Vijay Krishnan, 24 October 2020

"Move over Enfields and Jawas of the world...your H'ness has arrived!"

Is it too early to gloat and make fun of those who just took deliveries of their Royal Enfield 350's and Jawas?  We will try to delve into the 300-500cc pot that has been given an almighty stir with the introduction of the all new Honda CB 350 dubbed the Highness, or H'ness for short.

Honda CB 350 H'ness

Photo Credits : Honda Motorcycles India

So what is the fuss all about?

Honda recently dropped an absolute bombshell on the motorcycling community by launching the modern reincarnation of the CB 350, the classic 80's sweetheart that sold like hotcakes and basically made a killing in the British and American motorcycle markets. The bike is oddly christened the H'ness, a hideous name for such a visibly gorgeous looking bike that is touted as the successor to the legendary CB 350. It was probably done to annoy the Royal majority of its target market, but I seem to thing it is stupid and would gladly stick to calling it the CB 350.

Honda H'ness Highness CB 350

Photo Credits - Wikimedia Commons

It made such a splash that RE had to postpone its not so highly anticipated launch of the Meteor 350. I say so because despite it being the world's first look at their new gen power plant and basically an indicator of the company's direction moving forward, it is just gopping to look at and something of a sacrilege for someone who loves the old 350's. 

So what is the bike all about?

It is basically Honda blowing the conch and declaring war on Jawa and RE. Basically their way of saying that they are out of their Lazy Boy couch and coming for the segment. Just the way they launched it, with minimal hype and a very efficient roll out. They have already begun delivering the bikes to customers a mere fortnight after they first pulled down the covers on the bike. A brutal swipe at the shortcomings of Jawa with their painfully long waiting times. Honda is simply flexing its might and announcing that the big boys have come to take a big slice of the pie.

And that not only goes for the country. Although made in India, the CB 350's will be exported to international markets despite it being in small numbers. This bike was built specifically to tackle one of the biggest markets in the world for this niche of motorcycles and score a big W for the big wing brand.

Honda CB 350 H'ness Highness

Photo Credits : Honda Motorcycles India

Lets take a look at what's what then, a 350cc Single...check! Retro good betcha! Solid ergonomics and modern tech...check checkity check check!!

Photo Credits : Honda Motorcycles India

So they have sugar, spice and everything nice going for them. Added to the fact that it has good some serious lineage with the CB 350 badge and the reputation for Honda and its legendary reliability. All of which means both Jawa and RE have been given a serious stare down.

First Impressions?

Everything points in the right direction with the bikes. My spider senses are tingling on overload and it does seem like it would cajole a butt ton of prospective buyers of its competitors on to it with its charm and pedigree.

Photo Credits : Honda Motorcycles India

From what I have seen on the interwebs, it does look like a sweet package with all the necessary nannies like ABS and Traction Control, USB C and Bluetooth connectivity, and a digital display with most necessary information available on it accessible through toggle switches on the bars. I mean, coming from riding RE's and Jawa's, that is one heck of an upgrade one must say.

Photo Credits : Honda Motorcycles India

Well then...what about old school charm? Honda have you covered with a seemingly no nonsense old school single cylinder engine that gives a sweet thump that can be likened to the almighty Royal Enfield UCE thump. Not to forget the zero tolerance to plastic, with its all metal construction barring the lights and switchgear. All this while having modern amenities like the above mentioned nick knacks and things such as Discs at the front and back, led lights and indicators with daytime running lamps and funky paint jobs that stay faithful to its famous predecessor.

Photo Credits : Honda Motorcycles India

It then rolls along on alloy wheels, which mean that punctures are now things of the past along with the old RE's and Jawas.

At this point, I must admit most of the swipes at Jawa and RE are a bit harsh although a bit deserving at times too. This is coming from someone who owns two Enfield 350's. So I know what I'm on about and I am being honest here. Its time to wake up and smell the coffee. And what Honda has now is probably the best blend in town! 

Let us know what you think of the new CB 350 in the comments and feel free to let your thoughts known if you are a bit annoyed by our criticism of the Jawas and 350cc Enfields.








December 02, 2020 — Siddharth Singh

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