The Honda Hornet (or as we called it in Canada, the Honda 599) is coming back to production, and it could signal a whole new platform for Honda.
The original Honda Hornet had a great run from the late ’90s through the early 2010s, although it was only sold in Canada for a short chunk of time in the middle of that production timeline. Canadians didn’t go quite as batty for it as the European market did, although it was a well-respected mount by most of those who owned it—the re-tuned four-cylinder made it a reliable all-rounder. CMG actually had one of the final-generation models as a long-term tester about a decade ago, and Editor ‘Arris thought it a great machine for the rider who needed one bike to do it all.
Well, that CBR-derived middleweight disappeared (along with its larger brother, the 919), and it was replaced with the CB650 series. That’s starting to look like the odd man out in the current crop of middleweight 650s, though. The CB650 has great tech and makes lots of power, but it’s a pricey four-cyl, and the market wants affordable twins.
So, the story is that Honda is working on a new twin-cylinder platform, which will be the basis of the new Hornet and undoubtedly a whole host of other machines. Honda’s press release doesn’t give much away; it simply says “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.” Expect more details by next season’s show circuit!