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Honda Sunchasers 2022 Ride: Taking The H’Ness To New Heights


Just how did Honda’s roadster perform in Royal Enfield’s turf – Ladakh?

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BigWing India ventured into a new territory with the H’Ness CB350, a territory that has been ruled by the Royal Enfield Classic 350. And with the Honda Sunchasers 2022 ride, I had the opportunity to ride the Japanese retro roadster right in Classic 350’s turf – Ladakh. 

The four-day Honda Sunchasers ride took us through perfectly laid tarmac, stretches of broken and even non-existent roads, through sand and snow. All testing the grit of the man and machine. And though it was fun, it was a revelation for both. While my story is for another day, this is all about the H’Ness CB350 and how it behaved in some of the most challenging terrain I have ridden on.

The high altitude meant not just me, but like every other bike with an air-breathing engine,even the bike struggled a little to breathe. And that’s not just while we made our fast ascend to the world’s second highest motorable road – Khardung La – But even on our first day, which was just around Leh, the difference in the way it delivered power was very noticeable compared to the testing in Pune.

But it's THE mountains; and at that altitude, I had to adapt myself and my riding style. So, the solution was to keep the momentum and not close the throttle. But on such unpredictable terrain, that’s easier said than done. So, everytime we had to pick up pace again, the H’Ness took a little more time than usual to get back to cruising speeds.

One thing we have to speak about is the tall gearing of the H’Ness CB350. While this works great on straight open roads where you can unleash all its 21 horses, around the tight winding roads, we had to ensure that we didn’t lose momentum, and keep the bike in the right gear. Also, that required keeping the engine near the limiter when on steep inclines and around tight hairpins. But thanks to the refined nature of the engine, this wasn’t too difficult to do.

While the engine did demand the rider to put in some extra effort in the mountains, it was the H’ness’ capable chassis that made the ride truly pleasurable , taking everything in its stride. In the tight twisties, the 181kg kerb weight could be hardly felt. Granted, the feedback from the front-end isn’t sportbike-sharp, but the MRF Zapper tyres offered decent grip all throughout.

The Honda H’Ness CB350’s suspension too is worth a mention. During our ride to Chang-La, the suspension could soak up just about anything, from big potholes to rocks and pebbles, without unsettling the bike. In fact, on our ride to Pangong lake, we passed through a 10km stretch of loose sand and rocks, and I could do speeds of over 100kmph without my body bearing the brunt of the surface.

And adding to that fun quotient is the switchable traction control. Yes, the 21PS and 30Nm doesn’t really need a traction control system. However, it is a boon for beginners, especially when riding over tricky surfaces. For me? I had it switched off most of the time which turned out to be helpful when we encountered some black ice enroute Chang-La.

The Honda H’Ness CB350 did everything that was demanded of it. Did it do it with absolute ease? Not so much.. It will demand some commitment on the part of the rider? If you simply wanted to chug along, enjoy the scenery, then it might not be the best option. But if you want to enjoy the terrain, hear the rorty exhaust echo in the valley, then yes, the H’ness will keep you on your toes all the time and you’ll have a really engaging ride. So, even though the H’ness might not your best option for an easy-going ride through the mountains like the Classic, it certainly has the potential to challenge the Royal Enfield roadster if you want to have a fun and engaging ride.

Honda H'ness CB350 Video Review

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