As the days spin out and we get closer to 2023, motorcycle OEMs continue to roll out their latest and greatest new machinery. On September 9, 2022, it wasn’t a new motorcycle that Honda Europe pulled the covers away from. Instead, it was an entirely new engine—the beating heart of the revived Honda Hornet.
Rumors of an all-new 750cc engine from Team Red have been swirling for quite some time. Although the firm already has a solid 745cc parallel twin that currently powers the NC750X, Forza 750, and X-ADV, it was understood that this would be a completely new and different engine. Up until now, though, those were just rumors.
Today, though, Honda is finally spilling the beans on its newest moto mill, at long last. Official text, we must caution, does still refer to the bike as “the Hornet concept.” What gives this concept its flying (and stinging) power? The new engine is a 755cc, parallel twin, eight-valve Unicam unit. It makes a claimed 92 horsepower at 9,500 rpm, as well as 55.3 pound-feet of torque at 7,250 rpm. As seems to be de rigeur in other parallel twin mills from other OEMs in this class, it features a 270-degree crankshaft.
The existing 745cc parallel twin, by comparison, makes around a claimed 58 horsepower at 6,750 rpm and 51 pound-feet of torque at 4,750 rpm. There may only be 10cc of nominal displacement difference between them, but it’s quite clear just from these numbers that there are significant differences in intended purpose for each engine. The new Hornet mill is clearly going to be showier, go-ier—and, if we may be so bold as to predict, probably also a bit more fun.
“The Hornet has always been a very special motorcycle for Honda. Exciting and engaging performance has always been combined with flexible and agile handling,” Honda deputy director of major projects, Fuyuki Hosokawa, said in a statement.
“Before starting this project, we thought a lot about what kind of performance we wanted to give the driver. We knew it was essential to maintain the classic Hornet's peak power "punch" and at the same time, as a new generation Hornet for modern times, we wanted the engine to have a really strong torquey feel and a "throbbing" feel. in the low to mid rev range,” he continued.
“To get the kind of performance and lightweight handling we wanted, we knew we had to develop an entirely new short-stroke twin engine with a 270° crankshaft. This would not only deliver that peak power, but also the sporty low-end torque, ideal for driving in urban environments and coming out of corners on the highway. For us, the Hornet has always been the epitome of the streetfighter concept and this new Hornet concept proudly continues this tradition,” Hosokawa concluded.
Does the timing of this revelation mean that we’ll be seeing a less-conceptual Honda Hornet at EICMA? It’s impossible to say for sure, but we can certainly hope. Also, is this the engine that will also power the new Transalp 750? That seems like a distinct possibility.