India gets the Honda H’Ness RS, and we don’t (at least for now)

2021 Honda H'Ness CB350. Photo: Honda

Want a retro Japanese motorcycle? Alas, it’s going to be big and expensive* … unless you live in India. If you’ve got a bungalow in Bangalore, you can already buy the very tasty Honda H’Ness. Now, you can buy the even more attractive RS version.

First, let’s take a look a the current, standard Honda H’Ness (see it in the photo above). This bike debuted back in September 2020, following the lines of an old-school Universal Japanese Motorcycle. Indeed, its full name is the Honda H’Ness CB350, so Big Red definitely wants to reinforce that association with the classic UJMs.

Unfortunately, its air-cooled single-cylinder engine only makes about 20 hp, compared to the original CB350’s 36 hp from its parallel twin. And, the H’Ness weighs 181 kg wet, versus the 170 kg wet weight of the original CB350.

However, you do get EFI, and probably a sturdier engine. ABS, traction control, LED lights and a slipper clutch also come standard. The H’Ness also comes with the ability to sync with a smartphone and helmet headset via Bluetooth, for turn-by-turn GPS navigation or music. It’s certainly not a bike for everyone, but the combination of Japanese design and affordable Indian construction would no doubt be appealing for many markets. But, alas, it’s not available in Canada.

To further hurt our feelings, Honda just unveiled an even more sporty version of this bike. Originally, people speculated that we’d see a scrambler. Turns out Honda’s actually just built another standard, but with a mashup of scrambler/cafe racer lines. See it below:

Honda H’Ness CB350 RS. Photo: Honda
Honda H’Ness CB350 RS. Photo: Honda
Honda H’Ness CB350 RS. Photo: Honda

Obviously, it’s only a mild makeover: Different fender, slightly chunkier tires, fork gaiters, straight seat. Looks like exactly what a retro-minded millennial moto buyer wants, but sadly, you just can’t get one in North America.

*Unless you buy a Suzuki VanVan 200 … which the bike-buying public ignored when it came to Canada. What’s wrong with you people?

4 COMMENTS

  1. Like was already said, 20hp just isn’t enough, Not sure why Honda would make such an oblivous mistake , Although might be OK for India ect, not N.A. Same bike with the cbr500 engine , now you’re talkin ! Although Honda would want 10K for that here, nevermind, keep struggling:))

  2. I believe those bikes are extraordinarily cheap in India. If Honda could sell those for under 5K in Canada then they’d likely sell a bunch of them.

  3. Really beautiful bike in black and yellow RS model. But 20 hp isn’t enough; even for a city bike. Are you really surprised that the vanvan didn’t sell? Back in the days, when i was a teeneager, this kind of motorcycle was as desirable as a plate of Brussels sprouts. lol.

  4. You know I think a high pipe scrambler version would definitely peak some interest here in North America.
    However the chances of Honda bringing it here? Slim to none.

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