New Honda CB1000 Hornet is a super naked with a sting

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Honda have quietly ditched their CB1000R naked for 2024 in favour of a new CB1000 Hornet, powered by a detuned version of the firm’s 2017 Fireblade superbike motor.

Revealing a select number of details at this week’s Eicma trade show in Milan, gone are the R model’s understated semi-retro looks in favour of a design mimicking the popular parallel twin CB750 Hornet, revealed in late 2022.

The old CB1000R was a high-class take on the super naked format, with subtle styling (Honda called it ‘neo sports’) and a power output that seemed modest compared to banzai rivals. The 998cc inline four-cylinder engine made 143bhp which was 20bhp shy of BMW’s S1000R and over 30bhp less than KTM’s 1290 Super Duke R.

Honda CB1000 Hornet - side view on white

Honda haven’t revealed exactly what the new Hornet’s power is, mysteriously stating that it will be more than 147.5bhp. Given that the new engine is derived from the 2017 Fireblade, which produced a peak power of 189bhp, that leaves plenty of headroom.

Clearly though, Honda won’t be troubling the 205bhp Ducati Streetfighter V4 S or Kawasaki’s supercharged 197bhp Z H2. The old CB1000R’s engine originated in the 2004 Blade, which topped out at a piffling 172bhp.

Honda are similarly mysterious with the Hornet’s torque figure, saying that it will be more than 73.8lbft. By comparison, the BMW S1000R makes 84lbft, so perhaps Honda is aiming more at the 152bhp, 78lbft Suzuki GSX-S1000. 

The old frame clearly couldn’t accommodate the more compact modern engine, so Honda built a new one. Instead of the old bike’s steel backbone design, the Hornet gets a twin spar frame, similar to the 750 Hornet’s. 

Honda CB1000 Hornet - rear view on white background

That said, the suspension is the same as the old CB1000R’s with fully adjustable 41mm Showa SFF-BP upside down forks and a Showa rear shock. Brakes are also carried over from the old bike, with radial four piston front calipers that grip 310mm floating discs. That’s no bad thing – the old bike handled and braked well unless you pushed it to the front end of a trackday. 

Despite identical suspension, the new Hornet may feel more sprightly than the CB1000R purely because of the rear tyre choice. Instead of a 190-section, this is now a 180, which could give the new bike a slightly more agile feel.

Honda CB1000 Hornet - front three quarters

Electronics are unchanged, with three pre-set riding modes, basic traction control, and a 5in TFT dash with Bluetooth connectivity. 

This – and the unchanged suspension – bodes well for value. Honda have not yet revealed the price, but if it follows the CB750’s template, it could be extremely competitive.