So, Honda has finally forayed into the classic retro style cruiser market in India with the Honda CB350, lovingly called Honda H’ness (your highness demands respect). Before that whenever you think of affordable retro styled cruiser, only one name came up, the Royal Enfield Classic 350. Now after the launch of Honda H’ness, the guys at Royal Enfield will surely be sweating over their market share. And they should be, because the Honda H’ness is here to disrupt the market.
You don’t agree with us? Alright, read this article and we shall meet again at the end. That’s a promise.
Let’s get it started with the most important thing in this segment, the price! Honda CB350 is heavier on your pocket by 25 grand, but believe us, that is nothing once you see what value it offers for that extra few bucks.
Honda CB350 has a 348.36cc single cylinder, air-cooled engine, which produces 20.8 bhp @ 5,500 rpm and 30 Nm @ 3000 rpm.
On the other hand Classic 350 comes with a 346cc single cylinder, aircooled engine, which produces 19.1 bhp @ 5,250 rpm and 28 Nm @ 4,000 rpm.
Although both the bikes have nearly same engine capacity, the Honda CB350 produces marginally greater torque at lower rpm, which means, it can drag heavy loads from stand still. It will be helpful during a ride on the hills or Ladakh.
Honda CB350 has a 15 litre fuel tank, which is 1.4 litres more than the RE classic 350. Both of them give nearly same mileage that is 30-37 Kmpl depending upon riding conditions.
Engine refinement and exhaust note of the Honda CB350 is better. Honda has always been known for their reliable engine.
One problem with Royal Enfield bikes is that they start to vibrate around the 85 Kmph mark. This can be painful during long rides. To counter this Honda came up with a technology called “Main Shaft Coaxial Balancer”.
It is a small weight placed on the cylinder, which eliminates both primary and secondary vibrations.
In terms of advanced equipment, the Classic 350 is no match against “your H’ness”. H’ness gives you a lot more technology for just a little extra premium.
What you will find on a Honda CB350 is a blue backlit hybrid display which shows average mileage, real time mileage, battery voltage meter, gear position indicator and even distance to empty. Just look at that beauty.
The Honda CB 350 also sports a all LED lighting set up, which I think is a first in this segment. It has LED headlamps and LED tail-lights. Heck, it even has LED circular blinkers. Look at that-
Honda Selectable Torque Control And Honda Smartphone Voice Control System
The costlier version- Honda CB350 DLX Pro comes with the Honda Smartphone Voice Control System, bluetooth connectivity. A user can use it for taking calls, navigation and music. It also comes with Selectable Torque Control System, which is essentially Traction control. It determines the difference between the speed of front and rear wheels, calculates the slip ratio and controls the torque by controlling the fuel injection. A user can turn it On/Off with a switch. And if that’s not enough, it comes with slipper clutch as a icing on the cake.
After sales service
This is one major grey area between the two bikes. Neither of the two is a clear cut winner.
While Royal Enfield has a cult following among the Indian buyers, Honda is known for its reliability. Royal Enfield parts are very cheap to obtain, but their servicing is pretty bad. Generally everyone fixes their bike in the nearby garage rather than going to the showroom.
Here is where Honda can establish its presence by providing good after sales service, by treating its customers well. Right now, Honda is selling CB350 only in its Big Wing showrooms which are not many in numbers. If you need servicing, you have to take the bike to the nearest Big Wing showroom, which can be a hindrance for some riders.
Alright, we have covered the engine, the technology, the features and the after sales. If we forgot something, please excuse us for that. Now, before we go to our verdict, we want to ask you again as we had promised earlier. Did you change your stance? What are you going to buy between the two? Tell us in the comments.
Our verdict is very simple. If you are a cult follower of Royal Enfield Motorcycles, if you like that thump of these motorcycles, you are welcome to go and buy a Classic 350.
But if you want a refined engine, market disrupting technology and if you want to go on long tours comfortably without your bones vibrating like a _____, then you know what you should buy. I sincerely wish Honda provides good after sales service. This bike at this price from Honda is a great, great deal.
Now, that being said, all eyes are now on Royal Enfield to play its next move. The Royal Enfield Meteor 350. Come back here on November 6, after the launch of Meteor 350 to know about the new bike from Royal Enfield, which is going to be a Honda CB350 rival. Subscribe to our newsletter, so that you get notified of the launch. Till then!