When compared to Royal Enfield Classic 350, Honda CB350 Classic offers more of almost everything including performance and features
A great man once said, ‘If you can’t beat Royal Enfield Classic 350, looking like one does the trick’. Okay. I said that in Honda CB350 launch post (greatness is debatable, though). But fact of the matter is that Honda is hell-bent on blowing a lethal strike on Royal Enfield Classic 350. Is CB350 Classic that strike? Has Honda cracked the equation, this time around?
Honda CB350 is Classic Enough to take on Classic 350
The answers to aforementioned questions are pretty simple. Yes, and Yes. Honda’s new CB350 (not H’ness or RS) is the company’s biggest punch to Royal Enfield Classic 350. Honda has gone full regalia in carving out a good-looking motorcycle that leans towards timeless aesthetics and design attributes that Classic 350 dwells in.
Result of which, Honda CB350 looks like a Classic 350, in more ways than one. Are we complaining, though? Not really. I personally know a person who sold his pristine BS6 Suzuki Gixxer SF 250 MotoGP Edition in favour of a Honda CB350 H’ness. CB350 is a fantastic product with refinement, comfort, superior equipment and kit than any RE 350.
But it just didn’t look classic and timeless enough to make a dent in Classic 350’s lion’s share in 350cc retro motorcycles. Honda threw Legacy Edition, New Hue Edition, Comfort Custom, Tourer Custom, Cafe Racer Custom, Solo Carrier Custom and SUV Custom at CB350 to see what sticks. These may not have stuck well to Honda’s liking.
Now we get the timeless Honda CB350 which is by far the best-looking Royal Enfield rival ever launched in India. Classic bike buyers often throw spec sheets, brochures and logic out of the window when choosing their travel companion. It is all an emotional connection. Honda CB350 has the sauce with right ingredients (classic, retro and timeless) to stir emotions of this demographic.
What extras does CB350 have over Classic 350?
The number of changes that Honda has done to CB350 to infuse more timeless appeal are uncanny. Starting with fuel tank with tear drop effect and tank pad, front RSU telescopic forks now get shrouds, side body panels are new, seat looks properly retro, front and rear mudguards are redesigned with old-school charm, grab rail is vintage and exhaust is now straighter.
With these timeless design attributes, Honda intends to win Royal Enfield buyers. The Honda brand name, new classic design, superior hardware and competitive pricing should work in favour of new CB350 Classic. Even though classic bike buyers don’t really care about spec sheets and equipment, it is to be noted that Honda offers more.
What more? How much more? More of almost everything. For starters, Honda offers more performance on paper – 20.7 bhp and 29.4 Nm as opposed to Classic 350’s 20.2 bhp and 27 Nm. CB350 has a 15.2L fuel tank as opposed to Classic’s 13L. Cherry on top, is that Honda CB350 Classic weighs less too, at 187 kg, as opposed to 195 kg of Classic 350.
Honda offers traction control system, slip and assist clutch, LED headlights, LED turn indicators, LED tail lights, fancier instrument cluster, fatter 130-section rear tyre, alloy wheels as standard and more. None of these are offered with Classic 350. Saving grace for Classic 350 is its Tripper screen, which is optional and not standard.
Where pricing is concerned, Honda CB350 costs Rs. 2 lakh for DLX and 2.19 lakh for DLX Pro. Classic 350 prices range between Rs. 1.93 lakh and Rs. 2.25 lakh (all prices ex-sh). Honda has done the homework properly and has gone back to the drawing board with CB350 Classic and this is a really commendable move.