Top Retro Bike Launches Of 2020: Honda HNess CB350, Royal Enfield Meteor 350 And More!
From humble Hondas to gorgeous Triumphs, here’s a recap of all the retro bikes launched this year
The retro motorcycle segment has been gaining momentum in the recent past rather quickly due to their distinctly old-school design and nostalgic feel, all coupled with reasonably modern mechanicals. This year witnessed a couple of high profile launches by popular brands like Honda and Royal Enfield. Other than these, the two-wheeler market also witnessed the arrival of several BS6-compliant versions of already-existing retro offerings. Here’s the full list:
Honda H’Ness CB350:
Launch Month: October
Price: Rs 1.85 lakh onwards
The Honda H’Ness CB350 (also known as the Honda Highness CB350) is by far the most important launch for the Japanese brand this year. After all, this is the weapon Honda developed from the ground up to take on the likes of Royal Enfield and Jawa. And we must say, Honda has done a mighty good job of it, thanks to the counterbalanced engine, modern bits like all-LED lighting and even turn-by-turn navigation.
Honda has always been extremely conservative with new product launches and it hasn’t changed with the introduction of the H’Ness CB350 either. The bike is sold only via Honda’s premium BigWing dealerships so if you’re not living in one of the major cities, sourcing one will be an issue.
Royal Enfield Meteor 350:
Launch Month: November
Price: Rs 1,75,817 onwards
Royal Enfield started a new chapter in its history with the launch of its all-new 350cc cruiser, the Royal Enfield Meteor 350. This Thunderbird 350 replacement is essentially an all-new bike, built under the new J-platform. Consequently, almost everything is brand new, including the engine, frame, rear suspension, brakes and instrumentation. It also packs turn-by-turn navigation assist as standard, a first for a Royal Enfield.
Royal Enfield offers the motorcycle in three variants: Fireball, Stellar and Supernova. The cult bikemaker has also ensured there’s plenty of scope for customisation thanks to the new ‘Make Your Own’ initiative.
Launch Month: November 2019
Price: Rs 1,94,500
Even though the Jawa Perak was technically launched back in 2019, its deliveries commenced only this year, and the bike hit the roads in July, so we might as well place it here. It is India’s most affordable bobber, complete with a minimalistic bodywork, slightly more powerful engine (than the standard Jawa and Jawa Forty Two), and a strictly-single-seater setup.
The motorcycle’s 30.4PS and 31Nm is enough to let you cruise at triple-digit speeds. It even gets a fairly generous 14-litre fuel tank, which should ensure good range. However, the bike may not be all that practical because of its single seat layout.
Royal Enfield updated its popular Classic 350 range to comply with BS6 emission norms earlier in January this year, followed by the Bullet 350 BS6 range in March. Unfortunately, the Thunderbird 350 and 500 range as well as the 500cc Classic and Bullet lineup have been discontinued as the 2021 J-platform versions were on the anvil. While the Thunderbird’s successor has already hit the roads, expect the 2021 Royal Enfield Classic 350 to be launched by mid-2021. Even the brand’s flagship twins, the Interceptor 650 and the Continental GT 650, were updated to comply with cleaner norms in March. All said and done, none of the updated bikes carried any new tangible features in addition to the cleaner engines to justify the premium. Here’s a price table:
Jawa too launched the BS6-compliant versions of the standard Jawa as well as the Jawa Forty Two back in March. The former starts from Rs 1,74,228 whereas the latter begins from Rs 1,65,228. Triumph updated its achingly gorgeous Bonneville range, including the Street Twin (Rs 7.45 lakh), Bonneville T100 (Rs 8.87 lakh), T120 (Rs 9.97 lakh) and Speedmaster (Rs 11.33 lakh) in April. Surprisingly, Triumph did not increase the prices until July.
Even though the Kawasaki W800 used an old-school air-cooled motor, it also received the BS6 update in May. Best bit is that Kawasaki slashed the price of the bike by a massive Rs 1 lakh, bringing the price tag to Rs 6.99 lakh. However, even at this price point, it wasn’t exactly alluring when you take into consideration the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650’s irresistibly competitive price tag. In July, Italian marque Benelli launched its first BS6-compliant motorcycle, the Imperiale 400. But apart from the cleaner motor and a 20,000-odd-rupee price hike (starts from Rs 1.99 lakh), there were no other updates to the motorcycle.
Lastly, Ducati updated its Scrambler 1100 twins to BS6-compliant versions in September. There were only minor aesthetic and mechanical tweaks but the premium was pretty hefty, ranging between Rs 1 lakh- 2.3 lakh. The base Scrambler 1100 Pro will set you back by Rs 11.95 lakh whereas the top-end Scrambler 1100 Sport Pro will burn a 13.74 lakh rupee hole in your pocket.
All prices ex-showroom Delhi.