Length 2090 mm / 82.2 in
Width 740 mm / 29.1 in
Height 1092 mm / 42.9 in
1435mm / 56.4 in
800 mm / 31.4 in
173 kg - 177 kg ABS / 381.3 lbs - 390.2
19 Litres / 4.3 gal
11.6 sec / 189.3
22.2 sec / 214.1 km/h
The 599 defines what a versatile, fun street bike
should be, with distinctive, aggressive good looks, lightweight chassis
and exhilarating performance. It all adds up to total riding pleasure in
a middleweight package.
If there’s one idea every red-blooded
American understands, it’s hot-rodding. Like both jazz and rock and
roll, it started here first, and on a singularly simple premise-the most
bang for the buck. And if that meant shoe- horning a fire-breathing
engine into granny’s sedan, so be it; just stand back and let the fun
That same train of thought lay behind
the creation of Honda’s original middleweight Hornet, released in 1998
in Europe. Namely, stuff a 100-horsepower inline-four engine into the
chassis of one of Honda’s most-popular domestic models in the 250 ranks.
The result? The best power-to-weight ratio in the class, plus handling
so responsive it seemed telepathic.
In concept and execution, Honda’s
middleweight 599 proved itself so profoundly and magnificently correct
that it received only a few substantive change in five years of
Engineers made subtle styling changes
to double duty. Elsewhere, Honda concentrated on detail changes; small
touches that make the difference between a magnificent motorcycle, and
one that’s merely great.
What hasn’t changed, though, is the
599’s original mission profile: to be a thoroughgoing hot-rod with a
potent engine in a chassis that offers the sort of razor-sharp handling
previously exclusive to supersport motorcycles-and with a versatility
that supersports could never match. All the changes made to this latest
middleweight 599 enhance the bike’s fundamental virtues, while still
providing that most enduring of American maxims: providing maximum bang
for the buck.
New for 2006
New 41mm inverted HMAS fork with a new triple
clamp and steering stem for superior handling and stability. Fully integrated lightweight instrumentation includes asymmetrical
analog-style tachometer, LCD speedometer, six-segment fuel gauge, a/b
tripmeters with countdown function and clock. A separate LCD built into
the tachometer displays engine coolant temperature. New two-piece mini cowl surrounds instrumentation and features a tinted
flyscreen for an aggressive look. Newly designed front fender improves styling.
Dual texture seat has low-slip material and adds to rider and passenger
comfort. Gold finish on the front and rear brake calipers plus gold anodized
front disc carrier add distinctive look. New silver colored wheels.
New Metallic Black color.
Powerful, aggressively tuned 599cc inline
four-cylinder engine features dual ignition maps for smooth, strong
performance. A feathery, 404-pound dry weight makes the 599 the lightest bike in its
class. The comfortable, upright seating position is ideal for commuting, sport
riding and long trips. Flat-slide CV carburetors for precise engine performance and superb
throttle response at all engine speeds. Stylish four-into-two-into-one exhaust system tucks in tightly and exits
high on the right side. Lightweight mono-backbone steel frame provides excellent rigidity while
drawing attention to the impressive exterior design of the engine. 41mm inverted front fork, single-shock rear suspension and lightweight
cast aluminum three-spoke wheels contribute to exceptional handling. Brilliant dual-bulb headlight offers superior illumination and longer
Compact 599cc DOHC liquid-cooled inline
four-cylinder engine is derived from the championship-winning CBR®600F3
powerplant. Intake ports tuned for smooth and responsive power characteristics.
Sixteen-valve cylinder head with a 12.0:1 compression ratio promotes
efficient combustion and high horsepower production. Direct shim-under-bucket valve actuation system is compact, ensures
high-rpm durability and allows 16,000-mile valve maintenance intervals.
34mm flat-slide CV carburetors add extra punch at low- to mid-range rpm
for superb real-world street use. Liquid-cooled oil cooler and a lightweight aluminum radiator keep engine
temperatures in check for consistent performance and long engine life.
Spring-loaded scissors-type primary gear and a rubber-mounted, floating
clutch-cover help reduce noise. Weight-saving features include a compact, lightweight one-piece
alternator. Unique stainless steel four-into-two-into-one exhaust system features an
aggressively angled design for enhanced engine sound and overall
performance. High-capacity, 340-watt AC generator. Maintenance-free automatic cam-chain tensioner.
Smooth-shifting six-speed transmission with gear ratios carefully
matched to the engine’s powerband. Durable #525 O-ring-sealed drive chain.
Massive square-tube mono-backbone steel frame
utilizes the engine as a stressed frame member, providing an optimal
balance of rigidity and tuned flex for superb handling. A single box-section downtube connects to a unique front engine-mount
that incorporates a cross-member to link the frame to the engine’s solid
front mounts. Lightweight aluminum swingarm features a large one-piece extruded pivot
block and extruded triple-box-section spars. 41mm inverted front fork with 4.7 inches of travel offers unparalleled
rigidity for precise action and excellent handling on a variety of road
surfaces. Lightweight aluminum upper triple-clamp adds rigidity for superb
steering control. Single-shock rear suspension features a high-quality damper with
seven-position-adjustable spring preload and 5.0 inches of plush wheel
travel for excellent suspension control in all riding conditions. Braking system features two huge, 296mm floating front discs with
twin-piston calipers and sintered metal pads, along with a 220mm rear
disc with a single-piston caliper and sintered metal pads for
exceptional stopping power. Aluminum-alloy super-light, hollow three-spoke wheels with 3.5 x 17-inch
front and 5.5 x 17-inch rear dimensions.
Wide, durable dual texture vinyl-covered seat with
thick foam padding provides plush comfort for commuting and two-up day
trips. A stylish hugger-type rear fender closely follows the curve of the rear
tire. Instrumentation includes white-face analog speedometer; tachometer and
coolant water temperature; digital odometer/tripmeter; indicator lights
for neutral, oil pressure, low fuel, high beam; and digital clock. 4.5-gallon fuel tank is hinged for servicing ease.
Aviation-style fuel cap. Handlebar-mounted manual choke provides smooth idling speed for cold
engine starts. Brilliant dual-bulb headlight features a polycarbonate lens in front of
a die-cast aluminum reflector body. Two single-filament 55w H11 bulbs
provide 60 percent better illumination, as well as much longer average
life than conventional bulbs. Maintenance-free battery is lightweight with sufficient starting
capacity for all riding seasons. Rugged plastic chip guards on top of the fork sliders protect the front
suspension from flying debris. Aluminum passenger grabrail. Convenient ignition switch/fork lock for added security.
Handlebar switches and controls use internationally approved ISO graphic
The Hornet has been around for a few
years now, the inaugural model featuring a 16-inch front wheel and using
the previous-gen CBR600F motor. For 2007, Honda has launched a brand new
CB600F Hornet with the latest CBR600RR engine. Never mind the engine,
though; it’s the chassis and handling that really impress.
Swinging my leg over the Hornet, I immediately settle into a comfortable
position, with the 800mm (31.5 inch) seat height and relaxed ergonomics
inviting me to go for a ride. The seat is comfortable and I have enough
room for my legs despite this being a small motorcycle. The widened fuel
tank now takes 19 liters of fuel, and I get a good grip with my knees on
the edges. The fuel tank is the most obvious reminder this is the Hornet
model. It stays true to the original shape, but with two extra liters of
fuel capacity added. Despite the extra fuel, the CB600F feels quite
light when you pick it up off the side stand or move it side-to-side
The most obvious change from previous models is the striking new exhaust
layout – the 4-into- exhaust system terminating in a fashionably stubby,
MotoGP-inspired, under-peg muffler. Not exactly ground-breaking anymore,
but we still think it looks good, and it’s certainly more functional
than the previously fashionable under-seat mufflers. We are still a bit
surprised Honda did not use this mass-centralized solution on the top
dog RR as well.
Riders planning to use their Hornet for touring duties will appreciate
the new exhaust layout for more than just fashion – the loss of the
high-mount silencer that was found on the ‘06 model opens up far greater
versatility as far as mounting aftermarket luggage. The old silencer
prevented the use of decent saddlebags and the new stubby exhaust now
allows for all sorts of luggage solutions. Hidden to the left of the
stubby exhaust underneath the engine is a huge catalytic converter that
makes sure the new Hornet breezes through Euro 3 emissions standards and
whatever comes next from Brussels. Whether you like the new stubby
exhaust trend or not, it makes the Hornet stand out from the naked 600
crowd, and that’s not always the case with new Hondas.
The small 599cc in-line four engine wakes to life in an unintimidating
manner. We shall not forget that it comes directly from the new 2007
CBR600RR supersports, but with different cams and intake valves for a
broader range of power. The new engine is a full 5 kilos (11 lbs.)
lighter than the one it replaces. The nature of these engines can not be
changed easily to suit a naked all-round sportsbike such as the Hornet,
but Honda has done their best and the engine is useful enough in the
lower rpm range.
There’s very little happening when accelerating with full throttle in
sixth gear from low rpm. However, what could I expect? It’s a small
engine with four tiny cylinders in a row and not a big twin. So revs are
still needed, but perhaps less so than on the ‘06 model. The fuel
injection is a gem and only once when transitioning off-on throttle
around 3000rpm did I notice a very small hiccup. It was so small that I
shouldn’t really have even mentioned it. For comparison, the fueling is
a mile better than Suzuki’s otherwise brilliant GSR600.
The 07 Hornet features class leading horsepower too, beating both the
GSR, and the Yamaha FZ6. Indeed, it is and only four horsepower short of
the new Kawasaki Z750 (106ps) with the claimed 102 horsepower engine.
But all that power is found in 10K+ territory, which has a lot to do
with the sporty character of the new Hornet. The six-speed gearbox is as
smooth as could be expected and the ratios suit both sports riding and
Through the twisties, the new CB600F Hornet is a dream to ride. The wide
handlebars make turn-in effortless, and the Hornet seems as eager as any
sport bike to carve on the edges of its Bridgestone BT-012 tires. I can
almost describe the handling as creamy smooth, but sharp at the same
time – if that makes any sense! The Hornet always steers where I want it
to go, and the line can be changed mid-corner without a hassle.
As far as chassis construction, the new aluminum mono-backbone frame and
aluminum swingarm keep everything in place on a hot lap, and also
contributes to keeping the weight down. Even the five-spoke aluminum
wheels are new and designed to further reduce weight. At 173kg dry (380
lbs.) the new Hornet is the lightest in its class. Mass centralization
was a design goal, and along with the stubby exhaust, the new slim seat
and tail unit is said to contribute to mass centralization.
The inverted 41mm fork from Showa gives plenty of feedback from the
front despite its lack of adjustable damping. The setup is neither too
soft nor too hard, and suited to both slow uneven roads and high-speed
freeway riding equally well. The rear shock is also from Showa and
features a 7-step adjustable preload collar. The brakes chosen for the
new Hornet are very conventional looking in today’s world of
radial-mounted race-spec items, but the 2-piston front calipers provide
more than enough power and feel for the job at hand. I particularly
liked the way they felt during slow stop-and-go scenarios, such as
around-town riding. The Hornet is also available in an ABS version that
adds linked 3-piston calipers (and 4kg of weight).
We did have rain for about half the day on the launch in Portugal. From
previous experience I expected excellent wet grip from the Bridgestone
BT-012s, and the Hornet was no exception. I know how to use the brakes
in the wet too, but in panicky situations, let’s say if an angry dog
runs into your path, the ABS brakes definitely make sense. Honda is
aiming the new Hornet at people looking for their first motorcycle, and
with that in mind the ABS option might be a good investment. However, as
an experienced rider I would personally not have gone for ABS on the
Hornet, as I feel I might lose the excellent feedback offered by the
On the motorway the wind blast soon
gets noticeable. The small front cowling gives scant protection. The
seating position is very upright, and to crouch forward for any length
of time does not feel natural for either the riding or my back. But the
new Hornet has got some serious top end speed for a 600 naked, and it
was fun to use some of that ability. I wouldn’t be happy touring at high
speed all day long though! The new instrument panel features a large
analogue rev counter with a big digital display showing speed, clock,
coolant temperature and fuel consumption. To the far left is the trip
Honda has modeled the design of the front cowling and headlight on a
medieval knight’s helmet. I personally see similarities with the old
Cagiva V-Raptor too. It was never dark enough to properly test the new
headlight, but the new convex, dual-bulb design features low beam
positioned above high beam.
Conclusion Once again Honda has got it right straight away – new engine, new
aluminum frame, new lightweight wheels and contemporary styling. The 07
Honda CB600F Hornet has got all that you need to tackle urban areas with
ease and enough top end power to do track days and motorways. The
midrange is stronger than before, as well, and might just beat most of
the competition on the street. Of course, the high-revving, inline-four
can’t beat a twin for midrange punch, but Honda has done everything in
their power to make the midrange as punchy as possible, and for a small
in-line four the result is good. The ‘07 Honda Hornet is not only a safe
bet, it might just be this year’s big winner.
Weight reduction and mass centralized handling Brakes provide good feel
New lightweight and powerful engine New 19 litre fuel tank (up by 2 liters )
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