What a 12 months this has been, no? 2020 has caused so many sudden occasions that you simply’d somewhat predict one thing at your personal peril. Take the case of the brand new Honda H’ness CB350, as an illustration. Who would’ve thought that the Japanese big would attempt to tackle the may of Royal Enfield, in a phase that it established and has dominated for eons? Does the H’ness CB350 have what it takes to enchantment to the passionate and emotionally fueled purchaser on this phase? 

(However, earlier than we go any additional, we might prefer to level out that the rationale we’re late with this assessment is as a result of Honda India seems to have stopped issuing take a look at bikes to the media. This assessment has change into potential because of one in every of our readers who was form sufficient to lend us his Honda H’ness CB350)

Honda H’ness CB350:  Styling and options 

The commonest issue that influences nearly each shopping for determination on this phase is the best way a bike appears to be like and Honda has been aware of that whereas penning the strains of the H’ness CB350. 

The very first thing that grabs your consideration is the lengthy and huge gasoline tank, with the 80’s fashion Honda badge that proudly declares its Japanese origins. Then there’s the matte-chrome fenders, spherical LED headlamp, flanked by all-time illuminated flip indicators (a la autos within the USA), stepped single-piece seat and the tail lamp which is neatly built-in, and completes the period-correct look. Additionally, these 18-inch alloys complement the elegant, modern-classic design of the bike.

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The spherical LED headlamp is flanked by all-time illuminated flip indicators.

By way of high quality, there aren’t any complaints in regards to the supplies used or the paint end. Our take a look at bike is the bottom DLX variant that will get a single-tone color and I used to be happy to see the metallic black paint glisten within the afternoon solar. For an additional Rs 5,000, the DLX Professional variant will get you dual-tone paint, twin horns (with chrome covers) and the Bluetooth enabled Honda Good Voice Management (HSVC) system. It permits the rider to pair a smartphone to the compact analogue-digital instrument cluster which alerts on incoming calls, reads out messages and performs music through a devoted Honda app. 

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The bottom DLX variant will get a single-tone color.

Nonetheless, one wants to put in aftermarket Bluetooth helmet audio system to make use of the characteristic as meant. Honda has additionally integrated a telephone charging level beneath the instrument cluster however it’s a fashionable Kind-C port and would require an adapter, in case you have received a standard USB port at one finish of a charging cable.

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Instrument cluster is a compact analogue-digital unit.

The match and end are of a excessive stage and H’ness CB350 exudes that stable, built-to-last really feel you’d anticipate of a bike that wears the ‘Honda’ badge. That mentioned, there are too many various finishes seen with over 4 shades of chrome, silver and matt black scattered throughout the bike and this does not look very cohesive. 

Honda H’ness CB350: Ergonomics

Upright and relaxed appears to be the mandate given to the crew behind setting the H’ness CB350’s using posture they usually’ve caught to the memo. As soon as seated on the flat and huge perch, you may discover that the pared again handlebar does not require you to stretch for it, whereas the foot pegs are positioned in a impartial place for a snug, all-day using posture. The controls fall at hand fairly naturally, nevertheless, the angle of the heel and toe portion of the gear shifter is raised a little bit too excessive on each ends which makes it cumbersome to make use of. We merely used the toe facet to shift up and down the 5-speed gearbox. 

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The seat is huge and comfy sufficient for brief to medium distance rides, however is not very supportive for lengthy durations.

In case you need to ferry a pillion, the seat is huge and comfy sufficient for brief to medium distance rides. Nonetheless, the seat is not very supportive for lengthy durations and a full day within the saddle, alternatively, must be punctuated with a couple of breaks.

Honda H’ness CB350: Engine and efficiency 

Now, onto an important half in regards to the assessment and that is the engine efficiency in the true world. However, earlier than we get to it, I’ve to confess that it is spectacular how loud and raspy the CB350’s exhaust be aware is, it packs a transparent thump, but additionally sounds fairly sporty when revved out and it is louder than the RE Meteor 350 and Traditional 350. 

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The exhaust be aware is loud, raspy, and sounds sporty when revved out.

Whereas Honda might have benchmarked the exhaust be aware on its arch rivals, it has given its personal flavour to the engine’s character and the general gearing. A fast look on the spec sheet exhibits that the 349cc, air-cooled single produces as a lot energy because the competitors however makes probably the most torque, at 30Nm and at a low 3,000rpm. This actually appears to be like encouraging on paper and the efficiency numbers show that it is a fast bike. 0-60kph comes up in 4.32s whereas the 100kph mark is crossed in 12.69s. The H’ness CB350 can be able to hitting 120kph with relative ease, and has an indicated prime pace of a little bit over 130kph. These in a rush will certainly just like the top-end efficiency of the bike.

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Nonetheless, Honda has taken the unusual determination to gear the bike fairly tall and H’ness CB350 loses out on low-speed tractability. The tall general gearing ends in a comparatively weak backside finish and staying in fifth under 60-70kph is a job. The bike additionally dislikes accelerating from 10-15 kph in second gear, say whereas using over a tall pace breaker. It’s obvious that one must be within the applicable gear and feed sufficient revs for swift progress on this machine. So, if you happen to had been on the lookout for a relaxed and lazy using expertise the H’ness CB350 does not ship in addition to it may have.

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Quite the opposite, there might be a set of people that will not thoughts this counter-balanced engine’s must be revved, particularly after noticing its refinement, even at excessive speeds. Actually, working the gearbox goes to be the order of the day whereas using the bike in day by day visitors however the fairly clean 5-speed gearbox, with an ultra-light slip and help clutch makes straightforward work of tackling the grind. The one gripe I’ve received is with the mushy, commuter bike-like really feel of the clutch lever, and it is not intuitive to search out the chew level, particularly on congested roads.

For these questioning about gasoline financial system, we did not have the bike lengthy sufficient to place it by way of our rigorous effectivity take a look at cycle, and that must look ahead to if/when Honda provides us a take a look at bike. 

Honda H’ness CB350: Journey and dealing with

Honda’s new cradle body, telescopic fork and twin-hydraulic shock absorber setup, is just like what we have seen on most modern-classic bikes on this phase and there is nothing extraordinary to report. 

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The H’ness CB 350 feels fairly planted and impartial in the best way it rides and handles. The journey high quality at low speeds is a little bit stiffer than the competitors nevertheless it stays composed because the pace rises. It’s fairly good at isolating the odd pothole as effectively and general, the journey setup is effectively judged, however not plush.

Round corners, the H’ness CB350 sticks to an meant line, with loads of grip from the MRF Zappers. Nonetheless, a little bit extra communication from the entrance finish would’ve resulted in additional confidence to push laborious, not that it is an vital factor for a motorbike of this kind. 

As for the switchable Honda Selectable Torque Management (HSTC) or traction management in layman’s language, it’s a pleasant characteristic to have, however not one thing wanted with this little energy. Even on free gravel roads, we solely managed to set off the system when aggressively whacking the throttle open. 

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The H’Ness options Honda Selectable Torque Management (HSTC) – a pleasant characteristic, however not important with this little energy.

On to braking, and the Nissin calipers biting on a 310mm entrance disc and 240mm rear disc convey the bike all the way down to a halt with none drama. Suggestions by way of the lever is respectable and the ABS is effectively calibrated in order to not intrude except needed.

Honda H’ness CB350: Conclusion 

The Honda H’ness CB350 is a results of fastidiously finding out the competitors whereas making an attempt to trump them by providing extra options. Add the refined engine, planted dynamics and the status of the Honda badge and this bike seems as a well-rounded product.

At a beginning value of Rs 1.85 lakh, the H’ness is priced decently, nevertheless it’s nonetheless Rs 10,000 greater than the bottom Royal Enfield Meteor 350. That mentioned, there might be many on the market who’ll just like the bike for what it’s, Honda followers or not. Though, with Honda’s plans to promote it solely out of the Massive Wing Dealership, it will not be accessible to everybody across the nation. There are only a handful of Massive Wing sellers operational as of penning this and Honda plans to have 50 showrooms open by March 2021.

The larger query is how this bike stacks up towards the Royal Enfield Meteor 350, and that is a solution we hope to disclose quickly.

Additionally see:

Honda H’ness CB350 first look video




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