Royal Enfield’s New-gen 350s Compared
Article by Drivio | 23rd Jul 23
Despite being largely the same, the Classic 350 and the Meteor 350 are actually quite different.
- The 349cc air-cooled mill on both bikes makes 20.2PS and 27Nm, mated to a six-speed transmission.
- Royal Enfield has given the Meteor 350 an authentic cruiser design language.
- The Classic 350, on the other hand, is a proper retro roadster.
Ever since the introduction of the new J-series Royal Enfield Classic 350, a lingering question has been on our minds: which of the two Royal Enfield models is superior - the new Classic 350 or the Meteor 350?
For those existing Classic 350 owners who are considering upgrading their motorcycles - and there seem to be quite a few - the dilemma arises whether to stick with the Classic once again or venture into something new with the Meteor.
Additionally, there's a substantial group of commuter motorcycle users currently riding 125, 150, and 200cc bikes, eager to elevate their experience to that big bike feel that Royal Enfields have always promised. The question for them becomes: which of the two models is more suitable for their needs? Allow us to present our thoughts on the matter.
Royal Enfield Meteor 350 vs Classic 350: Design & Features
The Royal Enfield Meteor 350, classified as a cruiser bike, maintains the distinctive style of its predecessor, the Thunderbird 350X. Emphasizing rider comfort, it boasts an easily accessible handlebar and forward-positioned footpegs, providing a laid-back and enjoyable riding experience.
On the other hand, the Royal Enfield Classic 350 retains its classic appearance reminiscent of previous generations, yet manages to exude a sense of novelty through subtle design updates. Preserving its retro charm, the bike incorporates modern technology elements. Notable changes include a revamped headlight with a clear lens and reworked casing.
Upon closer inspection, one can observe redesigned features such as the tank, fenders, and side panels, adding a touch of contemporary flair to the timeless design.
Royal Enfield Meteor 350 vs Classic 350: Engine
|Specifications||Royal Enfield Meteor 350||Royal Enfield Classic 350|
|Engine||349cc engine||349cc air-cooled 2-valve SOHC|
When it comes to riding long distances, certain aspects take priority over parking convenience. While seating ergonomics, a comfortable seat, good brakes, and decent fuel efficiency remain crucial, other factors like wind buffeting, vibrations, and ride quality become even more important.
The Meteor, especially in its top-spec trim, provides superior wind protection, thanks to its tall windshield. Additionally, as established earlier, the Meteor surpasses the Classic in terms of seating comfort, making it a better choice for long-distance journeys.
Optimal cruising speed for both motorcycles is around 80-90 kmph. Riding them faster is possible, but at this range, riders can enjoy a smooth and vibration-free experience with some power in reserve. At these speeds, the two motorcycles feel quite similar. However, due to the Meteor's peppier performance, it outshines the Classic in terms of acceleration and overtaking maneuvers.
The Classic, in comparison, may feel more laborious during these actions, especially when accelerating back to the cruising speed after dealing with speed breakers, rough roads, or interruptions in the divider.
Overall, the Meteor proves to be a more capable and enjoyable choice for long-distance rides, offering better wind protection, comfortable seating, and a spirited performance that makes it a confident companion on the open road.
Royal Enfield Meteor 350 vs Classic 350: Suspension, Tyres & Brakes
|Specifications||Royal Enfield Meteor 350||Royal Enfield Classic 350|
|Front suspension||Telescopic Fork||41mm Telescopic Fork|
|Rear suspension||Dual Shock Absorbers||Twin Shocks|
|Front brake||Disc Brake||300mm Disc|
|Rear brake||Disc Brake||270mm Disc/ 153mm Drum|
|ABS||Dual-channel||Dual-channel is optional|
The distinction in seating triangles between the Classic and the Meteor is evident, representing the typical street bike versus cruiser style. However, what surprises many is that despite the more laid-back and relaxed seating of the Meteor, it actually feels lighter and more responsive when riding at slow speeds or filtering through traffic.
The Meteor exhibits a remarkable ability to make quick direction changes in a smooth, linear, and predictable manner, which sets it apart from the Classic. It excels in delivering a more connected and fluid riding experience, making it stand out as the better option in terms of handling dynamics and overall feel. The combination of its cruiser-style seating and agile responsiveness makes the Meteor a clear winner in this aspect.
Royal Enfield Meteor 350 vs Classic 350: Dimensions
|Dimensions||Royal Enfield Meteor 350||Royal Enfield Classic 350|
|Fuel tank capacity||15-litres||13-litres|
When it comes to commuting, certain aspects are essential for a good experience: ease of parking, agile performance at slow speeds, maneuverability in traffic, clear rearview mirrors, a comfortable seat, reliable brakes, and decent fuel efficiency. The disparity between a good and not-so-good commuter lies in how well they deliver these features and to what extent.
The Classic 350 is the heavier of the two bikes, which makes it more cumbersome to park and maneuver. It requires more effort to push around and is comparatively trickier to put on the center stand. On the other hand, the Meteor excels in friendliness, whether it's paddling in traffic or pushing the bike while seated.
Thanks to its lower seat height and forward-set footpegs, the Meteor offers better leverage for pushing and ensures nothing hits your shins while keeping your feet planted. In contrast, the Classic 350 may pose a risk to your shins during such maneuvers.
Royal Enfield Meteor 350 vs Classic 350: Price
|Price||Royal Enfield Meteor 350||Royal Enfield Classic 350|
|Ex-showroom Delhi||Rs 2,04,408 onwards||Rs 1,92,890 onwards|
The Royal Enfield Meteor 350 offers three different versions: Fireball, Stellar, and Supernova, each with its unique features and colors. The Fireball variant is available in Red, Yellow, Matt Green, and Blue colors, and it comes with a price tag of Rs 2,04,408.
If you prefer a Black Custom variant of the Fireball, you can get it at a slightly higher price of Rs 2,06,244. Moving up to the mid-spec Stellar variant, it comes in Red, Black, and Blue colors and is priced at Rs 2,10,580. For those seeking the top-end option, the Supernova variant is available in Blue, Brown, and Red colors, and it comes with a higher price of Rs 2,25,533 (all prices mentioned are ex-showroom Delhi).
The Classic 350, on the other hand, is available in a lot more variants, with its prices starting from Rs 1,92,890, ex-showroom Delhi.
So if we're talking about which Royal Enfield is better, the answer is the Meteor 350.
However, it's essential to consider the perspective of existing Classic 350 owners who might be looking for a similar riding experience because they genuinely enjoyed their Classic bikes. For these riders, the Meteor might not feel as substantial or worthy. It lacks the rawness and rough-around-the-edges charm that made the Classic so appealing.
On the other hand, the Meteor possesses its own distinct soul, more in tune with modern trends rather than one firmly rooted in the past. This makes it an excellent choice for those seeking an upgrade from the 125, 150, and 200cc segment.
The Meteor is a no-compromise motorcycle, not restrained or toned down to cater to older sensibilities. It represents the best efforts of Royal Enfield engineers with the J platform, excelling in terms of performance, handling, feel, design, and ergonomics.
In summary, while the Meteor emerges as the better overall Royal Enfield, the choice between the Meteor and the Classic 350 ultimately depends on personal preferences and what each individual rider is seeking in their motorcycle.