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Home » Cool Motorcycles

2008 Honda CB1000R Hornet

Submitted by on Sunday, 27 July 20082 Comments

2008 Honda CB1000R Hornet

(Images taken from Honda UK)

What is it about naked sportbikes that make me drool and get all excited? And I don’t think it’s just because of the word ‘naked’…

Here are some pictures, specs and reviews of Honda’s latest naked sportbike – the 2008 Honda CB1000R Hornet…

2008 Honda CB1000R Hornet

2008 Honda CB1000R Hornet

2008 Honda CB1000R Hornet

2008 Honda CB1000R Hornet

2008 Honda CB1000R Hornet

2008 Honda CB1000R Hornet

2008 Honda CB1000R Hornet

2008 Honda CB1000R Hornet

2008 Honda CB1000R Hornet

2008 Honda CB1000R Hornet

What’s with the pukey, olive colour you say? Not too sure about that but here’s more pics of the 2008 Honda CB1000R Hornet in cooler colours…

2008 Honda CB1000R Hornet

2008 Honda CB1000R Hornet

2008 Honda CB1000R Hornet

Full Specifications

Engine Type Liquid-cooled 4-stroke 16-valve DOHC inline-4
Displacement 998 cm3
Bore x Stroke 75 x 56.5 mm
Maximum Torque TBA
Compression Ratio 11.2:1
Fuel Injection PGM-FI electronic fuel injection
Ignition Computer-controlled digital transistorised with electronic advance
Transmission 6-Speed
Final Drive #530 O-ring sealed chain
Starter Electric
Dimensions (LxWxH)
2,090 x 775 x 1,090 mm
Wheelbase 1,445 mm
Seat Height 828 mm
Ground Clearance 130 mm
Fuel Tank Capacity 17 litres (including 4-litre LCD indicated reserve)
Suspension Front
43mm inverted HMAS cartridge type telescopic fork with stepless preload, compression and rebound adjustment, 120mm cushion stroke
Suspension Rear
Monoshock with gas-charged HMAS damper featuring 10 step preload and stepless rebound damping adjustment, 128mm axle travel
Wheels/Tyre Front
Closed section 4 spoke cast aluminium / 120/70 ZR17M/C (58W)
Wheels/Tyre Rear
Closed section 4 spoke cast aluminium / 180/55 ZR17M/C (73W)
Brakes Front
310 x 4.5 mm dual hydraulic disc with 4-piston (*Combined 3-piston) callipers, floating rotors (ABS) and sintered metal pads
Brakes Rear 256 x 5 mm hydraulic disc with dual-piston calliper (*ABS) and sintered metal pads
Frame Mono-backbone; cast aluminium
Caster Angle 25 degrees
Trail 99 mm
Dragon Green Metallic; Pearl Cool White; Pearl Nightstar Black; & Sword Silver Metallic

Here’s a detailed and super review of the 2008 Honda CB1000R Hornet taken from Motorcycle USA written by Marc Potter:

Way back in the ’60s, when men had quiffs and woman wore beehives, the Japanese bike manufacturers invaded Europe. Their bikes looked strangely like the ones made in the midlands but they had funny winged logos on the tanks. And they worked come rain or shine.

The copycats were laughed off at first and then makes like Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha and Suzuki started landing on our shores in big numbers, at the right price, with the right kit (like electric starters that worked) and engines that didn’t leak. And they took over the world of motorcycling forever.

It stayed that way for the last 40 years until a small manufacturer in Hinckley started making a bike called the Speed Triple and essentially created the Super Naked bike. Having been the first person in the world to ride the prototype, I remember that moment well. Okay, so the Ducati Monster was the original but that didn’t have the same sort of sports bike horsepower linked with quality suspension and brakes, and the kind of style reminiscent of a crashed GSX-R1100 with bug-eye headlamps.

And now the tables have turned again, as the world’s biggest bike manufacturer looks down from its ivory tower to a small industrial unit in Leicestershire and decides it’s very interested in a bike called the Speed Triple. Combine it with a healthy respect for bikes like the MV Agusta Brutale and the Monster and you’re starting to get the measure of Honda’s new CB1000R.

Big H won’t admit their influences but an off the record chat with a few people confirmed what I just said, and it’s not going on sale in Japan because the emissions laws are so strict it would have to have an exhaust the size of a small car. This bike is for Europe only and that’s where most of the design work and development was done.

Forget the fact it has the same name as the dinosaur CB1000 of the early nineties, or that it’s a spine-framed, FireBlade-engined naked like the now defunct 900 Hornet. This is a whole new bag for Honda. A bike designed with Europe in mind and one that uses a retuned version of the 2007 FireBlade CBR1000RR engine and runs 2008 FireBlade forks, 2008 FireBlade brakes, a beautiful single-sided swingarm and styling tailored to the decor of the very best designer cafes in Milan. In green it looks purposeful, in white it looks as good as anything on the road.

And then there’s the bike’s heritage. It was developed by Tetsuya Kudoh, the man who was chief engineer and test rider on such bikes as the VFR400, RC30, NR750, CBR600F and VFR750F, so nothing much good in there then. And as such it’s one high-spec piece of kit. The single-sided swingarm is one of the things that gives away the fact this isn’t your average fat and lazy naked bike.

Then there’s the short stubby attitude of the CB100R: the tiny seat unit designed as a token gesture to attract nubile Italian goddess’ who may want to perch on your steed, so to speak. (But in reality no real human would want to sit on the back and you’d never get a tail pack on it, but Honda designed it that way.) It’s all about being purposeful, minimal, and saying to everyone watching that you’re a no compromise kind of guy who likes to ride fast and look good. The CB1000R weighs in wet at 217 kg (478 lbs), which is just 18 kg (40 lbs) more than the super lightweight 2008 Blade and most of that extra weight is in the heavily braced single-sided swingarm.

Check out the swoopy four-spoke rear wheel, the LCD clocks that are claimed to be the most expensive Honda make, the jagged lines of the bodywork and the aggressive ‘ready-to-attack’ stance, and you can tell this is no normal Japanese naked bike. It’s designed to give a sporty ride with the stylish looks of a naked, and it more than delivers.

Undoubtedly it’s a serious bit of kit that aims to do a totally different job to the old Hornet 900, and it’s a bike that I’m slightly afraid of riding when I get handed the keys in the center of Milan on a wet and slippery Saturday morning.

But fearful is not one of the things that enters your head when you start riding the tiny Honda. Filtering through Milan in convoy behind a mad Welshman intent on showing us his knowledge of Milan’s backstreets, the bike is gentle, easy and torquey. The fuelling is perfect, the grunt is huge and I’m already starting to think that for most people, most of the time this engine would be better in a FireBlade than the super-powerful motor de rigeur of bikes that say you’re a real man, even if secretly the amount of horsepower terrifies you. Or is that just me?

130 hp is plenty but it’s more about the torque and the way the power is delivered that impresses. It comes on clean and fat to the point where sixth gear will pull 30 mph with no shakes from the transmission, no rattles, just clean drive. Try that on a FZ1 Fazer and you’ll be reaching for an asthma inhaler to spray down its air intakes. Hit 8000 rpm and there’s no noticeable switch in delivery but by then it’s pulling strongest and doesn’t ease off till 10,000 rpm. Compared to the 2007 Blade, the CB uses a different cylinder head (made of magnesium), different inlet and outlet ports, a different ECU and compression ratio. As an engine it’s one of the finest in any production bike and hits way harder than you expect.

As we cut through the Milan traffic towards the twisty roads near Lake Como I realise I never actually checked whether or not I was riding the bike with combined brakes and ABS or the standard FireBlade braking system. As we pull up to the next lights, I grab a handful of front and lock the front tire I realise it’s the standard bike. The CBS/ABS model puts an extra £500 on the price. But as standard the brakes don’t feel super sharp like on the Blade, that’s because the master cylinder and brake lines are changed to soften it up a little. If it had exactly the same kit as the Blade you’d be a world stunt champion or lying in the road with the bike on top of you.

We head out of town and the CB1000R comes into its own as the road sweeps into fast dual-carriageway corners and you can feel how agile it is when cutting through traffic. It steers quickly yet the team behind the bike have managed to make it stable at motorway speeds, quite a feat when you consider how quickly it turns into a corner. Sit at 80 mph and the Honda is surprisingly comfortable. You feel close to the headstock of the bike yet deep enough in the seat to not feel the full force of the wind.

The pace slows through yet more industrial towns on the outside of Milan and we slide our way through roundabouts, dial in the smooth torque and power out the other side. Short shift and you almost forget the clutch as the gearbox is so light and precise on every shift, feeling like a well set-up racebike shift rather than your standard roadbike fare.

When the road opens up the CB1000R really comes into its own and it’s here where it needs to live. The big Honda is so easy to ride fast that you really don’t have to think about what gear and when to get on the throttle. It seems to let you get away with riding the road and not thinking about the bike – if there are any faults with the bike that’s one of them.

The motor is amazing but it doesn’t howl or really get you excited. It has the looks of something really aggressive but it never really wants to kick off. If it were in a fight the CB1000R would be the good-looking one talking his way out of it, but knowing secretly that it could handle itself should it need to. In comparison to the Speed Triple it’s not quite as raw, not quite as bolshie and looks a little softer. But that makes it easier to ride than all its rivals. Kawasaki’s Z1000 is heavier, less torquey and doesn’t handle as well. Yamaha’s FZ1 has most of its power at the top and lacks bottom end, that makes it hard to ride on the roads where it wants to be ridden and it’s hard to wheelie.

The Honda on the other hand leaps out of corners piling all of its torque to the ground and is round the rev-counter before you know it. Shift at 10,000 rpm and it feels like the perfect blend of power and torque for the road. The suspension is softer than the Triumph but, for me, give the perfect blend of feel and comfort. I don’t want a bike that’s rock hard, just one that lets me know what the wheels are doing and one that doesn’t pitch around under power or braking. The Honda gets it bang on.

The only thing the CB100R lacks is a bit of soul and a bit of the noise that you get from the Brutale and the Speed Triple. But for ninety nine percent of the time it’s a better bike in every respect.

Unfortunately I never got to ride the CB1000R in true dry conditions where you can really sling it around. For that you’ll have to wait for our group test in about two week’s time. But in the real world, where cops are hiding in trailers with speed guns, the roads get ever busier and the surface isn’t racetrack smooth Honda has made a brilliant unfaired bike.

Here’s more reviews for you:

And of course, here’s a video review of the 2008 CB1000R Hornet:

Final note for all you riders in Singapore: Word has it that Boon Siew Honda will be launching this bad boy in the Bike Show this September and Mah Pte Ltd may be bringing it in sometime in August. So here’s hoping to see it on the roads some time soon eh? :)

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Ride or own the above bike? Or just have something to say about it? Let other readers know what you think by leaving a comment below!