Honda Launches Improved Hornet Slim-Profile Road Sports Bike

September 29, 1998, Japan


Tokyo, September 29, 1998 - Honda Motor Co., Ltd. has announced the launch of the new upgraded Honda Hornet 250cc road sports bike, which will go on sale on September 30. Its slim-profile conveys the sizable presence of its high-performance inline 4-cylinder engine and impressive, high-class frame. Equally at home cruising downtown or negotiating winding suburban roads - and as stable as heavier bikes - the new Hornet is guaranteed to give a comfortable and smooth ride.
Prior to its original February 1996 launch, the Hornet was designed as a pared-down road sports bike, which provided an impact greater than one would expect from a machine of its class. In addition to ease of handling which is characteristic of a lightweight bike, ride smoothness; stability and comfortable cornering feelings were also engineered to be on a par with heavier models, giving the bike an overall responsiveness that is hard to match for a bike of its size. With its uniquely impressive slim-line profile, it's not hard to see why the Hornet has been a big success.

Honda Hornet

Honda Hornet

The liquid-cooled 4-cycle DOHC 4-cylinder 249cc engine features Honda's unique cam-gear train, (a mechanism where the engine drives the camshaft via a cogwheel arrangement). It combines power in the lower and mid-rev range that makes up a large proportion of everyday riding, with a sporty yet smooth response at higher speeds, superbly engineered for a truly thrilling ride.

The mono-backbone frame snugly encloses the lightweight, compact engine. The new Hornet conveys a direct and vivid riding experience to the rider over a wider range of riding conditions, combining suppleness with a super-firm handling feel.

Wide tubeless radial tires (front: 130/70ZR16; rear: 180/55ZR17) along with large-diameter inner-pipe front forks (41mm diameter) are what might be expected in a higher displacement bike. The rear damper smoothly complements the high-rigidity rear swingarm suspension to confer superior handling and a superb ride.

Complete with front and rear aluminum 3-spoke wheels for that unbeatable sporty look, there are two color selections: Force Silver Metallic and Candy Tahitian Blue. The Force Silver Metallic version features frosted black-colored wheels. The Candy Tahitian Blue includes touches of gloss white to soften the lines, and red used on the stepguard gives the bike a sporty and individual air.

With hydraulic disc brakes fitted both front and rear, the braking system combines the stopping power of a floating-disc with a 4-piston caliper arrangement at the front, together with the smooth, reliable feel of a single-disc brake at the rear.

The lines are designed to accentuate the new Hornet's smooth, sumptuous curves, all the way from the 16-liter fuel tank to the rear cowl, helping to emphasize the large upper surface area. Combined with slim-profile side covers and a mono-backbone frame, this design is also very practical, resulting in a seat that is conveniently low (760 mm seat height) and a comfortable leg position, while also giving riding-position flexibility.

The existing Candy Tahitian Blue coloring option has been joined by Force Silver Metallic, conveying a truly chic image. The hue of the fuel-tank logo has also been changed in line with the new image.

Finally, the new Hornet also comes with a host of useful new features, including a separate helmet-holder, a rear grab rail for a pillion rider, and luggage hooks at two separate positions on both sides of the bike.

Domestic annual sales target:

3,500 units

Main specifications:

Model Hornet
Type Honda MC31
Length x width x height (m) 2.045 x 0.740 x 1.055
Wheelbase (m) 1.415
Ground clearance (m) 0.170
Seat height (m) 0.760
Curb weight/dry weight (kg) 166/149
No. of riders (person) 2
Fuel economy (km/l) [60 km/h test on flat ground] 32.0
Minimum turning radius (m) 2.6
Engine type MC14E liquid-cooled 4-cycle DOHC 4-valve inline 4-cylinder
Displacement (cm3) 249
Bore/stroke (mm) 48.5 x 33.8
Compression ratio 11.5
Maximum power output (PS/rpm) 40/13,000
Maximum torque (kgm/rpm)
Carburetor type VP03
Starter self-starter type
Ignition full-transistor battery ignition
Lubrication forced pressure and wet sump
Oil capacity (l) 2.7
Fuel tank capacity (l) 16
Clutch coil spring
Transmission 6-speed return
Gear ratios 1st gear
2nd gear 2.000
3rd gear 1.590
4th gear 1.318
5th gear 1.111
6th gear 0.965
Drive ratios (primary/final) 2.966/3.214
Rake (degrees)/trail (mm) 25°40'/99
Tire sizes Front 130/70ZR16
Rear 180/55ZR17
Brakes Front hydraulic disc
Rear hydraulic disc
Suspension Front telescopic
Rear swingarm
Frame type diamond (mono-backbone)