Honda Hornet, one of the biggest-selling Bikes in the giant Japanese brand history is back by popular demand. The Hornet (also known as 599 in the United States market) went through many stages. Now it reached its ultimate form and is available to millions of eager followers all around the planet. Read on as we review the 600 and 900 versions and add some state-of-the-art aftermarket accessories for a killer combo. The Honda Hornet is at its best in safety and open-road security with these top of the line aftermarket add-ons.
Perhaps the Honda Hornet 600 is the most well-known incarnation of this four in line Honda best seller. This bike has been around the world since its introduction in the late nineties. There is no exact number as of how many units Honda sold of this model worldwide, but the estimate is millions. The original motorbike went through major makeovers three times in 2000, then 2003 and also in 2007.
We see this lightweight power horse in the streets as a working tool in its 600 version. Also available as a more beefy and powerful 900 bike, there is no market that doesn´t feature it.
In Europe and Brazil, people know this bike as Honda Hornet while in the United States it is famous by the name Honda 599. One of the main characteristics of this model is the relaxed position when riding that makes it more comfortable than many others. Most riders define it as an upright touring that meets halfway with a racing crouch. The utility, manoeuvrability, power and looks in this model are at the perfect balance for most fans. This combination made the bike so famous that they produced it for twenty years without interruptions.
Most people enjoy the power, torque and speed of the liquid cooled 16-valve DOHC engine. The CBR series was so famous for it that the CBF series just adopted it in a more street-friendly manner. It featured 95 horsepower initially, and recent models made it reach the 102-horsepower mark. This is by no means a minor detail since it is the ultimate street bike from Honda. You can feel the horsepower when taking off at traffic lights of a busy avenue.
The first thing that really gets you is the control that it has when turning corners. The latest upgrades that took it from a 16” to a 17” made a real difference. Also, the change in brakes introduced in 2007 is another game changer. The power and torque can make accelerating it a great experience, and by the time corners approach, that extra braking power is very welcome for the rider.
This bike does it all: it brakes perfectly, turns flawlessly and blasts out at the turn of the wrist. It has a six-speed gearbox that is a perfect fit for the engine. When you handle it positively, it reduces fuel consumption drastically. The autonomy, though, could be a little improved since the tank is a tad small.
Although we consider it a naked, city bike, it can reach up to 130 mph without much hassle. It is in that zone, up to 14,000 rpm that the bike shines. Riding in the city at less than 6,000 rpm, the bike is moderated and, although it loves high rpm, it is very smooth with fast gear changes. Once the 7,000 rpm line is beaten, the motorcycle becomes a different animal. It roars and launches forward taking you to another territory.
Despite the fact there is no variable traction technology; the Honda Hornet is very fond of corners. The grip is nothing short of outstanding and every turn is a new opportunity to be blasted forward.
The CBF is one of the most solid incarnations of the Honda Hornet. The adaptation of the CBR600RR engine and the addition of an ABS braking system made for an irresistible package. Once unnoticed presentation became a hit best-seller with the 2008 update, since then, it is one of the biggest-selling bikes in Honda history, the favourite of commuters all around the world. The capability of braking and acceleration make the streets a big playground for riders.
There is one feature that all riders agree upon and that is the durability. This crucial feature is the one that makes it a favourite for commuting and working on delivery duties. A lot of riders would say the Honda CBF600 is a workhorse. The amount of miles that you can see on the used bikes is proof of it. It is not that they use bikes just for touring or weekend driving; they are working tools for a vast majority of users.
While the workhorse little sibling Honda Hornet 600 is a very popular workhorse, riders did not like the bigger incarnation much. Most of the times, the bigger manifestations of some motorcycles are very welcome by the public. In most cases, the improved and amplified versions include correcting past mistakes. For some brands, extending the horsepower, engine cubic centimetres and more torque are improvements for some riders.
In the case of the Honda Hornet 900, it retains the street quality adding just some power with no real infrastructure to sustain it.
Taking the bike for a ride on the street with regular traffic is not a memorable experience. Overpowering the same body with no extra infrastructure was not a wise move by Honda, and the result was widely overlooked. There was a big hype from all riders who used the 600 for commuting and wanted the 900 for the open road. The hype was only that, and the Honda Hornet 900 was not a hit or a big-seller. At least not as acclaimed as the smaller incarnation, the Honda Hornet 600.
The added horsepower (110 horsepower) is an excellent addition if you want to hit the open road from time to time. The riding position is the best asset of the bike, and it matches precisely that of the Honda Hornet 600. Basically, the idea of the Honda Hornet 900 was to make it fit into 600 chassis and to meet the objective entirely. While this is absolutely right, the suspension suffers a little from it while handling corners.
I took the Honda Hornet into the open road one morning, and I opened her to its full potential, it was the best time I had with her, ever. The extra horsepower and the extended top speed make this a good choice for those commuters to mid-distance jobs. It is a great feeling to go from the street into the highway and releasing that throttle to feel the air in your face. It is not a popular addition to the line but it will please those looking for a little more on a very comfortable ride.
The specifications of the Honda Hornet line are very basic, and people often refer to it as a naked street bike. The improvements over the years regarding suspension, brakes and power have made it an even bigger hit for Honda. This bike is an excellent tool for those who need to commute to or directly work with it every day and. One of the essential keywords when it comes to the Honda Hornet is reliability. Also, in the Honda Hornet 600, manoeuvrability and brakes are two highlights.
As for engines, both incarnations come from the CBR line which makes them very powerful. The six-gear transmission is very welcome especially in the 600 version which loves the red zone of the rpm and rapid gear changes. Smoothness when it comes to riding it is another great addition because of features like the riding position.
Being medium-powered bikes, the 600 and 900 have less than 120 horsepower (76 and 110 respectively). The engines bear similar power and are four-in-line liquid cooled that shine because of the bike´s weight and manoeuvrability. The specifications of the entire line are very similar regarding weight and look. People especially criticise this aspect of the Honda Hornet 900.
The Honda Hornet line is not a pricey one, and it is usually a working-man´s bike. People use it mostly for commuting and working. They range between $2,000 and $3,000. The main difference between them is the mileage. The Honda Hornet 600 is a workhorse with a large count, and that has a direct effect on the price. Is the Honda Hornet a café racer? Some classic-bike lovers would like to think that it is, but it is best-known as a naked street bike.
There is no comparison to other bikes like the Triumph Thruxton or others of that category. The sporty looks and the stripped features make it a tool rather than a luxury. This also explains the price tag and the market it focuses.
Coming across these accessories made me think of adding more safety measures to an already safe bike. The Honda Hornet comes in various models that are great for doing different things. Whether you are using it on the streets, commuting or having fun on the open road, safety has to be a priority. Is the Honda Hornet a safe bike? Well, of course, it is.
You can turn it with the addition of the Smart Turn System, you can avoid sending wrong messages to other vehicles because you forgot to cancel your indicator. The Smart Brake Module will let other people know that you are reducing the speed of your Honda Hornet by engine braking or downshifting.
Check the video below, how easy these two aftermarket must-haves are installed on a very similar Honda, the CX 500. Can you find where Dan made a little mistake when installing the module? Well, it is all a part of being human. But the module still performed great 😉
Smart Bake Module (SBM) – The Smart Brake Module, once installed on your Honda Hornet will engage the rear braking light when you release the throttle. This will inform other vehicles that you are slowing down and is very useful to avoid accidents. Whether on the street or the open road, it is crucial to notify others of your moves.
Smart Turn System (STS) – So simple and yet not a standard on the bike, the Smart Turn System works just like the self-cancelling indicators on a car. It will disengage your turn-signals once you have completed the turn. Forgetting to cancel your blinkers on your Honda Hornet will never be a problem again.
Sounds interesting? Submit your email below to check compatibility. Maybe you will receive a special offer specific to your motorcycle 😉
The Honda Hornet line is a working man´s bike. There are no fancy leather additions or state of the art technology applied to variable braking or suspension. The bike itself is a beautiful example of a truly great design. The way they have done the addition of the Honda Hornet 900 to the line was not the best move by Honda. When you ride it, you get the impression Honda made it in a rush.
Fitting a bigger engine with more horsepower and not adding any other big-bike features is not what makes a motorcycle a selling hit. Perhaps they can improve the stability if the design would match the bigger torque and power with something like an adjustable suspension or a bigger chassis. The Honda Hornet line is fantastic for commuters and eventual open road riders. It is also a great beginner´s bike that is utterly reliable and will never quit on you. Both models need relatively little maintenance, and the power is more than what you need for everyday street riding.
What did you think of these bikes? Did you ever own or drive any of them? Let us know your experience and share it with your friends!