The sub-400cc, modern-classic motorcycle market in India has been getting quite crowded lately. And a glance at the consistent demand for the Royal Enfield Classic 350 in the past few years explains why everyone wants a piece of the pie. Even the dear old Classic is set to get an update, but that’s a story for another day. Right now, Royal Enfield is focusing on one motorcycle- the Meteor 350.
Touted as their game changer, the Meteor 350 comes with quite a few attributes that won it a tonne of praises. But in its way is the H’ness CB350- Honda’s contender in the modern-classic game. So here we compare the features and specifications of the Royal Enfield Meteor 350 and the Honda H’ness CB350 to help you decide which one suits you best.
The Royal Enfield Meteor 350 is the successor to the Thunderbird and derives most of its styling from the latter. Although it does get a few subtle changes to its bodywork that give it a fresher appeal like the round tail lamp and a variety of colours to choose from.
On the other hand, the Honda CB350 draws styling inspiration from the CB350 that was sold in global markets in the ‘70s. To complement its retro looks, the CB gets chrome on its fenders, suspension, exhausts, and mirrors. However, similar to the Meteor 350, the Honda CB350 also sports a blacked-out engine, wheels, and headlamp cowl. It is offered in six colours.
In terms of the list of gizmos offered, both the Royal Enfield Meteor 350 as well as the Honda H’ness CB350 are equipped with modern features. However, the Honda seems to have a substantial edge here. It comes with a semi-digital instrument cluster that is Bluetooth-enabled.
Once paired with a smartphone, this unit not only helps the rider with navigation but also displays incoming calls and messages and also supports music playback. All of this can be done through the toggle switches on the handlebar. Or, you could just use voice commands to access the features on the console if needed.
Besides this, Honda is also offering the CB350 what it calls the Selectable Torque Control system which apparently limits rear wheel slip under hard acceleration. And finally, you also get full-LED lighting for the headlamp, tail lamp and turn signals.
On the other hand, the Royal Enfield Meteor comes with an LED DRL fitted in the headlamp as well as an LED tail lamp. The rest of the lighting used is conventional. That aside, the Meteor 350 offers a Tripper Navigation system that also connects to the dedicated app and shows pretty detailed directions in colour.
It also comes with a digital display inside the speedometer but it offers lesser info than the CB350’s unit that also shows the average and current fuel-efficiency along with distance to empty.
Now, the Meteor 350 and the CB350 have nearly similar displacements. While the Meteor gets an air-oil cooled 349cc motor, the CB350 sports an air-cooled, 348cc mill. However, the power and torque figures are quite different.
The Royal Enfield Meteor 350 offers 20.2bhp at 6,100rpm and 27Nm of torque at 4,000rpm. Whereas the Honda CB350’s motor churns out 20.7bhp at 5,500rpm and 30Nm of torque at 3,000rpm. And while both come with a five-speed gearbox, the Honda goes a step ahead and offers a slipper clutch as well.
With the rising cost of fuel in India, and the growing want to take your motorcycle out for a nice tour thanks to the lockdowns, decent fuel efficiency has become more important than ever. And in this area, the Meteor 350 and CB350 have almost the same figures. While the Royal Enfield has an average fuel consumption of 32.6kmpl, the CB350 returned 32kmpl on our test route.
Lastly, let’s get down to the pricing of these motorcycles. The Honda CB30 is available in two variants- DLX and DLX Pro that would set you back by Rs 1.86 lakh and Rs 1.92 lakh each.
However, the Royal Enfield is comparatively more affordable with a starting price of Rs 1.78 lakh for the Fireball variant. The Stellar and Supernova version cost Rs 1.84 lakh and Rs 1.93 lakh each.
That said, not only is the Meteor 350 more affordable it also benefits from a wider dealership and service network, unlike the CB350 that is only sold and serviced at Honda’s BigWing showrooms.