Honda says it’s reviving one of its most respected series of bikes—at least, it was respected in Europe. The Honda Hornet line is getting a reboot in the near future, although details are very limited at this point.
Based on a re-tuned version of Big Red’s 600 cc supersport engine, the Hornet was extremely popular in Europe through the late ’90s and early ’00s, because it could do just about anything as long as you were on a paved road. Commuter? Check. Apex hunting in the mountains? Check. Track day toy? Check. Touring, with aftermarket accessory windscreen and saddlebags? Check.
However, the series never quite caught on in North America in the same way. Here, it was generally known as the 599, and like the larger 919 series, it lost out in favor of less practical machines, and was (perhaps unfairly) the recipient of bored disinterest from some of the moto-press. Nevertheless, owners found they were reliable.
Now, Honda’s been selling the CB650 for several years, which basically runs along the same idea as the original Hornet series: A practical, comfortable middleweight four-cylinder. So, is that platform getting warmed-over, with a new name?
It doesn’t appear so. Instead, from photos from the EICMA reveal, it seems Honda is coming out with a new parallel twin engine to power this bike, probably in the 750 range.
That shouldn’t come as a surprise; it seems p-twins are the way of the future, as manufacturers try to save money everywhere, and Honda already has a strong 500 series in this category (CBR500, etc.), as well as its 1100 series (Africa Twin, etc.). But there’s lots of money to be made in the middle, and currently, Honda’s high-priced four-cylinder 650 puts out great performance but is probably scaring off some buyers with its price tag.
So, expect this new middleweight parallel twin series to start appearing over the next year, maybe even for an official debut on next year’s show circuit. Below, you can see what Honda actually said about the new bike:
Honda is also pleased to confirm that the illustrious Hornet name will return to its line-up in the near future. The Hornet has been renowned for delivering exhilarating engine performance and agility matched to cutting edge street-fighter styling since the model was first introduced in Europe in 1998.
A sneak preview of the concept direction for the new incarnation of the Hornet will be available for visitors to EICMA. Showcased in a special area within the Honda stand, projection mapping is used to full effect in a vivid 3D display of light and sound that both looks back at previous Hornet generations, and forward to what is to come
Taken in the round, Honda’s new line-up underlines its unwavering commitment to offering even more diversity and value to motorcycling’s broadest, richest product range.