Kicking the hornet's nest

The action just shifted to the sub-400cc Retro motorcycle segment and whoever said picking one was going to be easy, was kidding.

Oct 09, 2020 ARUP DAS No Comments Like

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The sub-400cc Retro motorcycle segment is hotting up with Honda deciding to enter this class by launching the H'ness CB350. It is the Japanese manufacturer’s first classic motorcycle in this division and it will go up against the likes of the segment leader, Royal Enfield, Benelli Imperiale 400, and Jawa. Let's take a closer look at these four motorcycles to find out what they have to offer.

Honda H’ness CB350

Priced from INR 1.9 Lakh onwards, Ex-Showroom India, the H’ness CB350 is available in two variants — DLX and DLX Pro. The Pro comes with additional features such as dual colour, dual horn and a smartphone voice control. It’s powered by a 348cc engine with an output of 20.7bhp@5,500rpm and 30Nm of torque@3,000rpm. It’s mated to a 5-speed gearbox and is equipped with a 310mm front disc brake and 240mm disc at the rear with dual-channel ABS. 

Being the latest in the segment, the CB350 boasts of a lot of technology, like Honda Smartphone Voice Control, which is a first in the segment. By pairing your smartphone via Bluetooth with the instrument cluster, you can listen to your favourite playlist, receive messages and call alerts as well as navigation updates on the bike’s interface. You can also toggle through the features via the buttons on the left side of the handlebar. The multi-functional digital meter offers many segment-first functions like real-time and average fuel economy, a battery voltage meter and distance to empty reading.

The CB350 comes equipped with Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC), which ensures that the rear wheel always gets enough grip by controlling the torque output based on the wheel’s traction. The HSTC can be switched off with a button on the left side of the instrument console. Apart from this, the bike also comes with a slipper clutch, another first in the segment. 

The H’ness is the first bike in its class to come with all-LED lights and offers a decent ground clearance of 166mm. With a seat height of 800mm, this ensures riders won’t have to tip-toe when the bike comes to a standstill.

Royal Enfield Classic 350 (Dual-channel ABS variant)

The Classic 350 is the only motorcycle among the four that is available as a single or a double seater. Its price range starts at INR 1.70 Lakhs and goes up all the way to INR 1.86 Lakhs, Ex-Showroom Delhi. It is powered by the tried-and-tested 346cc powertrain that pumps out 19.1bhp@5,250rpm and 28Nm@4,000rpm. The Classic 350 comes with a 5-speed transmission and has the lowest ground clearance of 135mm, so keep that in mind while going over speed bumps or broken terrain. It gets 280mm front disc brakes and 240mm at the rear with dual-channel ABS. The Royal Enfield motorcycle is available in both spoke and alloy wheels. Minimalism is the keyword for the Classic 350 as it comes with a simple analogue speedometer with an odometer. What’s slightly disappointing is that it doesn’t get a fuel gauge, instead, it has a low fuel warning light. 

Benelli Imperiale 400 

The Imperiale 400 is priced at INR 1.99 lakhs, Ex-Showroom India and gets a 374cc motor that churns out 20.7 bhp@6,000rpm and 29Nm@3,500rpm. It is mated to a 5-speed gearbox and offers a ground clearance of 165mm. The Benelli’s seat height is 780mm, lower to the CB350, making it more accessible for the riders. On the downside, though it has the smallest fuel tank with a capacity of 12 litres, while the Honda offers 15 litres, Royal Enfield 13.5 litres, and the Jawa's 14 litres. Like its rivals, the Imperiale 400, is equipped with dual-channel ABS and gets a 300mm front disc and a 240mm disc at the rear. It has a twin-pod instrument console with an analogue speedometer and RPM meter. It also sports two digital displays — a fuel gauge and gear indicator in between the meters and a multi-functional screen tucked in the speedometer which reads out the time, odometer and two trip meters.

Jawa standard (Dual-channel ABS variant)

The Jawa’s engine is the smallest, but with a 293cc liquid-cooled motor, it is the most powerful among the four bikes with an output of 26.1bhp and 27.05 Nm of torque. Priced at INR 1.82 Lakh onwards, Ex-Showroom Delhi, it is also the lightest in weight at 172kg (Kerb weight) and comes with a 6-speed gearbox. The seat height is 765mm. It is also equipped with dual-channel ABS and has a 280mm front disc and 240mm disc at the rear. Besides all this, it gets a simple analogue speedometer with a fuel gauge and even sports a digital odometer.







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