Honda CB350RS: Meet The Highness' Youthful Cousin

It will be available in just a single variant.

  • The CB350RS uses the same foundations as those of the H’ness CB350.
  • The mechanicals get a dark theme with very little bling.
  • Will be sold through the Big Wing dealerships soon.

After tasting much success with the H’ness CB350 -- already managing to sell over 10,000 units from its limited Big Wing dealership network -- Honda India has launched a sportier version of the roadster, the CB350RS. It is priced at Rs 1.96 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi). That makes the RS dearer than the DLX Pro variant of the roadster by Rs 4,000.

Honda India has employed a strategy similar to what Jawa did with its 293cc twins -- the Jawa and Forty Two. Much like the latter two, the Honda 350s too share their frames, chassis, and other mechanical components. These bits get this lovely all-black theme that intensifies the CB350RS’s sporty intentions. Elements that help distinguish the CB350RS from the standard CB350 include a new nacelle ring on the LED headlight, a new underseat LED tail light along with modern LED turn indicators, a sportier grab rail, shortened front and rear fenders, and fork gaiters. The engine now gets a skid plate along with a slightly raked exhaust finished in black. That said, there are a few common elements between the CB350 and CB350RS including the round LED headlight and the 15-litre fuel tank.

The major difference here arises with the way one sits on the CB350RS. It has got flatter single-piece bars and a slim flat bench seat (with a retro ribbed seat cover). This hunkered-down attacking stance does give the RS a racy vibe, but we do not expect it to be quite as taxing on your body. It looks like there is very little space for the pillion, something which we can confirm when we get up close and personal with the bike.

The half-duplex cradle frame houses the 348cc counterbalanced thumper mill with no changes to the engine tune or output (21PS and 30Nm). We also expect no revision on the five-speed gearbox with that extremely light slip-and-assist clutch. It remains to be seen if there is any alteration to the final drive. Like the CB350, the CB350RS too gets a rudimentary switchable traction control system.

We loved the ride quality on the CB350, although the same plush setup was not adept at spirited corner carving. Will Honda change the tune of the fork and twin shocks for the RS? Maybe, but we guess that with the fork having more load on it, the front end of the RS will not feel as light and shaky as it did on the standard bike. Also, there’s no change to the braking hardware or the dual-channel ABS system.

The RS makes use of a different 19-/17-inch alloy wheel setup. These rims now come wrapped in MRF Zapper Kurve tyres -- 100/90-section upfront and a fat 150/70-section (20mm wider) tyre at the rear. Despite the smaller rear tyre, ground clearance has increased by 2mm to 168mm, which should not matter that much. What might help its cause is that it is 2kg lighter than the CB350, the RS tipping the scales at 179kg. 

The CB350RS will be arriving at all Big Wing dealerships shortly, with deliveries expected to begin in the coming few weeks. Pre-bookings have commenced at these outlets as well as online.

There are no natural rivals to the CB350RS. However, in the sub-350cc-retro space, you could perhaps take a look at the Jawa 42 2.1 (which we rode recently), a funkier version of the regular standard Jawa.

Honda CB350RS
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