• Royal Enfield Classic 350: Slow, But Stylish

Revamped 350 single gets new engine and chassis

Royal Enfield have made a big business around staying true to their vintage roots. The new Classic 350 might have a new engine and chassis but it’s still chock-full of old-world charm. Just don’t expect to get anywhere quickly.

Royal Enfield Classic 350

Royal Enfield has been making motorcycles continuously since 1901 and here. 120 years later, are still the manufacturer with the best claim to calling any of their models ’Classic’. That’s because a Royal Enfield today still looks like a Royal Enfield your father (or grandfather) bought in the late 1940s.

Despite introducing a new range of motorcycles in recent years - the twin-cylinder 650cc Interceptor and the Himalayan adventure bike - the company still relies on its stalwart single-cylinder models such as the 500cc Bullet for the vast majority of its sales.

Royal Enfield Classic 350: Slow, But Stylish
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Royal Enfield Classic 350
It looks like its been around for decades but underneath the styling is an all-new bike

For 2022, RE has brought back the 350cc version of the Bullet, now called the Classic 350. Nostalgic the styling may be, but the engine and frame are both all-new.

The engine is a DOHC single of 349cc with balancer shaft to curb vibration. It produces a claimed 20.2bhp and 19lb.ft of torque, pushing along 430lb of weight. There’s electronic fuel injection, a five speed gearbox and chain final drive.

Royal Enfield Classic 350: Slow, But Stylish
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350cc of Raw Power
DOHC single has balancer shaft and produces 20bhp and 19lb.ft of torque

The frame is a steel twin-downtube affair with large central spine, offering more stiffness than the old frame, which in turn gives better stability and handling. Suspension is of standard type, with 41mm forks and twin shocks at the rear. The rear shocks are adjustable for preload. Wheels are spoked items, 19-inch at the front and 18-inch at the back and brakes are by Brembo’s Indian subsidiary ByBre, clamping onto a single 300mm disc at the front and a 270mm disc at the back. Dual-channel ABS is standard. The gas tank holds 3.4 gallons.

Royal Enfield Classic 350: Slow, But Stylish
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New Frame
Twin down-tube steel frame has large spine tube. Much stiffer than the old frame, helping stability and handling

Royal Enfield ceased production in the UK in 1970, but the Indian arm of the company continued and was eventually bought by The Eicher Group. Siddhartha Lal, Managing Director of Eicher Motors Ltd had this to say about the new Classic 350:

“We’ve paid great attention to every aspect of the motorcycle, right from its stunning look to the perfection in parts and the touchpoints to its impeccable riding performance. The engine is super smooth, intuitively responsive and engaging, and has that gorgeous growl on acceleration.

“Throughout our history, we have been consistent in our pursuit to build timeless, beautiful motorcycles that are great fun to ride, and the new Classic 350 does just that. The all-new Classic 350 combines this quintessential, retro design with a modern and refined ride experience. We are confident that the all-new Classic 350 will once again redefine the midsize motorcycle space, globally.”

Royal Enfield Classic 350: Slow, But Stylish
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Lots of Colours
Nine different styles and colours available from April 2022. Between $3,000 and $4,000

That might be a bit of a tall order, given the competition out there in this category, although it would be fair to say that none of its competitors are playing in this particular category - sub-500cc retro classic!

But it’s clear that there is a big market for these Royal Enfield classics: maybe not in the West, but the Indian’s can’t buy enough of them. As an inexpensive way of getting on two wheels, however, whilst being rugged and reliable, they are hard to beat no matter what country you ride in.

“The all-new chassis lends enormous confidence while riding, with surefooted handling and agile braking,” continued Lal. “The motorcycle feels in control and well-mannered around tight corners. The motorcycle is, without a doubt, class-leading, and feels incredibly refined and enjoyable to ride.”

Royal Enfield Classic 350: Slow, But Stylish
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Some Tech
Electronic fuel injection and ABS on single disc at front and back. Calipers by ByBre

In short, put away your need for speed and take the slow(er) road. Having ridden a few REs in my time, I can attest to riding them being something completely different and not a little enjoyable.

The Classic 350 will be available in nine different styles and colours. Available in April of 2022 are the Dark Stealth Black and Dark Gunmetal Grey models that come with 10-spoke alloy wheels and tubeless tires for $4,599. Also arriving in April are the Signals Desert Sand ($4,599) and Signals Marsh Grey ($4,599) models that were inspired by Royal Enfield’s association with the Indian armed forces and feature 1950s era military graphics. Later in 2022, five more colour options will be available including Halcyon Forest Green, Halcyon Black, or Halcyon Blue, all three of which are $4,499. Chrome Red and Chrome Brown with mirror-finish tanks and special badging will run $4,699.

That’s really not a lot of money for something completely different.

Harry Fisher
Harry Fisher
Motorcycling Contributor
Born and raised in England, he has lived in South Africa with his family since 2002. Harry has owned examples of Triumph, Norton, BSA, MV Agusta, Honda, BMW, Ducati, Harley Davidson, Kawasaki and Moto Morini motorcycles. He regrets selling all of them.  Read full bio
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