23YM Honda CB750 Hornet

Honda’s brand­new Hornet reveals its sting. Carrying zero excess mass, class­leading power­to­weight ratio is delivered by a 67.5kW and 75Nm engine driving a 190kg package.

The all­new, eight­valve parallel twin­cylinder unit delivers both top end buzz and heaps of mid­range usability, combining with a new ultra­lightweight frame for supremely agile side­to­side performance and instant, riotous acceleration. Throttle By Wire (TBW) serves up 4 riding modes and 4­levels Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC) with integrated Wheelie Control, plus 3 levels of Engine Braking and Power delivery. The new frame wears full Showa suspension: 41mm Separate Fork Function Big Piston (SFF­BP™) USD forks and rear shock working through Pro­Link. Dual, radial­ mount four­piston calipers bite hard. The premium specification includes 5­inch colour TFT instrument display, with Honda Smartphone Voice Control (HSVC), full LED lighting, auto­indicator cancel and Emergency Stop Signal (ESS) technology.

1. Introduction

The original 1998 CB600F Hornet grew to be a hugely popular bike in Europe, for many reasons. Its compact, naked form was great around town and it had the engine power and handling ability to carve a section of corners with joyous enthusiasm. Different iterations of the Hornet took it in the direction of sports touring and – in the hands of Hornet Cup racers – an outright race bike, while a 2007 upgrade added extra RR­derived top­end power and much more aggressive style.

Every individual owner had a reason why their Hornet was so good, but two things remained constant throughout its life and development:

It was great fun to ride. And the fun came with an affordable price tag.

25 years is a long time and motorcycling has seen some major shifts since the first Hornet arrived. The naked bike segment continues to grow in both size and complexity, with many niches, and rider expectations have never been higher. A perfect time for a new Hornet to land – a bike for now and a whole new generation of riders. It has big tyre tracks to fill and serious competitors to contend with. None of which was lost on Honda’s development engineers.

This background has driven the creation of something quite special – a brand­new middle weight, the CB750 Hornet, which takes inspiration and direction from its ancestor but brings the celebrated Hornet brand right up to date. And packs it with a direct injection of excitement and pure­thrill adrenaline. 

With styling led by the latest generation of creative minds at Honda’s R&D facility in Rome, it’s been developed to attract younger riders looking for a serious move up. A totally new twin­cylinder engine hits hard with power and torque and features a comprehensive electronics package. High­quality Showa suspension works through a new, lightweight steel frame with high­spec running gear that allows the rider to exploit all the potential available. And minimalist look with uncompromising angles define a sharp, modern streetfighter style.

Honda have armed the CB750 Hornet with a class­leading power­to­weight ratio. And, to keep things simple, three words can be used to sum it up:

Fast, agile, fun.

Mr, Fuyuki Hosokawa, Test Project Leader, Honda R&D, Japan:

“The Hornet has always been a very special motorcycle for Honda. Exciting, engaging performance has always been matched to lithe, agile handling.

Before starting this project, we thought long and hard about what kind of performance we wanted to give to the rider. We knew that it was essential to keep the classic Hornet top end power ‘hit’ and at the same time, as a new generation Hornet for modern times, we wanted the engine to have a really strong torquey feel and ‘throbbing’ sensation at low to mid rpm. Our aim has always been to match these to the lightest, most agile handling possible, to make every ride – even in town – as engaging and fulfilling as possible

To get the kind of performance and lightweight handling we wanted, we knew we had to develop an all­new short­stroke twin­cylinder engine, with a 270° crankshaft. This would not only deliver that top­end rush, but also the sporty low­down torque, ideal for riding in urban environments and powering out of corners on the open road.

For us, the Hornet has always been the ultimate representation of the streetfighter concept and this new Hornet, proudly carries on this tradition.”

Mr. Giovanni Dovis, Lead Styling Designer, Honda R&D Rome:

“Honda’s design philosophy is to create something pure and functional in an uncomplicated way – models which are both beautifully simple and emotionally appealing. Our strap line to guide the form of the new Hornet was ‘Sensual Dynamism.’ It had to be a straight forward streetfighter design – just like the original – but we wanted much more aggressive angles and proportions. The silhouette and sinuous muscularity of a cheetah at full speed inspired us with its potency, driven by the obvious power of the new engine.

The look of the Hornet promises agility, dynamism and light weight thanks to its slim proportions, pointy tail section and super­sharp lines. It creates a new compactly proportioned look and has hallmarks of tension and aggression from front to back, outlining the Hornet’s true sporting purpose.

And we wanted this bike to stand out in another way: the metallic red frame and matching anodised forks are vibrant counterpoint to the coolness of the White or Black paint options. And, of course, we had to pay homage to its heritage, with the unique Mat Goldfinch Yellow.”

2. Model Overview

The Hornet’s brand­new engine packs a great deal of Honda’s engineering prowess into a small space. Headline numbers: 755cc parallel twin­cylinder, 67.5kW peak power and 75Nm torque. With wet weight of 190kg it has a class­leading power­to­weight ratio of 0.36kW per kg / 2.81kg per kW.

Compact, competition CRF­derived Unicam eight­valve cylinder heads employ downdraft air intakes and a Vortex Flow Duct to ensure optimal combustion. A 270° crank delivers feel and character; the primary drive doubles as balance shaft while an assist/slipper clutch manages a six­speed gearbox. Electronic rider aids thanks to Throttle By Wire (TBW) include 3 riding modes (plus USER mode), 3­level Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC), Wheelie Control with 3­level Engine Power and Engine Braking adjustment.

To maximise the new engine’s potential, it’s housed in a totally new steel diamond frame, which is extremely light weight thanks to optimisation of wall/pipe thickness and stiffness.
For optimal agility and rider feedback, suspension is top quality: Showa 41mm SFF­BP™ USD forks and rear shock operating through Pro­Link. Dual four­piston, radial­mount calipers stop hard while the tyres are sized to provide perfect levels of grip and agility – a 120­section front matched to 160 rear.

The rich specification list is headlined by a 5­inch TFT colour display which supplies vivid information delivery and management of all systems, as well as the connectivity of Honda Smartphone Voice Control system for both Android and IOS devices. All lighting is LED; the indicators auto­cancel and also include Emergency Stop System (ESS).

A range of accessories, including a quickshifter, soft luggage, engine protectors and
cosmetic enhancements are ready to go (see full list below: 4. Accessories).

The 23YM CB750 Hornet will be available in the following colour options:
Pearl Glare White with Metallic Red Flame frame and anodised Red forks Graphite
Mat Goldfinch Yellow

3. Key Features

3.1 Engine

All new 755cc parallel twin 8 valve unicam engine
Max power – 67.5kW @ 9,500rpm
Max torque ­ 75Nm at 7,250rpm
270° crankshaft and uneven firing order for maximum engine character
Patented Vortex Air Flow ducts for optimum airflow
Assist /slipper clutch offers light lever feel and manages rear wheel hop on downshifts
23km/l fuel economy with a potential 340km tank range
The unveiling of a brand­new Honda engine is always a special moment. Presenting it as part of a brand new Hornet demonstrates the significance of the return of the iconic model name. Honda’s engineers have built a brand­new, parallel twin­cylinder powerplant packing hugely enjoyable punch to give the Hornet its performance edge. It’s designed for every rider to exploit to the maximum, with exhilarating peak power output, but also to deliver accessible low to mid­range usability – perfect for the less experienced, and a major boost to the enjoyment of everyday town riding.

755cc, with an 8-valve Unicam cylinder head it pumps out 67.5kW @ 9,500rpm with 75Nm torque @ 7,250rpm. Bore and stroke is set at 87 x 63.5mm with compression ratio of 11.0:1. Compact and lightweight (and a configuration used by the MX competition-ready CRF450R) the Unicam head operates the 35.5mm inlet valves via cam, and the 29mm exhaust by rocker arms. Inlet lift is 9.3mm, exhaust 8.2mm.

For razor-sharp pick-up and throttle response patented Vortex Flow Ducts create a more uniform distribution from the side scoops into the airbox, which then feeds downdraft intakes and 46mm diameter throttle bodies.

The 270° crank and uneven firing order create a characterful, twin-cylinder pulse feeling. To make the engine as tightly wrapped as possible there’s no balancer drive gear; the primary drive gear doubles up duties and also spins the balance shaft. The water pump is tucked away inside the left hand engine cover and there’s no need for a water-cooled oil- cooler. The cylinders also use a Ni-SiC (Nickel-Silicon Carbide) coating, as also used in the CBR1000RR-R Fireblade and CRF450R.

An assist/slipper clutch – with oblique layout disc segments – offers light lever feel, eases up shifts and manages rear wheel hop under hard braking and rapid down changes.

Fuel consumption of 23km/l (WMTC mode) offers a potential range of over 340km from the 15.2L fuel tank. A 35kW, A2 licence option will also be available.

3.2 Engine Electronics

USER customisation option between the three levels
Three levels of Engine Power, Engine Brake and HSTC with integrated Wheelie Control
USER customisation option between the three levels
Throttle By Wire engine control offers three default riding modes, adjusting the engine’s delivery and feel to suit conditions and the rider’s intent; they’re easily switched and managed between the left handlebar mode switch and TFT screen.

There are 3 levels of Engine Power (EP), Engine Brake (EB) and Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC) with integrated Wheelie Control available; HSTC can also be switched off. The riding modes offer different combinations of each parameter.

SPORT uses level 3 EP and level 1 EB and HSTC to deliver maximum performance with minimum intervention.

STANDARD mode is a mid-way setting that uses level 2 setting for EP, EB and HSTC.

RAIN mode employs the lowest EP setting, level 1, for the least aggressive power delivery with level 2 EB and 3 HSTC.

USER mode allows the rider to choose between the 3 settings for each parameter and save the setting for future use.

3.3 Styling & Equipment

New style defines razor­sharp minimalism
Upright riding position for natural control
customisable, 5­inch TFT display with shift­up indicator
Honda Smartphone Voice Control system offers Android and IOS smartphone connectivity
The rear indicators feature Emergency Stop Signal and auto cancel technology
Honda’s R&D designers in Rome looked, with respect, to Hornets of the past and went to work on a new, contemporary expression of technical beauty with the silhouette, lines and shaping in compact, elegant proportion.

The main signature of the Hornet is the fuel tank, which takes inspiration from the shape of a hornet’s wing. Everywhere you look, from the aggressively angled nose-fairing to the razor-sharp, minimal tail, there are hallmarks of tension and aggression, outlining true sporting intent.

Usability, for all riders, is also inherent to the design. Seat height is a very manageable 795mm and the riding position upright, with slightly rear-set footpegs for natural control and wide handlebars for leverage.

The instruments comprise a 5-inch, full colour high-visibility TFT screen, which offers four types of speed/rpm display – analogue or bar, according to rider preference – as well as fuel gauge/consumption, riding mode selection/engine parameters, gear selected and customisable shift-up point on the rev-counter. Management is via the screen and switchgear on the left handlebar.

Also incorporated into the interface is the Honda Smartphone Voice Control system, which links the rider to their Android while on the move and allows voice management of phone calls, messages, music and navigation. For the first time, several of the HSVCs will also be accessible on IOS smartphones. A helmet-mounted headset is needed, and the smartphone connects to the dash via Bluetooth; management of Honda Smartphone Voice control is also possible using buttons the left switchgear.

To simplify and miniaturise the entire electrical system the Hornet uses a Controller Area Network (CAN) alongside a Body Control Unit (BCU). The BCU is sited under the main seat and collectively processes control signals – from the ABS modulator, TFT screen and switch gear – that are not controlled by the ECU in the CAN system.

The rear indicators have an Emergency Stop Signal (ESS) function. At a minimum speed of 56km/h, with either brake working if negative acceleration of a minimum of 6.0m/s2 is detected, the hazard lights flash to warn other road users a hard stop is in process. At the same speed the threshold is reduced if ABS is activated, to a negative acceleration of a minimum 2.5m/s2.

They also auto-cancel; rather than using a simple timer, the system compares front and rear wheel speed difference and calculates when to cancel the indication relative to the situation.

3.4 Chassis

The Hornet’s steel diamond frame is lightweight, at just 16.6kg (for comparison, the CB650R’s is 18.5kg). A major technological process of stiffener, main/down tube thinning, and pivot shape optimisation has produced a hugely strong platform, with rigidity balance to deliver feel and geometry set for agility – just what the engine needs.

Rake and trail are set at 25° and 99mm, with wheelbase of 1,420mm and kerb weight of 190kg.

With a view to heighten sports handling performance (especially braking from higher speeds) Showa 41mm Separate Function Fork Big Piston (SFF-BP™) USD forks are clamped by Hornet-specific top and bottom yokes. With 130mm travel and by dividing the functions – Big Piston pressure separation damper in one leg, spring mechanism in the other – maximising both reaction over changes in road surface and the overall ride quality.

The rear shock absorber operates through the steel swingarm via Pro-Link and offers 150mm travel. Its design ensures excellent response and temperature management; it features 5-stage preload adjustment with spring rate and damping settings optimised to match the forks.

Dual front 296mm discs and Nissin radial-mount, four-piston calipers deliver impressive, fingertip stopping power, with excellent progressive feel through the lever. To further elevate handling and ride quality lightweight wheels use Y-shaped spokes. Front wheel width is 3.5 inch wearing 120/70-ZR17 tyre, the rear 4.5inch with 160/60-ZR17 tyre.

4. Accessories

A full range of accessories are available for the Hornet, ready for personalisation to an owner’s preference and use.

For aggressive sports riding, or more relaxed touring a quickshifter offers instant, full throttle upshifts and clutch less downshifts with auto blip function. The lever load sensitivity can be adjusted in 3 stages to suit preference.

The rear seat cowl adds single-seat sports appeal, while a stitched rider’s seat – a brand- new design finished in grey/black – exudes premium appeal and elevates comfort. Also new are the aluminium bar-end weights, handlebar upper clamp holder, fly screen, wheel stripes, rider footpegs and protective skid bungs.

Practicality has not been forgotten. A tank bag and seat bag provide soft-luggage convenience, while a new rear pannier design offers hard-luggage security. For rider comfort, heated grips are also available.

To make it easy for an owner there are 3 packs that group the accessories neatly together:


Quickshifter, fly screen, rear seat cowl and rider footpegs


Bar end weights, handlebar upper clamp holder, tank pad, wheel stripes and skid bungs.


Rear panniers, tank bag and seat bag.

5. Technical specifications

 Engine Type  Liquid-cooled OHC 4-stroke 8-valve Parallel Twin  with 270° crank and uni-cam
 Engine Displacement  755cc
 Bore x Stroke (mm)  87mm x 63.5mm
 Compression Ratio  11.0:1
 Max. Power Output  67.5kW @ 9,500rpm
 Max. Torque  75Nm @ 7,250rpm
 Noise Level (dB)  Lwot - 77.5; Lurban - 73.5
 Max Speed  205 km/h
 Oil Capacity  3.8L
 Starter  Electric
 Carburation  PGM-FI electronic injection
 Fuel Tank Capacity  15.2L
 CO2 Emissions WMTC  100 g/km
 Fuel Consumption  23km/l - 4.35l/100km
 Battery Capacity  12v 7.4Ah
 Clutch Type  Wet multiple, Assisted slipper clutch
 Transmission Type  6 speed Manual Transmission
 Final Drive  Chain
 Frame Type  Steel diamond
 Dimensions (LxWxH)  2,090mm x 780mm x 1,085mm 
 Wheelbase  1,420mm
 Caster Angle  25˚
 Trail  99mm
 Seat Height  795mm
 Ground Clearance  140mm
 Kerb Weight  190kg
 Turning radius  2.7m
 Suspension Front  Showa 41mm SFF-BPTMTM USD, 130mm travel
 Suspension Rear  Monoshock damper, Pro-Link swingarm, 150mm travel
 Wheels Front  5Y-Spoke Cast Aluminium
 Wheels Rear  5Y-Spoke Cast Aluminium
 Tyres Front  120/70ZR-17
 Tyres Rear  160/60ZR-17
 ABS Type  2 channel
 Brakes Front  Dual 296mm x 4mm disc with Nissin radial mount 4 piston calipers
 Brakes Rear  Single 240mm x 5mm disc with single piston caliper
 Instruments  TFT screen
 Headlight  LED
 Taillight  LED
 Connectivity  HSVC
 USB  Type C
 Auto Winker Cancel  Yes
 Security System  HISS
 Additional Features  ESS, 4 Riding Modes

All specifications are provisional and subject to change without notice

Please note that the figures provided are results obtained by Honda under standardised testing conditions prescribed by WMTC. Tests are conducted on a rolling road using a standard version of the vehicle with only one rider and no additional optional equipment. Actual fuel consumption may vary depending on how you ride, how you maintain your vehicle, weather, road conditions, tire pressure, installation of accessories, cargo, rider and passenger weight, and other factors.

Recommended Retail Price: R179 999 including Vat.