The Royal Enfield Bullet is a retro-styled motorbike, and the Bullet 350 is the renowned bike maker’s entry-level model. The Bullet was released in 1931 and has the distinction of being the motorcycle with the longest production run since 1948. The chrome-finished circular headlight on the body-colored suspension and front mudguard gives the Royal Enfield Bullet 350 the look of an old-school motorcycle. The Bullet’s side design features Royal Enfield’s characteristic teardrop fuel tank, stepped seat, 19-inch spoked wheels, and body-colored battery box. The rear taillight, as well as the vintage round turn indicators, are reminiscent of the old Bullets. When you get an opportunity to ride it, you’ll never want to ride another bike again; it makes you feel like a king on the road, and when a bullet comes your way, everyone gives way to the giant, and everyone looks at it as a monarch.
Engine and performance
The Classic 350 has said farewell to its long-serving UCE engine and is now driven by the company’s brand-new J-series engine, which also powers the Meteor 350. The power and torque outputs are identical to the latter at 20.2 hp and 27 Nm, respectively, and therefore the new 2021 Classic 350 sees an increase of 1.1 hp and a decrease of 1 Nm over the previous-generation model. Thumb the electric starter, hop on the bike, engage first gear, and let go of the throttle, and you’ll notice that the 2021 Classic 350 is a completely different motorbike. Because of the updated gear ratios, you won’t have to change gears as frequently as you did on the previous model. The low and mid-range are robust, and the bike seems more active and lively than its predecessor. Furthermore, there is now a sense of urgency when starting from scratch, and you will enjoy it.
Design and features
From a distance, the next-generation Classic 350 appears identical to the previous generation model, but closer inspection reveals significant differences. In that regard, the new Classic 350 has a similar-looking circular headlamp, although it is a multi-reflector clear lens unit. The negative part is that the headlamp illumination should have been greater, and you do feel a lack of confidence from the arrangement when riding on those pitch-black expressways at night. The entire lighting configuration is new, and the new Classic 350 now includes hazard lights. The instrument cluster has also undergone significant changes. The previous-generation model had one of the oldest-looking cockpits you’ve probably seen on a motorcycle, and while the company has tried to keep the layout the same, it now gets a more premium-looking speedo, a small digital screen with an odometer, twin trip meters, a clock, and, finally, a fuel gauge.
Ride and handling
The new Classic 350 felt a lot more comfortable, and it’s easy to go over 200 kilometers on it without stopping. Furthermore, I’d like to point out that the new-generation Classic 350 handles poor roads and potholes far better than its predecessor, thanks to the thicker 41mm forks up front and 10mm more suspension travel at the rear. The tires also provide adequate traction, and even in rainy circumstances, I had little to complain about. For the new Classic 350, Royal Enfield has increased the width of both the front and rear tires, which is why the bike feels more planted at highway speeds. Despite these improvements, Royal Enfield has managed to keep the bike’s curb weight about the same at 195 kg. Even the cornering clearance of the bike has been enhanced, as the rear brake pedal of the bike has now been re-routed from above the exhaust as opposed to the old model, which came out from under the exhaust. With the redesigned platform, the next-generation Classic 350 feels much more clickable in traffic and nimble on turns. Another thing that makes it difficult to believe it’s a classic!
The new 2021 Royal Enfield Classic has a starting price of Rs 1.84 lakh (ex-showroom, Chennai). Royal Enfield has attempted to improve the bike in practically every area for this new generation avatar, and after riding it for four days and over a thousand kilometers, I must say that they have been successful. More importantly, Royal Enfield has been regularly soliciting user feedback and has incorporated much of it into this motorcycle in order to make it the greatest Classic 350 yet. The days of the Classic 350 feeling like a typical old school and obsolete motorbike are over; the new one feels and rides like a new-age Royal Enfield filled with good rideability and features, and we hope this will attract even more buyers. So, if you’re considering bringing this one home, we don’t think there’s a chance you’ll be disappointed.