Honda CB600F Hornet

As the undisputed pioneer of naked midsized performers, the Hornet has consistently set the standard for brazen streetfighter looks and blistering riding fun. Slimmer, lighter, more powerful and easier to ride than any other bike in its class, the Hornet gets its blast of performance from the same compact engine that powers the phenomenal CBR600RR to domination on track and street, yet tuned for stronger midrange acceleration that keeps the Hornet's excitement meter running high.
Lean, mean and scanning the scene for new conquests.

From nose to tail, every line and every component is totally new and totally geared to delivering an electrifying jolt of riding excitement.

Instrument Panel

With a hard-edged mechanical look derived directly from the CBR1000RR Fireblade, this fully electronic unit features a big, racy-looking centrally positioned analogue rev counter and a large digital LCD readout of vehicle speed, dual trip gauges, multi-segment fuel gauge and a clock.


Uniquely styled new dual-bulb headlight features low beam and high beam positioned one over the other behind a protruding polycarbonate lens that accentuates this dynamic riding machineís overall sense of excitement


The stunning looking low-slung exhaust system is positioned under the engine for enhanced mass centralisation and sharper handling, as well as a unique exhaust note.

New Tapered Aluminium Swingarm

The new Hornet features a newly designed tapered dual-box-section aluminium swingarm, which makes an important contribution to reduced unsprung weight while playing a key role in optimising the chassisí overall balance of rigidity.


New lightweight aluminium alloy 5-spoke wheels with high-speed rated tyres for top performance and dynamic looks.


Up front, a pair of dual-piston front callipers grip wide 296mm drilled floating discs, and at the rear, a compact new single-piston calliper, like that used on the CBR600RR.

The all-new Hornet will also be available with the highly responsive braking capability of Hondaís most advanced Combined ABS brake system, providing reassuringly strong braking control and enhancing rider confidence.


Up front, the big gold-anodised outer tubes of its 41mm inverted HMAS cartridge-type front fork exude a look of invincible control while compliantly soaking up the roadís rough spots with 120mm of smoothly damped wheel travel.

At the rear, a Monoshock damper takes up position between the swingarm and the rear frame to provide positive and progressive control for assured handling balanced with compliant comfort.


Seemingly hovering in space over Hornetís fat rear tyre, the ultra-slim seat and tail cowl design minimises inertial weight. The brilliant LED taillight is integrated into the tail cowl and turn indicators feature smoked lenses with amber bulbs.


Based on and developed together with the innovative engine now powering the 2007 CBR600RR, the Hornetís new powerplant is one of the shortest and more compact engines in its class. Featuring Hondaís most advanced PGM-FI electronic fuel injection system the new powerplant was specially tuned to combine strong midrange torque for faster acceleration out of the corners with a higher-revving top end.


Itís been a long time coming, but thankfully Honda has given us a new Honda CB600F Hornet for 2007. The only similarity to the old model is the name; itís an entirely new bike running the same engine as their current CBR600RR. It shares the old Honda CB600F Hornet's qualities, it's easy to ride; great handling and fun. The new Honda CB600F Hornet should appeal to wide audience with its new Italian funky styling.

The new Honda CB600F Hornet uses the same new engine from the Honda CBR600RR, obviously slightly detuned for this market. The revised motor actually produces more torque than the CBR and is user friendly. However itís a four cylinder 600 therefore you still have to rev it to get the most out of, thankfully it sounds a peach on the Honda CB600F Hornet when you do.
The Honda CB600F Hornet is so damn easy to ride and should appeal to new riders, yet at the same time has sporting potential if the mood should take you. The new Honda CB600F Hornet is incredibly light and agile thanks to its slimfast plan over the last few years, however there is only pre-load adjustment on the rear suspension and the front is slightly on the soft side.
Considering the price Honda hasnít let the build quality of the Honda CB600F Hornet drop. Like the old Honda CB600F Hornet it feels solid and secure and should last, the old Hornet was renowned for its reliability as couriers in London proved. The new design Honda CB600F Hornet looks funky and really stands out from the crowd.

At just over £5000 the Honda CB600F Hornet is exceptional value for money, it can commute, tour, the jack of all trades if you like. Compared to the competition the Honda CB600F Hornet is competitively priced and as itís a Honda should hold its value, when it comes to trade in for a larger or newer model.




By Dave Abrahams

There's a lot to be said for a straightforward streetbike with an upright seating position and accessible handlebars for everyday, round-town riding and weekend rides with a partner.

If its engine has a strong mid-range for grabbing the gaps in the traffic and the major masses are centralised for agile handling Ė then you've got a kick-ass commuting tool.

Honda's CB600F Hornet is based on exactly that premise; the original 1998 version was built around a detuned CBR600 engine with a simple, rectangular-section steel backbone frame and budget brakes 'n suspension.

But it worked and for nearly a decade it was a mainstay of Honda's European streetbike range
Naked bikes are about mid-range, of which this bike has plenty
. Now the revised and updated 2008 Hornet has been released in South Africa Ė but it's no budget bike.

Motivation is provided by a retuned version of the current CBR600RR engine with revised cylinder head, pistons and camshafts, for which Honda quotes 75kW at 12 000rpm and 63.5Nm at 10 500rpm, a four percent improvement on the previous model.

The stainless-steel exhaust system has been moved from under the saddle tailpiece and curled up under the engine where it takes up less room and its not inconsiderable mass is kept as low and central as possible.

It's a remarkably untemperamental engine that pulls without complaint from 3000rpm but comes into its own above 5000. In classic Honda fashion, there's no distinct power band; the engine just gets stronger as the rev-counter needle climbs the dial
There's no distinct power band; the engine just gets stronger as the rev-counter needle climbs the dial

Above 7000rpm a little vibration creeps in despite the presence of a balance shaft and the engine begins to speak for itself Ė but it's above 10 000 where the big ponies lives, accompanied by a spine-tingling howl from the air box.

I couldn't do a performance test on this week's launch run in Gauteng but I saw 212km/h on the digital speedometer a couple of times while sitting upright.

Naked bikes are not about top end, however, they're about mid-range, of which this bike has plenty; anywhere above 7000rpm there's enough torque for rapid, safe overtaking.

Keep it spinning between nine and 12 and the Hornet's performance is more than enough to get you into serious trouble with Plod.

The rest of the drive train is just as good; the clutch is light, positive and progressive while the six-speed gearbox is slick enough to allow clutchless shifts in both directions despite being vertically stacked, which usually results in a very notchy shift action. Nice one, Honda.

Die-cast aluminium frame

The previous steel backbone chassis has been replaced by a die-cast aluminium frame - also in a backbone layout but with two cast-in arms extending down the front of the engine from the steering head.

Together with a very tapered fuel tank and a narrow seat nose it makes the bike very narrow in the middle for extra comfort and to allow the toes of the vertically challenged to reach the ground easily.

The Hornet is very comfortable indeed; the seating position is nicely poised, leaning slightly forward, and all the controls fall neatly to hand. The triangular instrument pod has two crowded but legible LCD screens and six warning lights.

The two headlights are mounted in a separate pod below that while the matte-grey air box is styled as part of the centre section and the swoopy rear subframe splits into two levels Ė the seat and its base above, mudguard and tail light below. Sounds odd but it looks really cool.

The mirrors' stalks are too short, giving you not much more than a good view of your own elbows .

Utter competence

The launch ride took us across the northern side of Johannesburg, where the Hornet displayed its utter competence in heavy traffic, with little or no jerkiness from the fuel-injection and quick, accurate steering.

Then we moved out on to the back roads around Maropeng, the Cradle of Mankind, to the north-west of the city; average speeds rose and the bike revealed some handling quirks.

The suspension Ė 41mm Showa upside-downies in front and a rear monoshock without rising-rate linkage - is adjustable for rear pre-load only. Spring rates and damping are both on the harsh side of firm, which was fine on good roads but became jarring on others.

Several riders hit the same bad bump on a long, fast left-hander and experienced a strong weave with both ends of the bike seeming to wiggle independently Ė very disconcerting but soon over.

I also managed to bottom the rear suspension a couple of times on nasty bumps despite the firm spring; most of Gauteng's back roads are in appalling condition. OK, I'm 106kg, but the Hornet is supposed to be able to carry a passenger!

The bike copes well with tight, choppy corners, however, and the brakes, although pretty basic (twin-piston floating callipers in front and a single-piston calliper at the rear), take up with reassuring bite and power.

Bottom line

Honda has positioned the CB600F Hornet as a "premium" streetbike, with the accent on the engine's performance credentials, at a class-topping R73 390.

Fit and finish, and the superb drive train, certainly live up to that billing with only the questionable suspension letting it down a little. Definitely the class of the class.


The Honda CBF600F Hornet is another addition to Honda's range of middleweight Naked class bikes and is set to impress even the most blasť rider. With an engine similar to the Honda CBR600RR, the CBF600F Hornet has been developed specifically for street riding with attitude. Its superior performance on the road is further enhanced by a completely reworked chassis that has been constructed from die-cast aluminium rather than the tubular steel used in previous models. This use of aluminium makes the Honda Hornet lighter and more rigid than previous models, with the bike's weight reduced to a mere 381 pounds.

The style of the 2008 Honda Hornet is sleeker and more streamlined, with multipurpose headlights set in a new low-slung instrument pod. The result is an aggressive, ďarmour-plated" look for a mean street riding style statement. Adding to the Honda CBF600F's distinctive new look is its low-slung exhaust positioned under the engine. The fact that the exhaust is so low-slung reduces weight from the bike's extremities, and this redistribution of weight into the centre contributes to a greatly improved handling ability.

One of the most distinguishing features of the 2008 Honda CBF600F Hornet is the inclusion of Honda's latest-generation combined brake system. This new braking system allows for stronger and more responsive braking control than the standard linked braking found in previous models. Other impressive features include the HISS (Honda Ignition Security System) anti-theft system to prevent to bike from starting without the original key.

The Honda CBF600F Hornet marks the graduation to a new generation of Honda street bikes that offer pure streetfighter riding enjoyment in the form of a powerful package that's pleasing on the eye.


2007 Honda CB600F Hornet - First Look
By Bart Madson

The Intermot show has been the scene of many '07 debuts this week, and now Honda has joined the fray with the unveiling of its mid-sized naked streetfighter incarnation, the 2007 CB600F Hornet. Having been in the Honda lineup since 1998, the Hornet (called the 599 in America) has received a thorough redesign for 2007. The new changes include a more aggressive styling, a motor based on the 2007 RR and a new aluminum frame.

At the heart of the new Hornet's changes is the Inline-Four developed in tandem with its new supersport cousin, the 2007 CBR600RR. Benefiting from the same powerplant upgrades we detailed in our 2007 Honda CBR600RR - First Look article, the Hornet's mill remains 599cc via 67mm x 42.5 bore/stroke figures. The engine is a significant 11 pounds lighter and more compact to help create a more agile handling mount. PGM-FI electronic fuel injection should aid in a smoother throttle response. While the Hornet and CBR600's engines were developed together, the Hornet's motor has been tuned for specific streetfighting duties. The six-speed naked being tinkered for higher midrange power and torque for marauding the streets. It's sure to be a step up in power over the current 599, as Honda claims 100.6 hp at 12,000 rpm and 46.8 lb-ft of torque at 10,500 rpm. With an approximate 10% being lopped off by the time it hits the rear wheel, expect about 90 horses at the rear wheel compared to the 83.4 of our last 599 test bike.

Right off the bat the Hornet's aggressive new looks grab attention. The Honda UK PR describes the Hornet's new styling theme as "Edged Armour Form" explaining the Hornet's new lines as being "based on the elaborate suites of armour once worn by medieval knights of olde." Uhm, okay. The reasoning may sound a bit cheesy to us who live in countries without castles and a titled gentry, but the result of Honda's changes to the Hornet translate into a sleeker meaner look from tip to tail.

A dual-bulb over-under headlight configuration is placed amidst mini side cowlings. Another small cowling is located above the light, the other side of which houses the instrument cluster derived from the CBR1000RR. It's centered by a large analog tachometer with an LCD display screen for the speedo and other various info located on either side. A 5-gallon fuel tank carries the curvy lines back from the side cowlings. Grey metallic finish to the wheels and engine are offset by the four-colors available for the minimalist bodywork: Pearl Night Star Black, Pearl Amber Yellow, Candy Xenon Blue, and Pearl Siena Red.

Aside from the overall lines and bodywork, one of the most distinctive styling changes to the new Hornet is the dramatic low-slung under-engine exhaust. Shunning the underseat exhaust of its predecessor, the current Hornet collects exhaust fumes through four header pipes cascading down the front of the engine before combining into a single pipe, which enters the main muffler underneath before exiting through a secondary muffler in the right-side outlet next to the swingarm pivot. As you would expect from a 2007 model, the exhaust system is Euro 3 compliant, courtesy of the O2-sensor and catalytic converters.

The low-slung exhaust also contributes to an improved centralized mass by reducing weight at the extremities of the machine, which Honda claims should enhance the overall handling, even though the wheelbase has extended by a scant 15mm (0.6 inches). The extra length is due in part to the new dual-box aluminum swingarm, which replaces the 5mm-shorter but heavier box-section unit from 2006.

The '07 chassis design retains the same essential Mono-Backbone frame of its predecessor, but is now constructed out of aluminum through a new gravity-fed die-cast process instead of the older (and heavier) steel-tubed configuration. In addition to being lighter, the welded aluminum chassis is said to be more rigid for sharper handling at higher limits. The total weight reduction drops the claimed dry weight from 392 lbs to 381 lbs.

The suspension remains the same for 2007, with a 41mm inverted fork providing 120mm (4.7 inches) of travel. A monoshock rear is a seven-step preload adjustable unit, which delivers 128mm (5 inches) of travel. As the previous model, there are no provisions for damping adjustments. The new Hornet's 5-spoke cast aluminum wheels have grabbed two extra spokes for 2007 but are said to be lighter. They sport tires in the 120/70-17 and 180/55-17 sizes used in the Supersport class.

Braking duties are carried out up front by a pair of floating 296mm discs that are pulled to a stop by twin-piston calipers. Out back, the '06's 220mm single disc is upgraded to a lone 240mm disc and is in turn squeezed down by a new single-piston caliper similar to the configuration of its CBR cousin.

The new Hornet will offer as an option Honda's latest-generation combined brake system and ABS. The combined brake system uses a pair of three-piston calipers up front that links the center piston of the right-side three-piston caliper up front with the rear brake pedal. A delay valve is used in the line so that light application of the rear brake doesn't activate the front.

Honda Europe will offer several options for the new Hornet, including the HISS (Honda Ignition Security System) anti-theft system, which prevents the bike from starting if the original ignition key isn't used. Also available are electric grip heaters, a flyscreen, seat cowl and rear hugger fender.

So, the question remains: Will Honda bring this new Hornet to the U.S. as a replacement for the competent but pricey 599? American Honda, naturally, is neither confirming nor denying. But if we were guessing, we think we'll get our version in the next 12 to 16 months. If it does happen, expect a price tag near the $8000 mark.

And, Honda, if you don't mind, please call it the Hornet. It's eminently more likeable than the characterless 599.



  Engine Type  Liquid-cooled 4-stroke 16-valve DOHC inline-4   
  Engine Displacement  599cm3   
  Bore & Stroke  67 x 42.5mm   
  Compression Ratio  12: 1   
  Carburation  PGM-FI electronic fuel injection   
  Max. Power Output  75kW/12,000min-1 (95/1/EC)   
  Max. Torque  63.5Nm/10,500min-1 (95/1/EC)   
  Ignition  Computer-controlled digital transistorised with electronic advance   
  Starter  Electric 
  Gearbox  6-speed   
  Final Drive  #525 O-ring sealed chain 
Dimensions and Weight  
  Length x Width x Height  2,090 x 740 x 1,095mm   
  Wheelbase  1,435mm   
  Seat Height  800mm   
  Ground Clearance  135mm   
  Fuel Capacity  19litres (including 4-litre LCD-indicated reserve)   
  Dry Weight  173kg 
Wheels, Suspension and Brakes  
  Wheels Front  Hollow-section 5-spoke cast aluminium, 17M/C x MT3.5   
  Wheels Rear  Hollow-section 5-spoke cast aluminium, 17M/C x MT5.5   
  Tyres Front  120/70-ZR17M/C (58W)   
  Tyres Rear  180/55-ZR17M/C (73W)   
  Suspension Front  41mm inverted telescopic fork, 120mm axle travel   
  Suspension Rear  Monoshock damper with 7-step adjustable preload, 128mm axle travel   
  Brakes Front  296 x 4.5mm dual hydraulic disc with dual-piston callipers, floating rotors and sintered metal pads   
  Brakes Rear  240 x 5mm hydraulic disc with single-piston calliper and sintered metal pads

Engine: Liquid-cooled four-stroke transverse four.
Capacity: 599cc.
Bore x stroke: 67 x 42.5mm.
Compression ratio: 12.0:1.
Valvegear: DOHC with four overhead valves per cylinder.
Power: 75kW at 12 000rpm.
Torque: 63.5Nm at 10 500rpm.
Induction: PGM-FI electronic fuel-injection with four 36mm throttle bodies.
Ignition: Computer-controlled digital transistorised with electronic advance.
Starting: Electric.
Clutch: Cable-operated multiplate wet clutch.
Transmission: Six-speed constant-mesh gearbox with final drive by chain.
Suspension: 41mm Showa inverted cartridge forks at front, monoshock adjustable for preload at rear.
Brakes: Dual 296mm discs with Nissin twin-piston floating callipers at front, 240mm disc with single-piston Nissin floating calliper at rear.
Tyres: Front: 120/70 - ZR17 tubeless. Rear: 180/55 - ZR17 tubeless.
Wheelbase: 1435mm.
Seat height: 800mm.
Fuel capacity: 19 litres.
Dry weight: 173kg.
Price: R73 390.