I’m old enough to remember the original Honda Hornet CB600F in the late 90s’. That was a fun bike. A 600cc inline 4 engine from the CBR600, steel frame, naked bike. It was a simple recipe but great fun.
In 2023 Honda took the name of the beloved street bike from the 90s and put it on a brand new machine. The Honda Hornet CB750 was reborn.
The keyboard warriors went a bit mad, saying it wasn't a real Hornet, you know how it goes, but I’ve ridden it and can say it wears the name well.
Honda’s CB750 Hornet follow the same recipe as the original; It’s a naked bike, with a great engine and is great fun.
It's powered by a 755cc parallel-twin engine that makes 91 horsepower and 55 lb-ft of torque. It's a surprisingly versatile bike that can commute, carve up some back roads or even turn its hand to a bit of touring if you fancy it. We used it to ride around Cornwall, two up. We popped down to Looe, over to Newquay and all over North Cornwall. Unfortunately, it was lashing down with rain most of the time, so I didn’t exactly get to explore the handling.
Front suspension is by Showa, with 41mm SFF Big Piston, USD forks. SFF means; Separate Function Forks. Each fork leg performs a separate function. One leg contains the damping cartridge and the other leg contains the pneumatic air spring. The forks are not adjustable, which isn’t an issue as they are well-sprung and do a decent job.
The rear suspension is looked after by an unbranded mono shock, also unadjustable. Both do a good job and I’m not a small fella, although conditions prohibited me from really stretching it’s legs.
The Hornet is nimble and playful, in part due to the low weight and short chassis, but also down to the 160-section rear tyre I expect. This certainly helps the bike to turn in and surprisingly, when it’s on its side, holds a solid line.
One of the key differences between new and old Hornet, the thing that got everyone in a bit of a tizz, is the engine. The new bike has a 755cc parallel-twin with a 270-degree crank. This is a great engine with bags of character. I couldn’t care how it compares to the old Hornet, that was 25 years ago. This bike is a whole lot of fun and that I do care about.
The engine is an absolute gem. It feels like it’s got more than 91 bhp. The stats show it makes its peak power fairly high up the rev range, but on the road, it feels strong all the way through the rev range. The midrange shove is surprising but very welcome. If It was my own, I’d want a bit more noise from the exhaust to make the most of that 270-degree twin though. Modern bikes are so sanitised, they all tend to be so quiet these days.
Jumping on the Hornet, you are struck by the size, or lack of it. It’s small, light and simple, just how bikes should be. Seat height is only 795 mm, but the seat is narrow so it’s easy to reach the floor.
Honda has given us 3 Rider Modes plus a customisable user mode to play with; rain, standard and sport. The modes adjust the engine’s delivery and feel to suit the conditions and your riding style. The rider modes can easily be changed on the fly, using the mode button on the left bar.
It has an assisted slipper clutch but no quickshifter as standard, although it’s an option. My press bike had one and it is a great addition to the bike, very smooth and super quick.
Honda has done a great job with the Hornet. It looks great, the build quality is typical Honda, it’s fast, fun, has a great chassis and ergonomics and can turn its hand to just about whatever you want to do with it. The key with this bike is that it’s such a good package, it’s balanced and works well.
All of this for just £7,299, that’s a bargain. That’s still £700 cheaper than a base KTM 790 Duke and £900 less than the base Suzuki GSX-8S.
- Engine: 755cc parallel-twin with 91 horsepower and 55 lb-ft of torque
- Chassis: Lightweight steel frame with 41mm inverted forks and a monoshock
- Brakes: Hydraulic disc brakes with ABS
- Wheels: 17-inch cast aluminium wheels
- Kerb Weight: 190kg
- Seat height: 795mm (31.3 inches)
- Fuel tank capacity: 15.2 litres (4 gallons)
- Features: LED headlight, full digital instrument cluster, traction control, wheelie control, riding modes, optional quick shifter
- Colours: Pearl Glare White, Graphite Black, Matte Iridium Gey Metalic and Hornet Yellow.
- Base price: £7,299