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.
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.
Running total investment so far: about $150.