The Honda Hornet (known in Canada as the Honda 599) was one of Big Red’s most successful motorbikes of the 1990s and 2000s. Now, it’s coming back, and as you can see above, Honda is very keen to pique our interest.
After plenty of conversations with industry insider Michael Uhlarik (whose columns graced the pages of CMG a few years back), we’re fairly certain that motorcycle design doesn’t take place in a dimly-lit Diefenbunker, which is what this video certainly implies. But, if you can get past the videographer’s artistic license, you can see many sketches of what the new bike will look like, a much better look than our initial teaser from EICMA in fall of 2021.
When it gets here, we expect the Honda Hornet to be the start of a new series of parallel twin engines. The industry, particularly in Europe (the world’s healthiest big bike market, at least before the war in Ukraine) is moving towards parallel twins to save money. Less moving parts equals dollars saved, and in our world of shrinking margins, that’s super-important. Honda has had its 500cc twins on the market for almost a decade now, and the CRF1000/1100 twin has now moved on to cruiser and even sport touring bikes. However, there’s a big space in between, a space where Yamaha’s 700 series has dominated for years. No doubt Honda’s new bike is aimed squarely at this market space.
That means we’ll get a Honda Hornet this fall, but no doubt it’s going to be soon followed by a parallel twin 750 ADV bike, a Rebel, and probably a sport tourer or even a practical sportbike with semi-upright riding position. This is the way Honda does business, and many of its faithful customers will be happy for an option somewhere between the beginner-friendly 500s and the more expensive 1100 twins.