Honda CB350RS review – The Best Modern Classic beast yet?October 3, 2021
Honda CB350RS – Road Sailing?
The Honda CB350RS is a product of Honda scalability and prowess with platform sharing. Here they bring multiple products in the market using mostly the same components. Thereby able to target a larger section of the Demographic audience. No doubt the CB350RS is the REmix version of the Honda Highness. The RS here stands for “Road Sailing”.
Yes – Your H’ness
I would personally go for the CB350RS because I like the Retro Modern mix of Scrambler and Café Racer Design. No doubt Honda’s 350 siblings are a direct answer to the RE’s best seller Classic 350 & Meteor 350. Indeed, they haven’t left any stones unturned to grab that market share. In the process offering a uniquely competitive product in the market. The Honda H’ness CB350 bagged two awards at the 2021 Bike India Awards:
- Two-Wheeler of the Year – Honda H’ness CB350
- Bike of the Year up to 350 cc – Honda H’ness CB350
Honda CB350RS review – Design: 3rd party impressions
When I had the Honda CB350RS with me, I had my share of enquiries from the young and old asking:
- “Ye Kaunsa Bullet Hai?”
- When did this launch?
They were taken aback when I pointed out the Honda Logo on the tank. Apparently the Honda CB350RS has a good presence in the Black Yellow Trim. Also it attracts a lot of eyeballs for those even with a not so great eye for details.
Honda CB350RS review – Design:
The headlamp and the fuel tank is a direct lift from the H’ness. The indicators are taken from the Hornet 2.0 and the CB300R. The side panel is thankfully different and is much better looking with the dual tone. The upswept exhaust with a dash of chrome adds to the character of the bike. The front fender is sharper and leaner, wish it could have been a bit longer to avoid the muck getting thrown on the engine. The redesigned tail section with integrated tail lamp right under the wide comfortable seat is my favorite design element on the RS.
Honda CB350RS review – The bottom lines:
The bash plate and the block pattern 150-section wide MRF Kurve tyres hints that the Honda CB350RS can take on some limited offroading duties, if required. Besides Honda is anyway pitching it as a Road Sailer, so its safe to say it can gobble up any trails or light offroading . Overall Fit, Finish and paint quality is good. The above extra additions make the RS around Rs.15,000 more expensive than the H’ness.
Honda CB350RS review – Dynamics, Safety, and Features:
- Seating on the Honda CB350RS is slightly more front biased.
- The foot-pegs are rear set for a sportier riding position. I had no issues riding for long hours nonetheless.
- The ribbed seat has the right firmness and I did not feel any aches or pains as the RS could accommodate my 5’11 heavy built with ease.
- The Hazard light is a good addition to increase your visibility on the highway or during heavy rains of foggy weather conditions.
- The grab rail is well integrated under the seat and you can hardly notice it.
- It features one of the best designed Saree Guards in the industry. In fact only after my co-tester pointed it out to me that I actually noticed it.
- The mirrors need improvement as most of the view was blocked by my elbow in full riding gear. Could be different for a person with a different height and built but to me, it did not work very well.
- Honda CB350RS has 2MM more ground clearance than the H’ness.
- The 19inch Front and 17inch Rear wheels give it a taller yet composed stance.
Honda CB350RS review – Safety and Features:
On the safety front, the bike comes with a Dual Channel ABS and switchable traction control. This will help keep things under control for both the newbies and more experienced riders when road conditions worsen (and they usually do in places like ours. The brakes are adequate and never made the vehicle feel unstable or the sense of slipping under hard braking on slippery road surfaces. Slip and assist clutch is very smooth in the traditional Honda fashion and is a pleasure to operate.
Sadly RS misses out on Bluetooth Connectivity & Mobile Charger, a welcome addition to have.
The semi-digital instrument cluster is simple &classy. The read outs are:
- Speed in Digital format, surprisingly it misses out on the tachometer just like the CB350.
- Gear Indicator
- Battery Charge / Voltage indicator
- 2 Trip meters
- An Odometer
- Fuel Gauge
- Real-time fuel consumption
- Average Fuel Consumption
- The tell-tale lights on the cluster also include Traction Control at the top
- Followed by Side Stand Indicator
- Engine Malfunction
- A green Eco Indicator which tells you if you are going easy on the throttle.
Honda CB350RS review – Handling:
I would like to sum up the Handling of the Honda CB350RS as neutral as it can hold its composure in most situations and is not twitchy. All of 180 Kilos smartly distributed all over and makes you feel that you are riding a very light and nimble machine. The suspension is surprisingly well set up as it can soak most of the bumps.
Also, the Honda CB350RS could maintain its line around the bends without much trouble unless you push it really hard. You could say it’s tuned very well for Indian road conditions. The Half Duplex Cradle Frame and Wider tires ensure High-Speed stability and even on patchy roads. The well Calibrated ABS and cradle frame work well to bring the RS to a complete stop without much of a drama.
Honda CB350RS review – Engine and Performance:
This is a 348.6 CC long-stroke, 5speed engine with 21BHP of peak power and 30NM Torque @ mere 3000RPM. How this performs on the road is very interesting. It is not as Torquey at the low end and will require you to work through the gears more frequently, but the power delivery is smooth, predictable, and delivered in a linear manner.
The RS is 2kgs lighter than the H’ness and so can extract around 1.5KMPL more. The gear shift is slick although I encountered few false neutrals while riding the RS. Maybe it could be related to this specific unit or the bike may be due for service and oil change.
Engine vibrations are hardly present across the rev range and it’s a rev-happy unit!
I mostly found myself riding the RS in the 3rd Gear for the right balance of power for overtaking. That is where the spread of torque is most noticeable. 5th gear is an overdrive gear and I hardly used it on the Highways. The exhaust note has a thump to it enhancing the riding pleasure. Although, it may give you a false sense of misfiring sometimes.
Honda CB350RS – Top Speed & Fuel economy
The bike can easily cruise at speed of 90-105, and I managed a top speed of 120, with some more to go. No vibrations throughout and the RS felt stable and comfortable. I was able to extract a fuel economy of 30.5 in the total city and Highway use. The worst I was able to extract was 29.5 which is impressive for an engine of this capacity.
The 15L fuel tank, I am sure can give a range of 400+ kilometres, if not slightly more.
Honda CB350RS review – Verdict:
Honda CB350RS – The perfect blend that grows on to you
The Honda CB350RS keeps growing on you the more time you spend with it. Although this bike cannot be classified in the same ballpark as a scrambler, café racer, or even cruiser. In fact, it offers a unique blend of all 3 that is also pleasing to the eye. The CB350RS also showcases the Engineering capability of Honda on how a package can be presented in a simple way without compromising on the core essence of the motorcycle. The riding experience is rewarding and comes packed in a very versatile package.
The Honda Big Wing factor
Since the CB350RS comes under Honda’s Big Wing Dealerships, living with it could be challenging since the service center is limited to only to a few Big Cities in the country. But its not too much of an issue since Hondas are usually very well built and all you require are periodic services and you’re good to go.
Keeping that aside, the Surprisingly it misses out on the tachometer just like the CB350. is a unique value for money proposition at 2.35L in Pune, a worthy competitor to the usual RE models which comes at a premium these days. If you need something that will make you stand out from the crowd, the CB350RS is definitely for you.
The Upshifters Suit Meter:
- For within city maneuverability the Honda CB350RS has adequate power and handling manners to deal with City Traffic.
- Also, the additional safety net of Traction Control coupled with Dual Channel ABS gives that added confidence.
- The Slip and assist clutch tells you, “sit back and feel the smoothness, leave the rest to me.”
Honda CB350RS review – Credits
Cover Photo – Ritwik Inamdar aka driftingsoul_
DHOLEY PATIL ROAD 411001