Honda has just unveiled their first cruiser in India, the H’ness CB 350. Set to be launched in October, the H’ness is expected to be priced very close to the Rs 1.9 lakh mark. At this price range it takes on the select few who venture into this retro 300-400cc segment in India including the emperor himself, the Royal Enfield Classic 350 and the Bullet 350. But how do the both stack up?
We’ll start off with this first. The Royal Enfield Bullet 350 has the cheapest starting price at Rs 1.27 lakh, while the Classic 350 gets a price of Rs 1.61 lakh. The CB 350 on the other hand, is expected to be priced at near Rs 1.9 lakh. This may make it the costliest of the lot, but the reasons why will be seen in the features of the bike.
The Royal Enfield bikes are powered by a 346cc single-cylinder engine that produces 20 PS at 5,250 rpm and peak torque of 28 Nm at 4,000 rpm. The CB 350 also gets a 348cc single cylinder engine, but the power figures are expected to be 21 PS at 5,000 rpm and 30 Nm at 3,000 rpm. This will mean a much smoother and flatter torque curve with plenty of twisting force lower in the rev range.
One could say these bike have very similar designs, but a closer look tells you there are differences. The CB 350 gets a similar tear-drop shaped tank and most of its design cues are taken from the company’s retro CB cruisers. It gets a round headlamp just like the Enfields, but the CB gets LEDs. It gets a similar split seat set up, but the Bullet has a wider rider’s seat while the Classic has just the rider’s seat.
The Bullet is a true-blue retro bike, in that it misses out on most modern features, but it does have a twin pod analogue instrument cluster with a digital insert. The CB 350 on the other hand, gets a little more than that. The single pod instrument cluster does get a digital insert, but the bike also gets Bluetooth connectivity. Additionally, it also gets something called Honda Voice control, a feature to control your phone through the bike via Bluetooth. It also gets turn-by-turn navigation, calls and music control. A segment first on the CB 350 is inclusion of Honda Variable Torque Control, Honda-speak for traction control.In this, it looks like the price for the CB 350 is fairly justified. But whether it can put a dent in Royal Enfield’s sales will have to be seen.