Two neo-retro motorcycles competing in the same segment, but how different are they?
The neo-retro sub-400cc segment has been growing steadily ever since the entry of Jawa. Bikes such as the Honda H’Ness CB350 and Forty Two are some of the more popular models in this segment, but they differ in several aspects. From styling and engine configuration to hardware, here’s a closer look at how the two stack up against each other via detailed images:
The Jawa Forty Two has always been the entry point for the brand. For 2021, the bike’s been updated with new colours schemes, blacked-out mechanicals, alloy wheels, and even some cool accessories. The CB350, on the other hand, is a quintessential retro roadster, complete with a classic round headlamp, an elegant 15-litre fuel tank, and bullet-type indicators.
Despite the old-school look, the Highness gets modern features such as an all-LED lighting system, compared to the Forty Two which makes do with a halogen headlamp and bulb-type turn indicators.
Features aren't Jawa’s strong suit. The Forty Two gets a simple analogue console with an odometer and two trip metres. The CB350 offers a multi-function switchgear and a semi-digital instrument cluster with gear position indicator, mileage indicator, and other run-of-the-mill information. Features such as smartphone connectivity with voice control, calls/music function, and turn-by-turn navigation are available in the higher-end DLX Pro variant.
That said, what may appeal to enthusiasts more is the dual exhaust setup and the bar-end mirrors on the Jawa.
The Forty Two, though, is meant for a slightly more engaging ride which is pretty evident by its low seat height, wide handlebars, and rear set footpegs that make for a slightly aggressive riding posture compared to the CB350.
The two bikes may use a single-cylinder engine, but that’s where the similarities end. The CB350 is powered by a 348.36cc single-cylinder air-cooled counterbalanced motor that produces 21PS and 30Nm of peak torque. It makes 6.33PS less power but 2.98Nm more than the liquid-cooled Jawa.
Same goes for the transmission. The CB350 uses a 5-speeder with a slip and assist function as opposed to the 6-speed gearbox with a slipper clutch on the Jawa. More importantly, Honda offers traction control as standard, which is a segment-first.
Both bikes use a telescopic fork and a twin rear shock absorber setup.
The CB's braking setup comprises discs on both ends (310mm front and 240mm rear), with a dual-channel ABS as standard. As for the Forty Two, it uses a single 280mm and 240mm discs at the front and rear paired with dual-channel ABS.
For extra practicality, both bikes roll on alloy wheels wrapped with tubeless MRF tyres. However, the alloy wheels design on the CB350 looks much better in our opinion.
That said, the Forty Two at 172kg is the lightest bike in the segment -- a whole 9kg lighter than the CB350.
And then there’s the price, the Jawa 42 2.1 costs Rs 1,83,942 compared to the DLX CB350 which will set you back by Rs 1,86,500 (both prices ex-showroom, Delhi).