Honda H’ness CB350 Review (First Ride): His Highness Takes On The Royals

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Honda Motorcycles & Scooters India (HMSI) has finally introduced a premium-yet-affordable retro-modern cruiser to its lineup, with the all-new H'ness CB 350. The all-new Honda H'ness CB 350 carries forward the brand's iconic 'CB' legacy with a host of modern touches, features and equipment.

The H'ness CB 350 is Honda's answer to Royal Enfield, which have dominated this segment of the two-wheeler market for a long time now. The CB 350 promises to come packed with features, equipment and a retro-modern styling, combined with the brand's signature levels of engine refinement and efficiency.

Honda H’ness CB350 Review (First Ride): Performance, Handling, Mileage, Specs, Features, Prices, Rivals, Variants & Other Details

The Honda H'ness CB 350 was launched in India back in October 2020. Finally, after the long wait, we have gotten our hands on the new premium retro-modern cruiser. So, does it live up to its promise and should the ‘Royals' be vary of His Highness? Let's find out!

Honda H’ness CB350 Review (First Ride): Performance, Handling, Mileage, Specs, Features, Prices, Rivals, Variants & Other Details

Design & Style

The Honda H'ness CB 350 is the brand's first premium 350cc cruiser motorcycle offering in India. It comes with a modern-classic design theme, taking inspiration from some of the brand's iconic ‘CB' offerings from back in the day.

Sticking to its retro design theme, the H'ness CB 350 comes packed with chrome all around. This includes the headlamp covers, front and rear fenders, handlebars, exhaust pipes, tail light covers and on the engine as well.

Honda H’ness CB350 Review (First Ride): Performance, Handling, Mileage, Specs, Features, Prices, Rivals, Variants & Other Details

Starting off with the front, the motorcycle comes with LED headlamps for both low and high beam functions. The headlamp unit comes surrounded by chrome elements as mentioned above.

Honda H’ness CB350 Review (First Ride): Performance, Handling, Mileage, Specs, Features, Prices, Rivals, Variants & Other Details

Flanking either side of the headlamp unit are circular LED turn signal indicators, which is a first-in-segment feature. The front-end can also be seen with chrome-finished fenders and telescopic forks for the suspension setup. The H'ness CB 350 comes with stylish alloy wheels, finished in Black on either end completing the look.

Honda H’ness CB350 Review (First Ride): Performance, Handling, Mileage, Specs, Features, Prices, Rivals, Variants & Other Details

Moving to the side, the Honda H'ness CB 350 comes with a large sculpted fuel tank (15-litre), finished in a range of single-tone and dual-tone colour options depending on the variant. The fuel tank also comes with the heritage-inspired badging, which features chrome-finished ‘HONDA' lettering; instead of the Honda Wings seen on most other models.

Honda H’ness CB350 Review (First Ride): Performance, Handling, Mileage, Specs, Features, Prices, Rivals, Variants & Other Details

The sides also showcase the single-piece seat on the CB 350, which is wide and offers good levels of comfort. Other elements are the slightly upswept exhaust pipes finished in chrome, the H'ness CB 350 badging below the rider's seat and many other chrome garnishes all around.

Honda H’ness CB350 Review (First Ride): Performance, Handling, Mileage, Specs, Features, Prices, Rivals, Variants & Other Details

The rear design of the Honda H'ness CB 350 carries forward the retro-modern design, with the chrome-finished fenders, which neatly integrates the housing for the taillights and the turn indicators, both of which are LED units.

Honda H’ness CB350 Review (First Ride): Performance, Handling, Mileage, Specs, Features, Prices, Rivals, Variants & Other Details

The Honda H'ness CB 350 seamlessly combines retro-styling with modern touches. The abundance of chrome is compensated by a number of blacked-out elements, including the alloy wheels, which give the motorcycle an aesthetically pleasing characteristic.

Honda H’ness CB350 Review (First Ride): Performance, Handling, Mileage, Specs, Features, Prices, Rivals, Variants & Other Details

Important Features

The Honda H'ness CB 350 comes packed with a host of modern features, equipment and connected technology; neatly integrated with the retro-styling of the motorcycle. To start off, the H'ness CB 350 comes with LED lighting all around. This as mentioned before is featured on the headlamp, tail light units and on the turn signal indicators as well.

Honda H’ness CB350 Review (First Ride): Performance, Handling, Mileage, Specs, Features, Prices, Rivals, Variants & Other Details

Moving over to the instrument cluster, the new Honda H'ness CB 350 features a single-pod unit. The cluster features an analogue speedometer, along with a small display screen at the bottom. This digital screen provides a few additional information as well. This includes two trip metres, average fuel efficiency, fuel gauge, gear position indicator and a few others as well.

Honda H’ness CB350 Review (First Ride): Performance, Handling, Mileage, Specs, Features, Prices, Rivals, Variants & Other Details

Next to the instrument pod, the H'ness CB 350 also comes with tell-tale signs for the side-stand indicator, ABS, turn signals, engine check light and the traction control system. Yes, Honda has offered the H'ness CB 350 with traction control system, which the brand likes to call ‘ Honda Variable Torque Control (HVTC).

Honda H’ness CB350 Review (First Ride): Performance, Handling, Mileage, Specs, Features, Prices, Rivals, Variants & Other Details

The instrument cluster also comes with connected technology along with Honda Smart Voice Control (HSVC). The instrument cluster can be paired to your smartphone via Bluetooth using Honda's RoadSync app.

Once synced with the phone, the technology provides voice alerts for incoming calls, reads out messages and navigation, while also offering music controls as well. However, for the tech to function as intended, the rider will need to have an intercom or some aftermarket speakers installed on their helmets.

Honda H’ness CB350 Review (First Ride): Performance, Handling, Mileage, Specs, Features, Prices, Rivals, Variants & Other Details

Next to the instrument cluster is a USB socket to charge your mobile devices. However, Honda has provided a more modern Type-C port, instead of the conventional Type-A port. This will require you to get a separate adaptor to charge your smartphones on-the-go.

Honda H’ness CB350 Review (First Ride): Performance, Handling, Mileage, Specs, Features, Prices, Rivals, Variants & Other Details

Below the instrument cluster, the Honda H'ness CB 350 features dual horns, again covered in chrome. The dual-horn is present only on the top-spec ‘DLX Pro' variant, with the base model receiving just a single-horn.

Honda H’ness CB350 Review (First Ride): Performance, Handling, Mileage, Specs, Features, Prices, Rivals, Variants & Other Details

Moving away from the instrument cluster to the handlebars and we can see the different arrows and enter buttons present on the left side. These buttons allow for quick shuffling between the different information displayed on the small screen on the instrument pod.

Honda H’ness CB350 Review (First Ride): Performance, Handling, Mileage, Specs, Features, Prices, Rivals, Variants & Other Details

The left-side handlebar also features the horn and indicator switches. However, in typical Honda fashion, the position of both have been reversed, which will take some time getting used to. The back part also houses the controls for the high-beam and the pass-switch. The right-side handlebar is minimal, with just the engine cut-off and ignition controls, along with the hazard switch.

Honda H’ness CB350 Review (First Ride): Performance, Handling, Mileage, Specs, Features, Prices, Rivals, Variants & Other Details

The Honda H'ness CB 350 also comes with a wide single-piece seat, offering good levels of comfort for both rider and passengers. The rear pillion also gets a small yet easy to hold grab rail at the back, finished in black.

Honda H’ness CB350 Review (First Ride): Performance, Handling, Mileage, Specs, Features, Prices, Rivals, Variants & Other Details

Mechanical equipment on the H'ness CB 350 includes telescopic forks at the front and dual shock-absorbers setup for the rear suspension. Braking is handled via 310mm and 240mm disc at the front and rear, respectively; supported by dual-channel ABS as standard.

The motorcycle sits on 100/90 R19 profile wheels at the front and 130/70 R 18 profile wheels at the back. The Honda H'ness CB 350 also comes with assist and slipper clutch as standard.

Honda H’ness CB350 Review (First Ride): Performance, Handling, Mileage, Specs, Features, Prices, Rivals, Variants & Other Details

Engine, Performance & Handling

Coming to the most important aspect of the review, how is the Honda H'ness CB 350 to drive? Let's first start off by having a look at the specifications of the brand-new engine powering the cruiser motorcycle.

The H'ness CB 350 uses Honda's newest 348.36cc single-cylinder air-cooled fuel-injected engine. It produces 20.8bhp at 5500rpm and 30Nm of peak torque at 3000rpm and is paired with a five-speed gearbox, with assist and slipper clutch as standard.

Honda H’ness CB350 Review (First Ride): Performance, Handling, Mileage, Specs, Features, Prices, Rivals, Variants & Other Details

Another important aspect of the motorcycle is the exhaust note. The H'ness CB 350 comes with a very raspy exhaust, which sounds extremely good and even has a clear thump. The exhaust note is definitely better than its immediate rival, the Royal Enfield Meteor 350. Even at higher revs, the H'ness CB 350 sounds more sporty than any of its rivals.

Honda H’ness CB350 Review (First Ride): Performance, Handling, Mileage, Specs, Features, Prices, Rivals, Variants & Other Details

Coming to the performance itself, the H'ness CB 350 offers good low-end torque. There is almost an instant rush of torque available in the first two gears, with the motorcycle pulling forward instantly. The engine itself offers good levels of refinement and smoothness, with absolutely no vibrations of any sort creeping up to the rider.

Honda H’ness CB350 Review (First Ride): Performance, Handling, Mileage, Specs, Features, Prices, Rivals, Variants & Other Details

The five-speed gearbox does offer slick gear changes, however, the light clutch could have been a bit more intuitive, especially out on the highway at higher speeds. This is considering the fact that Honda has geared the bike quite tall, which requires the rider to constantly work through the gears.

Honda H’ness CB350 Review (First Ride): Performance, Handling, Mileage, Specs, Features, Prices, Rivals, Variants & Other Details

While there is good low-end torque, the bike does struggle to get a move-along at 10 - 15km/h while in second gear. Riders will see themselves constantly downshifting almost to first gear while going over large speed breakers.

Apart from the tall gearing, there is very little to complain about. The Honda H'ness CB 350 feels well balanced out on the road, with the rider not realising its 181-kilogram kerb weight. The motorcycle feels stable and planted at even high speeds, which gives a good amount of confidence to push even harder.

Honda H’ness CB350 Review (First Ride): Performance, Handling, Mileage, Specs, Features, Prices, Rivals, Variants & Other Details

The lightweight of the motorcycle is beneficial even in city limits. The Honda H'ness CB 350 is easily manoeuvrable and can filter through traffic conditions rather easily. The motorcycle also handles sharp turns relatively well, thanks to its compact 800mm width. The motorcycle comes shod of MRF rubber, giving good levels of grip in both wet and dry running conditions.

Honda H’ness CB350 Review (First Ride): Performance, Handling, Mileage, Specs, Features, Prices, Rivals, Variants & Other Details

The suspension setup on the H'ness CB 350 is on the softer side and it easily manages to absorb most undulations, potholes and tall speed breakers with relative ease. Braking on the H'ness CB 350 is sharp, with the disc brakes at either end bringing the motorcycle to a stop quickly.

Honda H’ness CB350 Review (First Ride): Performance, Handling, Mileage, Specs, Features, Prices, Rivals, Variants & Other Details

Since we had the H'ness 350 for just a couple of days, we couldn't test out the exact fuel-efficiency of the motorcycle. Having said that, during our time riding the CB 350, the average fuel-efficiency indicator on the instrument cluster did provide a reading of 29km/l, which is decent for a motorcycle its size.

The seating position on the motorcycle is also comfortable. The Honda H'ness CB 350 comes with a wide rider seat, which offers a good amount of cushioning for a relaxed long journey. The pillion seat is also wide and offers good comfort, however, the cushioning is a bit on the firmer side, which can be a bit of uncomfortable especially for long durations.

Honda H’ness CB350 Review (First Ride): Performance, Handling, Mileage, Specs, Features, Prices, Rivals, Variants & Other Details

Here is a quick specifications brief of the Honda H'ness CB 350:

Engine 4-stroke Air-Cooled
Displacement 348.36cc
Power (bhp) 20.8bhp @ 5500rpm
Torque (Nm) 30Nm @ 3000rpm
Gearbox 5-Speed
Honda H’ness CB350 Review (First Ride): Performance, Handling, Mileage, Specs, Features, Prices, Rivals, Variants & Other Details

Variants, Colours & Pricing

The Honda H'ness CB 350 comes in a choice of two variants: DLX and DLX Pro. The base ‘DLX' variant of the H'ness CB 350 is priced at Rs 1.86 lakh, ex-showroom (Delhi). This variant is offered in a range of three single-tone paint schemes. This includes Precious Red Metallic, Matte Marshal Green Metallic and Pearl Night Star Black.

Honda H’ness CB350 Review (First Ride): Performance, Handling, Mileage, Specs, Features, Prices, Rivals, Variants & Other Details

The top-spec Honda H'ness CB 350 DLX Pro variant, on the other hand, is priced at a slight premium of Rs 1.92 lakh, ex-showroom (Delhi). The top-spec model is offered with three dual-tone colour schemes: Matte Steel Black Metallic/Matte Massive Grey Metallic, Aesthetic Blue Metallic/Virtuous White & Pearl Night Star Black/Spear Silver Metallic.

Honda H’ness CB350 Review (First Ride): Performance, Handling, Mileage, Specs, Features, Prices, Rivals, Variants & Other Details

Competition & Fact Check!

The Honda H'ness CB 350 has been introduced in the Indian market to be a direct rival to the Royal Enfield's latest offering, the Meteor 350. Apart from this, the CB 350 also takes on the likes of the Benelli Imperiale 400 in the Indian market.

Here is a quick fact check between the three rivals in the segment:

Specs Honda H'ness CB 350 Royal Enfield Meteor 350 Benelli Imperiale 400
Engine Displacement 348.36cc 349cc 374cc
Power 20.8bhp @ 5500rpm 20.2bhp @ 6100rpm 20.7bhp @ 6000rpm
Torque 30Nm @ 3000rpm 27Nm @ 4000rpm 29Nm @ 3500rpm
Gearbox 5-Speed 5-Speed 5-Speed
Kerb Weight 181Kg 191Kg 205Kg
Fuel Tank Capacity 15-Litres 15-Litres 12-Litres
Starting Price Rs 1.86 Lakh Rs 1.79 Lakh Rs 1.99 Lakh
Honda H’ness CB350 Review (First Ride): Performance, Handling, Mileage, Specs, Features, Prices, Rivals, Variants & Other Details

Verdict

The Honda H'ness CB 350 is definitely an excellent offering in the modern-classic cruiser segment. The H'ness CB 350 in true Honda fashion, offers excellent levels of engine refinement, with absolutely no vibrations. The gear shifts are also smooth, while the exhaust note could be the best-in-segment.

The Honda H'ness CB 350 is perfect for those who do not want a Royal Enfield but are looking for something similar yet having its own uniqueness. The motorcycle has a lot of potential, which is limited by just its relatively high price point and the fact that it is sold exclusively via the brand's Big Wing dealerships, which aren't many across India.

Things We Liked!

Engine refinement
Light clutch and smooth gearshifts
Exhaust note

Things We Didn't Like

Pillion seat is a bit on the firmer side
Availability exclusively at Big Wing dealerships

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Read more on: #review #honda motorcycle
Article Published On: Monday, January 11, 2021, 19:56 [IST]
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