Soar High: Italy’s Francis Von Tuto Crafts a Unique Honda Hornet

Honda is known for producing motorcycles that are highly capable, but often lacking in visual appeal. One such example is the mid-2000s Honda CB600F Hornet, a bike that offers good performance and reliability, but falls short in the looks department. It’s a shame that there aren’t many custom Honda Hornets out there, as these bikes have the potential to be transformed into something beautiful.

Fortunately, Francis Von Tuto from Florence, Italy, saw the potential in the Honda CB600F Hornet and decided to take on the challenge of customizing one. He is no stranger to older Japanese sportbikes and had a clear vision for how he wanted to transform this particular Hornet. However, before he could begin the project, he needed to get his client on board.

The project got off to a rocky start, as the bike had originally been given to another custom builder who was unable to complete the job. Francis stepped in and the client agreed to let him take over, although he was understandably frustrated about having to explain his ideas all over again. However, after seeing Francis’ portfolio, the client’s concerns were eased, and they began working together to bring the project to life.

One of the challenges of the Honda CB600F Hornet is its unattractive rear frame section and bulky tank, which the owner insisted on keeping. Francis had to work around these limitations and came up with a new design that would make the bike more visually appealing while still maintaining comfort for a passenger.

Francis started by reworking the subframe of the Hornet, cutting off the end and welding in a new rear loop made from round tubing. He also shaped a seat pan out of fiberglass and had it finished by an auto upholsterer. To slim down the bike further, he removed the airbox and replaced it with alloy side panels that wrap around the subframe.

To improve performance, Francis installed a stage three performance kit from Dynojet and added BMC filters with red bases that match other red accents on the bike. The forks and wheels were retained but required a rebuild, and Francis added a sculpted aluminum fender above the front wheel that he shaped himself.

For the cockpit, Francis installed a LED headlight and created a custom layout using low-rise handlebars, bar-end mirrors, and a laser-cut fly screen and dashboard with a digital Motogadget speedo. To make the bike street-legal and practical, he also added a fiberglass hugger, laser-cut stainless steel brackets for the license plate, and a custom-made chain guard. LED turn signals from Highsider were used, and the bike was finished off with stainless steel mufflers.

The owner of the Hornet wanted the bike to match his Jeep, so Francis enlisted the help of an illustrator friend known as The Junkers to create a livery with numbers on the side panels, black accents on the tank, and classic Honda logos.

Overall, the transformed Honda CB600F Hornet is a testament to the potential these bikes have when placed in the hands of a skilled customizer like Francis Von Tuto. The end result is a visually appealing and highly capable machine that stands out from the crowd.