Look out Royal Enfield! Check out this Honda Himalayan rival based on the Japanese manufacturer's recently launched GB350.
A Honda Himalayan rival based on the GB350 has been revealed in patent diagrams, taking the adventure bike fight right to Royal Enfield’s doorstep.
Honda’s GB350 has its roots in the Indian market CB350 H’Ness that debuted in 2021 but the Japanese brand is realising its appeal is broader than that – launching the single-cylinder machine in other markets including Australia and Japan last year. Now further variants appear to be on the cards with the appearance of patents showing more adventure-style models using the same engine and chassis.
While the initial GB350 targets Royal Enfield’s 350 machines, matching them on price, the new versions seem to have Royal Enfield’s Himalayan in their sights, with a more rugged style and added practicality. Honda has filed several patents related to the new bikes, showing a redesigned, more angular fuel tank designed to accommodate Himalayan-style luggage racks on either side. Cleverly, one of the patents shows that identical luggage carriers can also be bolted, inverted, to the rear of the bike as pannier mounts.
The patents also show a second version of the bike with the same frame, engine and tank but a rugged front fairing and screen, surrounded by an external support structure that doubles as a brush guard, giving a look that’s even more like the RE Himalayan.
While the Royal Enfield has moved upmarket this year with the launch of the liquid-cooled Himalayan 452, offering close to double the power of the original, the Honda design is made around a simple, air-cooled, 348cc single. In the current GB350, it makes 20.8hp and 30Nm, and those numbers aren’t likely to change for the adventure-style model. But performance isn’t what these bikes are about, instead focusing on rugged reliability and affordability. As such, an even tougher variant as seen here makes a lot of sense.
WORDS: BEN PURVIS