The Royal Enfield Meteor 350 wants no excuses- Know-how Information, Gadgetclock
Tushar BurmanNov 19, 2020 11:50:53 IST
Lengthy story brief, I’ve by no means been the largest fan of Royal Enfield bikes, despite the fact that I realized to experience on one. Certain, it was large, burly and completely totally different from the remainder of the econo-commuters obtainable in India once I was coming of age, however that wasn’t saying a lot. When it got here time to purchasing my first bike – a essential time of flux for me personally – it was a toss-up between a Machismo and the quick, harmful, economically suicidal RD350. With all that was happening in my life on the time, I didn’t need to compromise. I wished what I wished. I purchased the Yamaha, met a woman, married her, met many bank cards, spent all of them on the bike and twenty years later, the story continues. Nicely, principally.
The Meteor 350 that I’ve been driving is the successor to the Thunderbird, which was by all accounts, an incredible success for Royal Enfield. To me, nonetheless, it was a bit awkward, pretending to be one thing it was not – a correct cruiser. From the spy photographs which were floating across the Web, the Meteor seemed a lot the identical, however I’m joyful to say that it isn’t. Not by a protracted shot. In contrast to earlier fashions from the legendary producer, the Meteor solely borrows an previous marque; every part else is sort of new.
Royal Enfield is cool (once more?)
The parable, aura and credit score as a consequence of Royal Enfield bikes, frankly, are a product of fortuity. The Bullet tugs on the heartstrings as a result of it has at all times been there. It has endured practically unchanged for half a century, and even probably the most Vulcan of rational thinkers would succumb to nostalgia when speaking about that previous 350 or 500 their uncle/buddy/lover had sooner or later. However within the final decade or so, there’s been a sea-change in the way in which the corporate seems at, and tasks itself. Stroll right into a Royal Enfield showroom and it looks like a life-style model. The attire and kit are fastidiously curated, and go along with the ethos of their retro/basic bikes. As does the dapper CEO, who made the pitch for the brand new bike in a cinematic video shot whereas he rode the bike in vivid crimson gloves and boots. The movie too had the precise tone, look and messaging. It feels aspirational, not agrarian.
That’s to not say that RE has gone thus far upmarket as to lose contact with the machismo that they so incite. On my approach house with the bike, I used to be accosted by two lorry and one rickshaw driver, all of whom knew that this was the Meteor and it was to be launched on the sixth of November. Enfield comms division: take a bow.
The Meteor 350 is an all-new bike
Realizing Royal Enfield’s historical past, it’s laborious to emphasize this sufficient. The corporate is steeped in custom, and that may maintain issues again in opposition to the march of progress. However time carries on, and with it have come many sweeping variations within the new bike. The Meteor makes use of a brand new body, a wholly new engine, new switchgear, lighting, ergonomics and tech. India’s strict BS6 emissions norms have meant tectonic shifts within the Indian automotive house, and 2-wheelers aren’t any exception. The brand new 349cc motor types a powerful base for what’s prone to be a raft of future bikes. Gone are pushrods, changed with a single overhead camshaft. Major drive is now geared, there’s a balancer shaft to maintain issues clean and the gearbox is slick and conventional (with a shifter on the left facet).
The body has two down-tubes now, cradling the motor, however not fairly. The engine will not be a burdened member of the chassis. Suspension is conventional, however beefy. 41mm forks up entrance, with twin shocks on the again. The rider triangle is laid again, with forward-set footpegs that put your weight roundly in your bum, and the torso in a tall, commanding place.
In the event you don’t know what all this implies, consider it this fashion: the previous Enfields felt like a coalition authorities, whereas the Meteor 350 feels extra like a benevolent dictatorship. Issues are tight and run collectively as a unit. It looks like another bike, with no excuses wanted about ‘character’.
A phrase about tech
As a (principally) tech journalist, this was the largest shock to me. Royal Enfield has equipped a secondary show unit referred to as the ‘Tripper’ on all variants of the Meteor 350. The display serves as a turn-by-turn navigation unit when paired along with your smartphone. It’s glorious. Historically, I count on little or no when it comes to tech from an automotive producer. They only appear tone-deaf more often than not. Not so with the Tripper. It’s glorious in execution, and as RE is at pains to elucidate, gives solely the data you want and nothing extra.
When you plot a route within the Royal Enfield smartphone app – which makes use of Google Maps as a base – you merely punch ‘Navigate’ and turn-by-turn instructions are displayed within the little pod to the left of the principle console. Arrows point out the path of your route, and supplementary, minimal information informs you of lane solutions. The routing is wise sufficient to let you understand particularly when to take the highway beneath the flyover and never climb it. I can’t inform you what number of occasions I’ve wished to combine laxative within the KTM watercooler for his or her rubbish navigation.
That is very, very new for the Royal Enfield we all know. Contemplating that this can be a first try, and it will get a lot proper, I’m excited to see what they do subsequent!
The Meteor 350 seems like an previous bike
The design of the Meteor is much too just like that of the outgoing Thunderbird sequence. Actually, all of the spy photographs over the previous few months made it seem like a sticker job greater than a brand new bike. Whereas the strains are extra refined, I feel Royal Enfield maybe missed a possibility to make this in any other case recent bike stand out.
A cursory look hides a lot that’s new. The double down-tube body, as an illustration, is definitely missed. The facet profile could be very acquainted, as is the attribute form of the body. It’s clearly intentional, and on this case, very conservative. The rake is a level tighter and the rear mudguard fairly thick, giving the impression of a stubby, squashed bike, not the laid-back cruiser vibe they’re promoting.
One should give it to them for consideration to element, nonetheless. The whole lot does circulation fairly properly. I used to be notably impressed with the rider’s view. The handlebar grips are retro, as are the clutch and brake levers. Even the console, whereas a hybrid analogue/digital unit, doesn’t look misplaced. Royal Enfield is sort of happy with their rotary toggle switches as you’d have had on previous British bikes. It simply doesn’t work as effectively on the left facet for the passing swap. Extra on that latter. All in all, spectacular when you concentrate, as the corporate hopes their trustworthy will.
The Meteor 350 goes like a contemporary bike
… or an in depth approximation of 1, contemplating what it’s. Sticking to its heritage of creating a tried-and-tested 350cc motor, Royal Enfield has taken very calculated steps into 2020 with this venerable warhorse. To cross BS6 laws, the motor now makes use of a contemporary, conventional valvetrain and a catcon to maintain the smoke clear. They’ve even managed to retain some (however not all) of the long-lasting thump that one expects of a Bullet variant.
On the go, issues really feel tight, cohesive. The entrance and rear aren’t telling your thoughts various things on the similar time. Twist and go, actually. I discovered the Meteor 350 to be distinctive within the metropolis, betraying none of its 191kg moist weight. The gasoline injection feels correct, not lean and edgy, so your proper wrist is in concord with the progress of the bike. It feels mild, virtually nimble in site visitors, and the suspension makes brief work of tough roads. The overall consensus appears to be that the Meteor feels stiff to assist dealing with, however this was not my expertise. The 19” entrance wheel provides to it’s tough highway readiness.
The 20-odd horsepower propelling this mass gained’t ship relaxed triple-digit cruising, however the 27Nm of torque ensures that you just by no means really need for further poke within the metropolis. Overtakes and launches from site visitors lights are actually potential, not simply noisy. The engine does begin operating out of steam previous 100kmph so whereas it’s going to be higher than its older 350cc brethren, it’s nonetheless not a quick mile-muncher. And most will inform you that it isn’t presupposed to be. As a relaxed freeway cruiser, it should work advantageous, I feel, particularly two-up.
The brand new motor will shock you with its refinement greater than its efficiency. The first balancer shaft ensures a surprisingly vibe-free expertise, even because the revs rise and also you go sooner. This could make for a extra snug long-hauler, since your fingers and ft will tingle lower than on earlier Royal Enfield bikes. It’s nowhere as clean as their twins, nonetheless. Brakes are okay. The discs are a beneficiant measurement and get the job finished, however really feel is missing from the entrance. It does its factor however conveys little. The ABS is dual-channel, so no pinching paisas right here.
There are some compromises for kind in opposition to perform on the Meteor. The switchgear is splendidly retro, however you want your thumb to flash your excessive beam. This implies you’ll be able to’t honk and flash on the similar time, one thing many do for further security. The levers too have this era look to them, however they’re not type on skinny fingers like mine. And whereas the plush seat feels snug at first strive, with forward-set footpegs, there isn’t any likelihood of taking any weight onto your legs. Noticed a nasty pothole too late? Get off the brakes and brace for spinal compression. Your again will take the brunt of influence proper by your tailbone. I heard this suggestions on a couple of event, nevertheless it’s a part of the entire foot-forward cruising design. It’s a factor. It’s simply not the best factor.
The Meteor 350 could be particularly yours
Accessible in three variants: Fireball, Stellar and Supernova, the bikes are similar save for paint schemes and equipment. Ah, the equipment. So. Many. Equipment. Royal Enfield affords the highest variant with a windshield and pillion backrest, and you may decide from at least six accent mufflers, every with a distinct sound and look. No extra raiding the aftermarket for loud (unlawful) exhaust items, which could be a legal responsibility in some states with aggressive policing. Fortunately, the wonderful ‘Tripper’ navigation system is normal throughout variants.
Other than the Interceptor 650, there isn’t one other Royal Enfield bike I’d slightly experience than the Meteor 350. It’s a pleasant, rewarding experience with few compromises. I’d simply as shortly leap onto it for a brief journey round city as my KTM. For longer journeys, the one factor holding me again can be its lack of pace.
The Meteor 350 relies on an all-new platform, one which would be the base of many future fashions. Beginning at Rs 1.76 lac, patrons can now comfortably indulge their Royal Enfield fantasies, with out making too many excuses to their pals who experience bikes that begin each single time. The grins and appreciation from lorry drivers are free.
#Royal #Enfield #Meteor #excuses #Know-how #Information #Gadgetclock