1961 was a relatively big year for Honda. In addition to carry-over models from the previous year, Big Red introduced half-a-dozen new scoots. A race-spec version of the Benly Super Sport – known as the CB92R – was released in March of ’61 equipped with a solo racing seat, chrome megaphone pipes, a tachometer in place of the speedo, and a boost in horsepower. Another one of the models introduced in ’61 was the CB72 Hawk 250 which first hit showroom floors in February. This model ended up being pretty rare with only 1,500 units exported to the States in the early 1960’s. Because the larger 305 Super Hawk was only slightly more expensive than the Hawk 250, very few buyers opted to purchase the quarter-liter Hawk. As the seller points out, these things are so rare that eBay doesn’t even list the CB72 among its Honda models.
Powering the CB72 was the same 247cc OHC parallel twin found on the C72 and CA72 models, only the “Little Hawk” took in fuel via two carbs. Like the rest of Honda’s 1961 offerings above 49cc’s, the CB72 came with a four-speed manual transmission. The CB72 was actually a pretty sporty little thing and it saw production until 1966. At this point in time Honda was using a pressed-steel chassis on many of its models, however the CB72’s engine was wrapped in a tubular steel frame that was fitted with an upgraded telescopic fork. The later models came from the factory with low-rise style handlebars, though the first model’s stock handlebars were flat. Many road-going Hondas only came with a speedometer around this time, but the sportier-than-average Hawk 250 came with a speedo/tacho unit sunken into the headlight.
In many ways the 250 Hawk was identical to its Super Hawk 305 big brother, the bike that Robert Pirsig famously piloted in the famous novel Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Elvis also famously rode a CB77 in the 1964 film Roustabout. Both bikes shared the same specs and equipment, aside from the extra 58cc’s. The CB72 also had a lot in common with the CL72 250 Scrambler that Honda debuted in 1962. Both machines had the same engine but the CL72 had a full-cradle frame as well as a skid-plate and some other changes to make it more off-road oriented. This naturally gave way to Honda releasing the larger CL77 305 Scrambler in 1965.
This particular 1962 CB72 example has an engine and frame that have VIN’s that are slightly off, albeit by only two-digits. The last three-digits of the frame are 283, and 285 on the engine. This bike underwent a cosmetic restoration “many years ago” but is still in pretty great shape. The aforementioned resto-job was completed by a supposedly renowned, yet unnamed Northern California mechanic who specialized in this area and is said to be particularly skilled with recreating vintage factory paint jobs. Looking at the paint on this Hawk 250, I’m inclined to believe the seller. Many, if not all, of the non-original parts have been replaced by NOS units, including the exhaust. In addition to the non-original seat that’s currently on this example, the seller all has a seat with an OEM replica seat cover.
According to the seller, this example is from 1962 despite its registration stating that it’s a 1963 model. It is in need of a new set of tires as the current rubber is experiencing some sidewall cracking. Otherwise this example appears to be in decent condition, or at least the seller doesn’t list any other issues. This more-than-half-century-old Honda has less than 4,500 miles on its odo, and has undergone a professional cosmetic restoration, both of which are good signs. I’m not particularly knowledgeable on this model, and aside from the seat I cant identify any non-stock parts, but perhaps someone who knows more than myself (it’s an admittedly low bar) can point out any modifications in the comments.
The cosmetic condition of this little Hawk is pretty outstanding. The CB72 came from the factory in three color options: Royal Blue, Scarlet Red, or Black, all of which came with accented silver hardware and exposed metal on the tank. The minor details, such as painting the center-stand, swing-arm, head and tail-light brackets, and rear suspension, all give the bike a much more clean and uniform look. There don’t appear to be any imperfections, and the tank emblems were almost certainly replaced as they look immaculate. I personally have a strong preference for 1970’s Honda’s over 1960’s models, but I do think this ’62 Hawk 250 is pretty damn cool.
You can find this 1962 Honda CB72 250 Hawk for sale here on Craigslist in Bend, Oregon with a price of $8,000.