When it comes to Japanese motorcycle brands, most models are typically assembled in Japan and exported everywhere else. In an odd twist of fate, Honda Japan will be selling a model imported from elsewhere. That model is the H’ness CB350, designed and built in India. Called the GB350 in Japan, the name is hoped to evoke nostalgia for the 80s single-cylinder GB series motorcycles.
This new model is a modern classic motorocycle powered by an air-cooled, single-cylinder 350cc engine. The engine produces 21 PS at 5,500 rpm and 30 Nm at 3,000 rpm. It’s paired to a 5-speed transmission. Best of all, it's Euro-5 emissions compliant.
Despite the retro design, it’s quite modern with a retro-style LED headlight, teardrop-shaped fuel tank, and café racer-style single piece seat and chopped fenders.
It gets a classic-style instrument cluster with LCD info screen. That little screen shows details like real time mileage, average mileage, gear position, battery voltage and distance to empty.
More modern touches are alloy wheels, front and rear cross-drilled discs with ABS, and traction control.
This extensive list of equipment are likely what helped it get the nod to be sold in Japan. It's the same list of standard equipment you'd find in one of Honda's most diminutive models, the Monkey.
Naturally, the GB350 underwent a few changes for the Japanese market. Japanese buyers can get a similar model to the H’ness in the standard variant with all the chrome on the headlamp bezel, fenders, engine crank case and exhaust.
Or they can opt for the GB350 S that does away with all the chrome and replaces them with matte black finishes.
The H'ness CB350 sells in India for about PhP124,000 when its local price is converted. Its Japanese price of JPY550,000 - JPY594,000 roughly equates to PhP245,000-PhP263,000. That’s quite a jump for just a few upgrades. Perhaps shipping and taxes had a lot to do with it.
If Honda Philippines ever decides to offer this model here, let’s hope they work on keeping the price under PhP200K.