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The Royal Enfield Bullet 350 is one of the oldest motorcycle nameplates in India and the model has a very loyal fan base in the country. In addition to that, many people still refer to Royal Enfield as 'Bullet'.
For a motorcycle with such a long history, it is not easy for a manufacturer to make changes. However, over the motorcycle's history dating back from 1931, Royal Enfield has made changes and upgrades to make the motorcycle survive 'Time'. While some of these changes were well-received by its customers, some changes were deemed to lack 'soul'.
Fast forward to 2022, Royal Enfield seems to be gearing up to launch the next-generation Royal Enfield Bullet 350 motorcycle in India. The recent spied images reveal a new Royal Enfield motorcycle with a single-piece stepped seat, retro-style headlamps and tail lights, and the motorcycle also sports a wide handlebar.
Analysing this picture, this new motorcycle comes with a very commanding upright seating position - Which is a characteristic trait of the Royal Enfield Bullet motorcycle. Moreover, the motorcycle also features the latest double cradle frame and engine from the outgoing Classic 350 and Meteor 350 motorcycles.
This 349cc, single-cylinder, fuel-injected engine is capable of producing 20.2bhp of peak power and 27Nm of torque, and power is transferred to the rear wheels via a 5-speed gearbox. This only gives rise to the speculation that the automaker is gearing up to launch the new-gen Bullet 350 motorcycle in India and going by the looks, it seems the motorcycle is almost ready.
Going to the roots, the Royal Enfield Bullet was introduced in 1931 as a single-cylinder, 4-stroke motorcycle. These motorcycles were even used by British Army in the second world war.
In 1939, the British automaker, Royal Enfield updated the Bullet with hydraulic front forks, a fully-incorporated swing-arm frame rear suspension, and a few cosmetic changes. These changes were well-received by the audience and drastically improved the Bullet
1949, marks a very important year for Royal Enfield as this is the time when the Indian Army ordered Royal Enfield Bullets for border patrol duty. At the same time, Royal Enfield also introduced major changes to the Bullet motorcycle and some of these changes were an uprated engine with an alloy head and higher compression, a fully sprung design, a new telescopic suspension, 4-speed Albion gearbox, and the headlight assembly was enclosed within the speedometer.
In 1955, the production of this model began in Madras (Chennai) and continued in production till 1995 without many changes. After this Mr Siddhartha Lal took over the company.
Under his leadership, the Bullet marque was split into two - Bullet Standard and Bullet Electra. The Electra featured colour options, CDI electronic ignition, and gas-charged shock absorbers. This model quickly became a successful model accounting for more than 50 per cent of sales of the company.
Later, 'AVL' engine was introduced with left foot gear shift and a 5-speed gearbox. Though the engine was much smoother than before, the Royal Enfield loyalists hated the engine for the lack of 'thump'.
In 2007, Royal Enfield introduced the Unit Construction Engine (UCE) and though the model initially faced a bit of criticism, it soon became one of the best-selling 350cc motorcycles in the country.
Thoughts About The Bullet 350
Despite its age, many youngsters prefer the Bullet 350 to other Royal Enfield models and in May 2022, Royal Enfield sold 6,958 units of Bullet motorcycles in India. As we have seen, the latest update is likely to make the motorcycle lot more predictable and also more suited for touring.