Honda Hornet CB600F
Honda’s Hornet has always been a handsome machine, but despite being up against some tough competition it’s attracted a cult following. It began in 1998, when Honda (and Yamaha with the Fazer) decided they’d had enough of Suzuki topping the sales charts with their Bandit 600, and wanted to get a slice of the action. The CB600F featured a detuned CBR600F motor, slung beneath a box-spine frame. Brakes were also from the CBR, but also ‘detuned’ with less fancy pads. Running gear was spartan and simplistic, but the whole plot had clean lines and pleasant looks. The Hornet was originally blessed (or cursed) with the same size boots as the original FireBlade, chosen (said Honda) for control and agility, but many felt it was for the sort of looks that only fat rubber can provide. Eventually the machine swopped to more ‘normal’ 17-inchers in 2000. Other flaws in the original were the poor fuel range and the brakes – which, according to Honda, were ‘un-fierce’ so as not to catch out the novice. Meanwhile, the Fazer had awesome anchors (from the R1), a torquey motor from the Thundercat and a fair degree more practicality with a half fairing. The Hornet got better brakes and a half fairing in ’00. Honda has done its best over the years to address the shortcomings, and the Hornet is still an attractive, simple machine to ride. And that’s precisely where and how the Hornet has scored over the years. The standard bike is a blank (and pretty cheap) canvas for those who liked to concoct something a little more unique for their two-wheeled kicks. That makes it not only the newbie’s favourite, and a great city bike, but also a favourite for the motorcycle modifiers out there.