Honda rolled into the International Motorcycle Fair (Intermot) with a revival of the famed Hornet motorcycle. The 2023 Hornet CB750 Hornet is aimed squarely at the Yamaha MT-07 with a sweet 755cc parallel-twin making 90.5 HP. There is only one problem, and it’s that as of now, Honda hasn’t indicated any intention on bringing this sweet motorcycle to the States.
Honda has been teasing its revival of the Hornet for a while. First there were the concept images, which showed a rather sharp machine. Then, Honda teased its engine, a 755cc parallel twin with 90.5 HP on tap.
Yesterday, Honda pulled the covers off of its new motorcycle in Germany. The world finally gets to see the complete package, and its engine is the centerpiece.
The Honda Hornet originally launched in 1998. At its heart, the Hornet was a standard motorcycle with the heart of a sportbike. As Motorcycle News writes, the first Hornets had a CBR600F sportbike engine, but detuned and housed in a standard chassis. This made it a compelling bike for riders new and old wanting something competent. Like a good all-rounder should be, the old Hornet was versatile. These motorcycles even spawned a spec series, the Honda Hornet Cup, where Hornet owners and enthusiasts could get their machines out onto the track. In 2006, Motorcycle.com reported that the Hornet was the best-selling streetbike in Europe, so it was a pretty big deal.
If you’ve never heard of the Hornet before, it’s probably because this motorcycle wasn’t sold as the Hornet in the United States. Instead, it was called the 599. Making matters worse, the motorcycle was less successful here, and sold only from 2004 to 2006. And the Hornet itself was discontinued in 2013.
The Hornet is back! And it seems to offer a good punch for its price.
[Ed note: I’m more into old-school Japanese standard bikes, but even I have to admit this thing looks cool. -DT]
The CB750 Hornet was designed in Rome with nods to past Hornets. It also takes inspiration from its namesake insect, too. Honda says that the tank is supposed to look like a hornet’s wing. The rest of the machine is intended to look aggressive, from the stubby tail to the angular nose.
Adding to the Hornet’s sporting credentials is an all-new 755cc parallel-twin engine. It has a 270-degree crank and a single cam actuating eight valves. The neat part about this engine is that it has the output of a four. Honda says that it punches out 90.5 HP and 55.3 lb-ft torque.
For those of you counting, that’s just five ponies shy of the Honda CB650R’s inline-four. And that’s 40 more horses than the twin in the Honda CB500F. The Hornet’s competition, the Yamaha MT-07, makes 75 horsepower and 50 lb-ft torque from its 689cc parallel-twin. It’s not even close to the most powerful twin in the world, but it’s quite competitive.
This engine is saddled in a steel diamond frame designed to be light and stiff. The motorcycle comes in at a close weight to the MT-07, too. The Yamaha comes in at 403 pounds while the Honda is 419 pounds.
Further adding to the Hornet’s appeal is some neat technology. You get a five-inch color display with a few different choices for speedometer and tachometer. Additional tech includes throttle-by-wire, ABS, riding modes, and an Emergency Stop Signal system that flashes the motorcycle’s rear lights after a hard braking event at speeds above 35 mph.
You also get a voice control system to handle phone calls, music, navigation and more from your helmet. And of course, this bike is intended to be sporty, so you also get a wheelie control and levels of traction control.
That said, the motorcycle is also supposed to be friendly to a large swath of riders. It sports a 31-inch seat height and an upright riding position. A motorcycle like this is supposed to offer a lot of the fun of a sportbike, but without hunkering yourself into a sportbike position.
Another attractive bit is its price. It costs about $7,900, or right on the money for the Yamaha MT-07. Sadly, Honda has confirmed the Hornet only for Europe thus far. The manufacturer hasn’t indicated if it is coming to the United States or not. I hope it does. While the old 599 was not the hot seller here as it was in Europe, it seems that this one would be competitive here. I reached out to Honda asking if it has any information on potential U.S. availability.
All these new bikes just look like angry praying mantises. Trying too hard to make a standard bike look like a sport bike.
It’s def a cool bike but Honda has been burned repeatedly trying to sell Standards in the USA over the last 30+ years so I can hardly blame them not wanting to bring it here. I can think of half-a-dozen Standard style bikes they’ve sold here in that time period (and I am sure there are more than that), and not one of them has been a sales success.
It looks interesting can’t wait to see the full specs. for the bike. Honda needed something decent in the 750 twin space, half car engines were just not cutting it.
I hope the engine forms the basis of other models, perhaps as mentioned a TransAlp, or a smaller Africa Twin or Sport Tourer.
A rear wheel dyno run will tell a lot though, Honda claimed crank horsepower is traditionally all over the place, at least it’s not shaft drive. (-;
But the even more forbidden fruit for the US – the Transalp may be coming too. This engine in that style bike? mmmmm.
Seems likely. Adventure touring, dual-sport, and dirt bikes are almost all I see at dealerships around here. It’s hard to imagine any manufacturer releasing a new dedicated street bike these days aside from the obligatory race-rep refreshes.
Just a guess but it might be a de-tuned version of this engine since the 1,084cc Africa Twin only pumps out 101HP so I’d assume Honda wouldn’t want to pull buyers away from the lighter and basically just as powerful Transalp from the Twin’s buyer’s pool.
Wow, another too heavy bike with too much horsepower… How exciting…
If you can’t put your bike back on it’s kickstand after you lay it down you shouldn’t ride that bike.
90hp is pretty tame, not sure what you’re talking about.
90HP in a motorcycle isn’t tame.
90HP in a car that weighs twice as much as this bike would feel peppy. Make a car that weighs as much as this bike with 90HP and it’ll feel like a lot.
90 HP isn’t exactly tame, but it’s certainly not overkill. A lot of it depends on the transmission gearing. It’s enough to get you out of situations on the interstate without much worry, it’s enough for a trackday or spirited twisty road. But it’s not so much that you’ll be blindsided by the acceleration like in a proper sportbike. That extra power also makes it good as a light sport tourer and as a good 2 rider platform.
420lb is not heavy, and 90hp is fairly tame these days.
We’re hardly talking about Road Glide or Panigale V4 numbers here.
Are you going to tell me you deadlift 420lbs? Or that you ride a 420lb bicycle?
I assume that would be a no for both of those, because that’s too heavy. But a bike you have to pick up after you lay it down, and that you’ll have to push if you seriously damaged it while laying it down and have no assistance are you going to talk about how light it is while you do so?
I doubt it, because 420lbs is only light when it’s on it’s wheels and it has 90HP to push it around.
Is it lighter than a Harley? Yes, but that doesn’t make it light. Just like how the Ford Maverick Pickup is smaller than basically all the other pickups sold new in the US, but that doesn’t make it small.
You don’t have to deadlift that whole weight. And I’ve lifter quite much larger bikes and I’m not that big guy. Learn correct technique and it’s fine.
Also I think 90-100hp is pretty much sweetspot for this sort of daily commuter. It’s still fun but not over the top. Also should get pretty good fuel economy.
As said in another comment above if you’re not on a hard pack surface good luck getting your bike on its wheels, you’ll probably have to drag the thing back to solid ground and I’ll bet you then you’d wish you had a 200lb bike,
As always horsepower is relative to weight. A 90hp freight train is horribly underpowered. A 90hp Motorcycle should be overpowered, but it being 420lbs definitely cuts the power to weight ratio.
The less weight you have the less horsepower you need. Cut 200lbs off that bike and you’d agree with me that 90HP is waaaaay more than enough for street riding.
What’s your definition of hard packed surface? I had the older Hornet (599), and I slid out on the downhill of a friend’s gravel driveway, partially pinned. It took me a second, but I was able to right it up and ride away without much issue. It was 390 lbs dry and I’m not a muscular person.
As for power, if the new one is anything remotely close to my 86HP inline 4 carbureted 599, it’ll be plenty of power for your average standard-motorcycle rider
For this instance I’d say flat solid ground that isn’t particularly slippery.
So sand, mud, hillsides, etc. wouldn’t be hard packed surfaces.
You are absolutely right, I wouldn’t want to pick up a 420lb bike while trying to tackle some crazy rocky single trail hill climb. That is why dirt bikes weigh more like 200-250lb. Like you, I have an old 175cc 2-stroke trail bike for that purpose.
But the Hornet is not a dirt bike, or even an adventure bike. It is a standard street bike. If you drop it, you’ll be picking it up on pavement or at worst – a gravel road.
I’ve picked up my 475lb VStrom a few times on dirt/gravel roads and it isn’t that bad. Sure I wouldn’t want to do it 20 times in a row, but it is certainly doable (and I am not a big guy or especially fit).
“There’s no replacement for displacement!”
And, seriously, who buys a bike purely based on whether they can pick it up or not… I don’t know about you, but I haven’t dropped a bike in almost 10 years and I was driving like a complete idiot! My Aprilia Mana 850 weighs about 475lbs wet and has 59hp at the wheel and still goes over 200km/h and gets there quickly. My MV Agusta Brutale 675 weighs about 380lbs wet and has 110hp at the wheel and it is completely unnecessary for the street!
My man, nobody, absolutely nobody, rights a downed bike by lifting the entire bike up off the ground. If being able to deadlift the entire motorcycle was a requirement prior to being able to ride a particular bike all Harleys and Indians and Honda Goldwings would be eliminated and 99.9% of the riding population of the other street bikes would be eliminated as well. Proper “lifting” techniques to right a downed bike from its side are regularly taught and demonstrated allowing even those with limited physique and stature to right bikes 3x+ their weight.
I know that, however those “techniques” only work on solid ground otherwise you’re dragging that think to the nearest solid ground and that may be up hill.
The lighter the bike the better the bike, especially when you have to put it back on its kickstand again.
Keep it under 300lbs and you’d be amazed what you can do with a little power
My bike weighs ~203lbs and ITS FROM THE 70s!
It hauls serious butt with a 6 speed and a factory ported 125 air cooled 2 stroke. It goes so fast I’ve yet to have the throttle wide open in 6th gear (off road mind you).
CB650R is heavier and has less power, I imagine this would be that bike replacement as the price and power go after the CB competition. Aprilia Tuono 660, Kawasaki Z650, Suzuki SV650, Triumph Trident 660, and Yamaha MT-07. All of which are lower cost and in most cases more powerful than the CB650R
90hp is solidly mid-field power levels. 420lbs is solidly mid-sized bike weight.
I say this as a person that rides a lighter bike that makes more power.
So wait, this has a 270 degree crankshaft? So how does that work? Are the pistons offset by 270 degrees, rather than the 180 degrees one would often expect from a two cylinder engine?
Yes, the rod journals on the crank are 270 degrees apart in the rotation. There’s a lot of debate regarding the benefits of this, but what most people agree on is that it results in less vibration. Re-phased crank mods have long been popular among many parallel twin enthusiasts.
It’s so it feels like it has a v-twin. V-twin vibes are generally liked more than parallel twin (180 or 360) vibes.
Thing is, if I were to go into this weight class or above again, I’m pretty sure I would go electric. But I do understand, everyone has their own use case.
So cool. I loved the 599 when it came out (and then esp when I first saw it in Europe with its proper name), but I was unsure my riding skills at that point were good enough. Would love it if the new one came to the States.
And there’s a ton good to be said about dirttracker ergonomics like these – you get so much more leverage with the bars compared to a sportbike body position + clip-ons. Totally improves the handling experience in the situations that most riders normally find themselves.