General Tips

In this section anything goes.


Youāve bought a fine bike. You should take care of it.

The manual is pretty loose about running in the bike. Some guff about the first 300 miles and steady up hills, waffle - waffle, rhubarb - rhubarb.

In my opinion, look after it early on, and youāll get a better life from it.
Obviously, the more care you take of it in the first miles (if you can resist it!) the more you will benefit later.
A lot of people work on the assumption that they will only keep a bike for a couple of years, so they rag it and let the next owner worry about the later problems.

Personally I prefer to take a bit more care. After all, you want the best out of it. A friend of mine ragged his ZX-7R from day one. He's had it 10 months and he's had to have all kinds of things replaced, adjusted and tinkered with. Saying that, heās a complete loony.

The HORNET uses the CBR 600 engine, which is a sturdy and reliable unit. Slightly re-tuned and re-geared, it is capable of around 135mph. Plenty really, especially without fairing!

My advice is take it steady until the first service (round-bout 600 miles). Keep the revs below 6000rpm about 75- 80 mph. I know it's difficult when it wants to keep going, but trust me!

After the first service the bike is pretty much ready for some serious action!
I must admit, I waited until I'd clocked over 1000 miles before smacking the redline.
But that's just my theory!

Cold Starts.

Cold starts are important·

Use full choke. Wind it off gradually over about .2 of a mile. ( you'll know if you're winding off the choke too early - it'll be all lumpy) The Hornet can come off the choke pretty quick, but, and this is the important bit, keep the revs below 3000 until the needle on the temp gauge gets out of the red ĪCā square.

This is most important in the bikeās early life, but is still a good guide for all cold starts. The engine is at its most vulnerable when it is cold. High revs at cold temperatures can really mess up all parts of the engine.

Winter cold starts will need the choke a fraction longer. Summer cold starts wonāt need it long. In fact, if itās really warm (unlikely in Blighty) you wonāt need any choke, just a bit of throttle.

Hot Starts.

Quite simple really. Donāt use the choke. Just hit the starter and blip the throttle.

Shortening the rear Muguard.

So you've got the bike.
If it's a pre 2000 model the first job is to sort out that rear mudguard.
If you've got the cash you could just buy a Hornet Tail tidy from NWS - remove your original Honda one and replace it for a nice short one. They cost £49.95 for the Carbon Fibre one and £34.95 for the plastic ones (black or white). Call NWS on 01992 501285.

If you ain't got the cash - then it's time to get your cutting tackle out and show off that back tyre the cheaper way...

Garreth Papworth beat me to it and cut his rear mudguard down the moment he got his bike. Garreth kindly sent in his tips for how to do it cleanly and effectively.

Garreth says...

1. Clamp a steel ruler with 2 G-clamps either side to the mudguard where you want to cut, ensuring it's straight.

2. Use a Stanley knife with a new blade and keep running along the edge of the steel ruler with a gentle force to start with to establish the grove then apply more pressure until cut through.

3. After about 15 - 20 strokes of the knife you should be through. (the webs behind will cut very easily as they are made of much thinner plastic.

4. Remove the clamps and re-clamp the steel ruler on the sides at an angle (up towards the tank) and follow the procedure in step 2.

5. Eventually you will have removed the excess waste mudguard with a very neat edge.

6. Final touches is to angle the webs upwards so they do not show.

NOTE on performing step 2. When you get to the end of the stroke the knife will over-run as you are applying a fair amount of pressure and if you have any limbs in the way you WILL end up with a deep gash....! And be careful not to apply too much pressure - the blade may snap.

"I have performed the shortening of mudguards on previous bikes with a hack-saw but it tends to leave a furry edge and is very difficult to get straight. Regards, Garreth."

BUT REMEMBER: Your bike will be illegal and will also fail it's MOT on it's 3rd birthday if you do not have a red rear reflector. By cutting straight across you lose the mounting for the reflector (which is fixed by a single bolt).
One solution is not to cut straight across the mudguard, but to leave a little piece of mudguard sticking out from below the number plate that is exactly reflector size. That way you get the benefits of the cut down mudguard and you have something to mount the original reflector on and hence pass your next MOT and be fully road legal.

Alternatively you could stick the reflector to the bottom of the number plate - but it's not quite as neat.

The Gearbox

A few people new to the Hornet find themselves 'clunking' the gears or have trouble selecting neutral if they stop in a higher gear.
The Hornet has a smooth gearbox that likes to be used. So use it.
As with any sequential gearbox - get down those gears as you draw to a stop. Use the engine to brake. Aim to be selecting 1st just as you stop.

When going up the gears try to move the gear selector quickly, but only a small amount. Keep the clutch action short and fast too.
Avoid moving the gear selector in it's full arc - what I mean by that is you don't have to move your foot all the way 'up'. Try just moving your foot a small distance. The gear should engage more smoothly.

If you are slow to change gear and let the revs drop, you will 'clunk'. If you move the lever slowly, it will 'clunk'

To start with - change up at around 5000 rpm until you get used to doing a faster and smoother action. When coming down, try to change gear before the revs get below 2000rpm. At idle speed (1100rpm) the gears will always feel clunky as you change. Keep the revs going.

Once you get more practiced, you can also try another technique which advanced motorcyclists are taught:-
As you pull the clutch in to go down the gears blip the throttle gently as you change gear. This helps to keep the clutch plate spinning and reduces 'clunking' and puts less pressure on the gearbox. However, it does take some practice.

Best Hornet gears? Definitely 3rd and 4th.

My advice is...

Don't go up too early. And don't go down too late.
Keep it spinning and you'll always be grinning!

Send in your tips and hints and I'll post them here.

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