Ever since Honda launched its new product Hornet in the market, there has been some positive and negative feedback. Living took the new Honda Hornet on a road test to see whether it lives up to its name or is just another disappointment.

The First Look
It was show time and we headed towards Honda’s showroom at Kantipath, Kathmandu. We had seen some Hornet on the road before but didn’t look too closely. Our first impression was: finally, Honda has launched a proper naked bike! It has that muscular top to bottom appearance that defines a naked bike. The fuel tank of the bike appears muchmore muscular  compared to the competition. The tagline “Real Muscle” definitely suits the bike’s looks. Honda has made lots of changes in Honda Hornet compare to its previous products. The headlight is definitely impressive and gives an edgy look to the front of the bike.The compact muffler and handle bar adds a very sporty appearance to the Hornet. But the real ‘X’ factor of the Hornet is the X shaped LED tail light that gives an aggressive touch to the rear.

Performance Test

Honda Hornet does have a muscular and aggressive look,but will it have the power to match its looks? This question lingered in our minds. So it was finally time to check out the performance of the bike. We tested the Hornet in two ways:  on  a normal urban road and by stunting. Normal urban road would give us the answer to our query: “Is it suitable for roads in Nepal?”and Stunting also because nowadays most naked bikes are being used for stunting. We started off with a normal urban road ride. When we took off with a pop, we could feel its max power of 15.57 BHP @ 8500 rpm. The power response at first is good and the engine response is way better for street and road riding. We can feel that legendary engine response Honda is famous for. Also with the new sporty handle and 140/70-17 wide rear tyre, the ride in is much more comfortable during twists and turns with no worries of skidding even in rainy weather.

 We tested these specifications in terms of stunting also by performing Pop-up Wheelies, Rocky-Turns and Drifting. All these specs stood out very well in stunting as well. The handle provides comfort to the stunt-rider on rocky turns and the rear tyre offers the much needed grip for drifting.

Yes Honda, now we do agree with your new tagline for Hornet, “Raw Power”.

Safety and Comfort Check

With great power that Hornet possesses, it also has a huge responsibility of providing comfort and safety to the rider and pillion rider. Right now in Nepal, Honda has only launched the STD version of Hornet and not the CBS version. The STD version has a rear drum braking system, where as the CBS version  has a rear disk braking system with the Combi Braking System. Hence, we thought at first that the STD version might not be good. But again Honda surprised us. The rear drum braking system was quite powerful too. It does provide safety and matches the power of the Hornet well. Even in rainy weather the Hornet’s braking system does not disappoint at all. The rear tyre and braking system works well together to avoid any skidding that might lead to accidents that we often hear about during the rains. As for the front braking system, it is just amazing. The 276mm front disk brake is the biggest one in the 160cc naked bike section in the market right now. The front brake provides that extra instant safety whenever needed on a busy road ride of Nepal. As for the suspensions, Honda has equipped the Hornet with Telescopic front suspension and Monoshock rear suspension. Both of these suspensions are strong and provide great comfort while riding slow, fast or tackling the bumps. Definitely Honda has made great improvements to ensure Hornet customers are safe and comfortable on the busy roads of Nepal.

As for Stunting, we checked these specifications by doing Stoppie. Stoppie lets you test the front brake and suspensions. The front disk brake did not disappoint us at all. We could easily perform basic as well as rolling stoppies in the Hornet which gives credit to the big 276mm front disk brake. The telescopic front and mono rear suspensions also provide great support while performing these stunts.

“Ripped to the Core”is another Honda tagline that suits the Hornet!

Our Final Verdict

Rs. 2,60,900, we think is a reasonable price to pay for what the Honda Hornet offers you. From the stylish exterior features, to great performance, safety and comfort, we think it is worth the price. It is good to know that Honda worked on its previous weaknesses like tyres, braking and power to come up with such an improved and powerful product like the Hornet. The power is great, braking is sharp and the wide tyres are much better for safety at acute turns. The fuel tank might hold just 12 liters, but with a BS-IV engine the Hornet provides outstanding mileage of 35-40kmpl on the streets and roads and 45-50 kmpl on the highway. Looks like the 160cc Naked Bike Section has just gotten thrilling!