Royal Enfield today launched the 2021 Model Year Classic 350 which gets a fair number of changes. While the styling takes cues from RE’s vintage G2 model, the big changes are on the powerplant front.
The new Classic 350 is powered by the Meteor engine, the ‘J-platform’ 349cc engine replacing the 346 Unit Construction Engine. This one gets its own ignition timing, exhaust layout and fueling map, which means that the old Classic’s pushrod-valve system is replaced by a SOHC two-valve head. Peak power and torque figures stand at 20.3hp and 27 Nm, compared to the outgoing model’s 19.1hp and 28 Nm. As with the Meteor 350, these changes are to increase usable torque and reduce vibrations. The engine continues to be paired to a five-speed gearbox.
The 2021 Classic 350 is available in five variants – the entry-level, rear drum brake-equipped Redditch (Rs 184,000), Halcyon which gets a disc brake and dual-channel ABS (Rs 193,000), Signals (Rs 204,000), alloy-wheel-clad Dark (Rs 211,000) and the top-spec Chrome (Rs 215,000). All prices, ex-showroom, Chennai.
The Classic 350’s chassis also sees change what with the basic single-cradle frame replaced by a double-downtube unit. While the suspension components might look the same as before, Royal Enfield has said that they aren’t, with the new Classic getting a fatter 41mm telescopic fork. Ground clearance on the 2021 Classic 350 has increased by 35mm, to a fairly substantial 170mm.
Braking is handled by a 300mm front disc and a 270mm rotor at the rear with dual-channel ABS. The single-channel ABS models, meanwhile, use a drum brake at the rear.
The 2021 Classic 350 gets an updated instrument cluster, which for the first time has an LCD, with a fuel gauge. It also gets two tripmeters. The top-spec Chrome variant also comes with the company’s Tripper navigation display. It uses Google Maps data via your smartphone and solely displays navigation-related information. However, it does not give any call- or SMS-related notifications. The bike also features updated lights all around, but sticks to halogen-powered bulbs. Another change comes in the form of the updated switchgear that’s borrowed from the Meteor 350.
Commenting on the latest motorcycle from the company, B Govindarajan, Executive Director, Royal Enfield, said: “The Classic has been a huge catalyst in growing and expanding the middleweight segment in India. The all-new Classic 350 carries forward this legacy, and is built to reflect the familiar timeless design language, with a completely modern and re-imagined ride experience. Retaining the retro appeal in entirety, the new Classic 350 aims to take the legacy forward with its new premium fit and finish, ground-up chassis and engine, and superlative ride and handling.”
The improved seat-of-the-pants feeling on the new Classic 350 is immediate. Start the engine and there are no vibrations whatsoever other than the classic RE's thump. Furthermore, the smooth transmission enables seamless riding in the city and also on the highway. Despite weighing in at 195kg, the bike is easy to manoeuvre, even in traffic. While the 349cc engine and the frame help to hold the bike at a higher speed for a longer duration, some switches on the handlebars are a tad out of reach.