Royal Enfield Meteor 350 : Comfort Redefined

Royal Enfield Meteor 350 : Comfort Redefined

December 3, 2020 / 0 Comments / 344 / ROAD TEST REVIEWS
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Pros:

  • Excellent rider comfort. Rode it all day and night, yet no signs of discomfort
  • The engine feels refined up to 100 kmph mark. Leaps and bounds ahead of the Classic era
  • Great riding position. Perfect for long rides and twisted roads
  • Tripper navigation is the icing on the cake, very very helpful. Worked flawlessly
  • The windscreen does a good job of redirecting wind, looks stylish too
  • Over 5 lakh customisation options available. An interesting proposition! 

Cons:

  • Fuel meter on our test bike was faulty. Hope this is resolved ASAP
  • Vibrations still evident beyond 100 kmph mark, a comfortable cruising speed of 90 kmph is too less for a modern motorcycle
  • No backlit switches. Found it difficult to operate them on the highway at night
  • The clutch felt slightly hard for city commute
  • Headlight illumination is average. After-market upgrade highly recommended if you intend to ride it on the highway often 

Looks

Once you look into the Meteor 350, you may feel Nostalgic if you have been around the Machismo. Thanks to the large touring visor which can be adjusted using an Allen key. Royal Enfield has decided to stick on with the old school halogen headlamps and LED for the DRL surrounding the headlamps. Although the low beam offers decent throw the intensity distribution of high beam could have definitely been better. The 15-litre fuel tank sports a dual-tone paint scheme. Although the front discs do a good job in dry braking conditions, we felt they lacked the bite as we rode the bike in rain. The ABS works well on good roads and a bit of broken patches. The alloy wheels are wrapped in safer tubeless tyres. Moving to the rear, the bike gets a retro-classic look which feels slightly deviated from the otherwise modernistic theme. The number plate gets a bit of illumination from a small lamp above it. 

We really wish the switches were backlit as it was quite a task in operating them when riding the bike at night on the highway. The quality of the engine start-stop switch felt slightly flimsy. The Meteor also gets an unusual hazard lamp switch. The Speedometer display speed both in kmph and mph. The Instrument cluster has service reminder, trip meter, DTE and a clock. But the architect of the victory is the inbuilt turn-by-turn tripper navigation that uses Google Maps and is connected to your smartphone through the Royal Enfield app via Bluetooth. Expected it to be offered on the other Royan Enfield motorcycles as an accessory.  

If there is one thing that we really loved in the Meteor 350 it’s the excellent rider seat comfort. After riding it for 500 km throughout the day and night I had nothing to complain about from the comfort levels. It’s definitely one of the best we have seen on an Indian Motorcycle. The pillion might however get ambitious of pushing the backrest behind as it eats up into space.

Riding Position 

The riding position feels good for an individual of average height and you will love the way everything falls into place including the handlebar position and switches, we would prefer the horn switch to be slightly larger in size it was a bit of a challenge to use it. Some may prefer the footpegs to be placed slightly closer to the rider. After riding it for 500 km, I had nothing to complain about in terms of shoulder/elbow discomfort. 

 Performance

Before we get to the riding dynamics, let’s check out if the thump lives up to the expectations from a Royal Enfield. The all-new engine is smoother as compared to the UCE engines found in its siblings like the Classic 350. While the Meteor replaces the Thunderbird, these are some of the advantages. The Meteor is the brand’s first motorcycle in the 350cc segment to feature a double-cradle frame which replaces the single-cradle frame found in its siblings.

Once you start the Meteor you will be surprised with the smoothness of the engine at idling. It’s not the Royal Enfield that will push you back  as you raise the throttle, the 650 cc twins do a better job with that. But the Meteor is all about comfortable cruising. The power from the engine is delivered in a linear and smooth manner which goes will with the cruiser characteristics of the bike. Thanks to the fantastic low end torque, you could comfortably ride the bike at low speeds in comparatively higher gears. It takes almost 18 seconds to reach the 100 kmph mark but the Meteor feels out of life just above the 120 kmph mark.

The old pushrod-valve system has been replaced by a SOHC two-valve head. A new balancer shaft has been added to increase the usable range of torque simultaneously reducing the vibrations. The gearshifts are smooth in most cases but there were some rare cases where the gears refused to upshift quickly, The clutch felt slightly heavier for city ride. Royal Enfield’s have always known to be heavy. At 191 kilograms, its still a heavy machine to move around when its turned off. But when it’s on the move you really dont feel the weight making the riding experience easier.

With the full tank method, the mileage with mixed riding conditions of 80% highway and 20% city was 33.5 kmpl

Ride

Although the new suspension is better, It’s not soft and the most comforting of all. Potholes are dealt well at crawling speeds but if you plan to get ambitious with the throttle input, you would be disappointed. 

Inspite of the low seat height, the cruiser motorcycle boasts 170 mm of Ground clearance. This should be good enough to tackle most of the large uninvited speed breakers

The handling characteristics of the all-new chassis is much better than before and is confident inspiring. This is one of those rare Royal enfields in which you won’t think much to push around some the corners, but we highly recommend that you check out the close proximity of the foot peg with the road when doing so.

Customisation

If you love customisations You can choose from a huge list of accessories, including eight different road-legal exhausts, seats, covers, visors and plenty of color options.  Infact RE plans to redefine customisations with upto 5 lakh options and the best part? This could be done from the comfort of your home.  Pretty Helpful, especially in such unprecedented times of covid-19.

Conclusion

After riding the RE for 500 km it doesn’t really feel like one. That’s because its surprisingly biased towards being a relatively refined bike unlike the earlier models. The RE classic was a game changer for this home grown manufacturer which was a catalyst in soaring the stocks beyond the sky. The 650 twins gave a very clear message that the brand is capable of producing excellent engines. The Meteor adds more sophistication, refinement levels better fit & finish and great convenience from the Tripper navigation 

 

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