Honda CB350 RS Overview
The beauty of platform sharing is that you can create multiple products using largely the same parts and components. In this case, the new Honda CB350 RS. Now unless you’ve been living under a rock, you will know that this motorcycle is based on the Honda Highness CB350. But as you can see it looks markedly different.
Honda says that this motorcycle is targeted towards the younger audience. And those who want a slightly sportier and enriching riding experience. Now is all of that just marketing talk. Let’s find out Honda is gunning for the youth with the CB350 RS and that’s evident in its styling.
Honda CB350 RS Design
firstly the similarities with the Highness CB350 are evident in the shape of the fuel tank and led headlamp. However, the dual-tone black and yellow paintwork look attractive. While the headlamp uses a matte black ring instead of chrome. It is flanked by new led turn indicators that seem to be plucked off the Honda Hornet 2.0. The side panel is new as well. And thankfully the awkward highness badge is not there replaced with a nicer CB350 RS badge.
The side profile also reveals the motorcycle’s predominantly black theme. With only a little chrome pepper on the exhaust shield, handlebar, and mirrors.
Is It A Scrambler?
This motorcycle appears to your senses the moment you look at it. Now the highness looks nice, but it doesn’t make you go wow. But this motorcycle here with a 17-inch wheel, a fat tire, the short, and stubby tail section. The raised exhaust or the dual-tone paint on a test bike all of these combined to give it a nice and purposeful stance. And I think Honda has nailed the design.
But don’t let the wide block pattern on the tires, folk gators, 19-inch front wheel, and the new metal bash plate. That’s attached to the bottom of the frame to fool you into believing that this is a scrambler. Because it isn’t and neither is it a café racer. Now it may seem that the CB350 RS is suffering from an identity crisis. Because it can’t be classified as a type of motorcycle. But let’s just call it a very good-looking 350cc street motorcycle.
Price & Features
As far as fit and finish is concerned we’ve got no complaints. But considering the extra money that Honda is charging for the rs. you may feel a little shortchanged after looking at the features list.
The Bluetooth connectivity module and the Type C USB charger that’s present in the highness CB350 Dlx pro variant is missing on the rs. while the USB port can be added as an accessory. There is no way to integrate Bluetooth connectivity. Then why is Honda charging nearly rupees 10 Thousand over the base highness?
The company says that the new grab rail, fenders, fatter tire, and metal bash plate account for the additional input costs. And It has been launched at Rs 1.96 lakh (ex-showroom, pan-India).
unlike the Honda highness CB350 where you get this feeling that you’re sitting on top of the motorcycle, and it feels a little more commuterishs. The CB350 RS riding position feels a lot nicer sportier and more connected. As the footpegs are a little rare set and the handlebar is set a little more forward than on the highness CB350. And along with this slightly scooped seat. You sit into the motorcycle and that enhances your sense of involvement.
And the connection I could also easily see myself touring on the CB350 RS without too much fatigue. Setting in even after spending long hours in the saddle the seat height is also the same as that on the highness CB350. But there’s a lot more room for the rider. But that comes at the cost of space for the pillion.
The seat and the material they’ve used this material is going to be a pain to maintain in our dusty environment. The other issue I’ve got is with the mirrors because they show more of my arms and less of the traffic behind me.
Then there’s the annoying placement of the horn switch which means you can’t find the button. When you need it the most especially to want someone of your presence. But I’m okay to let that pass because the riding experience makes up for it.
Engine & Performance
this long-stroke single-cylinder engine is in the same state of tune as the highness CB350s engine. And Honda hasn’t even tinkered with the internal gearing or the final drive ratio. This means you’ve got the same tall gearing, and it comes as no surprise that the performance is closely matched.
Despite the RS weighing 2 kilograms less than the highness the fuel economy however is marginally better with the CB350 RS. Managing to squeeze about 1.5 KPL more in the city and on the highway and total of Mileage 35 Km/l. But that could simply be down to the time of the day and bearing traffic conditions.
The tall gearing suits the sporty intent of this motorcycle. In fact with the way you’re seated you get into this frame of mind that you want to ride in a sporty manner. So you don’t mind shifting gears constantly to stay in the powerband. In fact, given its smooth engine and the slipper clutch, it only adds to the driving experience.
You also won’t mind this counter-balanced engines label at high speeds. That said, a little more top-end performance would have been nice. And the tall gearing still compromises the drive on uphill sections. One of the probable ways of solving this issue could be altering the gearing by fitting a slightly larger sprocket at the rear.
Honda CB350 RS Exhaust
The exhaust note also gels with the entire character of this motorcycle. As it’s got this thumb low down in the revs, and it sounds sportier and raspier as you build the revs. Underneath the bodywork, the Honda CB350 RS has the same half-duplex cradle frame as the highness.
While the suspension units and steering rake angle are identical as well. The only major difference as we mentioned is the switch to a 17-inch wheel at the rear. And the new block pattern MRF curved tires despite. The block pattern tired red design the handling is pretty neutral and planted. The grip levels are enough and in fact, you can also ride this motorcycle down the trail without any bother. That said, I wouldn’t push these tires when I’m out riding on a wet surface.
Honda CB350 RS Riding ADs
The switchable traction control may seem like overkill on a 21.1 horsepower motorcycle. But newbie riders won’t mind the system being there to prevent unnecessary wheel spin on slippery surfaces. The ride quality at low speeds is a little stiffer than a competition, but it remains composed as the speed rises.
It is pretty good at isolating big potholes as well, and you won’t mind maintaining a fair clip over bad roads. The brakes, leave no cause for complaint either and the abs are well-calibrated. And does not intrude unnecessarily.
While a lot is going for the Honda CB350 RS what could turn out to be a spanner in the works for this motorcycle. Is the limited big wing sales and service network in India. While the number is steadily increasing accessibility remains a concern at the end of the day.
I think I liked riding the Honda CB350 RS given its sporty intent in the ergonomics. The way it’s styled, the way it rides and handles, the smooth engine. All of these factors come together to offer a much more wholesome riding experience.
And I think for the extra money that Honda is charging over the H’ness CB350 it is money well spent.