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The bike's main distinction is in its [[motorcycle frame|frame]] and [[motorcycle swingarm|swingarm]]. The dual spar aluminum frame and single sided swingarm (licensed from ELF) were pretty high tech in 1988. The mildly tuned [[motorcycle motor|motor]] is descended from the [[Honda VT500|VT500]] and has been seen, in one guise or another, in several other models.
The bike was ahead of its time in many regards and as a result was not a strong seller despite the bike having grown to cult status. The Hawk GT was one of the first modern Naked bikes, released several years before the Ducati Monster and eventually the Suzuki SV650. Some sources claim that Triumph found much of the inspiration for the t509 Speed Triple/t595 Daytona from the Hawk GT and if one compares the two bikes side by side, the Triumph mimics many of the Hawks lines and shapes.
During the initial production run, the cost difference between the Hawk GT and the CBR600 was less than 1000 dollars, resulting in very slow sales for the naked bike. However, by the mid-90's, left over models were being snatched up and current owners are passionate about their Hawks. Clean examples can fetch upwards of $3500 to $5000, more than the bike sold for new.