Mechanical specification-wise, the RS is exactly the same as the H’ness. Thus, the 349cc, single-cylinder engine still makes 20.8 bhp and 30Nm of torque. The engine still feels refined and commuting in the city feels absolutely delightful. You can shift-up early using the super smooth five-speed gearbox and use all that torque to chug along comfortably. It has enough torque even in the higher gears so you barely have to downshift.
Even on the highways, as long as you are in the cruising zone, which is between 90–100kmph, the RS will oblige happily and it will sit at 100kmph all day making it good for touring too. But it’s only when you want to sail-past at higher speeds that the RS’ performance starts feeling a little lacking. Urgency is not this motor’s forte and revving higher reaps no dividends. We would have loved if Honda would have made slight changes in the RS to offer better performance, like altering the gearing or engine mapping as compared to the H’ness.
So, if you’re looking at a relaxed performer, the RS is sure to keep you happy, but if you want a peppy performer, you’ll have to look elsewhere.
Now talking about handling, the RS uses the same cradle frame, telescopic fork, and twin shock absorbers as the H'ness. But the RS gets gripper, block patter MRF Kurve tyres. The rear tyre uses a wider 150 section rubber while minor changes in the hardware make it two kilograms lighter. Do these changes make a difference?
Indeed they do. Further aided by the slightly more aggressive riding stance, the RS is more enjoyable on a good set of twisty roads. The handling is neutral and the stickier tyres and the increased ground clearance mean that you can lean it further than the H’ness. What also helps are the brakes which are lovely and inspire plenty of confidence.
The ride quality is excellent too and it absorbs the bad bumps really well which makes commuting on our pothole-ridden roads a less tiresome affair. Overall, we were really impressed with the ride and handling package of the RS.