Top test Honda Hornet 900
Low weight, good brakes, a powerful super sports engine: proven ingredients for a sporty naked bike. This top test clarifies whether Honda’s hornet is worth its money.
What did worried grandmas used to explain to their grandchildren? Seven hornet stings kill a horse, three a person.
Garage? Does not have to be. If necessary, she also sleeps next to a street lamp. If necessary, it shows its sting to presumed thieves: an immobilizer is available as standard, and for an extra charge there is also a matching padlock and an alarm system. This is only an indication that despite the pleasantly low basic price of 8790 euros, no savings have been made in terms of equipment. Basis: the Hornet 600, released in 1998, which was soon replaced by a half-clad S version. The 900 comes with almost identical chassis data. Because of the increase in power and weight, Honda wanted to play it safe and reinforced the steering head area and the profiles of the distinctive central tube frame (2.3 instead of 1.6 millimeters). In addition, the fork’s stanchion diameter increased from 41 to 43 millimeters.
The well-known and thousands of times proven four-cylinder of the CBR 900 Fireblade, model year 1998, serves as the supporting element of the frame construction. However, with some changes. Honda could have made it easy for itself and took over their potent drive one to one. But the super athlete’s top performance of nominally 130 hp was considered a little too much of a good thing. Which is why it was cut somewhat in favor of an even more homogeneous power output, namely by means of a modified cylinder head and valve train as well as a slightly reduced compression (10.8: 1 instead of 11.1: 1). In addition, the throttle valve diameter has been reduced from 38 to 36 millimeters. The result: the engine has a nominal output of 109 perfectly healthy horses, with maximum torque already at 6500 rpm. Now there should be people who mourn the lost top performance and even think that the gap to the 600 Hornet with its 95 hp is not particularly huge. All of them should be said: Wrong, the difference can be experienced and measured.
The reduction in power was a wise move by Honda. Because the technicians are committed to the drivability of the Hornet 900. Among other things, the electronic intake manifold injection contributes to this, while the mixture on the 98 Fireblade was prepared by four constant pressure carburetors. The injection ensures an unbelievably lively and spontaneous willingness to perform, but without inoculating you with excessive respect with threatening aggressiveness. At the same time, the robust sound that comes from the two raised silencers underscores that the Hornet is serious. Would you like some examples? Because of the excellently chosen short final translation, the Hornet 900 is in the first league in terms of pulling power. From 60 to 100 km / h it takes just four seconds in sixth gear. Even a significantly more potent and lighter Suzuki GSX-R 1000 cannot do it any faster.
With its great, almost brawny engine characteristics, the Hornet 900 allows completely different driving styles: You can let yourself drift lazily on a torque wave as you like or step through the well and precisely switchable six-speed transmission and squeeze the four-cylinder to your heart’s content. It has not lost its turning ability, but neither has its pithy, annoying vibrations. Praiseworthy on the side: Even with a decidedly sporty pace, the four-cylinder is economical with the fuel supply: the maximum value of the Hornet was 7.8 liters, while the average on the country road was just 5.0 in this top test.
It is also gratifying that the 900 has adopted the almost strikingly simple handling of its little sister with almost no loss. The seating position turned out to be even more harmonious because of the wider 19 liter tank. The knee grip is simply better, the large Hornet looks more grown-up, without having lost its somewhat angular and so refreshingly unreasonable charm. The powerful engine pushes the at least 219 kilograms vehemently from one curve to the next, wonderful, this lightness, this flirtation with sloping positions, being in control of the situation at all times. No, it does not contain any deviousness. Likes tight lines, drives precisely and neutrally on her strong Bridgestone BT 56? As long as you don’t brake too hard in an inclined position or nasty waves or bumps lurk at the apex of the curve. Then the Hornet likes to position itself. Not excessive, but noticeable. A quirk you can live with.
Which is clearly evident in the top test. The dance through the pylons and around the circular path is a challenge for every motorcycle, regardless of whether it is a cruiser or a super sports car. Exploring limits as safely as possible, consolidating the impressions of the country road test drive, that’s what it’s all about. In addition to the tendency to set up, the Hornet’s fork too early was noticed. This only happens during brutal braking maneuvers, but they are mandatory during the brake test. The insensitive appealing Honda fork has sufficient rebound stage damping, but because of the low spring rate, the front section plunges deep, the usable positive spring travel is very small and the end stop of the fork is close. So the dosage of the two excellent four-piston calipers requires ?? they too come from the Fireblade stock? A lot of tact at the beginning of the emergency stop. Nevertheless, an average braking deceleration of 9.8 m / s² is a very good value.
The Hornet delivers a similarly good performance when dancing through the Pylonengasse. Because of the softly coordinated front section, there is a lot of movement in the chassis, but the great impression of the country road is still strengthened. Only real super athletes, with correspondingly tightly tuned chassis, sweep through the cones a tad faster. But these contemporaries are always hanging loosely at the rear on the country road just because of the more relaxed seating position.
On the other hand, the smooth coordination of the Hornet can also have positive effects. Little positive spring travel, the negative spring travel is correspondingly high; with a rider weighing 70 kilograms, over 40 percent of the total suspension travel. And that’s what the Hornet needs because of its powerful, short-geared engine. With a fork that is tuned as tough as possible and therefore less compressed, the front wheel would fidget even faster in the air instead of performing its management tasks on the asphalt. A very undesirable side effect would then be dangerous knocking of the handlebars, known as kickback. Although the Hornet 900 reacts nervously to bumps in the road when accelerating hard, fortunately the top test did not reveal kickback.
Gon the contrary. The Hornet 900 presents itself as a successful, inexpensive naked bike. The hornet stands out, not least because of its inexpensive inspection costs, it is an everyday, very manageable motorcycle without cunning or trickery. As the icing on the cake, the only thing missing is the not-so-bare S version with the well-known half-shell cladding. With it, the all-round talents of the Hornet could be exploited even better, because longer vacation trips were simply a little more relaxed.
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Top test Honda Hornet 900
What else caught my eye – Honda Hornet 900
PlusSuccessful ergonomics, even tall people feel at home on the 900Good view in the rear-view mirrorsSimple oil level control and easy refillingBridgestone BT 56 in special specification N / G, a fine, strong first tireDespite the price, all-round solid workmanshipManageable inspection costsMainly complies with the exhaust gas system thanks to injection, unregulated Euro 2M Katus and secondary air system Only available as an accessory Small storage compartment under the bench
Technical data – HONDA Hornet 900
Engine: water-cooled four-cylinder four-stroke in-line engine, two overhead, chain-driven camshafts, four valves per cylinder, bucket tappets, wet sump lubrication, electronic intake manifold injection, Ø 36 mm, engine management, uncontrolled catalytic converter with secondary air system, electric starter, three-phase alternator 340 W, battery 12 V / 8 Ah, bore x stroke 71.0 x 58.0 mm, displacement 919 cm³, compression ratio 10.8: 1, rated output 80 kW (109 PS) at 9000 rpm, max. Torque 91 Nm (9.3 kpm) at 6500 rpm Pollutant values (homologation) CO 2.57 g / km, HC 0.82 g / km, NOx 0.10 g / km Power transmission: primary drive via gear wheels, mechanically operated multi-plate oil bath clutch, Six-speed gearbox, O-ring chain, secondary ratio 43:16, Chassis: central tubular frame made of steel profiles, load-bearing motor, telescopic fork, standpipe diameter 43 mm, two-arm swing arm made of aluminum profiles, central spring strut directly hinged, adjustable spring base, double disc brake at the front, floating brake discs, Ø 296 mm, Four-piston calipers, rear disc brake, Ø 240 mm, single-piston caliper. Cast aluminum wheels 3.50 x 17; 5.50 x 17 tires 120/70 ZR 17; 180/55 ZR 17 tires tested Bridgestone BT 56 Chassis data: wheelbase 1460 mm, steering head angle 65 degrees, caster 98 mm, spring travel f / h 120/128 mm. Service data Service intervals every 6000 km, oil and filter change every 12,000 km / 4, 2 l engine oil SAE 15 W 40 fork oil SAE 10 W spark plugs NGK CR9 EH 9, ND U 27 FER-9 chain 5/8 x 3/8, 110 rollers idle speed 1200 ± 100 / min valve clearance inlet / outlet 0.16 / 0.22 mm tire air pressure Solo (with Pillion passenger) front / rear 2.5 / 2.9 (2.5 / 2.9) barWarranty two years with unlimited mileageColors black, silver metallic, bluePrice including VAT without additional costs 8790 euros Additional costs approx. 180 eurosMOTORCYCLE measurementsMotor performance1 Top speed * Solo (with pillion passenger) 230 km / h Acceleration Solo 0-100 km / h 2.9 sec 0-140 km / h 5.0 sec 0-200 km / h 11.5 sec Pull-through Solo 60-100 km / h 4.0 sec 100-140 km / h 4, 2 seconds 140-180 km / h 5.0 seconds Speedometer deviation display / effective 50/45, 100/93 Fuel type Normal consumption in the test at 100 km / h 5.0 l / 100 km at 130 km / h 5.4 l / 100 km Country road 5.0 l / 100 km Theor. Range 380 kmDimensions and weightsL / W / H 2120/840/1250 mmSeat height 790 mmTurning circle 5510 mmWeight fully fueled 219 kgTotal weight * 406 kgDeload 187 kgWheel load distribution f / h 49/51% Tank capacity * 19 liters 1 Measurement conditions: Temperature 20 degrees, weak cross wind, measurement location Leipheim; * Manufacturer information
MOTORCYCLE Readings – Honda Hornet 900
MOTORCYCLE Measured values²Braking and driving dynamicsBraking distance from 100 km / h 39.2 metersMean deceleration 9.8 m / s² Comments: Effective and finely dosed braking system. Unfortunately, the fork locks up too early when braking, and the front wheel tends to punch. Otherwise an even shorter braking distance would be possible. Handling course I (fast slalom) Best lap time 20.7 secVmax at the measuring point 97.7 km / h Comments: The combination of very good handling and a powerful engine guarantees the Hornet a fast lap time. Too much negative spring travel and too little compression damping of the fork, however, cause unrest in the chassis when it is turned down quickly. This results in the low Vmax at the measuring point. Handling-Parcous II (slow slalom) Best lap time 28.6 secVmax at the measuring point 53.7 km / h The good handling and the upright sitting position enable quick turning. Powerful and yet gentle engine power after the turning point help to achieve a clean line and a good lap time. Circular path (46 meters, best lap time 11.1 secVmax at measuring point 52.0 km / h Comments: Before the bump that is crossed in the circular path, must The soft front the speed can be reduced. With this load change, the coordination of the fork increases the erection torque. The good lean angle is only limited late by the footrests and then the tire grip limit.
Conclusion – Honda Hornet 900
The concept of the Hornet 900 stands out: powerful drive, low weight and good ergonomics guarantee a lot of driving pleasure and great handling. The fork’s tuning, which is too soft, only slightly spoils the good overall impression. Especially since the Honda offers a really good price-performance ratio in its class.
This is how MOTORRAD tests – braking stability
MOTORRAD explains the individual criteria of the 1000-point evaluation (part 3)
Anyone who easily swims along in traffic, drives with foresight and brakes carefully will hardly have to deal with the issue of braking stability. Because it only comes into play at the limit when you ?? often unawares? hard in the iron. This is why it falls under the chapter on safety, namely under the section Chassis, because the chassis plays a major role in braking stability as well as the brakes themselves. In emergency situations with emergency braking, every meter of braking distance is valuable, and mastering the machine is important. The following problems can arise: The driving stability can be limited, for example, because pendulum movements start. This not only affects the steering, but especially unsettles less experienced pilots, so that they waste valuable braking distances. Even torsionally soft forks can have a negative effect in connection with one-sided disc brakes. Weaknesses in the chassis setup can have a more serious impact, especially on the fork. This manifests itself in a stamping front wheel. The front wheel temporarily loses contact with the ground, begins to jump and quickly reaches the blocking limit. In no way can you achieve decent delays. MOTORRAD tests the braking stability during the usual brake measurements on the test area, but also on a particularly bumpy part of the test lap on the public road. The Honda Hornet 900 achieved quite good values with 9.8 m / s² under an experienced test driver on the flat test area. When driving on the road, however, decelerating along the blocking limit is extremely difficult because the soft fork hits the block very early. The tire then has to take over the suspension, which is not particularly good for the ground contact on uneven road surfaces.
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