Honda wants to be the number one seller of powered two-wheelers in India. It’s currently on the second step of the podium, but the top step is where it wants to be. This is particularly true in the hot 350cc to 500cc segment.
The Eicher Motors owned company tops this moto sector in India, and Honda wants to topple the Indian brand. But the Japanese brand hasn’t been able to make much headway against Royal Enfield. That is, they hope, until now.
Big Red is coming up with a new model for India that they’ve chosen to call the CB350 H’ness (pronounced “Highness”). The H’ness’s design brief calls for it to take on the Royal Enfield Classic 350 as well as the Jawa Standard and Benelli Imperiale 400.
The H’ness seems to have the chops to take on the competition. Its 350cc air-cooled, fuel-injected, single-cylinder engine puts out a claimed 21 HP and 22 ft-lb of torque. That should put the machine right into the heart of the competition in the Indian market.
But in addition to its powerplant, the H’ness is fitted with disc brakes, a retro-style round LED headlight, a two-tone teardrop-shaped fuel tank, and a single-piece seat. Styling cues are also upgraded with chopped fenders and lots of chrome on the headlight, fenders, and exhaust.
There are other modern touches like alloy wheels, ABS, traction control, and an instrument cluster with a small LCD information screen. That screen provides information like mileage, average mileage, gear position, battery voltage, and distance to empty. You can choose to add optional Bluetooth connectivity.
Ultimately, Honda has come up with a rather good looking retro machine for the Indian market. Whether it will be offered anywhere else is not clear.
Its price point will be a key factor in its success. But at the moment, pricing is TBA.