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Royal Enfield is a brand that needs no introduction. For decades now, motorcycles from the company have given many a rider the passport to freedom and to explore the world out there. To a few others, RE's motorcycles are a ticket to flaunt the retro design and style while still sticking to the urban landscape.
Royal Enfield is the oldest motorcycle brand in continuous production. Over the decades, the company has produced a few iconic motorcycles and the Classic is one of them. First introduced in 2009, the Classic spawned a new era of Royal Enfield buyers.
Gone were the rugged gentlemen who knew exactly how to use the decompressor in order to kick-start the long-stroke engine. Instead, the Classic gained a cult following among the youngsters. It was now easier to use thanks to the electric starter and Royal Enfield replaced the brake pedal on the left side of the motorcycle with the gear lever, like all other modern motorcycles.
This worked like magic for Royal Enfield and the Classic soon became the most popular motorcycle from the Chennai-based manufacturer. The Classic 350 sold in great numbers thanks to the affordability factor favouring it over the Classic 500.
Though sales numbers didn't really decrease over the years, it was quite obvious that the Classic was becoming old. The old age of the Royal Enfield Classic was quite evident when the company launched the Meteor 350 with its new engine. Almost immediately, rumours of the next-gen Royal Enfield Classic 350 being powered by this engine surfaced.
After spending the last few months scanning through every detail of the countless spy pictures, and reporting the arrival of new speculations, Royal Enfield has launched the motorcycle at a starting price of Rs 1.84 lakh. The top-spec Chrome models cost Rs 2.15 lakh, ex-showroom.
We rode the motorcycle for a few hundred kilometres ahead of its launch, and it turned out to be quite impressive. Here's our review of the 2021 Royal Enfield Classic 350.
Design & Style
The design & style is one of those aspects that made the Classic 350 an icon. Keeping this in mind, it was always going to be a huge task to introduce design changes on the newer model without taking away the ethos and the soul. Well, kudos to Royal Enfield's design team for managing to keep it real classy.
The motorcycle now looks more retro with a slightly lower stance while still retaining some signature design traits. It still gets a circular headlamp up front, but the headlamp has now been positioned lower. The headlamp surrounds are finished in chrome and it also gets an upper hood, much like a couple of Royal Enfield motorcycles from the past.
Royal Enfield has also retained the iconic trait of placing the headlamp, gauges, and front fork mount inside a metal cloak. This makes the dashboard look neat and tidy. With the new Classic 350, you also get the much-awaited Tripper navigation screen integrated into the same setup.
Getting navigation instructions on a colour TFT screen instead of looking at the needle on the ammeter going berserk is going to be the next cool thing for younger buyers. The Classic 350 we received was decked in Chrome Red and hence there was a lot of Chrome on the motorcycle.
The front mudguard gets a chrome finish with a red stripe in the centre and golden pinstripes. The same theme is found on the fuel tank as well. Royal Enfield has retained the fuel tank design from the outgoing model and it looks rather classy. It also gets a tank pad to protect the chrome finish on the tank and the Royal Enfield emblem on the tank looks brilliant.
The side panels are brand new and Royal Enfield has paid attention to detail here. The wiring and fuel-injection mechanisms are all covered with black plastics in an oval shape. The metal side panels are finished gloss black and they sport the new Classic 350 logo.
The engine plays a huge role in enhancing the styling of the Classic 350. The covers on both sides are finished in chrome and so is the lovely exhaust. Other chromed parts include the bar-end weights, spoked wheels, rear fender, instrumentation surrounds, indicator surrounds, rear-view mirrors, fuel tank cap, etc.
At the rear is a simple circular tail lamp flanked by the circular indicators. Underneath the tail lamp is the registration number plate and that sums up the rear end. The seats too have been redesigned. They are now contoured and come with contrast stitching. The disc brakes are bigger and this is more pronounced at the rear.
Engine & Performance
When astride the 2021 Royal Enfield Classic 350, right off the bat, the motorcycle feels brilliant. Straightaway you realise that the new engine and chassis are doing their job rather well. Let's talk about the engine for a while.
The new Royal Enfield Classic 350 is powered by a 349cc, single-cylinder engine that puts out 20.2bhp at 6,100rpm and 27Nm at 4,000rpm. A 5-speed gearbox drives the rear wheel. The similarities between the older engine and this one end at the fact that it is air-cooled.
The engine capacity is up by 3 cubic centimetres. This has been achieved by increasing the bore size by 2mm and decreasing the stroke length by 4.2mm. This has resulted in a more responsive engine. We wouldn't call it rev-happy, but it feels more at ease when revved when compared to the older engine. This is also in part courtesy of the new SOHC setup.
The old pushrods are gone and in its place is a new overhead camshaft and a conventional valvetrain setup. As a result, the engine feels more refined and mature. The best part of it all is that, vibrations are curbed and it doesn't feel like the motorcycle will disintegrate at higher RPMs.
One of the biggest complaints that buyers of the outgoing Classic 350 had was that the sound wasn't soulful. It just didn't have the 'thump' that buyers yearned for. We're pleased to say that this has been solved with the all-new Classic 350.
Royal Enfield understands that the thump means a lot to its buyers and the exhaust on the new Classic 350 gives you just that. It has a deep, bassy beat at idle. Under load, this changed into the thump that RE enthusiasts love. At higher RPMs, it has a nice rumble to it and the sound makes riding it a pleasure.
Of course it doesn't sound like the old 'Bullet' from a couple of decades ago, but it is the best-sounding single-cylinder RE today. This engine really is a gem and is something that will be appreciated by the masses. It feels at home in the urban jungle, at ease on the open road, and surprisingly torquey when ridden off the road. Yes we took a neo-retro cruiser off-road and there's a reason for it.
Ride & Handling
The Royal Enfield Classic 350 is meant for the open road, but let's not forget that this is the motorcycle that has given countless people the passport to adventure for years now. Before ADV motorcycles became popular in our country, people used the Classic 350 to do the Leh-Ladakh circuit and to hit the snowy roads of Spiti, apart from the usual pothole-infested urban roads.
So, we took the new Classic 350 off the beaten path. Not so surprisingly, the motorcycle took whatever we threw at it in its stride. The motorcycle rides on Ceat Zoom Plus tyres and they provide a good amount of grip on tarmac in dry conditions. In wet conditions however, we did wish for it to be more confidence-inspiring. When ridden on muck, the tyres lose grip completely.
Riding the Royal Enfield Classic 350 in the urban environment, however, is now so much easier. The bike accelerates at a decent pace and it is now more flickable courtesy of the new frame and suspension.
The age-old single downtube chassis has been replaced by a twin-downtube spine chassis. This, coupled with the new engine mounts make for a lovely, vibration-free ride. Handling the traffic-filled roads of Bangalore was an easy task. The biggest difference that this makes though was out on the open road.
The Classic 350 was always meant for the open road and for long rides. However, riding the older Classic 350 at speeds above 80km/h for longer durations was a challenge thanks to the vibrations. The vibrations were there at lower speeds too but they increased as the revs climbed until it became unbearable at a certain RPM, and the throttle would have to be rolled back.
With the new Classic 350 though, things are quite different. There are barely any vibrations at 80km/h and the vibrations at 100km/h are negligible. This is a huge achievement and kudos to Royal Enfield for achieving this. It can stay put at speeds above 100km/h all day and neither the rider nor the pillion will have any issues related to comfort.
The suspension is now softer and the ride is supple. When this is combined with the 195-kilogram kerb weight, the result is a super stable high-speed ride. The motorcycle remains stable even on bumpy sections of road.
The seat is now contoured and the flatter footpegs allow the rider to place the feet more comfortably. When all this is put together, the new Classic 350 makes for a super comfortable motorcycle for touring, which is exactly what it was intended to.
The braking has improved massively too. It gets disc brakes at both ends. At 300mm, the front disc is 20mm larger than the outgoing model. At 270mm, the rear disc is 30mm larger than in the outgoing model. As expected, the braking prowess has increased, but we did wish for more initial bite.
Royal Enfield has equipped the all-new Classic 350 with ABS as standard. Buyers will get single-channel or dual-channel ABS depending on the variant opted for. Quite obviously, prices for the variants differ.
The motorcycle comes with a 13-litre fuel tank. With a fuel efficiency of around 36km/l, the motorcycle has a range of over 450 kilometres. On the whole, the all-new Royal Enfield Classic 350 is a huge improvement over the older model. It makes for a more enjoyable riding experience and long-distance touring on this one will be bliss.
The outgoing Royal Enfield Classic 350 barely received any features. The new one on the other hand is a big contrast. The 2021 Classic 350 comes with a much better electronics package and most of it is found in the instrumentation section.
The biggest highlight when it comes to the features is the Tripper navigation system. Tripper first made its debut on the Royal Enfield Meteor 350, and Royal Enfield had said it would eventually filter down to all models. On the Meteor 350 and Himalayan, the Tripper system seems like an afterthought as it sticks out of the instrument cluster.
On the new Classic 350 though, it has been integrated neatly into the console. Using it is pretty simple and directions can be sent to the circular TFT screen pretty easily and quickly via the Royal Enfield smartphone app. The Tripper Navigation will be available as standard equipment only on a few variants. On the rest of the variants, the same space is taken up by an RE logo.
The all-new Royal Enfield Classic 350 features digital-analogue instrumentation. The speedometer is in the analogue format. Under the speedometer is a small LCD screen that displays the basic information about the motorcycle.
It displays the fuel gauge, odometer, trip meters, etc. It also features an Eco indicator that flashes the word 'ECO' on the LCD screen when the motorcycle is being ridden in a fuel efficient manner.
Speaking of features, we did miss LED lighting on the motorcycle. The headlamps, tail lamps and indicators are all powered by halogen bulbs. In this day and age, LEDs would have been appreciated. However, we must mention that the halogen headlamp is rather good. The throw is nice and the roads are lit up very well. It comes with the auto headlamp on feature as standard.
Royal Enfield has always allowed buyers to choose what colour and finish they would like on the Classic 350. With the launch of the new model, there are more colours now than ever before and buyers are sure to be spoilt for choice. The brand has also brought back the Signals Edition paint job for the motorcycle.
- Chrome Red
- Chrome Bronze
- Dark Stealth Black
- Dark Gunmetal Grey
- Signals Marsh Grey
- Signals Sandstorm
- Halcyon Green
- Halcyon Black
- Halcyon Grey
- Redditch Green
- Redditch Grey
The Halcyon Green shade looks brilliant as it is the most retro colour scheme among them all. However, if looking uber cool is your thing, then there's the Dark Gunmetal Grey or Dark Stealth Black for you.
2021 Royal Enfield Classic 350 Competition
On paper, the Royal Enfield Classic 350 competes with the Honda Highness CB350, Jawa and Royal Enfield Meteor 350. However, it is more refined than the competition and is well-built too. Above all, the Classic 350 enjoys a cult following and this is something that the competition can't keep up with.
2021 Royal Enfield Classic 350 Variants & Prices
The 2021 Royal Enfield Classic 350 is available in multiple variants:
- Halcyon: Rs 1,93,123
- Signals: Rs 2,04,367
- Dark: Rs 2,11,465
- Chrome: Rs 2,15,118
All prices are ex-showroom, India.
When looked at from the perspective of sales numbers, the outgoing Classic 350 didn't really need a generational update. The motorcycle sells in great numbers even today. However, Royal Enfield recognised that the Classic needed to be modernised in order for it to sell well. Also, the company had the new engine and frame in hand.
As aforementioned, this engine and frame make a brilliant combination and we're sure the new Classic 350 will beat the old one even in terms of sales numbers. Royal Enfield has become a legend by pulling off this classic act.