Have you ever heard of the Honda CB600F Hornet? If you live in Europe, there's a better than average chance that you have. Maybe you even owned one for a time. On the other hand, you may not have the foggiest idea what this is if you live in the United States, because it was known under a different name there. Called the 599, it was a tamer version of a top dirt bike made by the company, but production on it ended in 2013. It was a popular bike that had been sold by the company for years, one that a lot of people wish was still available. If you're wondering why so many people are missing it after all these years, keep reading.
What Made This Bike So Special?
In reality, there are a lot of things that made it special, not the least of which included the same performance you could expect of a sportbike that could win a race, any day of the week, with the added comfort of a touring bike. This particular motorcycle combines these two things flawlessly. It had more than enough speed and performance to compete with anything out there. As a matter of fact, it probably could have gone to the track and held its own with very few, if any modifications whatsoever. That said, it had a bigger seat with a slightly different seating position than the dedicated racing bikes. The end result was something that was far more comfortable to ride over long distances, all without giving up anything on the performance side of things. The fact that there was nothing else quite like it available during its production run made it even more special. Furthermore, Honda continued to improve on its overall design from the time that they started making these bikes in 1998 up until the last one was rolled off the assembly line for the 2013 model year. There was also one more thing that made them special. The 599 version that was available in the United States was not quite the same thing as the CB600F that was available in Europe. As a matter of fact, there were quite a few design changes that made the 599 a far more stripped-down dirt bike version. The CB600F was simply not available in the United States and that made it somewhat exclusive because there was only a relatively small amount of the population that ever had the opportunity to get their hands on one in the first place.
If you're wondering how the bike got the name 599 that was used in the United States, it's because its engine was a 599cc in-line engine that was married to a six-speed transmission. That's enough to give it plenty of power, but Honda went the extra mile and created something that was also comfortable to ride. That's a big deal because a lot of the high performance bikes are also some of the most uncomfortable motorcycles that have ever been designed. In this particular case, the comfort came from the aforementioned enlarged seat and the slightly different seating position, coupled with a single heavy duty shock in the rear and an upside down fork in the front. Rounding out the configuration, the bike also featured large disc brakes in both the front and the back to provide plenty of stopping power, even when the bike was traveling at a fairly high rate of speed. As far as the inverted front fork was concerned, it was introduced to provide better cornering stability. It also made the bike easier to handle in general, thus improving the overall comfort level on long rides.
It can get difficult to keep up with the different versions of the bike because there were so many available from the time that production started in 1998 until it ended in 2013. As previously mentioned, there was also a special version that was only available in the United States, the 599. This was not the same bike as the CB600F Hornet and was only available for a couple of years before it was discontinued in that country. As a result, it's easy for people to get relatively confused about this particular bike. Even as recently as the year before it was discontinued, the company was still making major changes to it. One of those changes included adding a front fairing that made the bike look and perform far differently than its predecessors. It made it more aerodynamic, which not only made it easier to handle, but increased its speed a little bit as well. It also dramatically improved its appearance, making it look more like a high-end Touring bike than anything else. The end result was a bike that everyone wanted to get their hands on. It's surprising that Honda decided to discontinue production the next year, especially given the fact that this bike, which had arguably enjoyed one of the longer production runs in history, was seemingly at the peak of its popularity when production was discontinued.
As a matter of fact, the bike has not been in production for eight years now and people still miss it. It's become something that is quite sought-after on the used motorcycle market, making it a fairly hot commodity. The problem is, it hasn't been in production for almost a decade. That means that the few examples that are available for sale are getting older, needing more and more maintenance in order to keep them in top condition. It also means that anyone who wants to get their hands on one of these bikes is going to have to do a lot of work in order to find one that's in really good shape. The situation does benefit one group of people, however. If you just happen to have one of these bikes lying around that's in near-perfect condition, you can definitely command a premium price for it right now, as there are plenty of people that would love to buy one for themselves.
Written by Benjamin Smith
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