Mad thrash or gentle cruise – the CB600F Hornet copes with both without breaking a sweat. Handling is sweet although pre-2000 motorcycles had a 16-inch front wheel, which feels odd. Ultimately the suspension is budget, even the USD forks are more fashion than function but it’ll take a fast track day for most bikers to fault it. Aftermarket brake pads increase bite.
Plenty of power and excellent reliability from the Honda CB600Fs inline four. It’s the same as used in mid-90s CBR600F with carbs not fuel injection. The Honda CB600F Hornet does need revving hard if you want to use all the power but it’s gentle in town with a light clutch. Camchain tensioner failure is the motorcycle's only weakness.
The Honda CB600F Hornet shrugs off miles (including winter ones) better than most Japanese bikes. The bottom yoke will corrode plus the stainless steel down pipes discolour but otherwise the finish is quite tough. Road salt and infrequent washing will still cause heavy corrosion though. Reliability is superb. Honda’s regular problems (regulator/rectifier plus cam chain tensioners) are the only gripes.
Excellent VFM but the CB600F is in an ultra competitive class, and the Hornet is looking old. Yamaha’s FZ6 is better equipped and is available with a fairing while Kawasaki’s Z750 has more poke. Honda’s own CBF600 has more equipment including ABS for the same price – but the CB600F Hornet’s faster and more sporty. The CB600F Hornet’s still a wise buy – used values are solid and parts and extras are plentiful.
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The Honda CB600F Hornet's comfort is OK for an unfaired motorcycle. The Honda CB600F's seat is not the comfiest ever but it is acceptable. Pillion accommodation is mediocre. Budget motorcycle means budget equipment levels. The CB600F Hornet comes with few bells and whistles but it doesn’t really need them. The high level exhaust gets in the way if you want to use soft panniers which can be a pain.