Honda’s Himalayan rival | Low-cost, go-anywhere adventure bike family takes its lead from Royal Enfield

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A few years ago the idea that Honda would be taking cues from Royal Enfield in the development of new models would have been laughable, but such is the recent success of Enfield’s line of affordable retro motorbikes that it’s all changed. 

Honda compete with RE in India with the CB350 range, but now it looks as if there are plans to expand the line-up into wider markets.

The Indian-market models consist of the retro-styled CB350 which rivals the Royal Enfield Bullet 350, the more ‘standard’ style H’Ness CB350, plus the tougher-looking CB350RS, which competes with the Enfield HNTR 350. These are known as GB350 models elsewhere.

Honda GB350 left side drawing

Honda now appear to have the Royal Enfield Himalayan 410 and Scram 411 in their sights, with designs for two new variants showing up in patent applications which we can reveal here.

Although Royal Enfield have recently introduced the more upmarket Himalayan 450 with a 40bhp water-cooled single, it’s the 24bhp, air-cooled Himalayan 410 and the stripped-back Scram 411 that the new designs go up against.

Both new models appear to share the same steel frame and 348cc, air-cooled single-cylinder engine with the existing GB350 range, which means we can expect a modest 20hp @ 5500rpm and
21.4lb.ft @ 3000rpm, along with kerb weights of around 180kg. 

Honda CB350 right side

Those numbers don’t promise spectacular performance, but like the Himalayan and Scram, these bikes will be about rugged dependability and affordability more than speed or handling.

The Himalayan-rivalling adventure version seen in Honda’s patent documents features a tall screen and sidepanels as well as a high-level front mudguard and wire wheels. A sturdy crash frame wraps up and over the headlight and bolts solidly to the frame’s downpipe. It also provides protection for the sidepanels ahead of the fuel tank, which themselves incorporate storage boxes.

The Scram-rivalling version, meanwhile, goes without the screen or those boxes and ditches the high-level mudguard. It’s illustrated with alloy wheels rather than wires but features the same fuel tank and seat design shown on the other version. 

Honda GB350 front and crash bar detail

These do away with the retro styling of the other GB350 models, switching them for a more angular shape and a wider, larger-capacity tank. Honda’s patents put a focus on the bolt-on luggage racks that can be added to the sides of the tank, showing three different storage solutions using the same fixtures.

At around the same time that these patent applications were filed in Japan, Honda put in paperwork to register the ‘GB350 S’ trademark in the UK, as well as in Europe, suggesting that at least one of the GB350 models is heading here. 

Honda declined to comment when MCN asked about the plans.