Honda hornet 600 opinions

  • As my 18th birthday gets closer I can't help but start looking at A2 bikes. The Hornet is at the moment very wanted. It's cheap, fast, reliable, cheap and easy to make a bit nicer. And it's also very cheap!

    Brakes and chassis is not the best from what I've heard but I'm not in any way looking for a racebike. I do find it quite fun riding on 1 wheel but a big supermoto doesn't seem like me.
    Opinions on this machine?

  • Can't go wrong with one of these bikes to be fair.

    Depends on whether you really want to keep riding, or maybe look at getting a car.

  • @calum I don't think the interest or money for a car really is there. We do have a BMW Z3 1997 over that no one uses which I think I'll put to use.

  • @irongamer727 yeah, or get something decent.

  • Hornet is a good bike and quick in full power model. Tank is small so filling up regular and carbs can require attention periodically. Repaired and MOTD one a few years ago and surprised me with power and handling, a more up,market bandit but not sure if I would fancy on a long journey, not much protection on the naked one (think they did one with half fairing)

  • @oldman the CBF? The version with fairing isn't a hornet for that reason alone, right?
    I can highly recommend a cb600 as a first bike. Mine used to fly.
    Had 48k on the clock when I bought it for a mere £600, I did another 15k with very little servicing in a 12 month period. Front wheel will lift for fun with a little extra throttle and clutch work. My gripe was comfort for daily riding and commuting. Wasnt too bad, but I was young and constantly slouched. They are the perfect bike for your needs.

  • @oldman said in Honda hornet 600 opinions:

    Hornet is a good bike and quick in full power model. Tank is small so filling up regular and carbs can require attention periodically. Repaired and MOTD one a few years ago and surprised me with power and handling, a more up,market bandit but not sure if I would fancy on a long journey, not much protection on the naked one (think they did one with half fairing)

    Yeah they did haha. Hornet S. My bad.

  • Yeah do you really need to watch out for high mileage here? The ones I'm looking at has 45000km+ on the clock.

  • @irongamer727 45k Km is nothing.

  • Hornet 600 is a very good bike, have a friend who has had one for a number of years and another friend who had the 900 version.

    I'm not overly knowledgeable about the bike having never owned one but I can pass on observations Ive made about the 2 aforementioned bikes and reports from the owners. Reliability hasnt been an issue with either machine, Honda huh? Like anything if you look after it and make sure the previous owner has stayed on top of the maintenance then I would see little cause for mechanical concern. Given the age of most of the bikes at this point its things like rear shocks which will likely be dead. Serviceable items like fork seals, various bearings and any internal tank corrosion will be worth a check too. Nothing worse than buying a bike then getting lumbered with unexpected cost in mid-summer. Corrosion in general you should keep an eye out for on a bike this of this vintage too. A scrappy looking winter hack is cause for some discount. If youre going to ride it all year too its not a great idea paying extra for the concourse condition bike, your just going to wreck it yourself with dropping and winter salt.

    Havn't heard any reports about the infamous reg-rec problem with the Hornet, however having owned a VFR and seen a Varadero 1000 which had faulty units I recommend you see if its been replaced already. Dont know why Honda fitted many of their machines with duff items but that is most certainly a cost you need to factor into your calculations. Most official honda units can be had for around £200, but a pattern part Ebay special will set you back around £60. Might not be 5 year-reliable but youll likely be done with the bike and moved on that point - then it becomes someone elses problem.

    The owner of the 600 hornet had a lot of trouble getting an aftermarket can set up on the Hornet, he's a man of very particular taste and told me that very few manufacturers had made cans which were specifically set up for the Hornet. One of the few manufacturers that did were "Mivv" based in Italy. Their cans dont come very cheap and of the three units he ordered every one of them leaked or had a dodgy weld. In the end he couldnt be bothered with it any more and just kept the stock can. Obviously if youre wanting to get into some faffing about with fueling etc and tuning for a can the sky is the limit but again its another expense to factor in. The stock can is pig ugly and weighs a tonne though.

    The same gentleman spent a good deal of time getting the suspension right on the hornet along with good tyre choices. As is the case with pretty much any bike it made a world of difference and the thing handled beautifully. No reason a suspension refresh and a set of michelin pilot roads wouldnt transform a tired old bike to be something really enjoyable.

    Performance of the 600 hornet impressed me and I couldnt get away from it on a derestricted 600 Bandit. In a straight line the Hornet smoked me every time and felt like a much more refined machine. Against my ZX-6R the Hornet wouldnt hold a candle to straight line speed but was again right up with me in the twists. Depending on how you restrict the machine will also affect performance - with my bandit is was restricted via replacement carb-sliders and performed as a standard machine right up until 83mph. At that point the bike just stopped accelerating completely and was a very unnatural experience. For daily use and weekend jaunt out up the hills it was perfect and only gave any annoyance on a motorway when trying to dodge eejits and hitting heavy acceleration to avoid the BMW drivers. I can imagine itll be a similar story with the Hornet.

    On the subject of restriction is the Hornet able to be used with A2? If I understand correctly its restriction of max 47BHP/35KW and you can't restrict a bike that is more than double that (power to weight is also a factor). On paper the Hornets were around 97BHP and 71.1KW (according to 98.htm). I had the same issue when attempting to buy a Bandit 1200 for restriction hence why the 600 was opted for instead. If i'm correct about this I would look into something like a Fazer 600 which will get a thread all of its own.

    The short version is this: I really like the Hornet and have seriously considered picking one up myself. If I had my way it'd be the 900 but they fetch funny money. With any bike its difficult to give anything but generalizations across a forum. I'd have to say spend a lot of time in the dedicated forums with actual owners and read widely...very widely. Youtube is also your friend too, not for performance videos but for maintenance and repairs - the more common the video topic the more you know what to look out for!

  • @liquid-snake Wow thanks mate!
    The Hornet can be ridden with the A2 licence, there are several of them here in Sweden.

    The only thing I've heard about these bikes is that the automatic cam chain tensioner need to be changed to a manual.

    What should I look for in terms of suspension? Leak free forks and a leak free rear is obvious. How important is the condition of the bushes?

  • @irongamer727

    Ah apologies, I wrongly assumed you were UK based!

    Again not an expert on this model but several generic checks are applicable in your situation. Leaky anything isn't good but not the end of the world.

    Starting at the front:

    • Forks -
      If the forks leak you'll want to check they are not bent. Worth checking other components to verify a crash, damaged or replacement mud guard, bent rim, damaged calipers, damaged triple tree, replacement headlight, replacement or damaged Speedo etc. That's worst case scenario but if you buy something with crash damage by accident you might be in for some serious bills in future to fix it or replace. Assuming no crash damage a leaky fork seal is just another haggle point, it's quite a minor reason to walk away from the bike. While you're at the fork check all the pinch bolts down near the front axle and make sure they are present and not wrecked. Having to grind out a snapped pinch bolt is a nightmare.

    • Brake calipers -
      Are they the standard item? Braided or improved hoses are a plus providing they are in good condition. Leaks around caliper? Brake pad condition? Brake discs and whether they need to be replaced or not. That's an expensive fix at nearly £100 per disc.

    • Tyres
      Matching tyres? Brand? If cheap crap then bike has been run on a budget and might highlight other gremlins. Need replaced? More expense. Are they on the right way round on the rim? Are the rims balanced and are they damaged from tyre fitting? If not might be a home amateur doing his own stuff and messing it up.

    • Engine
      Leaks? Has previously person used proper paper gaskets or instant? Preference on paper. Damage? Corrosion? Missing bolts? Check to see if bolts are gnarled up by someone getting in there before and maybe messing it up. Start bike from COLD. Don't let folks start it from warm, you want to hear any problems that could be hidden. Especially with any known cam chain problems you need to listen for tell tale signs of problems there.
      Another nightmare bolt set is the exhaust manifold, make sure that all bolts are present and not gnarly. If you snap a bolt in the engine that's a headache, see if anyone has tried to cover that up in the past. Check serial numbers.

    • Exhaust
      As above with manifold. Corrosion? Blowing from engine? Aftermarket can? If so is it set up right and can you get stock with it. Inspect any joins between link pipe and can. Also get in underneath and check for corrosion or weld repairs.

    • Frame
      Corrosion? Bent? Bring string with you and make sure it's not bent. Good guides online for this. Cracks and dents on the frame are instant no-no and immediate walk away time. Has it been painted? If so make sure all numbers and manufacture tags are present. Any home made welds also to be checked.

    • Tank
      Check inside with torch for rust. Run your hands underneath and check the welds. I've had a leaky tank and it isn't fun to fix. Do the hoses need replaced or fuel lines? Try and weasel a full tank of fuel from them.

    • Others
      Sensible stuff, damage or corrosion or non standard parts. Aftermarket wing mirrors, legs, bar ends and bars tell a story. Unsure how much experience you have but this is all pretty generic stuff. As for rear shock give it a good bounce and check all wheel bearings, chain, sprockets and all fluids are good. Ask what oil they use.

    Didn't know about the cam chain thing, thought it was only the VTR that had that issue. Good to know. As for bushing you'd need to pull a dust seal. If anyone askede for that I'd tell them to bugger off. This is by no means exhaustive. Again lurk on the hornet forums and quiz everyone 🙂

  • @liquid-snake Thanks again

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