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Royal Enfield Hunter 350 – The unconventional RE

by rushilkumar27

Every now and then, manufacturers – especially in the automotive sector – try something different. They try to break the norm by making something unconventional. It may not be unconventional in the truest sense, but might be something we have never seen from the brand. And this unconventional is what sets these brands apart. It also shows how manufacturers are willing to take the risk in order to explore something new.

Only recently, Royal Enfield pulled the wraps off its most unconventional – yet still retro – motorcycle, the Hunter 350. Why do we say unconventional? The reason lies in the history of RE. The brand is synonymous of making heavy, long wheelbase, retro motorcycles, but the Hunter 350 is different. Royal Enfield tells us they have now used fibre in some places, which is not a bad thing at all or reduce the overall weight of the motorcycle. The RE brand has also shortened the wheelbase compared to the Meteor 350 – its closest sibling – and put in a 17-inch front wheel. The end result? You have a light and nimble RE.

Overall review

And that’s truly intentional. As we discussed in our Royal Enfield Hunter 350 review, the motorcycle looks the part. Of course, it bears the typical RE design language with retro touches all around, but the bike looks different from where it matters. As indicated earlier, the bike is now more compact and it really looks that way as well. The use of fibre in places mean the bike is lighter and it’s easy to manoeuvre while riding or while stalling as well. The ground clearance is now minimize to just 150mm, which means the Hunter 350 is closer to the ground than its closest siblings.

Overall, the bike looks amazing and what RE has done is made a bike for someone who’d appreciate the lightness of a compact motorcycle but still would have wanted a Royal Enfield bikes in the garage. And that audience is certainly not niche. We also spoke about the different variants and paint variations in our Hunter 350 review. There are two variants – Retro and Metro. Both of them come with different paint shades and they’re all equally enticing, to say the least. Retro is the base variant and while it does miss out on some features – we’ll get to it shortly – it does strike a good balance between retro motorcycles from RE and the compactness of the Hunter. Looks really good in the flesh. Metro being the top variant gets all the bells and whistles.

Bikes features

What’s missing on the Retro variant is dual-channel ABS, alloy wheels, tubeless tyres, a rear disc brake, and a more informative instrument cluster. It also only gets two monotone shades. The Metro variant gets all these above discussed features, while the Tripper navigation module remains an accessory. As you may have seen in our other Bike reviews in India, the latter is a navigation module develop by RE in collaboration with Google Maps for easier navigation.

Engine Performance

At the heart, the Hunter 350 comes powered by the same J series 349cc single-cylinder engine that made its debut. The Meteor 350 and now powers the Classic 350 as well. It is good for 20.2bhp and 27Nm of torque. As soon as you button up the ignition, the engine comes to life with a loud and bass-heavy roar. The exhaust sound is really something to drool over and we’re sure no single soul is going to get the exhaust changing on this motorcycle.

That said, however, the motor still behaves the same way as it does on other REs. While the overall stance of the Hunter 350 suggests it’s a sporty machine – and so does the seating position. The engine is meant for leisurely rides still as opposed to something you’d like to ride with full throttle. Sure, it responds very well and is very refined, but the way it builds up power is not in line with the sporty intents of the Hunter 350. We wish RE would have tweaked this engine a bit differently so as to show off its sporty intents the way they’re meant to be. The ride is also set up on the stiffer side, but that reflects in good handling prowess.

So, who should pick the Hunter 350? Well, the Royal Enfield Hunter 350 are, without a doubt, really enticing.  You should definitely have a look at them at autoX – and it’s more affordable than its closest siblings. However, given the compactness and the sporty intent, it’s a bit different. It’s not your typical RE, and it’s definitely a good thing. This could be the first motorcycle for many who always wanted to get an RE that’s light and compact. Different is what makes the Hunter 350 and we’re definitely drooling over this one since we’ve gotten to ride it for our first review back in Thailand.

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