The 349cc single-cylinder air-cooled engine on this bike is brand new. It has been co-developed with Honda Japan. So we should expect extreme levels of refinement, right? We’ll get to that in a bit. Till then, let’s talk numbers. This engine displaces 349cc and it makes around 21bhp at 5500rpm and peak torque of 30Nm at 3000rpm. This motor is mated to five-speed gearbox that transfers power to the rear wheel via a chain drive.
With these power figures, it is clear that the CB350 isn’t a powerful motorcycle. In fact, the numbers are marginally more than the Classic 350 – its main rival. But there’s one aspect that we should focus first in this review as it was missing from the segment – high level of refinement. We know all Honda bikes exhibit a certain level of refinement and the CB350 is no different. From idling, to the mid revs and then all the way till higher revs – the CB350 has great level of refinement.
Coming to the power delivery, the bike doesn’t have a lot of torque in the low revs. In fact, the CB350 gains some excitement only at higher revs and that is something we didn’t enjoy much. Lack of torque at low revs mean you have to plan the overtakes every single time – be it in the city or on the highway. Plus, you need to shift gears several times and that increases some fatigue. I mean I know that the gear shifts are smooth, but your leg still has some work to do. But the clutch pull is extremely smooth and light. Something that will make riding in the city extremely comfortable.
The CB350 rides on the traditional telescopic forks at the front. And at the rear you have the twin shock absorbers. We see this setup in most bikes in this segment. The Classic 350 has this. Even the Meteor 350 comes with it. So it is clear that it doesn’t really matter what the bike has. What matters is how comfortable it keeps the rider on that saddle.
The setup on the CB350 is not really on the plush side. The low speed ride could have been so much better especially at the rear. But when it comes to high speed ride, this Honda does a good job. But to be honest, we were expecting this bike to have a really good ride.
The braking system works fairly well. The progression is nice. And there’s enough bite and power. But the feel on the front brake lever could have been a little better.
The CB350 benefits from great kerb weight, accessible seat height and good weight distribution. The view from the saddle is really good. So as a result, it’s extremely easy and comfortable to ride the bike in the city conditions. When it comes to filtering through heavy traffic, the CB350 does a fantastic job here. In the parking too, you can move it around comfortably. And when it comes to tight turns, the CB350 with its impressive turning radius, manages it without any drama. On the highways, the CB350 is a breeze to ride. It lacks a windscreen, but at 100kmph which is relaxed cruising speed, there’s minimal windblast. But in the corners, the bike gets a bit uncomfortable. You can push it a bit, but as you try to lean in more, you will clearly feel the bike’s reluctance.