From battle fields to Himalayas, Royal Enfield motorcycles stood their grounds for more than a century now. Yes it’s because as you all must be knowing, Royal Enfield is the oldest motorcycle company on Earth that continued production irrespective of the conditions. The brand slowly initiated its Indian operations after resettling here in the country from UK and swayed a whole empire 5,000 miles in the west.
From Bullets to Thunderbirds, the company has always been a priority for a specific category of people worldwide, wanderers, the ones who can never go for anything else but an RE. Secondly and more importantly Indian Army has been using Royal Enfield motorcycles from the beginning and so even before starting off with the review we all already know how crucially this machine has served the country.
It is a retro-street motorcycle whose design is a more serene, contemporary version of the legendary Bullet. Personally, the Classic 350 looks very staunch without the rear pillion seat that can easily be removed and when given the chance we will never go for that tedious pillion seat no matter how useful it proves to be.
The tank feels really wide once you saddle the brute and the instrumental panel just looks perfect for its attitude, though it lacks information as it shows nothing but your speed, ODO meter and Battery amp. Of course there is a neutral indicator, but RE should definitely consider about adding at least a fuel gauge on this.
The Classic 350 comes with RE’s signature long chrome exhaust which sure delineates its classic looks but at the same time the accessory exhaust offered by Royal Enfield looks much better. The headlight cap on the top surely adds flavour to its retro-street glance.
Engine and Performance –
It runs on a 346cc single-cylinder, 4 Stroke Twinspark, Vacuum Carburetted engine. The engine delivers 19.8bhp of maximum power at 5,250 rpm and 28Nm of peak torque at 4,000 rpm. The engine feels torquey enough irrespective of the riding conditions but once you crack the throttle open you feel that it doesn’t really feel like a 350cc engine. One of the most prominent changes the 350 carries when compared to the 500 apart from the cubic capacity of course is that it comes with the carburetted mill.
Fuel-injection might be more linear but a carburetted system has its own perks. It is cheaper and easy to maintain. When trundling on roads untraveled, a carburetted system will prove to be the camel walk in desert and if situations turn unexpectedly it can be repaired far more easily than a fuel injected system. Apart from being bit underpowered, the 350cc engine also triggers vibrations at the upper range of rpms.
Ride Quality and Handling -
If there is one part of the review where it ticks all the right boxes than it is this one. All Royal Enfield motorcycles are generally considered to be soporifically comfortable. And by this statement we mean that it is so easy to ride a Royal Enfield that it breaks all the pre-set standards in terms of comfort on a two-wheeler. Its super wide seat feels perfect to support your bums and the ergonomics are just bang on perfect for a long ride.
This write-up can never get to its final stages without talking about the signature RE thump, the sound with which this bike moves forward feels like a perfect therapy to the soul. Though majority of the riders chose to upgrade their stock exhaust with custom exhausts for a louder note but we strongly suggest you not to do that.
You can cruise nicely at a speed of 90 km/hr but on the other hand if you twist the throttle further you feel the vibrations start kicking in making the ride slightly uncomfortable. The bike may look heavy but as soon as it gets rolling it feels light on its feet. Though it’s not meant for corners or sharp turns, but it will not scare you. If you have the courage to lean it will oblige, but while doing that do not press the brake pedal as it will scrape and the noise may break your concentration.
With fuel economy of 32 to 35 kmpl in mixed conditions a full tank can easily take you to more than 430km without asking for more and we think is a major plus point when comparing other motorcycles in its range claiming to be touring machines.
It weighs around 187kgs having 90 per cent fuel and oil which means it obviously is not a light weight motorcycle and hence needs strong brakes. It comes with 280mm disc up front and 230mm drum at the rear. Braking is good enough but can surely be improved as bringing a 190kgs brute to halt is not an easy task.
Well as we mentioned before, nothing comes close if you are looking for a comfortable ride with decent fuel economy and character of a king’s ride. The Classic 350 surely is a capable touring machine that is just perfect for Indian roads and riding conditions. It is a solidly built motorcycle like all other Royal Enfields and in case of a break down parts should not be hard to find unlike other brands which offer motorcycles in the same price range.
It is priced at around Rs 1.29 Lakh (Ex-Showroom, Delhi) and at this price it has no direct competitor. The closest motorcycles which indirectly stands against it are from the UM Renegade range and the Mahindra Mojo. Out of all these the Classic 350 still outshines because of its lesser price and of course because of Royal Enfield’s saga. It is a brilliant touring machine that will bring a smile to your face every time you take it out for a ride. All Royal Enfields are unshakable in nature and the Classic 350 just adds more charm to it without being an exception.
Photography - Mohd. Nasir