Nick has been out on the all-new Honda CB750 Hornet, a far cry from the conservative old CB900, well, aside from our NOS Hornet. The new CB750 is still faster… Photos: Zane Dobie.
I had the opportunity to test what appears on paper to be one of the greats in the middle-weight class, the Honda CB750 Hornet. After a couple of weeks of tearing up the roads, I’ve got to admit, this new player to the twin-cylinder market is an absolute cracker.
Seeing the new CB750 Hornet waiting for me, I expect another beginner-friendly, lethargic parallel-twin. Those thoughts drop away the second I dump the clutch and feel the torque hit. Honda claims the Hornet is “Designed for every rider to exploit to the maximum,” and exploit to the maximum I plan to do.
The heart of the Hornet is its 755cc parallel twin engine. It’s like the big, brawny cousin of the CBR500R engine. With 67.5kW@9500rpm, it’s an absolute dream motor in this chassis. The engine is responsive and delivers power like nobody’s business up in the revs.
In terms of torque, you get 75Nm at the crank, and it’s a joy to feel the peaky power delivery. However, even in standard modes, the throttle feels a tad aggressive, but it’s also part of the bike’s charm. It’s punchy and loaded with grunt, making power wheelies almost too easy.
Right off the line, it’s not quite as quick as I’d have expected, as it lacks bottom-end, but once revving mid-way through the rev range, it starts to take off. The exhaust note is a highlight. It’s aggressive and really starts to scream as you approach the redline. There are riding modes to play with – Rain, Standard, and Sport. I leave it in Sport because, let’s face it, who wouldn’t?
“With 67.5kW@9500rpm, it’s an absolute dream engine in this chassis. The motor is surprisingly responsive and delivers power like nobody’s business up in the revs.”
The six-speed gearbox is what you’d expect from a Honda – reliable in shift and smooth. The optional quick-shifter adds to the fun, though it is not so smooth at lower rpm. This bike is geared for the hooligan inside all of us, perfect for hooning through city traffic or tearing up backroads.
The front is equipped with SHOWA 41mm SFF big piston forks. The forks are non-adjustable, but they do the job brilliantly on stock settings. At the rear, there’s a SHOWA ProLink shock with five-stage preload adjustment, which I crank up for my larger frame. The seat height is a friendly 795mm, making it accessible for shorter riders, while the upright riding position is comfy. Just be wary; taller riders might be cramped on longer rides.
In the city Hornet is a joy. The red steel diamond frame isn’t just a looker; it holds up well in tight corners. And at around 190kg with a 15.2L fuel tank, it’s pretty light for its class, which is always a plus in today’s world. The braking system is adequate for a bike in this range. Nissin four-piston calipers at the front and a single-piston at the rear ensure you can stop without drama.
They might not feel as high-end as more expensive bikes, but they do the job well. There is no noticeable degeneration, even after some of the longer rides, and initial bite is friendly rather than aggressive, but there is good stopping power and feel at the front, while the back is a tad spongy and the rear brake lever is in a high position, which is a little awkward. The ABS works well.
The Hornet 750 is as smooth as butter, totally laid back, and cruisy down the highway, aside from the wind buffeting that I never fail to get smashed by on every nakedbike. Then, when you’re slicing through town, it’s agile, quick, and handles like a dream.
But here’s the highlight – take this little thing up through the twisties and the Hornet shows its true colours, leaning into those curves with a kind of slick effortlessness that’s just awesome. This is where the Hornet truly shines – it handles those tight, winding corners with a relaxed, composed attitude but still has that nimble touch.
It made me appreciate what Honda has put together. They’re not just piecing together a bike. They’re creating a ride that adapts to whatever you throw at it – relaxed cruising or spirited cornering, the Hornet’s ready to roll. I appreciate this in a budget bike, as it is still a big purchase even at this price. For those who might not have the cash to splurge on a high-end machine, or two machines for that matter, you’re in for a well-designed, well-considered treat here.
“This bike is an absolute joy to ride. It’s the kind of machine that makes you invent reasons to just go for a spin…”
The tech is solid, with a full-colour TFT dash and LED lights. Self-cancelling indicators are a nice touch, though a bit hit-and-miss in my experience. The riding modes come with a customisable User mode, which lets you tweak power, engine braking, and traction control settings. The traction control, with integrated wheelie control, works wonders, although it resets when you switch the bike off.
The Honda voice control system is there, though I didn’t have the opportunity to use it to it’s full potential. It’s compatible with Android and IOS, a plus in today’s connected world. The switchgear is standard Honda – simple and effective.
There are accessories available, the quick-shifter is a neat touch, especially if you want to keep things lively on the road. Heated grips might not be flashy, but man, they’re a blessing on those cold mornings. Then there’s all the usual stuff – bags, seat cowl, ‘bar clamps, and those little touches like pinstriping to make it your own.
The good thing here is Honda’s giving you these options straight off the bat. But let’s be honest – with a bike like the Hornet that’s likely to catch on, the aftermarket guys will be all over it. We’re probably going to see a ton of custom parts hitting the shelves soon.
This bike is an absolute joy to ride. It’s the kind of machine that makes you invent reasons to go for a spin, offering the right mix of power for fun hooning and agility for any challenge. The Hornet is a must-try for anyone looking at a mid-range, budget-friendly bike…
Priced at $12,099, excluding on-road costs, the Hornet is available in Pearl Jasmine White and Graphite Black, with a 2-year unlimited kilometres warranty.
The 2023 Honda CB750 Hornet features a fuel-injected liquid-cooled, four-stroke, parallel twin-cylinder, eight-valve engine. It boasts a displacement of 755cc, with a bore and stroke measuring 87 x 63.5mm and a compression ratio of 11:1. The engine delivers a maximum power output of 67.5kW@9500rpm and a peak torque of 75Nm@7250rpm.
The water pump is integrated into the left-hand engine cover, thus omitting the need for a separate water-cooled oil-cooler. The cylinders are coated with Ni-SiC (Nickel-Silicon Carbide). The gearbox is a six-speed constant mesh, complemented by a slipper clutch. In terms of design, the primary drive gear also functions as the balancer drive gear, contributing to the engine’s compactness.
The Hornet’s chassis includes a steel diamond frame and a steel Pro Link swingarm. The front suspension features a 41mm Showa inverted telescopic fork with 130mm travel, while the rear suspension consists of a single shock with 150mm travel and adjustable preload.
Braking systems include twin 296mm discs with ABS at the front and a 240mm disc with ABS at the rear. The front tyre is sized at 120/70-17, and the rear tyre at 160/60-17. The overall kerb weight is 190kg. It has a seat height of 795mm, a wheelbase of 1420mm, and a ground clearance of 140mm. The fuel tank can hold up to 15.2L.
The CB750 Hornet is equipped with Throttle-By-Wire engine control, offering Sport, Standard, Rain, and User riding modes, which adapt the engine’s delivery and response. The bike allows adjustments for Engine Power (EP), Engine Brake (EB), and Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC) with integrated Wheelie Control, and the option to disable HSTC.
A 5in TFT colour display provides information on speed, rpm, fuel consumption, riding mode, gear selection, and a customisable up-shift point. The Honda Smartphone Voice Control System (HVCS) enables voice management of calls, messages, music, and navigation, compatible with Android and IOS smartphones via Bluetooth.
2023 Honda CB750 Hornet Specifications
Price: $12,099 (+ORC)
Warranty: Two-years unlimited km
Colours: Pearl Jasmine White and Graphite Black
Claimed Power: 67.5kW@9500rpm
Claimed Torque: 75Nm@7250rpm
Wet Weight: 190kg
Fuel capacity: 15.2L
Fuel Consumption Claimed: N/A
Fuel Consumption (measured): N/A
Engine: Four-stroke, two-cylinder, liquid-cooled, 8-valve, DOHC, 87.0mm x 63.5mm bore x stroke, 755cc, 11.0:1 compression, two-into-one exhaust Gearbox: Six speed Clutch: Wet, multiple disc
Chassis: Frame: Steel-tubed diamond, steel Pro Link swingarm
Rake: 25° degrees Trail: 99mm
Suspension: SHOWA 41mm SFF USD big piston forks, 130mm travel (f), SHOWA ProLink shock with five-stage preload adjustment (r)
Brakes: Twin 296mm discs, four-piston axial calipers (f), Single 240mm disc, single-piston ABS caliper (r)
Wheels & Tyres: 120/70r17 (f) 160/60r17 (r)
Seat height: 765mm
Ground Clearance: 140mm
Equipment & Instruments: 5in Full-colour TFT dash,Honda Smartphone Voice Control System (HVCS), Riding modes, TCS, ABS
Editor’s Note: If you are reading this article on any website other than BikeReview.com.au, please report it to BikeReview via our contact page, as it has been stolen or re-published without authority.
The Verdict | Review: 2023 Honda CB750 Hornet