After months of speculations and spy shots doing rounds on the internet, RE has finally launched the updated Classic 350. Many tales have been written and countless songs have been sung describing the popularity of the Classic 350 but they have all fallen short of the mammoth status that the retro roadster commands. Despite being the staple bike in Royal Enfield’s portfolio, it started coming out as a ‘living fossil’ but Royal Enfield has cracked the code of breathing a new life into an ageing bike like the Classic 350.
The next-gen Classic 350 has been launched at a starting price of INR 1.84 Lakh and the changes are quite extensive, thus justifying the ‘next-gen’ prefix. Here’s a detailed rundown on all the changes introduced to the retro roadster!
Royal Enfield has played a clever move here by retaining the overall design philosophy of the Classic 350 but since it is a generational update, the bodywork has been thoroughly reworked upon. It now feels more premium and well-built than before. The panels might look the same but they have been re-machined to provide a more upmarket feel.
RE has also introduced some aesthetic tweaks here and there like the redesigned headlamp nacelle that now features a thicker chrome bezel around it. The motorcycle bears the distinct teardrop-shaped tank, and the classic Royal Enfield casquette that houses a new headlamp along with the signature ‘tiger lamps’ – pilot lights – an enduring feature on Royal Enfield motorcycles since 1954. The 2021 Classic 350 can be had in 5 broad variants and 11 different colourways to match your personality.
It is built around the same engine found on the Meteor 350. It is a 349cc, air-cooled, single-cylinder engine with a SOHC layout. This engine makes 20.2 hp power at 6,100 rpm and 27 Nm torque at 4,000 rpm, mated to a 5-speed gearbox. For reference, the outgoing model makes 19.1hp and 28Nm. However, it has its own ignition timing, exhaust layout and fueling map to make the ride a bit different than what you get on the Meteor 350.
Royal Enfield has heavily reworked the underpinnings of the Classic 350 as it now utilizes a double-downtube frame as opposed to the basic single-cradle frame found on its previous iteration. Designed to be stiffer, the chassis encourages more confidence at higher cornering speeds, and feels planted and stable on straight roads.
The front and rear suspension have been extensively developed for more comfortable saddle time. The diameter of the front telescopic fork has gone up to 41mm as opposed to 35mm forks found in its previous model. The rear suspension too has been updated to provide more travel.
Royal Enfield hasn’t left any stones unturned in upgrading the Classic 350 and almost everything in the new motorcycle has been revamped including the wheels as well. They are broader than before and also comes with fatter hoops around them. While the previous iteration of the Classic 350 had a 90 section tyre up front and a 110 section rear tyre, the MY2021 Classic 350 gets a 110 section tyre at the front and a fatter 120 section tyre at the back.
When you give something a major overhaul, it becomes necessary to let go off the dusty bits and make space for something new and shiny right? The braking department of the previous-gen Classic 350 was that dusty bit. It now gets bigger discs at both the ends – 300mm at the front and 270mm at the back as opposed to the 280mm and 240mm braking setup found in its previous model. Not only this, RE has also included bigger, Bybre-sourced callipers.
Ask any Bulleteer that it is considered a sin if you don’t take your Royal Enfield out on the wide-open highways. And RE has paid special attention in enhancing the Classic 350’s touring credentials. For more comfortable hours on the saddle, the new Classic has new, wider seats with soft-foam cushion padding. With brand new handlebars, the riding position has been subtly tweaked to further improve comfort whilst maintaining that familiar Classic feeling. The ground clearance has also shot up to a respectable 170mm which makes it 35mm more than the previous Classic 350.
Bringing in the modern touch is the new digi-analogue instrument cluster that houses an LCD info panel. A USB charging point will be mounted below the handlebar for the convenience of quick charging on the go. The LCD display now comes equipped with a fuel gauge. Finally! It also gets two trip meters and the top-of-the-line Chrome series also gains a Tripper navigation pod as an optional accessory. The switchgear too is borrowed from the Meteor 350.
Royal Enfield motorcycles have always been associated with their signature thump and we are happy to report that the new Classic 350 won’t disappoint you in that regard. It does retain its signature thump but it does sound more mature and umm… modern than before. The refined exhaust note should be attributed to the new engine that the Classic 350 has borrowed from the Meteor 350.