2022 Royal Enfield Classic 350 Test Ride Review
A very detailed and to the point review of the 2022 RE Classic 350
Bike tested: Royal Enfield Classic 350; Road Test No. 1338; Test Location: Mumbai
Price (Ex-Showroom, Mumbai): Rs. 2,15,118/– (Chrome variant)
The Classic 350 has always been a topper in the sales list and is the most loved and sold motorcycle from Royal Enfield
Royal Enfield Classic 350, a name that is known to almost everyone in the country. There are bucketloads of history and heritage behind the Classic badge which makes it what it is today. It is the modernised, more urban looking version of the Bullet 350 targeted towards the younger audience. Many competitors came and went while some are still struggling to grab a piece of the neo-retro bike segment’s cake, but the Classic stands undefeated. The 2022 update brings in a lot of changes and also checks off on a few items on our expectations list. We are really excited to tell you everything you need to know about the 2022 Royal Enfield Classic 350.
MotorQuest: Introduced in the year 2009, the Classic variant of the Royal Enfield has been the most popular model. It was introduced with two engine capacities, the 350 and 500. While for 2020 we only have the 350cc model. The Classic accounts for over 60% of sales in its segment while the number started dropping in 2019 and hence RE is back with a bang.
Styling: The new Classic 350 retains its overall silhouette and unmistakably looks like a Royal Enfield. The face of the motorcycle is identical to the outgoing model and the bike still continues with a halogen lighting setup but with a clear multi-reflector unit now. Although the tank design is similar, it houses a new Royal Enfield logo that looks quite gaudy and gathers a lot of attention. Coming down, the new J-series engine dictates a lot of estate and the chrome elements add to the retro feel of the bike. For the most part, the side profile isn’t reworked but, there are a few subtle changes for you to note; first is the absence of an engine kick-starter, and second is the ditching of the ugly pre-cat converter and last is the reworked seating setup that isn’t spring-based(while there is an option to get one) and seems to offer promising comfort.
The new Royal Enfield Classic 350 looks commanding and sets a bold impression upon its arrival
Looking at the 2020 and 2022 models from the front, one might not be able to point out the differences as easily. However, look at them from the back and instantly, one can point out the latest model. The Classic 350 now gets a fresh rear end. It now gets a new taillight unit which looks quite minimalistic. And a new number plate housing which makes the bike appear a lot more charming. However, we expected a few more changes like the addition of LED indicators and a revised front fascia as this ‘timeless’ design is looking quite dated now. There are a total of 5 variants – Halcyon, Signals, Dark, Crome and Redditch; with 11 colour options.
Instrument Cluster and Switchgear: Finally, RE has acknowledged the feedback and given the Classic 350 a completely new instrument cluster! This new cluster is an analogue-digital combo. Up-top is an analogue speedometer that also hosts all the important tell-tale lights. What’s more interesting is the new LCD unit that houses an odometer, fuel gauge, twin trip meters and a trip F meter, eco riding alert, service reminder and a battery voltage indicator. This cluster is reasonably sized and offers good visibility. It is a known fact that a lot many people use the Classic 350 for touring as well. And keeping that in mind, the bike now gets RE’s Tripper navigation system which is a nifty addition. Speaking about nifty additions, the bike now comes equipped with a USB charger as standard. However, we feel that the addition of a gear position indicator would have made it a sweeter deal.
The Tripper navigation system is very easy to use and offers clear instructions, leading to less confusion on the road
The new set of switchgear on the 2022 Classic 350 is picked directly from the Meteor. On the left, there is an ‘i’ button to switch between the information on the LCD cluster. Next up is an integrated dial-type switch for the headlamp and pass light. Below that is the indicator switch, followed by a horn button. Moving to the right switchgear, there is a similar dial-type engine starter-kill switch followed by a hazard light switch which is a nice safety feature. In terms of quality and feel, the switchgear feels much better than the outgoing model. The buttons are large in size and offer satisfactory feedback. However, they will take some time to get used to.
Ergonomics: Royal Enfield’s Classic bikes are known to offer comfortable ergonomics and the 2022 model is no different. To begin with, the seat height is 805 mm which is fit for the average Indian. However, it might be challenging for people below 5’5″. The tank recess has been thoughtfully sculpted and shall be comfortable for people above 6 feet as well. As previously said, the Classic gets a new seat, this seat is plusher than before and offers good support for both passengers. The footpegs are forward-set and are quite wide and the bike still continues with a heel-toe gear shifter. This setup, paired with a well-sized handlebar results in an upright and relaxed seating posture. Sadly, the bike misses out on adjustable levers which could have been offered for added convenience.
Performance: Powering the Classic 350 is a new 349cc air-cooled J-series engine that produces 20.2 BHP at 6100 RPM and 27 Nm of torque at 4000 RPM. This engine is a big step-up as it is a lot smoother and refined than the older engine which was famous for its vibrations and harshness. However, this motor isn’t free from vibrations as you can feel them creeping in at the footpegs and handlebar just after you pass the midrange. The low-end is quite good however, the mid-range is where this motor performs its best. While the top-end is quite narrow and flat. 0-100 km/hr takes about 19.5 seconds while the motorcycle maxed out at 118 km/hr on our VBOX test.
The 2022 Classic 350 certainly feels like a step in the right direction! It is the beginning of a new era for Royal Enfield Motorcycles
Gearing duties are managed by a 5-speed, slick-shifting gearbox. However, there’s no slipper clutch which could be a bummer for some. Riding in the city is simple as the motor has enough torque to creep ahead in traffic situations without needing throttle inputs. As the gearing is tall, cruising on the highway is well suited for Classic. Royal Enfields are known for their signature thumpy exhaust note and this bike lives up to our expectations. The exhaust note isn’t outright loud but it is striking to the ears. During our time with the Classic 350, it returned a mileage of 33 km/l and with a 13-litre tank, the riding range lies at 420 km which is a bit less than its competitors.
Riding Dynamics: The Classic 350 sports a new chassis and suspension setup borrowed from the Meteor 350. Up-front is a non-adjustable telescopic fork setup and twin hydraulic shock absorbers at the rear. This setup feels much better than before in terms of both – comfort and stability. The suspension setup is well balanced and offers a good ride quality with better high-speed stability. The new twin downtube spine frame has some amount of flex but feels stiff for the most part and offers great feedback. Around the twisties, the Classic feels lighter than before as the weight has been well-distributed. The tyres are a bit too skinny for our liking but offer decent grip nevertheless. However, the bike weighs a healthy 195 kg which is 4 kg more than the Meteor.
Brilliant engine and supportive dynamics, the Classic 350 feels like the ultimate do-it-all machine!
Given the weight of this bike, it isn’t the easiest to move around in the city but due to the good weight distribution, it feels friendlier than before for new riders. Out on the highway, the bike can comfortably cruise between 85-105 km/hr without stressing too much. On our road test, we encountered the worst of potholes and not once did the bike touch its bottom, even with a pillion! Truly, the 170 mm ground clearance is ideal for Indian roads. Braking duties are managed by a 300 mm disc at the front and a 270 mm disc at the rear aided by Brembo callipers. The initial bite is strong but, the progression is quite slow. The braking performance of the Classic 350 isn’t the best and there is room for improvement. However, the ABS is perfectly tuned and steps in at the right moment unless you brake too hard.
Verdict: At Rs. 2,15,118/– (ex-showroom Mumbai, Chrome variant), the Royal Enfield Classic 350 aims high and elevates the brand’s standards, even in terms of price. The new model commands a premium of Rs. 11,000/- which seems completely justified. The Classic now has what it takes to stand strong against Honda’s CB350 pair. It is here to win the hearts of RE fanboys as well as critics and shall do pretty well in terms of sales. If you are looking to buy a classic/neo-retro bike in the 350cc segment, you should definitely consider it. Yes, it might not be just as feature-rich as the competition but, it has its own tricks to impress you as soon as you ride it.
* A do it all machine, can handle the city duties as well as interstate travels
* Fantastic build quality and durable, metal feel
* Easy availability of spare part, already has a great fan following
What’s Not So Cool
* Clutch is very heavy and always feels like a forearm workout
* Dual-channel ABS & tripper isn’t offered on the lower variant
* Does not have all the feel-good features like the competition offers
* Engine: 349cc, Single-Cylinder, Air-Cooled, FI
* Power: 20.2 BHP @ 6100 RPM
* Torque: 27 Nm @ 4000 RPM
* Transmission: 5-speed
* Fuel Consumption: 34 km/l
* Fuel Type: Petrol
* Frame: Twin Downtube Spine Frame
* Suspension: Telescopic Forks (Front), Dual Hydraulic Shocks (Rear)
* Tyres: 100/90/19 (Front), 120/80/18 (Rear)
* Brakes: 300 mm Disc (Front), 270 mm Disc (Rear), ABS
* Length x Width x Height: 2145 mm x 785 mm x 1090 mm
* Wheelbase: 1390 mm
* Ground Clearance: 170 mm
* Seat Height: 805 mm
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 13-litres
* Kerb weight: 195 kgs