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Discussion Starter #1
I'm looking to buy a bike to learn to ride on and to get familiar with the mechanical side so I've been looking at cheaper bikes on craigslist in my area and I stumbled on to a 1978 Honda cb400 hawk that according to the owner needs a little work. While I'm comfortable with working on things I don't want to take on too much since I'd actually like it to be a rideable project. I don't know anyone familiar with these bikes or really bikes in general so I thought I would ask for your guys' opinion. I have posted the link to the ad below so any suggestions would be appreciated.

1978 Honda Hawk
 

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Welcome to the forum. That bike looks to be in decent shape. I don't know about pricing in your area, but around here that's about average for ASKING price. If you have to pay the registration, maybe you can talk him down a little to offset that.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I have no idea what that asking prices usually are in my area because I haven't been looking for very long and there doesn't seem to be many cb's on there to compare. I asked him how negotiable he is on the price considering the registration fees and maintenance it needs so I'm waiting for a reply. Anything to look for with these bikes upon inspection if I do go check it out?
 

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He's already said there is a problem with the front brake.........not uncommon with this model.
It is a good model , the t2 wit a tach and starter. Fairly low mileage. If it feels and sounds good to you........go for it.
 

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He replied this to my question about how flexible he is: "I have someone coming on Saturday who seems pretty interested. I'm willing to drop the price a little bit, I'd take 750 but I might get my asking price on Saturday"

So I said: "Yeah I've been asking around and $800 seems to be a little high with what the registration fees are etc. So if it doesn't go for $750-800 I can for sure pick it up for around $600. Anyways, let me know if it's sold or not. Looks like a great project that maybe we can work something out on. Goodluck."
 

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I would check the compression on it, 185 psi +/- 14 psi is spec. Done with throttle wide open, choke off and cranked until gauge stops rising, usually about 10 revolutions.
$371 in DMV fees means it's out of registration and has been for a couple of years. My current bill with CA DMV for the 78 CB400T1 is $82.
$800 plus $371 is over priced with the known problems he's listed. $500 would be realistic IMO. I paid $550 for the T1 running decent, needing front and rear brakes with a clean title and current reg. I was originally going to fix basic mechanical stuff and sell it but now it's a resto for the son-in-law since he makes the CL350 look like a mini bike. He's 6'6", 250 lbs. Guess I'll sell the CL
 

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The AD says the "throttle line needs adjusting" and "bike idles nice"
meaning the bike either the bike won't REV UP (air intake leaks/carb work needed/etc) or
the throttle cable indeed is bad??
At any rate, I would ASK him first to elaborate, try to get as much information as possible about HOW it runs ...
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks everyone for the suggestions. Yeah, I figured $800 plus the $371 in back fees and whatever other costs would be too much so I'm definitely not paying that. I told him to let me know if it sells over the weekend and if not I might pick it up for $600 when I get back. Going to Portland until Monday so if it's gone when I get back then I'll keep looking. How hard is it to do a compression test? Would I be able to do that if I were to check it out (or any other bike for that matter)? I doubt I already have the tools for that.
 

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You need one with a 12mm plug adaptor. The Harbor freight ones are iffy for getting one that's good, try an auto parts store
Before buying any bike a compression test is advised.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
So, an update... I have been in contact with the guy but he knows I won't go for $800 so I keep telling the guy to let me know if it sells and maybe we can work something out and he keeps having people check it out who don't buy it. Finally, he told me he now has someone coming to look at it who will pay his offer price so at this point I'm about to just move on. I told him "I’m really interested in the bike but the asking price is high so If this next person doesn’t come through then you can let me know and we can see if we can work something out or I can forget it ever existed and you keep trying for the $800. Let me know which way you want to go. Thanks."
 

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In my state, he'd have to get it inspected within three days of registering it - and without a functioning front brake, they'd put a FAILED sticker on it, and he'd have to park it within three days of that.

I'm guessing the only reason that the seller is holding out for $800 from the OP is because the OP appears to be so interested. Figure that bike - with a clear, valid title and no liens or other financial boat anchors attached to it - would be worth $500-$600 in its current condition. Deduct the $371 that the seller stated it'd take to straighten out the paperwork if it turns out to only cost that much, add however much it would generally take to transfer a title in your state if everything was hunky-dory (I've heard it's a pretty criminal amount in CA, but IDK), plan on eating the bill for the time/hassle you'll end up spending dealing with the paperwork because you slipped up and allowed the seller to discern your interest level, lol, and whatever number that gives you... show up with that amount in cash, show it to the seller, and either leave with the motorcycle or just leave. Either way, make that your one final contact with the seller.

Surely, for not much more than the $800 the seller is demanding plus what he states it'll cost to deal with his failure to get the title legally transferred to him in the first place (or whatever the problem is), you could find a motorcycle (even if it's not a Honda) in safe/legal condition, a "trip ticket" (they're really cheap) that would give you the legal right to ride it home, and a bus ticket to pick it up, lol. I wouldn't want to spend 24 hours on a Greyhound (because I have :rolleyes: ), but that opens up the search area considerably. If you have a truck, you could even venture into areas which are cold and snowy right now and, perhaps, find a real deal.

Just ramblin',
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Yeah you're probably right about him holding out because he's garnering interest. However, stuff like this tends to be more expensive in the San Francisco Bay Area (like everything else) so finding one around what you're used to paying is pretty difficult. I'm still looking but haven't come across much really.
 

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Try using SearchTempest: Search all of Craigslist nationwide & more
It runs a search of CL for the distance you specify, so you can put in 250 miles and it'll look for anything in a 250 mile radius. That way you don't have to search each CL location.
Now if you're interested in getting a CL350 instead I know of one, lol.
 

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I paid $999 for mine in running condition, from a friend. He had paid $1200 for it in Phoenix. It needed carb rebuilds and valve adjustment, which I did. It's been super reliable ever since, now a daily driver. It's my first real motorcycle, easy to work on, IMO. Why is registration so high?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I'll have to give that website a try. I've only really been looking in the bay area because I don't have much time to travel to pick anything up. I'm also not in a rush to get anything so that's why I haven't been willing to overpay this guy.

Yeah they seem like good bikes once they are up and running which is why I'm considering one for my first bike. I think it would be good to tinker with while learning the ins and outs of riding. I have no idea why the registration is so high.
 

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Get the VIN from him and run it through DMV. He says $371 so that means there are penalties and back fees that are constantly increasing, possibly even unpaid parking tickets that DMV now collects with registration.
Realistically for the SF Bay Area he has a $600-$700 bike IF there was clean paper. Maybe I'll email him and explain life to him, lol.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
hahaha feel free to let him know how things go. I get the feeling he's an ill-informed person trying to sell a bike at what value he thinks it's worth instead of what it's actually worth.

If anybody has any other options or leads on a similar bike in this price range in my area I'm all ears.
 

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I see a lot of that on CL here in GA.
People want way more than it's worth.
Seems like they don't understand depreciation.
 
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