The Hornet's Nest Frequently Asked Questions Page...

We get asked a lot of questions and innevitably some come up more often than others.
So, we thought it would make sense to put the most frequently asked questions on to a page of their own.
So if you're looking for some answers try here first.
If you don't get the answers you're looking for browse the site and the message board.
Failing that, you can e-mail Matt direct at:

What's so good about the Hornet?

We get a lot of people asking us why they should buy a Hornet. At the end of the day - it's a personal choice, but if you're looking to buy a bike and you haven't decided what yet, then our advice is browse this site, let yourself be drawn in by the cult-like following and the intense desire to trick up our Hornets - if you're still not convinced then here's all we have to add...

1. The Hornet is a cool-looking Naked street bike. Aggresive styling, fat back tyre and a feisty motor robbed from the CBR600.
2. The riding position is excellent. A sort of midway between sitting up and over the bars.
3. The insurance is way cheaper than a super sport.
4. There are more trick bits available than you can imagine - modify to your hearts content.
5. The following is huge - visit the message board to get opinions and views from our members from all over the world.

What's the best colour to get?

Odd, but people ask. In a survey we conducted in 2001 the most opular colour was Candy Tahitian Blue followed by Black, Yellow Red and Silver.

By January 2005 membership of the club had reached 2100 members. When we reviewed the colours chosen by owners Blue was still the most popular followed by Black, Silver, Yellow, Red, Custom Paint jobs and White.

Some say a Hornet should be yellow - others prefer a custom paint job. You can't get Red anymore - so you could say they're 'Limited Editions' and one thing remains unchanged since we started the club back in 1999 - there are still furious debates in the message board as to which colours are fastest.

Previous colours include Blue, Black, Yellow, Red, White, Silver and Jordan Racing Colours circa 1999.

Colours for the 2005 Hornet CB600F as follows:




Colours for the 2005 Hornet CB900F as follows:




For more detailed information see the 'spec' sections.

My gears are clunking. Is it me or is it the bike?

It's a combination of both.
The gearbox on the Hornet, and indeed the CBR600 from where the engine was pinched, has the same problem. It's just the way it's been designed.
However, there a lots of things you can do to eliminate clunky gearchanging.
See the general tips section.

When the bike is idling in neutral I can hear a sort of whirring/grating sound. Is this right?

It's perfectly normal. All Hornet's have a faint grumbling sound in neutral. Once again, a design feature.
In some very rare cases the grumbling can be much louder and can be reduced by getting your dealer to adjust the clutch.

What MPG should I expect?

If you ride your Hornet sensibly you can expect around 40mpg or more. One guy claimed 50mpg - vicars on push bikes must have been overtaking him.
If you ride your bike normally you'll get around 35mpg.
Give it some beans at every opportunity and you're looking at about 30
Either way, 35 is a good average.

What about the tank range?

Unfortunately, Hornets built between 1998 and 2003 have small tanks that only hold 16 Litres of fuel.
Riding normally you can expect to be switching to reserve after 96 to 100 miles.
Once on reserve you have an average of around 22 miles left in the tank.

Hornets built from 2003 onwards have a larger tank holding 17 litres. (including 3.3 litres from reserve).

I've read that the front brakes could be better, is this true?

On 1998 and 1999 models, yes.

If you're coming from a super bike down to a Hornet, you'll also notice a difference. The brakes are perfectly adequate for normal use, but could be better.
If you want to beef them up a bit you can fit braided hoses and better quality pads. Watch out though - some race pads need to heat up to be effective - so choose your replacement pads wisely.

Incidentally, since 2000, all new Hornets have better pads and a new 'solid' passover system on the front callipers as standard - which improves braking. Check it out.

900 Hornets use four piston callipers and a split brake line system at the bottom yoke. Therefore the brakes on the 900 bite much much better.

The owners manual is a bit vague about running in. What's your advice?

Running-in appears to be a subject no one can agree on. The facts and figures vary all over the place.
Our opinion - is to look after the bike early on, particularly up to the first service, and you'll benefit more in later months/years.

It's not just the running-in that's important. How the bike is treated in the first 1000 miles can have an effect on the rest of it's life.
Read the running in section in the Top Tips page.

How much can I expect to pay to insure my Hornet?

Difficult question, what with so many factors to take into consideration.
The bottom line is - 5 main things affect the cost of insurance.

  • Where you live.
  • You're no claims bonus/riding experience.
  • If the bike is garaged overnight.
  • Security such as Alarms and datatagging.
  • How many miles you cover annually.

    If you're old you'll have no problems - if you're young you'll be settling for Third Party Fire and Theft!

    Here are a few examples anyway using 'averages'...

    Example 1.

    29 year old male living in the Midlands. Brand new hornet, alarmed, parked in a garage at night, 2 years no claims, 4000 annual miles.
    £243 fully Comp with £100 excess.

    Example 2.

    29 year old male living in London area (not central). Brand new hornet, alarmed, parked in a garage at night, 2 years no claims, 4000 annual miles.
    £368 fully Comp with £150 excess.

    The most popular companies when chatting with other Hornet owners appear to be:

    Motorcycle Direct (tel: 0870 606 1691)
    Carole Nash (tel: 0800 298 5500)

    I want to fit a fruity exhaust pipe - but will it affect my insurance?

    Another tricky question. A minefield infact. No real answers - just some guidance...

    It seems that every insurance company takes a different view on this.
    The best bet is to call your broker and tell them "I'm thinking of..." or "What if?"

    A few things to remember though...

    The majority of race spec pipes are not road legal in the UK.
    If you damage your fancy new pipe and haven't told them you fitted it in the first place - you'll only get a standard Honda one as replacement.
    Anything classed as 'performance enhancing' will bump up your insurance a fair whack.

    It's your call.

    Occasionally at low speeds I hear a click form the front end when I brake, is something wrong?

    This is due to the type of discs and calipers the Hornet uses.
    The click you are hearing is due to slight lateral movement.
    You are most likely to hear a 'click' if you have wheeled the bike backwards slowly and stopped with the front brake, then wheeled forward and braked again with the front.
    The 'click' is simply the calipers and discs shifting slightly on their mountings and is perfectly normal.

    Some people have rushed back to the dealer thinking their steering bearings are loose or playing up. If in doubt, ask your dealer to check the bike out.

    I once found a false neutral between 5th and 6th gear. What's going on there?

    To my knowledge, this is NOT a common problem. But in the 42000 miles I have ridden Hornets I have encountered it twice.
    Basically you're speeding up through the gears, giving it some beans, when suddenly, as you shift from 5th to 6th you don't get a gear. Just a sort of neutral. You try again and CLUNK RATTLE BANG! the gear pops in with a hugely disconcerting sound.
    For a horrible second you think something nasty has happened like the chain snapped or the gear sheared - but no - you're off again as normal.

    Like I say, this has happened to me twice and both times the only thing I could put it down to was - either I had shifted badly with my foot or the fact that I had allowed my chain to get loose and not lubricted it for a while. Also, on both occasions it happened at around 9000 rpm - so finding a neutral at this speed was pretty shit scary. Not to mention the revs going ballistic.
    Until I find anything more concrete - my only advice is check your chain regularly.


    Why was the 250 Hornet never officially imported to the UK?

    The first Hornet to hit the UK was the 250 back in 1997. It was an unofficial import or 'Grey Bike' from Japan. The 250 was and still is very popular in Japan due to it's styling and power. Japan has strict laws governing motorcycles, riders, engine sizes etc. so the 250 is very poular.
  • In the UK the first official Hornet was the 600, introduced in 1998 and followed by the Fireblade engined 900 Hornet in 2001.
  • Honda never saw a real need to import the 250 themselves as in the UK we have a passion for sports bikes and plenty of power. The 600 market soon took off. Nevertheless the 250 is imported still by grey bike importers and is very poular with new riders.

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