Honda has been a dominant force in motorcycles throughout the world. Yet there are a few countries where it has yet to secure the top spot. In India, for example, Honda is trailing Hero. However it’s got its bases covered with many competing products.
Royal Enfield, however, is still among India’s top 5 brands, ruling supreme in the hotly contested 350 – 500cc segment with its various modern classic models. It’s a sizeable segment that Honda hasn’t been able to crack, but hopes to change with its new model, the CB350 H’ness.
The Honda H’ness (pronounced ‘Highness’) is a model exclusively designed to take on the Royal Enfield Classic 350. It also hopes to take on similar competitors like the Jawa Standard and the Benelli Imperiale 400.
It’s a modern classic motorocycle powered by an air-cooled, single-cylinder 350cc engine. This segment is essentially India’s version of the universal Japanese motorcycle.
The engine produces 21 PS at 5,500 rpm and 30 Nm at 3,000 rpm. It’s paired to a 5-speed transmission that drives the rear wheels.
Despite the simple design, Honda has decked it out with a retro-style LED headlight, teardrop-shaped fuel tank, and café racer-style single piece seat and chopped fenders. Honda has fitted it with a lot of chrome on the headlamp bezel, fenders, engine crank case and exhaust.
More modern touchs are alloy wheels, ABS, segment-first traction control, and 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.
Honda also offers optional upgrades like Bluetooth connectivity with navigation, music controls, phone calls and messages. There are also additions like a hazard switch, side stand engine inhibitor and a start-stop switch that can be fitted. The Honda H’ness CB 350 is offered in solid or two-tone color styles.
For now, it is an India exclusive. That may be a good thing as it probably wouldn’t sell well here owing to our restrictive 400cc highway rule. Still, these are upgrades we’d certainly like to see fitted on the locally-offered TMX.