It is an exciting time for motorcycle enthusiasts. On one hand, Royal Enfield launched the first all-new 350 cc motorcycle model in over 10 years, the Meteor 350. And on the other, Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India pre-empted that by introducing the H'Ness CB350 and it is a segment where Honda has never operated before in India. Both models go up squarely against each other in terms of pricing, specifications and to a large extent, the target audience as well. We are dying to ride both motorcycles together and get you a proper comprehensive comparison review. But till then, here's a comprehensive look at how both 350 cc modern classic bikes stack up against each other.
Also Read: Royal Enfield Meteor 350 Review
The looks and design of any motorcycle are always a personal choice. The CB350 looks period correct and gets the vibe of the 60s and 70s right! The round headlight, simple fuel tank, one single side panel and a long seat and the colour combinations on offer make the CB350 look old-school cool! The Meteor 350 takes a page out of the Thunderbird's design. The teardrop-shaped fuel tank, windscreen and the small backrest for the pillion rider gives it the quintessential cruiser look. The good news is that both models have excellent fit and finish and the quality, especially on the RE Meteor 350 has gone up several notches compared to the Thunderbird 350.
Also Read: Honda H'Ness CB350 Deliveries Begin In India
Now, on to the heart of the matter! Both motorcycles get very similar specifications. Their respective engines have almost the same displacement and the power figures too are similar. But maximum power on the Honda comes in 600 rpms earlier at 5,500 rpm compared 6,100 rpm of the Royal Enfield. The CB350 makes 3 Nm of torque more than the Meteor 350 and maximum torque comes in 1,000 rpms earlier. Plus, the H'Ness CB350 gets a slip and assist clutch too and is 10 kg lighter than the Meteor 350. On paper, the CB350 seems to be a friendlier prospect when riding on city roads. The Royal Enfield though has more accessible seat height at 765 mm compared to Honda's seat height of 800 mm.
|Specifications||Royal Enfield Meteor 350||Honda H'Ness CB350|
|Displacement||349 cc||348.36 cc|
|Max Output||20.2 bhp at 6,100 rpm||20.78 bhp at 5,500 rpm|
|Peak Torque||27 Nm at 4,000 rpm||30 Nm at 3,000 rpm|
|Transmission||5-speed gearbox||5-speed gearbox (slip & assist clutch)|
|Starting Price (ex-Delhi)||₹ 1.75 lakh||₹ 1.85 lakh|
|Ground Clearance||170 mm||166 mm|
|Kerb Weight||191 kg||181 kg|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||15 litres||15 litres|
|ABS||Dual-channel ABS||Dual-channel ABS|
|Frame Type||Twin Downtube Spine||Half-Duplex Cradle|
|Suspension (F/R)||41 mm telescopic/twin shocks||41 mm telescopic/twin shocks|
|Brakes (F/R)||300 mm disc/270 mm disc||310 mm disc/240 mm disc|
|Seat Height||765 mm||800 mm|
Now, both motorcycles are completely new models ground up. The Royal Enfield Meteor 350 uses a new twin downtube spine, while the Honda H'Ness CB350 uses a half-duplex cradle. Both bikes get 41 mm telescopic forks up front and twin shock absorbers at the rear. The Meteor 350 get a 300 mm disc up front and 270 mm disc at the rear while the CB350 gets a 310 mm disc up front and a 240 mm disc at the rear. Both models get a 15-litre fuel tank, which means no frequent filling up when going on long rides.
This is where the H'Ness CB350 trumps the Meteor 350. The CB350 gets full LED lighting while the Meteor gets a halogen bulb along with an LED daytime running light ring around the headlight. Both bikes get a part digital part analogue instrument console but the RE gets a smaller, separate LCD display for clock and turn-by-turn navigation accessed through the Royal Enfield Tripper app with Bluetooth connectivity.
The CB350 also gets Bluetooth connectivity and Honda's Smartphone Voice Control System that connects via Honda RoadSync app and allows the rider to access phone calls, messages etc through a helmet headset. Do note that the helmet headset is not a part of the overall motorcycle package. It needs to be bought separately. Lastly, both motorcycles get dual-channel ABS as standard.
Pricing and variants
The Honda H'Ness CB350 gets two variants - DLX and DLX Pro, which are priced at ₹ 1.85 lakh and ₹ 1.90 lakh respectively. The three differences between the two are that the Pro model gets Honda's Smartphone Voice Control System, dual-horn and dual-tone colours. Rest everything stays the same. The Royal Enfield Meteor 350 gets three variants - Fireball, Stellar and Supernova. The base Meteor 350 Fireball is priced at ₹ 1.76 lakh. The mid-spec Meteor 350 Stellar priced at ₹ 1.81 lakh and the top-spec Meteor 350 Supernova variant priced at ₹ 1.90 lakh. All prices are ex-showroom, Delhi).