The Hornet name has returned to Honda’s Australian line-up for 2023, marking the first time in more than a decade that it’s appeared on a bike. It adorns the brand’s newest middleweight parallel twin, the CB750, which has been officially launched in Victoria.
At a glance, the 2023 Honda CB750 Hornet offers tantalising value (at $12,099 plus on-roads), and boasts a tasty 67kW of power and 75Nm of torque, in a nimble 190kg package. Some neat styling cues are sharp, modern and easy on the eye.
Flipping tradition on its lid (the Hornet used to come with an in-line 4-cylinder), the new motor is a beauty, and marks the CB750 as a proper competitor to the Yamaha MT-07HO, Triumph Trident 660 and the soon to be released Suzuki GSX-8S.
Priced sharply, the Hornet will compete not only on build quality and performance but bang for buck as well. The 2023 Hornet also incorporates a host of technology, and is the first motorbike offered with Honda’s new 755cc motor platform.
Future models like the XL750 Transalp will also sport the new engine, while impressively, half the 2023 stock of the XB750 Hornet is already deposited. There’s no denying it’s a nice looking ride either.
Modern touches abound, including a full LED lighting package. A red frame and anodised red front fork add to the niceties, and contrast well against the Hornet inspired fuel tank. There’s also a 5.0-inch TFT display that offers good functionality.
A literal command centre for Bluetooth integration and ride mode selection, it’s super easy to use. Available in Pearl Glare White or Graphite Black, there’s also a host of accessories, including a fly screen, rear seat cowl, skid sliders, bar ends and panniers.
You can also opt-in a quick shifter, and Honda has even gone so far as to offer three pre-designed extras packs. Enough about the looks and tech though, it’s on the road that counts, and in typical Melbourne fashion, we started on a wet track at Caribbean Park.
Constant drizzle marked our move towards some great twisty roads, giving us plenty of time to test out Rain mode. On the upside, we were lucky to score a machine with a fly screen, rear seat cowl, quick shifter and very importantly, heated grips. A God send.
The 2023 CB750 Hornet offers Sport, Standard, Rain and Custom modes, all of which are easily controlled via the mode button, with the first of those the starting point for a proper test in dry conditions through the Back Spur.
Utilising a 270-degree crank and uneven firing order, the CB750 Hornet performs well, especially above 6,000rpm. A little more spirited riding through Reefton Spur showed the versatility of the engine too, with a nice characterful exhaust note.
Back in the wet, Rain mode dulls down the throttle response, particularly at higher revs. Standard produces a smoother acceleration curve where the bike still feels quite strong, without being overly so, while Sport is snatchier and more engaging.
Braking is handled via 296mm discs up front, with Nissan radial-mount 4-piston callipers. On the rear, a 240mm disc provides the stopping power and the braking package works well, and is more than adequate for the Hornet.
A Showa 41mm inverted fork features on the front of the Hornet. Initially the front end felt a little light, but they became very confidence inspiring the more we rode the bike, and as we acclimatised to it. The front end had good road feel in the end, and was a lot of fun.
The rear suspension utilises a shock absorber that features five stages of pre-load adjustment, with spring rate and dampening settings optimised to match the front fork. The rear offers 150mm of travel, while front suspension offers 130mm of travel.
Ergonomically, the Hornet works well. The handlebar reach is in good proximity for the daily commute, or for a little bit more amorous weekend endeavour. The foot pegs are at a reasonable height and reach angle, even if you’re taller, like yours truly.
Perhaps the only issue that may irritate some taller riders is the fact that if you slide back in the seat a little, you will hit your bum on the rear cowling. Some may find this comfortable though. The seat is firm though, a common thing on naked bikes.
With a ride height of 795mm, the 2023 Honda CB750 Hornet is very manageable on the road, and is almost perfect for commuting. It’s still a hoot on the weekend too.
The other new feature worth noting is the Honda Smartphone Voice Control System. While we didn’t have our headset fitted to our helmet to test it, we can tell you it allows the rider to use voice to manage phone calls, messages, music and navigation. It’s even standard.
All-in-all we’re super impressed with the new Hornet. It’s a sleek looking middleweight bike with good handling characteristics, a great motor and some nice splashes of technology. There’s also that attractive price point to boot.
In a nutshell, the 2023 Honda CB750 Hornet represents a very practical and engaging motorcycle and although not perfect it offers a lot of bang for your buck. it offers punters a heap of versatility and we reckon it’s going to prove very popular.
Our test bikes were provided by Honda Motorcycles Australia as part of the Australian media launch. To find out more about the 2023 Honda CB750 Hornet, contact your local Honda Motorcycles dealer. Pictures courtesy of Haberdash Studio and JTS Media.