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Horrific ordeal: Why I regret buying a Honda CB350RS as my first bike

Merely 9 days had passed that I noticed another major oil leak from the bottom of the engine.

BHPian DocOn2Wheels recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

I won't make this thread long with any nonsense (can't guarantee it won't be long). I know all of this is about how unfortunate I'm in choosing Honda and it's my personal issue afterall, but there are issues which are common to all and it will affect you at some point of time. It's me first time writing so pardon me if it doesn't meet the standards. I'm currently pursuing MBBS(3rd year) and belong to a fairly middle class family, and just like any other lad owning my own bike was a dream since forever, I think! Before this I used to ride Apache RTR 180 BS4 owned by my father. Intro ends here!

I don't want to elaborate on my search and why I chose this bike over any other. We all end up choosing one and this is how it is! On 10th of March 2023 I got the delivery of my bike from Krishna Motors Bigwing, Muzaffarpur, Bihar. Happiest day!!! I don't think I was happier than this even on the day I got selected in the medical college! I purchased it during that time as BS 6 phase 2 was about to be implemented and a price hike was to be expected. That was the last RS in Bihar so I booked it even without informing it to my parents.

On the day of delivery my father rode the bike home and there I observed that the gear position indicator was not working. Informed it to the dealership and they told they'll fix it at first service.

Next issue was Oil leakage (every time I mention leakage, it's Engine oil and not the fuel) from the head gasket even before the bike had run 150km. Again informed them and they said the same as before. The image of first leakage is attached below.

Visited them once in the meantime to get my number plate fixed and again told them about the same issues and this time again they told the same thing that they'll fix it in the first service. I went to my college on bike, the reason I gave to my parents to persuade them into getting me one! As Alankar Honda Bigwing, Patna was closer to my college I got my bike serviced from them after riding it for 752 km on 28th March.

Informed them everything to which they reacted that this is the first time we're encountering such issues. This statement contradicted with what I was told earlier by the staffs at Muzaffarpur. They told me it's very minor and common issue and nothing to worry about. They changed the rubber gasket from where the oil was leaking and did the normal service of oil change, etc.

For gear position indicator they asked me to visit after 3 days as parts weren't available. As I reached my college I noticed oil leaking again from the same spot to which I thought it's due to the newly added oil and might get better after few rides. Went back again on 1st April to get the gear position indicator fixed and they fixed it by changing the sensor and it actually got fixed!

NOW THE HORROR STARTS!

The next day as I took the bike out for a ride I started experiencing an unusual sound from the engine (Knocking sound, it was quite irritating and not something which can be ignored). The knocking became quite evident on reaching the 40kmph speed on 2nd gear while accelerating and also on cruising at the speed of around 40kmph on second gear. Same thing happened with 3rd gear around the speed of 60kmph. I know some of you might think that 40 on 2nd is too much but a CB owner will understand! The gearing on this bike is freaking tall!

On the same ride I took it to the service center and they told me to submit it and their probable diagnosis was tappet misalignment. I submitted it to them on 8th of April and got it back on 12th. They told me that they did the tappet setting and everything is running all fine. I test rode the bike and didn't see any change but they told they have done all the tests needed and also compared it to the other bikes and there is no abnormal sound. Disappointed, I took the bike back and started convincing myself that this sound might just be my illusion! I did this because from their attitude, I realised it in the very beginning that I won't be getting any solution from them.

On 7th May I noticed oil leaking from other parts of the engine besides the covering. Those are shown below:

I started avoiding to use the bike as I thought it might damage the engine. On 23rd May 2023 I had to submit it to them and got the delivery back on 29th. The issues that I raised were Oil leakage and abnormal engine sound. This time I noticed they glued the parts from where the oil was leaking except the one shown in picture 2. I told them that the sound is still there to which they mentioned it on some sort of paper- 'The customer is still experiencing sound.' The reason that they are not ready to acknowledge the sound is because it is entirely not evident on idle.

By now I knew that I have made a mistake by choosing Honda and started convincing myself to live with it. Merely 9 days had passed that I noticed another major oil leak from the bottom of the engine. Till now all the leaks were from the head. I got so anxious seeing this that I submitted it back to the service center on the same day itself (7th June 2023) quoting oil leak and abnormal sound once again. This time I asked the manager to convey this to the higher office as they are not able to rectify the issue. To this he replied, "This is a separate issue, all the earlier issues were solved by us. The oil is not leaking from the same spot it used to." Again refusing to acknowledge that there is some internal issue with the engine and the symptoms are this oil leak and that sound.

I got the bike back from them on 12th June and asked them about the issue. They said, "There were some packing issue of the oil sealant and we sealed it and also some of the parts from the engine were replaced." These parts were changed.

I inspected the base and it was clean. Took a test ride and as always sound was there but why to argue when they aren't gonna listen to any of those claims. No oil leak till then. So I took it back to the college and to my horror I noticed oil coming out from the same spot again. The images are shown below:

I had been informing everything in detail to Honda Customer Service through mail from time to time. I even called them a few times but they did nothing besides creating a ticket. I'll attach those mails at the end of this thread. In the meantime I informed everything to the Muzaffarpur Bigwing (my bike dealer). Sent them all the job card showing what has been done to my bike so far. They convinced me that Patna Bigwing provides poor service and they claimed that they'll fix everything once I visit them. I visited them on 28th June 2023. The mechanic test rode the bike and affirmed that there is abnormal sound from the engine and I also showed him the oil leak.

They told me to submit the bike as it will take them some time to diagnose and rectify the issue. They neither gave me the receiving of submitting the bike nor did they open the job card. One mistake that I did was not forcing them to give me the receiving for taking my bike as I was in a hurry. After few days they called me and told me that Block Kit needs replacement as it is damaged. I asked them about the time they'll take to which they replied that it might take upto a week for the parts to arrive after which they'll start the work. I became assured that finally they have figured it out and my bike will be fixed once and for all.

One week became one month and in no time it became 2. So many calls from me and my father. Always the same reply, "Parts aren't available yet." Honda owners; it's 'Us moment' right! They even denied to open the job card telling me that they can do so only when the parts are available. Finally on 22nd Aug 2023 I got a call from them that Honda has denied the warranty claim as the claim has already been made for the same issue during the previous service. Now they started changing their face from being my well wisher to my foe. They denied that I've already told them about my service at Patna service center. I have screenshots and all the call recordings so far to prove my point that they were lying and how they changed their colours. Here is one screenshot in which that person says, "Muz Aaiye lekar." It means bring it to Muzaffarpur to which I replied that I'll come after getting a response from Honda team as I have mailed them already. The response never came!

They talked to that Patna Bigwing manager and he in turn told them that I'm a rash rider and I used to drag the bike beyond 40 on 2nd gear and that's the reason the bike started behaving differently. That was the same person who once instructed me to engage 2nd gear after 10kmph, 3rd gear beyond 20kmph and 4th gear beyond 30kmph and then you should speed up. I've never heard anything this illogical!

Once again I would like to mention that this engine has a freaking tall gearing and if you engage 4th gear below 35 or 40kmph the ride will not be smooth unlike the Royal Enfield's. And now everyone was talking about this that I've used the bike irresponsibly. They started the blame game. That manager informed that there is nothing wrong with the bike and he has checked it personally. He didn't notice any issue and there is no oil leak. On 27th we went to the service center to take the bike back and also get the 2nd servicing done as it was due in 15 days. I noticed the oil spots on the floor where my bike was standing all the time. That manager claimed he didn't notice any oil leak.

There the manager treated me and my father in the most unprofessional way that we never expected considering the claims of BigWing. He blamed me for misusing the bike and the fun part is he was blaming me for visiting the service center again and again. He presented it like it was my hobby visiting them more often. Started claiming that there is nothing wrong with the bike and it's just me making false claims. They kept my bike for 2 months( 28th June to 27th Aug), ordered the parts and now suddenly there are no faults with it! Took the bike home and checked the base and saw the same oil leak. Cleaned it and took it out for a spin just to make sure. Again observed the same leak. Recorded the video and sent it to them.

I also posted about this on twitter to which I got a response call from Honda office Gurugram (for the very first time) but again that person was talking about why I shouldn't have pushed the bike beyond its limits. They were not ready to acknowledge the fact that bikes have their own mechanism to protect themselves from being pushed beyond their limits and that's where the limiter hits. On this bike limiter on 2nd gear comes around 85kmph. One more interesting thing is that the bike's ECO indicator is on when you ride at 50kmph on second gear even with a pillion. I told them about this but they couldn't get what I was talking about and then I realised how illogical it was to explain anything to them. They asked me to visit once again and they'll change the oil seal. Which oil seal they're talking about; oil is leaking from the base where right and left portions of the engine are joined and I don't see any seal there. Moreover within 6 months of me purchasing the bike for 3 months it was with them and they were asking it to submit it again. I wasn't okay with it.

Just after receiving the bike I observed that it has started behaving weird, like: engine cuts off on slowing down the bike and taking clutch while riding, frequent stalling at lower RPM, engine seems stressed a lot, heating has gone up, noticeable vibration on handlebars and most importantly the bike is misfiring while cruising at a constant speed. One more thing I noticed is while on idle if I rev it and release the throttle, it takes one second more to come to the idle RPM. Now the bike doesn't start without rolling up the throttle a bit. Idling RPM fluctuates a lot; means sometimes it won't come down to normal and the other times it goes down to such an extent that the engine cuts off. In traffic I have to keep holding on to the throttle to keep the bike on( sometimes it's okay).

Once after all this I went to Patna service again to get the chain slack adjusted and showed them what all is going on with it but again the same thing they aren't ready to accept that there are some faults with the engine. So I didn't go to them after that rather I went to consumer court. I have filed the case through a lawyer because I don't have enough time to visit the court by myself. That also made a hole in my pocket. The case has been filed and Admission hearing will be held in few days probably. Let's see where it goes!

Currently (24th Nov 2023) oil leak is there as shown in picture 2. Bike doesn't feel and behave the way it should. I know this because one of my friend bought Highness on my suggestion itself and when I ride that, the difference which I feel is drastic. Even the test ride bike at the showroom feels far better that mine.

It's not just me suffering; I've seen people waiting for months just for the brake pads. There is serious issue with availability and quality of parts at Honda Motorcycles and Scooters India. After owning my bike I realised, how things like after sales service, parts availability, your accessibility to service center matter a lot more than just the bike's own positives. I thought riding 100km every 6 months for service won't be that much of a big deal but the reality is something else.

Moreover people from Bihar should also consider that there are no proper mechanics who know everything about bikes and who can fix problems if you don't get a solution from the service center. Here you'll have to depend solely on the two authorized service centers in entire Bihar and their knowledge is.... what to say, It makes me laugh!! I suggest if you're someone who has an access to a very good mechanic, who knows about bikes, then certainly you can go for this one otherwise choose RE; not for the after sales service but for the accessibility and the fact that there are mechanics who know REs.

One more thing when I went to get my bike serviced at Patna for the first time, one of the mechanic checked the chassis number and told me it's an old stock. I checked it and found out he was correct; I got the bike in March but the manufacturing was October 2022, considering it was the only piece left it's quite old stock.

Never thought that feeling of buying the first bike would turn out to be like this! Thanks Honda!!

Mails that I have sent them:

My bike's usual place; the service center:

Me hoping that things were different.

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