Honda H’ness CB350 vs rivals: Specifications comparison

Honda H’ness CB350 vs rivals: Specifications comparison

1st Oct 2020 1:46 pm

The new Honda H’ness CB350 takes on the likes of the Royal Enfield Classic 350, Benelli Imperiale 400 and the Jawa Forty Two. Here’s how they stack up on paper.

The Honda H'ness CB350 has finally been unveiled in India, marking the Japanese manufacturer's foray into the 350-500cc, modern-classic segment in the country.

Until very recently, this segment was dominated by Royal Enfield, largely because it was the only occupant in the space, for a very long time. But over the last couple of years, other players have launched their own offerings in a hope to bite into the impressive sales numbers that Royal Enfield was achieving in the segment. Some of these prospects include the Jawa Forty Two, the Benelli Imperiale 400, and now, the Honda H’Ness CB350.

Yes, the Royal Enfield Meteor 350 that is set to debut very soon will likely prove to be a more direct and competent rival to these motorcycles, but we’re going to wait until it’s launched to add it to this comparison. 

Until then, here’s how the H’ness CB350 stacks up against its rivals on paper:

Honda H’ness CB350 vs rivals: Engine

Powering the H’ness is an all-new engine that Honda has specifically designed for India. This 348.36cc, air-cooled, fuel-injected, single-cylinder engine develops 21.1hp at 5,500rpm and 30Nm at 3,000rpm. The long-stroke engine is paired to a five-speed gearbox. Interestingly, Honda has also equipped the CB350 with an assist and slipper clutch.

From the table below, you can see that the power figures are on par with that of the Benelli Imperiale 400 and the Royal Enfield Classic 350. However, the torque figure is the highest in its present company and this should translate to strong low and mid-range grunt and effortless rideability. In fact, the H’Ness CB 350’s peak power and torque figures are higher than that of the Meteor 350’s; the specifications of which were leaked via a brochure that you can look at here.

Powering the Imperiale 400 is a 374cc, single-cylinder engine that produces 21hp at 5,500rpm and 29Nm of torque at 4,500rpm. The power and torque figures are close to those of the Royal Enfield Classic 350 that makes 19.8hp/28Nm. The Jawa, meanwhile, is almost in a league of its own as it makes 27hp and 28Nm of torque from its 293cc engine. We reached out to Jawa to find out at what point in the rev band the bike produces peak power and torque, but the manufacturer was unwilling to share that information. 

Nevertheless, the Jawa manages to put out the highest numbers despite having the smallest engine here. The Jawa’s engine is the only one here that uses a short-stroke architecture and features more modern technology like a double-overhead camshaft and liquid-cooling. Additionally, it’s also the only bike here that employs a 6-speed gearbox, while its rivals are equipped with 5-speed units.

Honda H’ness CB350 vs rivals: Powertrain
Honda H’ness CB350Royal Enfield Classic 350Jawa Forty TwoBenelli Imperiale 400
Engine348.36cc, single-cylinder, air-cooled346cc, single-cylinder, fuel-injected293cc, single-cylinder, liquid-cooled374cc, single-cylinder, air-cooled
Power21.1hp at 5500rpm19.1hp at 5250rpm26.5hp 21hp at 6000rpm
Torque30Nm at 3000rpm28Nm at 4000rpm27.05Nm29Nm at 3500rpm
Power-to-weight ratio116.57hp/tonne97.94hp/tonne154.06hp/tonne102.43hp/tonne

Honda H’ness CB350 vs rivals: Chassis

Just like the engine, the chassis of the H’ness CB350 has been designed from the ground-up. The Honda H'ness CB350 uses a new steel semi-double cradle frame that is suspended on a conventional telescopic fork, up front and twin hydraulic shock absorbers at the rear. 

The chassis on the Imperiale 400 and Forty Two, too, are double-cradle units suspended on telescopic forks and twin shock absorbers on both bikes. The Classic 350, meanwhile, uses a single downtube frame, again, with a telescopic fork and twin shock absorbers. 

Where some differences start to show are in the brakes and wheel sizes. The CB350, Classic 350 and Imperiale use a 19-inch front and 18-inch rear, while the Jawa employs an 18-inch front and 17-inch rear. Tyre widths differ as well and you can refer to those in the table below.

Anchorage at the front, on the Jawa and Enfield, is provided by 280mm single discs, while the Benelli gets a slightly larger 300mm disc and the CB350 features the largest of the lot, a 310mm disc. At the rear, the Honda, Royal Enfield and Benelli employ a disc brake, while the Jawa can still be optioned with a 153mm drum brake. 

Again, the Honda Royal Enfield and Benelli offer dual-channel ABS as standard, but Jawa offers dual-channel ABS with the rear-disc model.

The Jawa is also the lightest by quite a margin. At 172kg kerb weight, it’s 9kg lighter than the Honda H’ness CB350, 23kg lighter than the Royal Enfield Classic 350 and 33kg lighter than the Benelli Imperiale 400.

Honda H’ness CB350 vs rivals: Underpinnings
Honda H’ness CB350Royal Enfield Classic 350Jawa Forty TwoBenelli Imperiale 400
Weight (kerb)181kg195kg172kg205kg
Ground clearance166mm135mmNA165mm
Brakes (f)310mm disc280mm disc280mm disc300mm disc
Brakes (r)240mm disc240mm disc153mm drum / 240mm disc240mm disc
Suspension (f)Telescopic forkTelescopic forkTelescopic forkTelescopic fork
Suspension (r)Twin shock absorbersTwin shock absorbersTwin shock absorbersTwin shock absorbers
Tyres (f)100/90-1990/90-1990/90-18100/90-19
Tyres (r)130/70-18110/90-18 (tube) / 120/80-18 (tubeless)120/80-17130/80-18
Fuel capacity15 litres13.5 litres14 litres12 litres

Honda H’ness CB350 vs rivals: Design

The Honda H'ness CB350 takes design inspiration from old Honda CB motorcycles and oozes that typical retro charm. The round LED headlamp, the way the 15-litre fuel tank is shaped and the chrome fenders instantly remind you of yesteryears motorcycles, to some extent. And we say so because the Y-spoke alloy wheels add that touch of modernity to the design. 

Just like the Honda, the Imperiale 400 is also said to be a reinterpretation of one of Benelli’s historic models produced in the 1950s. This is apparent from the classic-looking tank, round headlights, flat seat, and minimalistic panels. Much like other retro-themed bikes, the Jawas and the Royal Enfields, this one too has a long rear fender. Interestingly, both the Benelli and the Royal Enfield Classic also have a sprung seat for the rider and rubber knee pads on the tank.

While the Jawa model is heavily inspired by the brand’s classic bike, the Forty Two is slightly more affordable and has a more urban and modern theme, with matte-black elements replacing some of the chrome bits, similar to the Benelli. In that regard, the Royal Enfield stands out, as it still has dollops of chrome, but there are some colour schemes available with a blacked-out treatment for the engine and exhaust.

Honda H’ness CB350 vs rivals: Features

Honda has come through with the features it has equipped the CB350 with. The bike gets Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC) and Honda Smartphone Voice Control (HSVC) system, apart from LED lights and a side stand engine cut-off.  The HSTC is a basic traction control system that detects the difference between front and rear wheel speeds, calculates the slip ratio and adjusts engine torque via the fuel injection. HSTC can be turned ON/OFF using a switch on the left side of the meter. 

The HSVC feature (only available on the DLX Pro variant) has been developed in-house and allows the rider to pair his smartphone to the console via the HSVC app. Once connected, the rider can operate the system to access phone calls, navigation, music playback and incoming messages.

On the other hand, the Benelli uses a twin-pod layout that features a large RPM gauge (it's the only one here to get a rev counter) and speedometer, along with a small digital display for the odometer; it also features a fuel gauge. The Jawa, on the other hand, uses a single-pod unit that displays the speed and fuel gauge. Its cluster also has a small digital screen for the odometer. The Royal Enfield has the least informative instrumentation of the three, it only has an analogue gauge for the speed, along with a conventional odometer. The Royal Enfield also misses out on a fuel gauge and makes do with a low-fuel light instead.

Honda H’ness CB350 vs rivals: Verdict

The Honda H'ness CB350 is an impressive motorcycle on paper. It may not have the firepower to match the Jawa Forty Two, but it seems like it will be able to hold on its own against the Royal Enfield Classic 350 and the Benelli Imperiale 400. In terms of features, it comes out on top and with a price tag of 'around Rs 1.9 lakh', it’s quite competitively priced as well. 

But the bigger contest comes in the form of the soon-to-be-launched Royal Enfield Meteor 350 and from what we know of that bike, so far, the Honda seems pretty well equipped to take the fight straight to it. 

Honda H’ness CB350 vs rivals: Verdict
Honda H’ness CB350Royal Enfield Classic 350Jawa Forty TwoBenelli Imperiale 400
PriceRs 1.9 lakh onwardsRs 1.61 lakh onwardsRs 1.65 lakh (single-channel ABS) / Rs 1.74 lakh(dual-channel)Rs 1.99 lakh onwards

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