FireBlade-powered Hornet by the end of the year

Published: 01 July 2001

Honda will bring us a Blade-powered Hornet later this year. And this drawing is thought to show exactly how it will look.

The CB900 Hornet uses a 918cc motor based on the pre-2000 FireBlade, but it has fuel-injection and revised tuning for more mid-range grunt. It’s just the bike Honda needs to challenge the R1-powered Fazer1000.

In the 1999 Blade the motor made 128bhp. While that’s 15bhp less than the standard-setting 143bhp Fazer 1000, it’s plenty enough to make the Hornet 900 a bit of an animal.

The Hornet is set to be lighter than the Fazer. Sources close to the factory claim the new bike tips the scales at less than 200kg (440lb) – compared to the Yamaha’s 208kg (458lb).

The weight advantage could help offset the Honda’s power deficit. Part of the weight saving comes from the Hornet’s lack of fairing.

Chassis-wise, the Hornet 900 shares a similar design to the current 600. The frame is a square-section steel backbone mated to an alloy swingarm pivot, while the swingarm itself is taken directly from the FireBlade, as are the wheels.

At the front, the forks are expected to be simple right-way-up units, with adjustment for pre-load but little else. The front and rear brakes are taken complete from the Blade, including its discs and Tokico calipers.

Honda insiders admit the bike will be launched later this year, but the firm has yet to reveal any official information on it.

The Hornet 900’s eventual success will be dependent on its price. Yamaha’s Fazer 1000 is listed at £7799 and Honda will be keen to undercut this.

What do you think of the Hornet 900? Follow the link, right, to see what others are saying.