Jaco Van Der Merwe

By Jaco Van Der Merwe

Head of Motoring

Honda Hornet has the sting to match its iconic CB750 badge

This 755cc naked street bike turns into a suburban hooligan that is hard to resist.

The old saying that it’s not a good idea to stir up a hornet’s nest is somewhat inaccurate. Because when it comes to the Honda Hornet, that kind of behaviour should be encouraged.

Honda last year resurrected its iconic CB750 moniker after 15 years with the introduction of the Hornet. The result is a naked street motorcycle that pays homage to the model’s rich heritage through innovation.

Apart from the obvious up-to-date streetfighter styling – the fuel tank was crafted to resemble a hornet’s wing – and technology, the biggest difference between the last CB750 produced in 2008 to the Honda Hornet is the engine layout and fuel injection system. The original CB750 – considered the first superbike – featured an inline four-cylinder configuration and four carburettors right until it went out of production after 39 years.

Powering the Honda Hornet

The Honda Hornet is powered by the punchy twin-parallel 755cc engine with programmed fuel injection taken straight out of the XL750 Transalp. Like its adventure bike cousin, it sends 67.5kW at 9 500rpm and 75Nm of torque at 7 250rpm to the rear wheel via six-speed manual transmission.

But featuring a lightweight frame, the Hornet is at 190kg 18kg lighter than the TransAlp. This translates into more speed and easier handling, with its compact length of 2 090mm needing a turning radius of just 2.7 metres.

The fuel consumption of 4.9L/100km that The Citizen Motoring achieved over 314km during its weeklong stay shows that it’s a fairly frugal – and comfortable – commuter. And that a range of around 300km is gettable on its 15.2-litre petrol tank.

Honda Hornet
The Honda Hornet features a five-inch TFT display. Picture: Jaco van der Merwe

But those numbers are not the main reason that anyone will buy the R169 900 Honda Hornet for. That decision will be based on the sensation created by selecting the Sport riding mode and then using the razor-sharp throttle response to rev the engine as close as you can to the 10 000rpm red-line in second and third gear.

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The sting of joy

It just takes one of these thrilling accelerations accompanied by intoxicating exhaust notes to have you hooked. Or should I say stung? Once you stir up this nest, you’ll want to have fun on this suburban hooligan all day, every day.

Should traffic interfere with your fun, an assisted slipper clutch manages rear wheel hop under hard braking and rapid down changes.

The Honda Hornet’s suspension consists of a 41mm Showa fork in front which allows 130mm travel and a monoshock damper in the rear making wheel travel of 150mm possible.

The wheels are both 17-inch in cast aluminium featuring five Y-spoke design, clad in 120/70ZR17 rubberware in the front and 160/60ZR17 in the rear.

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Stopping power

The two-channel ABS brake system features dual 296mm x 4mm discs in front with Nissin four-piston callipers and single 240mm x 5mm disc with single calliper in the rear.

The Honda Hornet comes standard with five-inch full colour TFT display linked to Honda Smartphone Voice Control and type-C USB port. It also features full LED lightning and auto cancel indicators, with a quickshifter offered as an option.

The Honda Hornet CB750 might not be a like-for-like reincarnation of the iconic machine, but through sheer riding fun and innovation does a good job of paying homage to its predecessors.

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