It was all about sportbikes I dreamt. Yup! The design, latest technologies, high-end power, smooth engine, sharp handling, great ergonomics, and tons of features of a sportbike certainly conquer every youngster’s mind to opt none machine other than from this league. The same happened with me too. I just fell in love with one and that is Yamaha’s rockstar, the R15. But, my relationship with the R15 didn’t last long!
Well, I had an opportunity to ride a Royal Enfield Standard 350. Heck! You know what? It’s for the first time I’m gonna make a ‘Royal Drive’, and this machine doesn’t have an electric start either! Many flashbacks about the after effects of kick starting a Bullet came across my mind. Although I was initially frightened to kickstart the motorcycle, I came up with courage later since I had no other choice. What a miracle! I kick-started the machine at the first attempt. That was so cool.
I really felt the ambiance of the Royal machine, which was very much different than any bikes I had ridden till then. After the ride, I was not even able to describe my first experience with Royal Enfield. In short, I can express it like I couldn’t even compare the Bullet with the R15, because an RE machine is not just a bike, but much more. Hence, I decided to stick with an RE machine which led me to go for the Classic 350. Now, let’s have a detailed look at the most demanded motorcycle in India.
The Classic 350 lives out its name. The machine has a classic look indeed, which makes it unique and even stylish. Split seat, aggressive fuel tank, and cute tail lamp in addition make the Classic 350, the motorcycle with the longest waiting period in the Indian industry. It has got almost the same pack comparing with its siblings powered by 350cc engine. Well, it is just the looks that turns out things for the Classic 350. Of course, the design was the prime factor that made me to buy this one.
The chrome finish certainly gives a royal finish especially to the big names like Harley Davidson, and Triumph. Royal Enfield is never behind to use chrome in its machines. The Classic 350’s rear view mirrors, exhaust, spoke wheels, and handle bar finished in chrome undoubtedly bring a royal ambience to the machine.
RE is not known for its performance or power, but for the unmatched luxury and royalty. Well, the world has changed a lot. Each and every brand is moving accordingly. Seems like RE also has made something interesting to live up to the present generation. Yep! There is some power from the heart. Thanks to engineers who were behind the UC engine. I know the most of RE fans are cursing the new UC engine for it doesn’t thump as it does with the cast iron engine. Alright! RE is known for its thumping sound – dug dug dug. But, on the other hand, the all new UC engine is reliable and economical. You need to spend only a little in maintenance comparatively.
The machine is powered by a 346cc, Single Cylinder, 4 stroke, Twinspark engine. The heart is capable to deliver a peak power of 19.8 bhp @ 5250 rpm and some wowful torque of 28 Nm @ 4000 rpm. Meanwhile, the heart is coupled with a 5 speed transmission. The top speed of the bike is 120 kmph. However, you just can’t keep driving at 120 kmph. Because, once the machine clocks beyond 100 kmph, it starts shivering and becomes out of control. Well, it’s not the deal with a Royal Enfield motorcycle, but much more. You know? Bullet is something different. You just can’t explain it. It must be experienced. And you won’t get such experience by riding a superbike or anything. So, I’m least bothered about taking my RE beyond 100 kmph. And my life is not for racing. After all, I use motorcycle just for transportation. Well, when it is made with an RE machine, that becomes much more than that.
Royal Enfield is mocked as the machine with past generation features and with the next generation pricing. All I have to say is don’t expect much when it comes to the features. The machine is limited. You must not curse Royal Enfield for that, but the industry that hasn’t produced an equal opponent yet. So if you love a machine like Bullet, you have no other choice than Royal Enfield and you need to get adjusted with the provided features.
Well, don’t degrade the Classic 350. It has something enough coupled with it.
This is the stuff where you all fell in love with the machine. Many people, especially those who are the fans of Cast Iron engined Bullet, tell that the new RE machine is nothing but a waste since it doesn’t have the traditional dug-dug thump, and offers an unbearable vibration in rides. Yep! It’s just true. If you’re a fan of cast iron Bullet, I request you not to go for any new RE motorcycles. But, for a guy who has ridden only the UCE powered Bullets, the Classic 350 is simply hot and mesmerizing. For me, the Classic 350 is alright. In fact, it’s not just alright. I just love my machine. The way it vibrates, thumps, races etc., I love them all. On the other hand, I could say that I’m adjusted to it.
The split seat looks stylish. When it comes to the part of pillion rider, he/she needs to struggle in long rides. Because, the rear seat is nowhere near the comfort line. It shakes always and even causes accidents. RE engineers must have a look on that. Well, the rest of ergonomics is alright. The riding position, where your hands, legs, and back meet, it’s killing man!
What all I altered for better riding experience?
The new Classic 350 comes with a short handle. You can chop off a good amount of vibration by replacing a wide or bar handle. The next thing is exhaust. I had been ridding the Classic 350 with the stock exhaust for more than a year. The thing is that you will lose the warranty when you replace the silencer. So, I had to wait for the completion of the warranty period. Later, I replaced the silencer with Goldstar con stuff. It cost only Rs. 1200. Oh my goodness! Then I realized the beauty of my beast. My machine started roaring like a real royal king on road. At the same time, the exhaust delivers a sexy tug-tug burned noised after successful tuning. Thanks to my mechanic. Still, I get an awesome mileage of 45 kmpl in highways. That means you don’t lose any figure when compared with the factory fitted silencer. Isn’t that more than awesome?
Periodical service is the prime thing you should take care of your Royal brother. Never miss even a single service. And also don’t give an opportunity to any local mechanic to study on your machine. Spend a little more and give it in Royal Enfield authorised service centres. The first 4 services are free. The rest you need pay from your wallet. So, after the free services I approached a local workshop guy, and he converted my machine into a non-royal stuff within 6 months. He replaced the wrong sprocket and chain, when the stock things were done. I lost the riding tempo and mileage dropped to 40 even below. Later, I had to regret on it. Better late than never, I approached one of my friends working in RE authorized service centre. And he helped me to sort out the issue. Meantime, I had to replace the wrong chain with the original RE one. So, from I experience, I request every RE owners to go for only original RE spare parts, and to approach only authorise service centres. Please do remember that periodical maintenance includes check-up in every 500 kms and oil change in every 6000 kms.
Royal Enfield Classic 350 Ownership Review: Verdict
Still, many people use to compare the Classic 350 with other sportbikes like R15, Duke 200, CBR250R, Pulsar 200NS etc. You know what? It doesn’t make sense at all. Because, an RE bi-wheeler is unique and is a kind of its own. If you need power and to turn roads into tracks, just opt for any superbike. Why should you compare it with the Classic 350 or any other RE product? For heaven sake, do understand that RE is something cult and is the oldest motorcycle company in the world which is still in continuous production. Hope you guys got how respectful the brand Royal Enfield is (to the ones who don’t know).
For me, my Classic 350 is my life. The machine has brought many changes into my life. It’s indeed my fortune. I have made many trips with my machine. In fact, my Classic 350 clocked 24,000 kms in just one year, which wouldn’t have possible to me with any sportbike mentioned above. In short – I’m not getting bored with my Classic for it gives me new riding experiences and exposures each day. And my day starts thinking, “Oh! I can ride my Classic 350 today invading the new depth of subways.”