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  • MotoringPulse

Honda Hornet 2.0 Review

Honda Hornet 2.0 - Simple & Effective
Honda Hornet 2.0 - Simple & Effective

With some motorcycles, you do not know where to set your expectations at. Perhaps they have too much tech going on or the numbers on the spec sheet are too big to be in your league, which can put you in an unknown territory.

It’s a good thing this is not a problem with small motorcycles. Even if you’re used to riding big and powerful bikes and haven’t touched a small one in a long time, they usually demand less out of your riding skill unless the terrain is entirely different.

Small bikes are also largely simpler in terms of technology and electronics; of course, the idea is to keep the price in check.

You may approach them with little excitement and that’s alright.

And that was the case, kind of, when I got the opportunity to ride the Honda Hornet 2.0.

Hornet 2.0

Showa upside down forks literally changes the way the Hornet 2.0 looks and handles

I’m glad I didn’t expect much from the motorcycle. I mean it’s a basic motorcycle with a simple air-cooled 184cc engine. How exciting could it really get?

Indeed, the engine performs accordingly, there’s nothing special for the most part. It is generally lacklustre and it's there simply doing the job. Then there are vibrations. When you start revving the engine, the seat begins to tingle. The plastic panels between your legs do vibrate quite a bit. You can also feel that buzz in the handlebar and in the foot pegs. I should mention, though, that it depends on how you keep the motorcycle. This was a test bike so might have been handled roughly.

Another thing I wasn’t entirely impressed with is the seat. I felt it was ok and the long distance comfort is questionable.

But I’m happy to say that’s where my biggest problems with the Hornet 2.0 end.

Honda Hornet 2.0
Muscular & overall well finished

These Honda engines are tough and built to last. The compression ratio is gentle at 9.5:1 and Honda recommends fuel of 91 octane or higher. It is frugal and maintaining it should be one of the easiest things to do. And while you’re treated to vibrations at higher revs, you also experience that it responds nicely to the throttle and climbs the tachometer without hesitation. Especially in third and fourth gears, push the motorcycle hard and it moves ahead as if it’s in a sprint.

What also helps the acceleration is the smooth gearbox. There’s consistently nice feedback from it telling you it’s always working. But occasionally, putting the motorcycle from first to neutral required multiple attempts and it was quite frustrating.

But the best bit about the motorcycle is yet to come… suspension and handling.

Honda Hornet 2.0
Showa front forks - work as good as they look

This is where the Hornet 2.0 overtakes your expectations and literally makes a joke of some of the sportier motorcycles in its segment and even the pricier ones like the KTM Duke.

Those gold coloured upside down forks do more than just look good. I wanted to start riding the motorcycle as soon as I saw the Showa branding on the front forks. Sure they are basic as there’s zero adjustability while the rear is only adjustable for preload. That’s typical.

But the front suspension not only enhances the ride quality, it makes the motorcycle so satisfyingly responsive that you’ll forget it has an absolutely simple single down-tube diamond frame. It feels fantastic going through traffic and even better in the corners. The bike loves to lean and it feels better than it should especially on long sweeping corners. For this reason alone, the bike deserves better tyres.

Honda Hornet 2.0
Great in the city & wherever the corners are!

The Hornet 2.0 is the recent proof why good suspension is sometimes even more important than the chassis itself. The non adjustable Showa front forks and the monoshock at the rear are tuned very well for our road conditions. This is something Honda has always shown. Its understanding of suspension tuning can never be overstated. And some others should definitely learn.

Besides, it has a number of modern features that are now becoming common in motorcycles of all sizes, such as the all-LED lighting. The console is not TFT but LCD and it doesn’t show the information in fancy colours, and I’m absolutely fine with it.

The Hornet 2.0 is definitely a good looking motorcycle but I would prefer less bodywork around the tail section. That will make it appear sleek. All things considered, at 1.28 lakhs ex-showroom Delhi, it is also a good value.

I would say when you consider such a motorcycle remember that this is a simple machine in a stylish bodywork. Keep your expectations likewise because when it’s something like the Hornet 2.0, it will likely turn out to be better in ways you may not expect.

Yes, it’s a simple, basic, no nonsense motorcycle with a 184cc air cooled engine making 17 horsepower!


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