Bike India

His Royal H’ness Has Arrived

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Story:

Azaman Chothia

The Honda CB models date back to the 1960s, starting with the introducti­on of the CB50. Since then, Honda have introduced various iterations of models ranging all the way up to 1,300 cc (CB1300 Super Four). Honda were always a step ahead with the CB models and introduced many revolution­ary changes to the motorcycle­s.

The original Honda CB350 was produced between 1968 and 1973. It was powered by a 325.6-cc, parallel twin-cylinder, four-stroke engine. The next was the Honda CB350F, which was one of the first four-cylinder, four-stroke, 347-cc motorcycle­s of its time. It was manufactur­ed in Japan between 1972 and 1974. What we have now is the Honda H’ness CB 350 which will be made in India and currently is an exclusive product for our market.

The new Honda H’ness CB 350 retains the original look of the CB models with its classic design elements. The bike features a round LED headlight, round indicators, a curved tank, a single-piece seat, and a goodlookin­g exhaust which has quite an engaging sound thanks to its 45-mm diameter pipe. The design pays homage to the models from the 1970s and, at first glance, looks like it has a really premium build quality. The 15-litre fuel-tank should be good enough for longer rides as well as touring needs.

The bike has been built around a half-duplex cradle frame to offer a soft steering feel. Honda say that the load allocated to the front has been optimized by mounting the engine at a low position to lower the centre of gravity. A kerb weight of 181 kilograms makes this motorcycle slightly lighter as compared to its main competitor, the Royal Enfield Classic 350.

There will be two variants of the Honda H’ness CB 350 on sale: DLX and DLX Pro. Distinguis­hing the two will be dual-tone colour options, smartphone voice control, and a dual horn. Mechanical­ly, both variants will be the same.

To keep the price in check and considerin­g many other factors, the Honda H’ness CB 350 uses a 348.36-cc, single-cylinder, aircooled engine that puts out 21 hp at 5,500 rpm and a peak torque of 30 Nm at 3,000 rpm. It is mated to a five-speed gearbox. The bike also gets a slipper-clutch which makes things easy when constant gearshifts are required and it also improves the feel of engine braking.

This long-stroke engine uses a weight that has been added to the main shaft located at the rear of the cylinder to balance the position and mass with the balancer shaft located in the front of the cylinder. Honda say that this has helped them keep vibrations in check. We await a ride to tell you all about how refined the engine really is. offers a variety of informatio­n to the rider. It will be controlled through an applicatio­n and supports features such as turn-byturn navigation, music playback, phone calls, and text messages. A rider can toggle through the informatio­n using the buttons on the left side of the handlebar which will change function as per the feature accessed and informatio­n will be communicat­ed through the headset.

Then we have Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC), which is the manufactur­er’s patent for traction control. The system works to avoid rear-wheel slip which is caused by applying abrupt throttle inputs and gives the rider a sense of security.

The digi-analogue console offers a decent amount of informatio­n such as distance to empty, gear position, battery voltage meter, real-time mileage, and average mileage. The digital panel is quite small and the large analogue speedomete­r retains the classic bike feel.

Other features include an engine start/stop switch for added convenienc­e, a hazard-light switch, and a side-stand indicator which also keeps the engine from starting when the side-stand is down.

It was recently announced that the Honda H’ness CB350 would be offered at an introducto­ry price of Rs 1.85 lakh for the DLX variant and Rs 1.90 lakh for the DLX Pro variant (both prices ex-showroom). This is an aggressive price-point for a motorcycle that is being offered through the manufactur­er’s premium BigWing dealership­s. It will go up directly against the likes of the Royal Enfield Classic 350, the upcoming Royal Enfield Meteor 350, and the Benelli Imperiale 400.

November 2020

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