Not too long ago, pickings were slim for new riders or folks who just wanted a small motorcycle. The last decade has seen a real uptick in import and sales of small bikes. Royal Enfield is helping that trend along.
Here’s another opportunity to test the old truism that it’s more fun to ride a slow bike fast, than a fast bike slow. The Classic 350 was launched in India on 1 September 2021, and will be hitting US shores “in the 2022 riding season.”
A New Royal Enfield Model
This is a new model to the US lineup. The Classic, available elsewhere with a 500cc powerplant, finally hits these shores powered by a 349cc single-cylinder air/oil-cooled engine. Fitted with a 2-pot Brembo brake caliper up front and a single-pot caliper out back, the 350 looks like an upgrade in the brakes department over the 500, unless you’re a fan of rear drums.
The motor in this Classic is the same as Royal Enfield’s Meteor, and puts out 20.2 Bhp through a 5-speed transmission with a multiplate wet clutch. If we’re lucky, the Classic will also borrow the Meteor’s dual-channel ABS, but no promises there.
It could not be better named. While the Meteor reaches for cruiser aesthetics, the Classic might as well have jumped out of a postwar UK motorcycle magazine. Its upright seating and toaster-tank positively ooze European vibes. The taillight design might as well have been yanked right off an R50/2.
Siddhartha Lal, Managing Director of Royal Enfield’s parent company Eicher Motors Ltd. said, “We’ve paid great attention to every aspect of the motorcycle, right from its stunning look, to the perfection in parts and the touchpoints, to its impeccable riding performance. The engine is super smooth, intuitively responsive and engaging, and has that gorgeous growl on acceleration. The all-new chassis lends enormous confidence while riding, with surefooted handling and agile braking. The motorcycle feels in control and well-mannered around tight corners. The motorcycle is, without a doubt, class-leading, and feels incredibly refined and enjoyable to ride.”
Have you ridden a Royal Enfield Classic? What did you think?