Honda Reminds Us It's Working On A New Hornet

Dennis Chung
by Dennis Chung

Expect the production model at EICMA in November

One of the biggest surprises at the 2021 EICMA show last November was the news Honda is working on a new Hornet model.

At its booth in Milan, Honda presented a sculpture with an elaborate light show projecting a hint at what to expect from the new Hornet. In the six months following EICMA, however, there has been very little, er, “buzz”, coming from Honda.

Honda looks to rectify the situation, releasing several sketches of the Hornet along with a short video about the design process behind the concept.

The various sketches show different iterations with a common insectoid theme. The sketch shown at the top of this article was the only one Honda released as its own individual image, suggesting it’s the closest to what we can expect from a production model.

The shape of the fuel tank looks to be set, being very narrow at the back and flaring outward with two pieces of bodywork stabbing forward and down, following the line of the fork tubes.

The sketches show an engine with a Unicam cylinder head, a detail also depicted in the light show on the EICMA concept. The light show confirmed the engine is a Parallel-Twin, and the overall architecture had a strong resemblance to the Africa Twin’s engine. While we can’t entirely rule out a similar 1084cc displacement, we expect the Hornet will be in the middleweight class like the previous models that bore that name.

Honda hasn’t provided a timeline for when we can expect the Hornet to enter production, but a 2023 launch remains likely, with more details expected at this year’s EICMA show.

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Dennis Chung
Dennis Chung

Dennis has been a part of the team since 2008, and through his tenure, has developed a firm grasp of industry trends, and a solid sense of what's to come. A bloodhound when it comes to tracking information on new motorcycles, if there's a new model on the horizon, you'll probably hear about it from him first.

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9 of 32 comments
  • Imtoomuch Imtoomuch on Jun 08, 2022

    These days people say everything looks like a KTM. The headlight on this bike looks like it was inspired by the Gladius more than a KTM. KTM doesn't make many good looking motorcycles. This one looks good in concept. Honda, and many other companies, have been known to drop the ball from concept to production. Hopefully this one turns out to be close to the concept.

    The parallel twin engine already gives it a strike IMO. Maybe Honda will shock us and make this engine super exciting. Not likely, but we can hope.

    • See 6 previous
    • Imtoomuch Imtoomuch on Jun 10, 2022

      Sorry, I did miss that you responded to Evans.

      I was giving my opinion. Nobody has to agree. That's how it works.

  • C w C w on Jun 11, 2022

    So, interesting thing to me about the "insect" styling, is that I don't see it as new, and it was actually what appealed to me in prior generations of bikes.

    The hornet tail that appeared in the 90s sportbikes and (so I thought) was the interesting styling cue that made it to naked bikes and made the Hornet stand out - "stinger" tail and round headlight at front.

    The big difference with current bikes seems to me to be the advent of LED lighting that is allowing more "extreme" design elements in production bikes that used to only live in the initial concept drawings.

    I wonder, if Honda had LED tech years ago, the original Hornet would look more like these concepts...and if we would have viewed them as strange/off-putting. Bug like then was about the tail, but that's moved to the front of the bike now.

    To me, we (the designers OEMs and consumers) are still in the midst of figuring out what is going to become normal for the front ends of (particularly naked/standard) bikes now that a large element at the front meant to reflect light at wide angles is not needed.

    As far as looking bug-like, I'm willing give Honda a pass since the bike is called "Hornet", but I'm also interested to see of they can successfully create shape that houses the necessary elements but fluidly carries my gaze from the along the entire line of the bike front to rear.

    I think maybe we're just going to end up with every naked bike having a bikini fairing/pod at the front with a place to mount a mobile device to act as a display/interface.