The Honda H'Ness CB 350 is the neo-retro roadster from Honda and will compete in the high volumes 350-500 cc modern classic motorcycle segment that is dominated by the Royal Enfield Classic 350. The Honda H'Ness (you can call it that, or just go with the better model name, CB 350), carries the Honda CB series name, and prices will begin at around ₹ 1.90 lakh (Ex-showroom, Delhi) for the base Honda H'Ness CB 350 DLX variant. Exact prices will be announced at a later date, and the top-spec variant, the CB 350 DLX Pro, will get a slightly higher price.
Design and Features
The Honda CB 350, also called the Honda H'Ness CB 350, carries a modern classic design, in line with the Honda CB series roadsters from the Japanese brand's history. More specifically, the design is reminiscent of the Honda CB roadsters from the 1960s and 1970s. The CB 350 oozes old world charm but also boasts of a long list of state-of-the-art features, including some best-in-class features.
The round retro-styled headlight has that classic charm, but is LED, as is the old-world taillight. The turn indicators feature ring-type winkers, with illumination limited to a ring around the round-shaped blinkers. The speedometer is a single-pod analogue unit in a nod to the classic lines, but also features a digital screen with a long list of features, including gear position indicator, distance to empty, average fuel consumption, real-time fuel consumption figures, battery voltage meter and a fuel gauge. The tell-tale lights feature a side-stand indicator which also acts as an engine inhibitor.
There's Honda Selectable Torque Control, or HSTC (Honda-speak for traction control system), a segment-first, as well as Honda Smartphone Voice Control system. A riding interface installed on a smartphone can be accessed through Bluetooth, and supports major features such as navigation, music playback, phone calls and incoming messages. All these can be accessed through and toggled through the left handlebar switchcube, and the information will be communicated through a helmet-mounted headset. The headset though needs to be purchased separately.
Engine, Gearbox and Specifications
The engine is a 348.36 cc, four-stroke, air-cooled, overhead cam unit which makes 20.8 bhp of power at 5,500 rpm and 30 Nm of peak torque at just 3,000 rpm. The engine is said to be without vibrations, and considering it gets a coaxial counter balancer, it should be a refined unit.
The 5-speed gearbox can be accessed via a slipper clutch with assist function which requires less load on the clutch lever, compared to a regular clutch. The slipper function reduces unpleasant shocks during aggressive downshifting and will prevent the wheel from locking up.
The exhaust note that was played out during the digital launch is bassy, with a pronounced 'thump', and sounds great. The tail pipe has a diameter of 45 mm for producing a low-pitched exhaust note. A single one-chamber structure has been adopted in the expansion chamber, giving the CB 350 a crisp, yet pronounced thump that is sure to find fans who are used to the Royal Enfield Classic 350's exhaust note.
Chassis & Cycle Parts
The engine is mounted on a steel half duplex cradle frame which is said to offer a soft steering feel, and in turn offer balanced riding and stability. According to Honda, the load allocated to the front is optimised by mounting the engine at a low position to lower the centre of gravity, improving the stability and handling of the bike.
Wheels are alloy-type, shod with tubeless tyres from MRF. The front 19-inch wheel is said to offer greater stability in different riding conditions, and the rear 18-inch wheel is shod with a 130 mm wide rear tyre for better overall road grip. Both wheels get brake discs, with a 310 mm single disc on the front wheel, and a 240 mm disc on the rear wheel. Dual-channel anti-lock braking system (ABS) is standard.
The Honda CB 350 is HMSI's shot at the 350-500 cc modern classic segment, dominated by the Royal Enfield Classic 350. The Honda CB 350 will take on the Classic 350, as well as other rivals like the Jawa and Benelli Imperiale 400. The CB 350 will also go head-to-head against the upcoming Royal Enfield Meteor 350.
Price & Variants
The Honda H'Ness CB 350 will be available in two variants, CB 350 DLX and CB 350 DLX Pro. The DLX Pro variant will get dual-tone colours, and will feature the Honda Smartphone Voice Control System, which the DLX variant will not get. HMSI is expected to announce exact state-wise prices for the Honda CB 350 in October, and prices are set to begin at around ₹ 1.90 lakh (Ex-showroom, Delhi) for the DLX variant, while the DLX Pro variant will be slightly more expensive. Bookings have already begun for ₹ 5,000 on the Honda Two Wheelers website, and the bike is available on display at Honda BigWing dealerships.