After the successful debut of H’ness CB350, Syakar Trading Company, the authorised distributor of Honda has added CB350 RS to its 350cc motorcycle stable. The new RS is based on the modern-classic-styled H’ness. Both the CB350 share the same platform, meaning the motorcycles use the same engine, frame, suspension and other key components. The CB350 RS has a new take on the design side with a slightly aggressive stance. It is priced at Rs 775,000 which is Rs 25,000 more than the H’ness. So, let’s find out what the extra money for the CB350 RS has to offer.
Design and Features
Although the CB350 RS has been derived from its cruiser sibling, H’ness, the new RS looks quite different with a scrambler-inspired design. However, the shape of the fuel tank and LED headlamp are identical to H’ness. Honda is targeting the younger audience with the sporty stance of the new CB350 RS. The new RS gets a more aggressive look with shorter front and rear fenders, sleeker turn-signals, front fork boots, a bash-plate, and a new tuck-n-roll seat. The sporty retro motorcycle carries a black theme with some chrome accents on the mirrors, engine cover and exhaust guard. The rear end of the motorcycle looks quite striking with a rectangular LED taillight and a short fender which reveals the new 17-inch alloy wheel with a wider 150 section MRF tyre. All in all, the CB350 RS looks stunning with sporty yet retro styling. I personally think that the RS has more presence than the H’ness especially with the black and yellow paint job.
Talking about features, the new CB350 RS gets the same digital analogue instrument cluster from the H’ness which matches the modern-retro characteristic of the motorcycle. The analogue meter reads out the speed whereas the compact digital console shows various information like gear position indicator, trip meter, battery voltage meter, distance to empty and real time fuel economy. The RS also features a side stand indicator with engine cut-off function and HSTC (Honda Selectable Torque Control), a traction control system which can also be turned off. However, the bike misses out on one touch start system, a tachometer, Bluetooth connectivity and USB charging port.
Engine and Performance
Powering the new CB350 RS is the same 348cc, single cylinder, air-cooled engine from the H’ness, pumping out 21hp at 5000rpm and 30Nm of torque at 3000rpm. The engine produces enough power to attain cruising speed without any lag. You can feel the punch at the mid-range which means you won’t have to push too hard to get the power down. Honda has made the engine really smooth and well-refined with minimum vibration. The best thing about the RS is its exhaust note. I absolutely loved the thumpy notes on the lower rev band of the engine. I guess it is one of the best sounding 350cc single cylinder motorcycles that you can currently buy in the market.
The gear shifts from the five-speed gearbox are crisp and to the point. Although you might often have to change gears in the city traffic, the job has been made easier by the slipper assist clutch. Braking job is done by a 310mm disc on the front and 240mm disc on the rear. The dual channel Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) brakes do a really good job without locking the wheels.
Comfort and Handling
Another major difference between the RS and the H’ness are the ergonomics. The new RS gets a sportier seating position as the foot-pegs are now placed further back and have been moved a bit higher. The handlebar has also been made taller and positioned a bit further. Despite the sporty seating position, the motorcycle feels quite comfortable. The tuck-n-roll seat feels well-padded providing ample comfort and grip for short as well as long journeys. The telescopic fork and adjustable twin hydraulic suspension at the rear are tuned on a stiffer side making the motorcycle quite composed at higher speed. The suspension soaks up the city potholes pretty well but it can get a bit bumpy over big potholes.
On the handling side, the bike feels really light and nimble. You can commute around the city and take it for a long drive without any hassle. Although the bike weighs in at 180 kg, you can ride through the city traffic effortlessly. The chunky 150 section tyre provides sufficient grip even while cutting through a corner but it lacks a bit of grip on the muddy surface. The traction control helps to maintain control over slippery road conditions.
With Rs 25,000 more the CB350 RS gets sporty design elements and the modified ergonomics make riding the motorcycle fun. The 350cc engine from Honda feels really refined making it a joy to ride. If you are looking for a stylish looking versatile 350cc motorcycle for daily commuting and taking out for a fun weekend ride, then you should definitely go for the Honda CB350 RS.