10 ways to upgrade a Honda Hornet

The Honda Hornet is a cult bike that earned a massive following worldwide, mostly because it's such a jack of all trades, used and loved by everyone. Here's a run-down of ten ways you can improve the Hornet, as recommended by the forum users at www.hondahornet.co.uk.

The humble Hornet blends a comfy riding position, a good pillion seat and classic good looks with a useable 83bhp detuned CBR600F engine to provide do-it-all hassle-free biking to the masses.

They’ve been around for ages too, with very few changes to the bike in its history, making early models a bargain on the used market. Go for a post-2000 model with the 17" front wheel and you're laughing.

But as good as it may be, the Hornet had its weak points.

The stock suspension works, but is on the budget side. The brakes are novice-friendly, though lack a bit of bite. There are also other mods that can make the Hornet more practical and also better performing.

With such a massive cult following, fans have worked out how to get around these and other niggles.  

We enlisted the help of owners at www.hondahornet.co.uk to suggest the best parts and accessories available to improve the Honda Hornet. 

Here are their recommendations…

 

Renthal bars
Streetfighter, flat, ultra low, low, medium, high..... with so many seemingly similar options to choose from, it can get confusing. Common consensus is that for the Hornet, the renthal lows are probably the closest match to the original bars. Some owners complain that the OEM bars are too narrow and fit renthals because they're wider and give you more room, also giving you more leverage at the bars which is great for throwing the bike into turns. Some fit higher bars to improve comfort. But the majority fit ultra lows for a slighty more aggressive riding position.

 

 

Rear shock
A performance shock not only provides a plusher ride out of the box, it also offers adjustability, letting you set the bike up to suit you. If you've got money to spare and want the best, Hornet owners recommend Ohlins or WP shocks. But in terms of value for money, Hagon offer better than stock performance at a very reasonable price. Members of hondahornet.co.uk also report much better customer service from Hagon, who have a 2 day delivery time compared to up to 8 weeks for Ohlins and 2 weeks for WP.

 

 

Braided hoses
The brakes on the Hornet are adequate, but lack stopping power compared to more sports focused or newer machinery. It's been said that Honda engineered this in to make the bike safer for novice riders, so if you intend to push the bike harder, you may want to upgrade slightly. Braided hoses give the brakes a bit more initial bite. If your Hornet is a a few years old the rubber hoses will have had time to degrade and you'll probably notice the improvement more. Goodridge and HEL offerings are both good, but some say the HEL lines are a touch too long.

 

 

End Can
There's a huge range of end cans available for the Hornet that improve looks, save weight, offer a few extra bhp and give a fruitier exhaust note. Blue Flame cans are popular, but hondahornet.co.uk users report problems with link pipes. One thing to consider is that the can on the Hornet is high-level and runs under the seat... the stock item has an effective heat shield, but you'd lose this with an aftermarket option making life harder for pillions and throw-over panniers. Consider carbon fibre cans as they tend to stay cooler.

 

 

Progressive fork springs
The Hornet's forks are budget items and as such, they're just a bit too soft out of the crate. With time and miles this only gets worse, so alot of owners fit progressive springs (and even heavier fork oil) to reduce initial dive and stiffen the front. Hondahornet.co.uk recommends Hagon or WP springs because the Ohlins items don't come with very good fitting instructions.

 

 

Crash protectors
One of the great things about the Hornet is that it crashes well... fit some good crash bungs and you could walk away with little more than minor scratches and a broken mirror after a low side or carpark drop. R&G mushrooms are popular as usual, but if you're on a budget the DHM's from Motrax (pictured) are about half the price and represent good value. For the style conscious, LSL offer some great looking sliders that are available in a range of colours to match your Hornet.

 

 

Down gearing
To give the performance a little kick and make things a bit more exciting, some owners choose to down gear their Hornet. You can do this by either going down one tooth on the front sprocket or going up two teeth on the rear. The result is better acceleration at the expense of some top end. One for the wheelie merchants!

 

 

Hugger
If you ride in all weathers, which a lot of Hornet owners do since it makes a great commuter, then a hugger can help to protect your shock from road spray and corrosion. Hondahornet.co.uk recommends huggers from either Pyramid or Ermax. If you fit an expensive performance rear shock, this is a very sensible way of protecting your investment.

 

 

Top Box
Top boxes may be one of the most uncool things in motorcycling, but you can't doubt their usefulness. How much more practical would your bike be if it had space for the shopping, a place to stash your lid, or just a boot to keep tools or spares? Great for commuters and those who use their Hornet for more than just weekend fun.

 

 

Fender Extender
Since it's a naked bike, the engine and downpipes on the Hornet are brutally exposed to the elements. The front mudguard is also a little short, allowing road spray to splash up, so those downpipes can be a nightmare to keep clean and corrosion free. A fender extender is a cheap and easy mod that gives a little extra protection and could potential save you money in the long run.

 

Thanks again to the owners at www.hondahornet.co.uk for their knowledge and advice on this subject.

All related reviews