2006 honda hornet 599

As a new company it’s hard not to try to hit a home run with every build. When Jacob Henley, founder of Nashville’s Salemtown Board Co. approached us with a meager budget and an exciting donor, we were aiming for the fence to say the least. Down with a full count in the bottom of the ninth, we’ll let you be the judge..

Now a pastor for the Axis Church, Jacob had quite a few ideas on how to set his 2006 Honda Hornet 599 apart from the pack. He wanted an apocalyptic ride, aggressive and honest to the nature of the Hornet. The build had to be raw, with an aesthetic that was born both out of utility and style.

A true streetfighter, the build process was a fight from the start. Tough tank lines and a hideous rear fairing made the budget minded task seem impossible.

“We knew what we wanted, we just didn’t know how to do it or how we were going to pay for it.”

What started as a simple make over quickly became the full treatment. The stance had to be tight, but still comfortable for a taller rider. This meant a custom fabricated rear subframe, custom seat and hand shaped side covers. Cutting the stock subframe meant no return -- we had opened Pandora’s box. The stock coolant reservoir, a chunky piece of white plastic became an obvious eyesore. The brake fluid reservoir, now exposed with no mounting brackets had to be relocated. Adding to the mess, we still had to find a clever way mount the taillight and license plate. Using an aftermarket 18 oz Coolant Reservoir from Weapon-R tucked deep into the swingarm, two auxiliary reservoirs from Dime City Cycles sit angled out beneath the subframe, for coolant and brake fluid, respectively. Exposed for ease of access, their use also satisfied the aesthetic intent for the rear - a balance between form and function. Between the reservoirs attached to the remainder of the stock subframe is the license plate, hidden deep in the wheel well for that questionably legal attitude. A Flexible Turn & Brake LED Tail Light from Revival Cycles was attached to the rear frame to keep from muddying the simple lines.

A Sandy Beige Vinyl seat from Street Sounds Upholstery breaks up the darker details of the bike while playing off the copper Nissin brake calipers and engine nuances. Instead of fighting the angular lines of the stock tank, the juxtaposition of bends are embraced with a RAM Air intake, a detail taken from the original Hornet side covers. Perforated Aluminum and elevated brushed steel elements divide the bends and curves while creating a visual depth. The stock speedometer was lowered, hidden behind a new asymmetric gauge fairing made in house. The headlight was sprayed yellow, and lower profile turn signals replaced the bulky OEM Honda lights. For budgetary restrictions existing handlebars and controls were kept.

The passenger foot pegs were trimmed to make way for a partial custom exhaust. Two Cone Engineering Quiet-er Core Stainless Steel 12” Mufflers stem from the stock headers, giving the inline four a deep muzzled growl. The front fender was dropped and a custom radiator guard was fabricated out of perforated aluminum. A pair of Continental Trail Attack Dual Sport Tires were mounted, lending to the Hornet’s brutish mentality.

What we created was a bully, aggressive and unapologetic -- just as a Hornet should be.

Photos by Emilia Paré, @emiliapare & Danielle Vichinsky, @daniellevee