I’m in the process of bringing it back to life.
    I tried to email Jenny b/c I had a few questions but it came back as “undeliverable”.
    Did she leave the company? Does anyone know..?
    Hope everyone is staying healthy!
    – Mike Lawson (Dayton, Ohio)

  4. Thank you for doing this article! I too own a Black/Blue 700s (84). Been looking for something to make all my faded plastic controls look better. Just ordered some Solution finish off Amazon today. This is one of the coolest bikes ive ever owned and sounds Amazing (my baffles were removed from previous owner). Now off to replace my tires next .. Thanks Again


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