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2021 Royal Enfield Classic 350

The Classic 350 is a handsome bike, especially with its 19 inch spoked front wheel and military inspired paint job.
OneShift Editorial Team
OneShift Editorial Team
22 May 2022

The British Standard Motorcycle is the Goldilocks standard of motorcycling, a neutral riding posture that isn’t too hard or too soft, always just right. That is what this Royal Enfield Classic 350 is, a time machine cleverly disguised as a motorcycle to bring you back to a time where motorcycles were once synonymous with carefree motoring. Just right.

The Classic 350 is a handsome bike, especially with its 19 inch spoked front wheel and military inspired paint job. Everything from the generously padded seat, vintage livery to the gentle power delivery brings us back to a simpler time, when riding would put a smile on our face. Its single-cylinder 350cc whips out a modest 20 horses, wiggling through the footpegs accompanied by an unexpectedly satisfying rasp from the attractive single peashooter exhaust.

Commuting one-up was adequate with the smooth little engine giving enough grunt as we worked our way up its 5 speed gearbox complete with a clickety, bolt-action rifle like efficiency, clearing the rabble of city traffic with some ease. Add a pillion and the brisk acceleration runs out of puff a smidge sooner, needing a little more planning before performing overtaking manoeuvres. Pillion comfort is exemplary with an almost flat rearseat that is just as well appointed with thick padding and an integrated grab rail.

The cockpit is a very comfortable place to be in, dials are delightfully retro – the analog speedometer dial, a little LCD and a shiny big RE roundel occupies centrestage, lest you forget which bike you’re on. It even has a hidden USB port tucked neatly into its handlebars to discreetly whisk you back into the future. Build quality is rock solid and everything feels very well screwed together – a hallmark of this current generation of Royal Enfield motorbikes. Steering was very predictable with its non-adjustable telescopic fork up front soaking up the increasingly potholed Singapore roads with aplomb and delivering a soft, pliant ride while informing the driver of what was happening up front. Rear suspension duties are handled by a set of twin tube emulsion shocks with 6 steps of preload control.

Braking is duly handled by a single 300mm rotor with a set of dual piston floating calipers while the rear is by single piston floating calipers, proudly branded Bybre (By Brembo), stopping the 195kg bike without fuss or drama, a testament to the prowess of the Pune based arm of the famed Italian brake manufacturer. Dual ABS further enhance the braking safety, with the tell-tale notched discs on the side of each wheel rotor.

Our test variant of the Classic 350 came in a shade called Signals Marsh Grey, shod in faux WWII insignia and letterings that further accentuated that distorted field of reality. Although we did think that the classic RAF roundel of British aircraft would have sufficed. Love it or hate it, the attention garnered is unmistakable. Families stop in their tracks, children gawp and workmen flash their toothy grin as we play the role of WWII reconnaissance maverick, passing them by with that sweet exhaust note. The bike is peppered with little attention to details, like the Classic 350 logos on the side covers and Royal Enfield lettering below the headlamp, only to be unfortunately covered by the number plate.

Interestingly, lighting duties on this is still decidedly vintage, with Royal Enfield choosing incandescent illumination in light of the more modern LED technology. Convenient cost cutting in the guise of the retro theme perhaps? A saving grace would be the black bezel surround of the headlamp and finished especially with those parking lights integrated into the shroud. Classy.

In our short time spent with this little Royal Enfield, we have revisited the true joy of motorcycling with the wind in our hair and the soft purr of the engine thumping beneath us. When a chilled night ride was exactly that, not chasing redlines and blipping quickshifters.

This bike is a worthy entrant from the new crop of Royal Enfields in the hotly contested Class 2A arena that serves as a warning shot from the Chennai-based outfit. Coupled with some savvy accessories and panniers, it will even hold its own against the popular maxi-scooters that dominate this category with its perfect balance of power, comfort and practicality. Not too hot, not too cold, just right.

Tri333ple

See You On The Road

Credits: TRI333PLE

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