The 350cc motorcycle segment is dominated by Royal Enfield and has been this way for many decades in India. It has been its stronghold. In recent times, a renowned motorcycle manufacturer ventured into this segment, not only to compete with a new motorcycle, but with something mimicking the iconic long-stroke engine, laid-back performance (if any), and the easy riding position — Honda with the CB 350 H’ness.
Later, Honda came up with another variant of the CB 350 H’ness, called the CB 350 RS, packing the same engine, but chopped fenders made from fibre to keep the weight down and give it a more scrambler appeal. This also worked, as after all, Honda is known for reliability, while Royal Enfield is far off in that department. However, this wasn’t enough to dethrone a brand that’s as old as motorcycling itself.
Royal Enfield did have a weak point though — the age-old push-rod engine that the Honda does not suffer from. They were notorious, as the push rods would jump out of its guide, at times even damaging them, leaving the rider stranded, as it involves dismantling the lower half of the engine to change the guide, leading to a host of other complications including swapping main bearings. The company worked its way around and introduced hydraulic push rods with the UCE engines, again, a 50+-year-old technology.
Later, Royal Enfield struck gold with the new J-Series engines, which incorporates a chain-driven cam, making them more reliable. First introduced with Meteor (Single-cylinder), the technology trickled down to the Classics – RE’s best-sellers – and now to its latest, most affordable product, the upcoming Royal Enfield Hunter.
For decades, Royal Enfield had no other direct competition, apart from Enfield itself. Multiple variants competed against each other, leaving no room for competition. Now, with the Honda CB 350 RS in the market, the Hunter becomes the hunted. Let’s take a deeper look and compare the two.
Royal Enfield Hunter 350 vs Honda CB 350 RS – Pricing
The Royal Enfield Hunter 350 is priced between Rs 1.49 lakh and Rs 1.68 lakh ex-showroom. The Honda CB 350 RS, however, is priced at Rs 2.03 lakh ex-showroom. Royal Enfield has managed to undercut the Honda CB 350’s pricing by quiet a bit, while offering equal amounts of performance and equipment.
Royal Enfield Hunter 350 vs Honda CB 350 RS – Engine specs
The Royal Enfield Hunter is powered by a 349cc, single-cylinder, air and oil-cooled motor. The engine makes 20 bhp and 27 Nm of torque with the help of a 5-speed manual gearbox. What is interesting to note here is that the Hunter, despite claiming to be oil-cooled, does not have a radiator like the Himalayan, instead, it uses an internal oil circuit to help cool the oil.
|Specifications||RE Hunter 350||Honda CB 350 RS|
|Power||20 bhp||20.7 bhp|
|Torque||27 Nm||30 Nm|
The Honda CB 350 RS uses a traditional 348cc single-cylinder air-cooled motor that makes 20.7 bhp and 30 Nm of torque. The engine is mated to a 5-speed gearbox, similar to the Hunter 350.
Royal Enfield Hunter 350 vs Honda CB 350 RS – Equipment and features
The Royal Enfield Hunter 350 gets telescopic front forks with a rubber boot, alloy wheels with optional spoke wheels (Retro variant), a round headlight, a single pod instrument cluster with the tripper function as an accessory, a short stubby exhaust, a single piece seat, disc brakes front and rear with dual-channel ABS, and dual shocks at the rear amongst others.
Also Read: TVS Ronin vs Honda CB 350 RS Comparison
The Honda CB 350 RS gets telescopic front forks, disc brakes at both ends with dual-channel ABS, dual shocks at the rear, 19-inch front and 17-inch rear wheels, alloy wheels, and a semi-digital instrument cluster. In terms of equipment, both are on par, however, the spoke wheel option with the Hunter hints at the motorcycle’s ability to take more beating off-road.
So which one – Royal Enfield Hunter 350 or Honda CB 350 RS?
Both motorcycles are on par in equipment, features, performance, and most importantly, styling. However, with Royal Enfield pricing the new Hunter 350’s price well below the Honda CB 350 RS, the Hunter makes more sense.