Honda Working On Himalayan Look-Alike Adventure Bike

Honda working on GB350 based adventure motorcycle
Honda’s patent drawings closely resemble the old-generation Himalayan down to the rugged-looking exoskeleton, retro-design and double front fenders.

A new set of patent drawings recently filed by Honda and subsequently published by Cycle World show how the Japanese mega manufacturer might be vying for a slice of the affordable retro-adventure bike pie, a market set ablaze by the popularity of Royal Enfield’s Himalayan. 

The well-priced and charismatic Himalayan has been a hit here in the States of course, but it was originally created to meet the needs of riders in its home country of India. As the planet’s most populous country, India is also home to the largest motorcycle marketplace in the world, and every manufacturer is after a piece of it. 

Honda working on GB350 based adventure motorcycle
Patents of the new adventure bike are based on the CB350/GB350 currently sold in various markets.

Honda, for example, has loads of smaller displacement machines designed foremost for the Indian market including a next-gen CB350 series first launched in 2020. With styling inspired by the popular CB350 from the late 60s and early 70s, the reborn CB350, now a series, caught on quickly and has begun jumping borders as “GB” models, as seen with the 2023 launch of a GB350 in Australia and GB350 S (for scrambler) in Japan. 

And now we see in fresh technical patents filed by Honda a retro-styled adventure machine which in profile looks very similar to Royal Enfield’s Himalayan 411, right down to the plucky ergonomics, double front fenders and rugged-looking exoskeleton. There is also a drawing of a future GB350-based model that goes even farther with its scrambler styling than the S model released last year in Japan.

Illustration of fairing protectors that can also be used to mount luggage.

Although the drawings are plain, we see the base as the current CB/GB350, which is motivated by an air-cooled 348cc fuel-injected single. It produces an underwhelming 20hp at 5,500 rpm and 21 lb ft at 3,000 rpm via 5 gears, common for its primary region. The current models track road surfaces using a non-adjustable telescopic fork and preload-adjustable twin rear shocks, and stop thanks to hydraulic single discs, one each, for the 19-in front and 18-in rear wheels.

Honda working on GB350 based adventure motorcycle
Looks like Honda is after a piece of the market occupied by the affordable retro-style Royal Enfield Himalayan.

Both versions depicted in the drawings show the classic-style fuel tank replaced by a  more modern and angular design. Both share the same tail-end styling but up front we see the potential for tank racks, which would not only provide protection but potentially hold panniers. The close-up sketch of the crash bar assembly is only meant to show how the racks would be attached to the motorcycle, hence the reason two slightly different potential rack shapes are superimposed. Just beneath an adv-style bike’s windscreen a bar assembly loops over the top of the bike’s round headlamp providing mounting points for the side panels, which might also double as storage compartments. 

Honda working on GB350 based adventure motorcycle
Also shown is a Scrambler version based on the CB350 with a Himalayan-esque tank guard system.

The other bike depicted in the drawings is bare nosed and considered a scrambler in styling, though it wears a tank guard system that looks very, very Himalayan-esque.

It’s understandable why Honda would want to chase the success of the RE Himalayan, though the attempt portrayed in these patents does appear somewhat feeble. Afterall, the notoriously underpowered Himalayan released in 2018 with a 411cc single, offered more horsepower and torque than would be provided if Honda uses the existing CB’s 348cc single. And the all-new Himalayan, reborn as the Himalayan 452, is of course substantially improved over the OG version. But then again, it’s hard to read the needs and wants of developing nations through the veil of North American-style consumerism.

There’s no word yet on when these machines, which would be built by Honda in India, might be in production or to which countries they might be exported. 

Author: Jamie Elvidge

Jamie has been a motorcycle journalist for more than 30 years, testing the entire range of bikes for the major print magazines and specializing in adventure-travel related stories. To date she’s written and supplied photography for articles describing what it’s like to ride in all 50 states and 43 foreign countries, receiving two Lowell Thomas Society of American Travel Writer’s Awards along the way. Her most-challenging adventure yet has been riding in the 2018 GS Trophy in Mongolia as Team AusAmerica’s embedded journalist.

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