The significance of a brand new mannequin to a motorcycle producer can typically be judged by how drawn out its launch course of is—and since Honda is probably going going to have greater than a 12 months between first confirming its plans for a brand new Hornet and the bike really reaching sellers, it’s clearly a motorcycle that the corporate has excessive hopes for.
Honda confirmed its new Hornet final November, exhibiting a stylized laptop mannequin of the machine in a video launched on the EICMA present in Milan, accompanied by transient clip of the engine notice, however has remained steadfastly tight-lipped since then in regards to the bike’s precise specs or launch date. Now Honda, whereas nonetheless maintaining the bike’s particulars secret, has launched extra design sketches and particulars of the bike’s growth course of.
The design comes from the corporate’s R&D heart in Rome, beforehand chargeable for the penning of the most recent Africa Twin, the “Neo-Sports Café” look of the CB1000R and CB650R, and the left-field success of the X-ADV adventure-scooter-crossover. The Hornet mission’s styling was handed over to 28-year-old Giovanni Dovis, whose final work was the ADV350 scooter.
In a video launched by Honda Europe to accompany the brand new sketches, Dovis says: “The Honda design philosophy is to create something pure, functional, in an uncomplicated way. At Honda the rider is at the center of everything we do. We talk and listen to the voice of the European customers then, with Japan, we apply the learnings.
“You can see the result in one of our icons, the Hornet concept. This project was built around the principle of agility, dynamism, and light weight—both actual and visual. After five generations, the Hornet concept stings harder than ever. We are talking about the bike that started the streetfighter category. As a naked bike, the mechanical components are part of its beauty. Elements of the design were inspired by the shape of the angriest insect, the hornet. The Hornet concept emphasizes fuel-tank shape and surface, creating a new, compact proportion. Sporty character expressed by tension. Aggressiveness and a pointed tail to visualize dynamism. The swarm are eager to hear its buzzing once more. It’s time to step up and make the Hornet legend greater. It’s time to shake up the hive.”
While the launched sketches present a number of developments of the Hornet concept, the silver bike featured largest is the model that represents the manufacturing mannequin we anticipate to see later this 12 months. It reveals a tubular body—presumably metal—that’s largely hidden by bodywork, in addition to a easy box-section swingarm that’s prone to be extruded aluminum on the ultimate manufacturing mannequin. Most notably, it additionally offers a transparent view of the aspect of the all-new parallel-twin engine that powers it.
According to dependable sources, the engine is round 750cc (we’ve heard 755cc). The approach the cam cowl is taller towards the rear of the engine hints at a Unicam setup just like the Africa Twin and the CRF450R, the place a single camshaft operates 4 valves—appearing instantly on the consumption aspect and working the exhaust valves by way of rockers. However, the bulge towards the inlet aspect of the engine may be a touch of one thing extra radical, like a variable valve timing system on the consumption camshaft. Honda has already confirmed that the engine will likely be “high-revving”—that means it’s tuned for energy—and beneath present and future emissions legal guidelines in Europe, there’s a rising motion favoring VVT, notably on the consumption cams of revvy engines.
The new engine will make its first look within the Hornet, which is because of be formally unveiled later this 12 months, however ultimately it’s positive to energy an entire array of bikes. The Hornet is anticipated to spawn an adventure-bike spinoff, primarily a downsized Africa Twin and prone to revive the Transalp title, and with the CBR600RR now gone from Honda’s vary in most nations, a full-faired sport mannequin can also be probably at some stage. After all, the outdated four-cylinder Hornet 600 was derived from the CBR600F.
Although not as definitive because the silver bike, among the different sketches launched by Honda present remedies that may even be used on the manufacturing mannequin, notably the dual exhaust header pipes diving off to the right-hand aspect of the bike, reasonably just like the four-pipe header of the present CB650R, and right into a single muffler.
No doubt, Honda will let extra info trickle out because the Hornet’s official unveiling will get nearer. The indicators thus far are good, so hopefully it’ll reside as much as each its illustrious heritage and the hassle Honda is taking to hype the mission.