Honda has finally launched its 350cc motorcycle, the CB350, in a segment dominated by the Royal Enfield Classic 350. Speaking about the design, both bikes dial back the years with a modern keypad. The Classic 350 offers signature war-era design while on the other hand, the Honda H’ness CB350 takes inspiration from Honda’s bigger CB series bikes.
In terms of dimensions, the Honda CB350 measures 2,163 mm in length, a width of 800 mm and a height of 1,107 mm. The bike’s wheelbase stands at 1,441 mm while Ground Clearance is measured at 166 mm. The total Kerb Weight of the motorcycle is 181 kg, which includes a 15 litres fuel tank. Seat Height stands at 800 mm. The Royal Enfield Classic 350 measures 2160 mm in length, along with a width of 790 mm and height of 1090 mm. The bike weighs slightly heavier, at 195 kg and comes with a slightly smaller fuel tank, of 13.5 litres.
Engine and Performance:
On the performance front, the Royal Enfield Classic 350 comes with BS6 compliant engine, with a bigger catalytic converter, electronic fuel injection system, an O2 sensor and a temperature sensor. The motorcycle comes with a 350cc, single-cylinder engine that produces 19bhp of power and 28Nm of torque. The engine still shouts for refinement and the bike’s infamous vibrations are still present at high RPMs. However, RE has added a fuel injector to the BS6 variant of the bike to improve throttle response.
The Honda H’ness CB350 comes with a new 348.36cc single-cylinder air-cooled long-stroke engine that produces 20bhp of power at 5500rpm and 30Nm of torque at 3000rpm. This makes it a better performer on paper, compared to the RE classic 350. Honda has said that the bike will arrive with a Selectable Torque Control System, which will make it the only bike in the segment to offer such features. To make things worse for the Royal Enfield Classic 350, Honda has also added Main shaft coaxial balancer, placed on the cylinder to eliminate both primary & secondary vibrations from the CB350.
On the features front, just the name of Royal Enfield is enough for the bullet fans. The motorcycle was never meant to be a feature-packed product. Mechanically, it comes with 35mm telescopic forks at the front with 130mm travel and 5-step adjustable gas-charged twin shocks at the rear. The bike still gets the old halogen headlamp, and the Classic 350 still lacks the fuel gauge.
Apart from these, some of the important features include dual-channel ABS, a side-stand inhibitor that stops the motorcycle from moving forward if the rider forgets to lift the stand up and the bike provides a fuel economy of 30-40 kmpl.
On the other hand, the Honda H’Ness CB350 comes with a host of features, such as semi-digital instrumentation with a small digital inset which can show two trip meters, an odometer, a fuel gauge, a clock and a gear position indicator. In fact, the DLX Pro model will also get Bluetooth connectivity that enables turn-by-turn navigation, call/music controls and more. Apart from this, the bike gets dual-channel ABS and an LED headlight and rear tail lights. Some segment-first features include an assist clutch, smartphone pairing system and as we have already mentioned, the HSTC (Honda Selectable Torque Control). The CB350 will arrive in two variants- DLX and DLX Pro. As mentioned above, the latter will come with dual-tone colours, two horns, and Honda’s smartphone voice control system, through which, users can control Navigation, incoming call alert, message and music control via Bluetooth.
Price and Verdict:
The base variant of Royal Enfield Classic 350 is priced at INR 1.65 Lakh (Ex-showroom), while the top-of-the-line Chrome variant with dual-channel ABS is priced at INR 1.84 Lakh (Ex-showroom). On the other hand, the Honda H’ness CB350 will be priced slightly more, starting at INR 1.90 Lakh (Ex-showroom).
If you compare the price of the BS6 Classic 350 with its rivals, including the CB350, the Classic 350 turns out to be the most affordable of the lot. Sure, it doesn’t pack the performance and equipment, which the CB350 offers, at least on paper. But the most important aspect here is that the Classic 350 is not bought by Indian customers for its features. It is bought for the legacy and the unmatched signature Royal Enfield thump. However, if you don’t mind paying the extra premium and if you are looking for some segment-first and modern features under a retro-looking motorcycle, in that case, the Honda’s CB350 will tug at your heart. We’ll be back soon with a detailed ride review.