Honda launched an all-out attack on Royal Enfield with its CB350. The Japanese bikemaker officially launched the H’ness CB350 in India yesterday. It retails at a special starting price of INR 1.85 lac (ex-showroom, Gurugram, Haryana). Available in two variants, DLX and DLX Pro, the latter retails at INR 1.90 lakh (ex-showroom, Gurgaon). These prices are introductory and could be hiked in the future. Though we haven’t ridden it yet, we did get a chance to have a detailed conversation with his H’ness up and close. And here’s how the conversation went!
As far as looks go, it does look like a proper retro cruiser. Honda has gone all retro when it comes to its styling but this thing doesn’t belong to the ’80s as it features some modern design bits as well. Honda has included a round LED headlamp setup with the package. It won’t justify the H’ness moniker without a little bit of Chrome, right? The front and rear fenders are covered in chrome and so is the exhaust unit and the headlamp assembly. The DLX version will be available in Precious Red Metallic, Pearl Night Star Black, and Matte Marshal Green Metallic. On the other hand, the Pro version will be available in dual-tone shades of Athletic Blue Metallic with Virtuous White, Pearl Night Star Black with Spear Silver Metallic, and Matte Steel Black Metallic with Matte Massive Grey Metallic.
It does look bigger than its rivals and it works in its favour because being compact doesn’t necessarily go with being retro. At the end of the day, it is all about authoritarian styling, right? It is a very well built motorcycle, in a typical Honda fashion.
Engine and other specs
The CB350 is powered by a 348cc air-cooled single that churns out 21bhp and 30Nm. The long-stroke engine features a balancer to keep vibrations in check. And it does work! When we revved the H’ness in the closed compounds of the Big Wing Showroom, it turned out to be a smooth affair. We hope it remains the same when we get to ride it as well.
Honda has particularly focused on its acoustics and that is pretty evident because the H’ness CB350 does sound like a proper thumper. Its 5-speed gearbox is assisted by a segment-first slipper clutch which will make the gear shifts smoother while reducing clutch lever operation load ensuring less fatigue. This new motor rests in a split half-duplex frame that is suspended by a chunky telescopic fork and twin shocks. It tips the scale at 181 kg.
Anchoring the motorcycle is a large 310mm disc brake up front and 240mm rear disc providing adequate braking performance which is further assisted by dual-channel ABS. The Honda Highness cruiser bike also comes with Honda Selectable Torque Control. It helps in maintaining rear-wheel traction by detecting the difference between front and rear wheel speeds, calculating the slip ratio and further controlling engine torque via the fuel injection. HSTC can be turned ON/OFF using a switch on the left side of the meter.
It might look retro but it packs some modern features such as Bluetooth-enabled navigation, telephony, music control and LED headlamps. It also comes with Honda Smartphone Voice Control System which allows the rider to connect his smartphone with the motorcycle via Bluetooth through HSVCS application.
Once connected, the rider can operate the system with controls on the left side of the handlebar to use distinct features such as phone calls, navigation, music playback and incoming messages.
The instrument cluster is a semi-digital unit where the speedometer has remained old-school and the digital display carrying the baton of all-things modern. The digital display includes a gear position indicator, Bluetooth indicator, fuel gauge, two trip meters, a clock and all the required tell-tale lights which also include a Battery health monitor, HSTC, ABS, side stand indicator with engine inhibitor, ECO indicator. The ride experience is further enriched with fuel efficiency details displayed in 3 modes – real-time mileage, average mileage and distance to empty.
We can’t wait to take out the Honda H’ness CB350 on a long ride to decipher whether this nobleman has arrived to claim the kingdom or is it just another passerby! Chances are, it might fall on the former side!