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HONDA CB900F HORNET (2001-2007) Review

Published: 24 November 2006

Updated: 20 August 2019

FireBlade powered hooligan? More like fireplace and Val Doonican

Honda CB900F Hornet motorcycle review - Riding

FireBlade powered hooligan? More like fireplace and Val Doonican

Overall Rating 3 out of 5

There are some motorcycles that look good on paper, but fail to fire your adrenaline on the road somehow and the Honda CB900F Hornet is one of them. Maybe it's the mushy non-adjustable front suspension, the blandola looks or perhaps the slightly iffy build quality, but the Honda CB900F Hornet doesn't quite hit the spot. FireBlade powered hooligan? More like fireplace and Val Doonican...

Ride Quality & Brakes 3 out of 5

The Honda CB900F Hornet is a competent handling motorcycle, but lacks some finesse, especially at the front end, where the forks are non-adjustable.

The overall ride is pleasant though and the Honda CB900F Hornet makes an ideal commuter, or a curiously overpowering novice motorcycle. Just a tad too 'easy listening' for a streetfighter.

Out on the open road, the nakedness of the bike quickly makes itself felt. While the engine pulls willingly to the red line, the rider is left clinging to the bars searching from some relief from the wind blast as you get into the higher gears.

Like most naked bikes, staying over about 85mph for any length of time is literally a pain in the neck, but Honda sees this as a more relaxing ride than the sportsbike that donated its engine.

The chassis is similar to the Hornet 600, too, though it is actually a new item. It offers the same quick, light steering that makes the 600 fantastic fun around tight lanes and even race tracks.

The 900 tips the scales at 194kg dry, but even U-turning in a narrow lane, you don’t feel it thanks to the excellent low-speed manners. Clearly Honda is expecting riders to spend a lot of time weaving through traffic.

Engine 4 out of 5

The Honda CB900F Hornet's CBR900RR FireBlade 918cc inspired mill has all the right moves; smooth torquey power, sweet-shifting gearbox and a healthy 110bhp kick in the pants.

It's the best thing about the Honda CB900F Hornet by far and Honda pulled off a neat trick by squeezing it inside a 600 chassis.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

If you don't keep it clean, it will look shabby fairly quickly, but otherwise the Honda CB900F Hornet is a reliable, everyday workhorse of a motorbike, which can play ball at the weekend. A stonking great motor, a classy chassis at reasonable road speeds and the simple user-friendly nature of the Honda CB900F Hornet  mean it's much better than average.

Insurance, running costs & value 3 out of 5

Other big roadster motorcycles are often cheaper to insure, they hold their resale value better and they offer more sheer, kick-ass fun than the Honda CB900F Hornet to be totally blunt. Yes, the Honda CB900F Hornet is a bit cheaper than some of its rivals, but it looks and feels like a Streetfighter-lite experience. Not good. Find a Honda Hornet for sale.

Insurance group: 15 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 4 out of 5

The Honda CB900F Hornet looks a bit of a rush job to be blunt; no centrestand, the exhaust downpipes hang down from the motor rather than hug the cases, the mirrors look small and cheap and there's what can only be described as token mudguards. On the upside the Honda CB900F Hornet's brakes, suspension and seating are excellent.

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2001
Year discontinued 2007
Original price £5,900
Used price £1,200 to £2,500
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 15 of 17
Annual road tax £91
Annual service cost £1,220
Performance
Max power 110 bhp
Max torque 63 ft-lb
Top speed 135 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 11.1 secs
Average fuel consumption 37 mpg
Tank range 145 miles
Specification
Engine size 919cc
Engine type 16v, in line 4, 6 gears
Frame type steel spine type
Fuel capacity 19 litres
Seat height 795mm
Bike weight 194kg
Front suspension none
Rear suspension Preload
Front brake Twin 296mm discs
Rear brake 240mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 180/55 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

2002: Honda Hornet CB900F launched.

Other versions

None

Owners' Reviews

14 owners have reviewed their HONDA CB900F HORNET (2001-2007) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your HONDA CB900F HORNET (2001-2007)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.8 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.6 out of 5
Engine 4.9 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.8 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.9 out of 5
Equipment 3.9 out of 5
4 out of 5

The unloved 900 Hornet which is actually a bit of alright.

23 August 2019 by Jay

This is my second Honda Hornet 900, last time I owned one was 13 years ago, and to be fair I sold it because I was sorely disappointed, so why did I buy another?. Well the answer is quite simple, I bought it as a work and winter bike, plus something to have some fun with when I felt like it, I also own a brand new Harley and did want to watch the British roads ruin my Harley during the winter. Having owned a Honda Fireblade 919 RRX afterwards, I now understand why the bike is the way it is. The Hornets engine comes from the 1998-2000 Honda CBR900 (919) Fireblade, this was always touted as Honda touring fireblade as the engine feels tamer than other blade's of other year, more sensible, although the Honda Hornet 919 is de-tuned, retuned (however you want to phrase it) and equipped with first generation 3D mapped fuel injection, in reality it isn't that detuned. If you can grasp that although compared to other naked street big litre motorcycles of its era its not going to win straight line races, its actually not that bad a bike as I thought 13 years ago. The Hornet came out as a replacement of Honda previous litre street bike the Honda X 11, personally I loved my Honda X 11's and felt they were a faster straight line bike, the Hornet makes up for it as being more nimble and easier to ride.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
The Hornet 900 has a lot of things in common with its 600 sibling, its light, easy to ride and makes you confident enough to take on any kind of ride, Motorways to back roads, it does what it does very well, and may surprise other motorcycles in bendy roads. The real down side is the brakes, I really felt the brake were quite bad for the job they are built to do, although they do stop you I feel the brakes don't feel you with enough confidence, which is something I will be working on, as this may partially be down to the age of the brake lines and so on.
Engine
4 out of 5
As previously stated the engine compared to other street bikes of its era Z1000, Street triple and so on might make you feel that Honda could have done better (why not put in the 929 engine, why didn't you Honda?) but to be fair when you compare it to the donor bike engine, it isn't that bad, the engine is understressed but can still get your license thrown in the bin. The upside is this engine with love and care will see you racking up moon mileage.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
The usual Honda weaknesses are present on these models and that is the regulator, as well as CCT's. apart from that the under stressed 919 engine is known to easily (if looked after) rack up moon mileage. The finish of the bike is okay, but can suffer if not kept up on with cleaning.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
To be fair this bike doesn't ask for much more than service item's, as its easy to get to most of the stuff its easy to work on and wont have an independent dealer having any problems working on this bike or ordering after market parts. There is also an abundant supply of bolt on after market bit for you to customise the bike to how you want it.
Equipment
3 out of 5
As standard this budget street bike really shows that, everything on it is the bare essentials, however there is plenty of stuff out there to beef up and upgrade every aspect of this bike. The tire for the front is a bit limiting due to the size.
Buying experience

What can I say apart from there is a lot of them out there and they can be had for 600 sport bike money, they have big following in the states but are a bit unloved in the UK, so you can get a low mileage minter for really good money, avoid dealer prices, you will lose money. Generally dealers are not fans of these bikes and trade in prices from a dealer is laughable, they don't like getting in 900 Hornets as they know they will be stuck with them for a long time.

5 out of 5

Honda CB900F bike review

03 April 2019 by CENCO

100 HP, 65ftlb torque. Comfortable riding position, naked but no faring-directed wind blast so quieter inside the helmet.

Ride Quality & Brakes
3 out of 5
The suspension is the weak link, the brakes are excellent.
Engine
5 out of 5
Does an 11.2 quarter mile which is in the ball park of FZ09s over 10 years later. Is very smooth so feels slower than it is, great engine, great sound. It's no Tuono but cant beat it for the price used.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Live in DRY western US, no corrosion, no breakdowns. Very smooth engine, starts right up all the time.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Oil change ($30 with filter every 8K miles), very reliable.
Equipment
3 out of 5
The bike has little in the way of instrumentation or equipment. Aftermarket Renthal bars, Tuono mirrors, Öhlins rear shock and springs installed. Pilot 4 tyres last over 8000 miles.
5 out of 5

Just a great ride

11 November 2018 by bill tait

Just a great ride.Too much fun, does what you want it to do. Very enjoyable bike to own and ride, shorter rides mostly, but can go as far as you want no problem, what ever your mood, get and a enjoy.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
All works very well. Like the adjustable suspension.
Engine
5 out of 5
Very smooth with tons of get up and go.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
It's a basic bike.
4 out of 5

Honda matte blue (Italian import)

16 June 2018 by elother47

Comfort, great seating position however no bike has matched the R1150R for comfort yet. Real-world usable power. It's never going to beat the superbikes in a straight line. However around the twisties and with a competent rider on board this bike will keep up and definitely surprise and beat those less adept at riding. If you get it wrong it's forgiving too. Reliable easy to work on all round bike. Not much storage under the seat. Really could do with more power... The GSXS1000 kinda power ;)

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Decent mid range torque. Feel as I'm not having to rev the nuts of it all the time. Brakes no issues. Adjustable forks version rebound/dampening however I have left as standard settings. Brought for a steal 3 years ago low mileage Italian import, value for money real world all round bike. But lacks fairing so anything prolonged over 90mph can become a chore.
Engine
5 out of 5
No issues old blade engine detuned. Has been reliable so far.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
Will start to corrode if not cleaned and looked after. This is my 2nd hornet 900 and you will find certain areas will start to rust rapidly if left out, ridden in all weathers and not taken care of.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Low running costs easy to service and work on. Not had any major issues yet in 6000 miles.
Equipment
3 out of 5
Quite basic really. Good riding position. A decent belly pan really improves looks of the bike. Metzler Roadtecs Z3 have been spot on so far. Looking for genuine Honda bikini screen if any one has one! No centre stand on mine - useful accessory. My Monokey rack and box has been a very useful addition. Along with the Baglux tank cover and bag. Scottoiler next I think.... Redial on clocks Italian import. So annoyingly ODO still showing kms. Has a digital clock! :)
Buying experience

Private sale stupidly cheap price for a last ever 2008 58 plate bike with only 1500 recorded miles. It's a keeper. Italian guy nice straight forward private sale travelled 400 miles to get it worth the distance.

5 out of 5

Brilliant

12 January 2018 by lewp

Update on earlier review. I have now had this bike for five years and use it all year around. It has been totally reliable and other than consumables has had no major faults. It is great to ride, well planted on the road, neutral in corners and has loads of acceleration. You can comfortably cruise on motorways at 70 mph and the bikini fairing on mine gives just enough protection.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
Smooth, progressive and fast.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Totally reliable.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Cheap to run.
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
4 out of 5

Solid, reliable with enough punch to keep you happy.

02 August 2017 by KiwiMojo

I've had my Hornet for 3 years now and have done about 12000 km. No problems at all other than standard maintenance and consumables. Excellent reliable all rounder that can keep up with sports bikes (to a degree) and yet comfortable for longer trips. Inexpensive fun, particularly for less experienced riders. Thought the MCN review a bit rough...

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
All round adequate with lots of low down torque. Definitely not a sports bike but nimble enough for most. Brakes are fine and comfortable for long rides. If pushed really hard the forks can be a little soft.
Engine
5 out of 5
A gem. Bullet proof reliability. Mated with Yoshi pipes it has a surprisingly good sound.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Never broken down. Bullet proof engine which runs smooths even after 45000 kms.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Not much to pay other than usual wear and tear. Parts readily available.
Equipment
3 out of 5
Minimum. But then its a pretty cheap bike. Running Pirelli Angel GTs which suit it well.
Buying experience

Bought second hand. No logs so took a chance, but this is the bike to do that with....

5 out of 5

An overlooked cracker

10 August 2016 by Jester

Think of a bigger and faster version of the beloved CB500. Reviews compare it to the Speed Triple [traded in for the 900 Hornet] which is faster but more expensive. The Hornet is 'typical Honda'-unobtrusive and forgiving. Unlike the Trip it can have a centre stand and full luggage fitted. The fuelling is jerky and I had a Power Commander fitted to smooth out the 'off-on' throttle response.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Not a sports bike but will scrape the hero blobs, tour [500 miles/day no poblem for rider & pillion] and cruise at motorway plus speeds. It's possible to go lock-to-lock on the handling pretty easily for low speed stuff.
Engine
4 out of 5
The engine has a good spread of power but the fuelling can be jerky.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
No problems in 55 000 miles.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
I service the bike myself so it's just parts and oil. Fuel economy is 45-60 mpg depending on riding style.
Equipment
4 out of 5
Tacho, speedo and a few warning lights. The trip meter and clock are a bit weird in that the left hand button selects odo/trip 1 and trip 2 and resets the trips if held in but the time toggles on the right hand button. Mine is fitted with Givi luggage.
Buying experience

Excellent service from John Lee's in Higham Ferrers, £6K for the bike new in 2006.

5 out of 5

Great so far

01 December 2012 by lewp

Recently purchased a 2008 model. The MCN review says the front forks non-adjustable. This is not the case on the 2008 model. A search of the web suggests they changed the specification of the front forks to adjustable in 2004. So far my experience concurs with the other reviews by owners, rather than MCN. This is a great bike to ride, neutral handling, refined engine and well planted cornering. My bike is 4 years old and had covered 10k miles when I recently purchased it; it is literally like new, no corrosion at all. This may be a fastidious previous owner, but even so the build quality seems excellent. So far so good :-)

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

We have bonded.

29 June 2008 by Big T.

I got this bike brand new from Dobles at Christmas. It was a bike I'd always fancied owning but I always thought that at 6k it was a little expensive compared to the obvious choice of a 1200 Bandit, which I knew was a great bike as I owned one for over 3 years (2001 - 2004). As it was hevily discounted I thought what the hell and chopped in my XT 660 R which was not the bike for me, see submitted review for details. When the bike arrived I was glad I had ordered the orange as I think it looks great and I also had the optional fly screen fitted to provide at least some protection from the wind blast. As soon as I rode the bike I was impressed by how easy it was to ride and I felt completely at home on it within about 50 miles. My short commute is a joy and weekend blasts are always fun. I have recently given the bike a good test as I did 1900 miles in 4 days riding from my home in Oxfordshire up to John o Groats then down to Lands End and home again. The bike performed brilliantly and returned an average of about 56 MPG for the whole trip. As you can imagine wind blast was a bit of an issue on the motorways but the fly screen kept it bearable at a steady 80. The engine is absolutely superb as it just pumps out turbine smooth power from 2000 RPM right up to the red line and the mid range pull is very strong. How MCN could only get a top speed of 135 is a mystery to me as I weigh nearly 20 stone and have seen an indicated 155, they must have had some seriously fat dude doing their performance testing that day. The ride and handling are great for someone like me who rides in a spirited way rather trying to immitate James Toseland at every bend. The bad bits, I'm struggling here and nit picking really but I would say that the seat is definitely not all day comfortable and the front mudguard is too short as it is on most modern bikes, easily fixed with a fender extender. To be honest I love the bike though and I can't even begin to imagine what I will replace it with when it's 3 years old.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

49975 smiles

20 June 2008 by Anonymous

Bought her in 2003,sold her in 2008.I had 49975 miles of trouble free riding.The engine never missed a beat and the suspension held the bike perfectly.The only thing that needed replacing at 49000 mls was the steering head bearing.These are excellent bikes and if your on a tight budget and want a super reliable fast paced blaster i can definitely recommend the 900 hornet.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

Changed up from a bandit to the hornet. Found it so much better!

07 July 2006 by Trav

Bought this bike new partly because of the Honda finish on their bikes. I have really enjoyed riding the bike and have found it's power to be friendly. It is also easy to blast around on B roads although the suspension is a bit soft for some of the bumps. I experienced some cutting out problems at first, start up when cold. Have also suffered from corrosion on the down pipes, top Yoke, foot peg and pillion plates which were all replaced under warrenty at the 1st service. Strengths: Ease of use. Riding position and friendly for pillions. Weaknesses: Corrosion and cutting out on cold mornings.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

The perfect bike!

13 April 2006 by steve1999

Chopped in my 1998 fireblade for this brand new hornet and never looked back.  Had it 3 years now and probably always will. Previous bikes - z250 seca750 import vt500 cb550 four cb500s hornet 600 busa fireblade hornet 900. Strengths: Performance, looks, reliability, easy to ride and feel confident on it. Weaknesses: I suppose I'll have to write something so I'll go for windblast, although I rode from Essex to the other side of Wales and back covering 550 miles in one trip (averaging 120-130 mph on motorway) and my shoulder hurt from twisting the throttle so long, knots in my neck and shoulder area.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

Got the bike a year ago and what a hoon...A 2002 model with 5000 miles on it for £3800!

29 January 2006 by tellsa

Yes, it is a detuned fireblade...which clips the screaming rev monster, but adds instead a thousand pounds of torquey g-force off of the lights...whoa! It does appear to be standing start screamer...I've now added another 5000 miles, an ermax bellypan, a set of conti's, r&g crash-bungs and a set of renthals to lean me forward more (just slightly)...ideal city attack vehicle...ambush machine with wheelie appeal and solid nissin 4-pot braking... Strengths: Total Reliability. Total grunt from nowhere upto 8000 rpm. Mean enough looks, but nimble, feel decent tank range (approx 120). Pillion friendly (not with the wheelie though). Rust proof except foot rest plate on pillion. Weaknesses: Should have twin spots ;-) (only jokin'). Wind blast and protection from the elements...but who wants 2 b a nancy!

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

First time on a bike after 7 years...

07 October 2005 by WildAndFree

Just a quickie for now. I bought this Hornet 2nd hand 2 days ago after a 7 year bikeless period. Mileage was around 18.5k and it has a few scratches etc but for £2850 - a lotta bike for not a lotta money! First impressions are very good. I love the look and it's even better now I've taken off the small screen. I don't mind the wind blast too much as I need to keep my speed down anyway. (Had a bit of a bad smash in 98 due to riding like a prat!). It came with a baglux tank cover which really looks great and has padded sides for gripping. First tankful returned 150 before reserve and seems to be giving 49.4mpg!! Is this usual?? The review said average mpg is 28... I'll be using it mainly for commuting A roads into London. Strengths:
Position, looks, grunt. Weaknesses: At the moment I'm feeling a bit of a numb bum after an hour or so, but I think it's probably more me than the bike.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-

Photo Gallery

  • Honda CB900F Hornet motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda CB900F Hornet motorcycle review - Side view
  • Honda CB900F Hornet motorcycle review - Instruments
  • Honda CB900F Hornet motorcycle review
  • Honda CB900F Hornet motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda CB900F Hornet motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda CB900F Hornet motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda CB900F Hornet motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda CB900F Hornet motorcycle review - Front view
  • Honda CB900F Hornet motorcycle review - Rear view
  • Honda CB900F Hornet motorcycle review - Side view
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