Years sold: 1997-2005
MSRP new: $8999 (all years)
Blue Book retail value: $2990 (1997) to $5050 (2005)
Basic specs: A 996cc, 90-degree V-Twin sportbike making 103 rear-wheel horsepower that propelled the 452-pound VTR to an 11.03-second/124.26-mph quarter-mile and a top speed of 155 mph.
Why it won: Without a doubt, the Super Hawk was one of the most enjoyable, affordable and user-friendly—but nonetheless extremely capable—sport machines ever built. Not only did it capture a Ten Best award in 1997, it also won CW’s 16-bike “Sweet 16” Open-Class sportbike shootout that same year. It wasn’t a serious threat on the racetrack, but as many riders of repli-racer sportbikes of that era could attest, trying to catch one on a twisty backroad was a genuine eye-opener. On top of all that, the Super Hawk was a sportbike you could ride all day without needing a six-pack of ibuprofen and a weekly appointment with your chiropractor.
From the 2001 Ten Best story: “Honda’s designers aimed the VTR at sporting street riders, not roadracers, and its ‘tuned chassis,’ perfectly calibrated suspension and spot-on carburetion show they scored a direct hit.”
Useful resources: You can learn a lot about the Super Hawk (called the Firestorm outside the U.S.) on the Internet. You’ll find quite a few for sale, along with numerous forums, some technical Q&A posts, lots of sites selling VTR parts and accessories, and a surprising number of photos of cool, clever VTR1000F-based customs.