Transforming the Honda Hornet: A Custom Creation by Francis Von Tuto in Italy
Transforming the Honda Hornet: A Custom Creation by Francis Von Tuto in Italy
1 month ago Custom
Sponsored by Moto Animals

Honda has a rich history of crafting middleweight motorcycles known for their impressive performance but often lacking in visual appeal. Take, for instance, the mid-2000s Honda CB600F Hornet, which boasts excellent handling, just under 100 horsepower, and the renowned Honda reliability, but falls short in the looks department.

Surprisingly, custom Honda Hornets are a rare sight, which is a missed opportunity considering the potential hidden within these punchy four-cylinder naked bikes. If handled with care and expertise, they can be transformed into true beauties.

Enter the custom 2006 Honda CB600F Hornet (also known as the Honda 599 in the US) crafted by Francis Von Tuto in the picturesque city of Florence, Italy. Francis is no stranger to the world of older Japanese sportbikes, and he approached this project with a clear vision of turning this bike from bland to breathtaking. However, before the transformation could commence, Francis had to get his client on board.

From the client's perspective, the project had a rocky start. Initially, the bike had been entrusted to a different custom builder, a close friend of Francis, who specialized in performance bikes and managed a WorldSBK race team. Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, that workshop only managed to strip the bike down.

This is where Francis stepped in to take over the project. Although the client agreed to the change, he understandably felt frustrated about having to convey his ideas to a new workshop. However, one glance at Francis's portfolio reassured him, and the two gradually built a strong working relationship.

Francis explains, "He initially had ideas that didn't quite align with the build's style or sometimes posed challenges to the bike's functionality. Finding inspiration on the internet can be tricky since there's everything from high-end builds to showpieces that can't be ridden. It's often hard for the average enthusiast to discern the difference. After several iterations and discussions, we managed to find common ground. This situation isn't uncommon, and I completely understand it. Fortunately, in the end, we reached a compromise, and everything fell into place."

One of the Honda CB600F Hornet's downsides, apart from its long and tall rear frame section, is its bulky tank. The owner insisted on keeping it, so Francis had to devise a new design that accommodated it. This meant bidding farewell to the exhaust, dashboard, and headlight, while also shortening and narrowing the rear section without compromising passenger comfort.

Francis initiated the transformation by reworking the Hornet's subframe, a challenging task in itself. The original subframe was a rectangular tube design intended to be concealed under bodywork, but the redesign required it to be exposed. Francis trimmed the end, removed unnecessary tabs, and introduced a new rear loop fabricated from round tubing.

Special attention was given to ensure that the new configuration didn't affect the rear suspension geometry and still allowed space for a passenger. Subsequently, Francis shaped a fiberglass seat pan, which was handed over to BF Tappezzerie, an automotive upholsterer in Florence, for the final touches. The seat now features double-density foam and a vinyl cover, complete with stitching details as per the owner's request.

Further down the bike, Francis eliminated the Hornet's airbox to achieve a slimmer profile. Alloy side panels now flank the bike, wrapping around the remnants of the rectangular subframe to create a more unified look. Concealed behind these panels are a Lithium-ion battery, a coolant reservoir, and essential electrical components.

BMC filters with red bases, matching the bike's other red accents, handle the intake duties. Additionally, Francis installed a stage three performance kit from Dynojet to ensure the bike's smooth operation with the open filters.

While retaining the Hornet's upside-down forks and 17" alloy wheels, Francis opted for a fork rebuild. Above the front wheel, an elegantly sculpted fender, reminiscent of modern sportbikes, was carefully handcrafted from aluminum using traditional techniques. It wasn't sourced from elsewhere; Francis shaped it using an English wheel, hammer, and sheet roller.

The bike's owner supplied a new LED headlight, but the rest of the cockpit layout was left to Francis. He mounted the headlight on aluminum brackets and added a laser-cut fly screen above it. A flush-mounted laser-cut dashboard hosts a digital Motogadget speedometer, while low-rise handlebars and bar-end mirrors complete the cockpit's aesthetics.

To ensure the bike remained street-legal and practical, Francis crafted several additional components for the rear. A fiberglass hugger keeps debris away from the rear shock, while laser-cut stainless steel brackets securely hold the license plate, connected to new CNC-machined chain adjuster plates. A custom-made chain guard completes the rear assembly.

Up front, Highsider LED turn signals were installed, with three-in-one Highsider units serving as both turn signals and taillights at the rear. The Hornet's finishing touch includes a pair of striking stainless steel mufflers connected to the OEM headers via a custom connector pipe.

#Custom #HondaHornet #CB600F #Honda

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