Even after dark, Bangkok is a busy metropolis. Additionally, the Royal Enfield Hunter 350 is at ease slicing through traffic and accelerating past red lights. Its tiny, light, and spirited characteristics make it almost ideal as an urban run-around motorcycle. The Hunter 350 is based on a 350 cc J-series engine from Royal Enfield, but it has numerous design and chassis geometry alterations that make it stand out as a distinct motorbike. With the Hunter 350, Royal Enfield hopes to both bring in new riders and solidify its position as one of the top three Royal Enfield models.
The Bullet 350 and the popular Classic 350 are two of Royal Enfield’s most iconic motorcycles to date. The 650 Twins and the Himalayan, however, have recently assisted Royal Enfield in broadening its appeal and gaining ground in other markets. However, the domestic market continues to represent around 90% of the company’s sales volumes. Additionally, the majority of brand volumes are made up of 350 cc models. The Hunter 350 has been created to appeal to a larger group of novice riders who might find the original Bullet and Classic models to be a touch too “classic” and a little too heavy and huge.
Design and Features:
The new Hunter 350, which is available in two variations, appears to have potential. It has a sporty, tiny appearance, and the 17-inch wheels give it the appearance of being poised and prepared to run. It still has a retro-inspired profile, but it also has more current design cues than the other 350 cc Royal Enfield models have. Although the circular headlight is unmistakably antique, the turn signals are bulb-style and the headlight is halogen. It has a sporty touch in the tail section with the short rear fender, and the taillight is LED, at least on the Metro variant with the highest level of specification. Additional features include dual-channel ABS and alloy wheels with tubeless tires.
The Tripper navigation pod is an add-on accessory, although the single-pod instrument console contains a small digital screen with the essential readouts. Additionally, a convenient USB charging station is available for use while traveling. The build quality is good overall, and the fit and finish appear to have received some attention. It is a stunning and alluring position.
Additionally, there are two themes and 26 different accessories to pick from, including crash guards, passenger backrests, luggage, various seats, and even bar-end mirrors, for those wishing to customize their motorcycles. Numerous options are available, including the six total colors available across the Dapper and Rebel trims, as well as the single-tone color options and wire-spoked wheels on the base Retro model.
Performance & Engine:
Once moving, the Hunter 350 feels firmly in place, nimble, and light on its feet. The 349 cc, J-platform engine is the same one used in the Classic 350 and the Meteor 350, although Royal Enfield claims the remapped engine now has a slightly crisper throttle response. The single-cylinder, two-valve engine continues to produce the same amount of power: 20.2 horsepower at 6,100 rpm and 27 Nm of maximum torque at 4,000 rpm. However, it sounds vivacious and youthful thanks to the raspy exhaust note.
The Hunter 350 might not be the best option if you’re seeking top-end performance and outright acceleration because it is still not a very high-revving engine. Riding the torque wave is more fun than chasing the redline in every gear. It is calm between 70 and 80 kph, but it can easily reach 110 to 115 kph without experiencing any engine strain. Beyond 90 kph, there is a slight buzz in the seat and footpegs, but nothing disconcerting or upsetting. For someone searching for that style of riding, the Hunter 350 offers practically everything. It is best used as a laid-back street bike.
Ride and Handling:
When it comes to simplicity and accessibility, there are a few numbers that matter. First, the Hunter is comfortable for shorter riders thanks to its 800mm-tall seat and thin part where the seat meets the fuel tank.
The weight is another consideration; at 181 kg, this bike weighs 14 kg less than the Classic 350, but this is only a comparison; in reality, the bike seems even lighter. This is a result of Hunter’s chassis undergoing some very severe alterations. With 17-inch wheels on both ends, this RE is the first of its kind in contemporary times. This feature alone increases maneuverability significantly. Additionally, compared to the Classic, the wheelbase is 20 mm shorter, and the steering rake angle has been sharpened to 25 degrees, which is extremely harsh for a 350cc Royal Enfield.
All three bikes share the same front section of the chassis as well as the same base platform as the Classic and Meteor. The sub-frame has changed, and the back of the frame is now a little shorter. It also lacks the bulky, metal footpeg cradle that typically accommodates the forward-set pegs found on the Meteor and Classic.
An almost typical 250cc naked bike-like ride and handling are the end result. Although it initially feels unusual to ride a motorbike with a torquey, slow-revving engine, you rapidly get used to it. We traveled on a variety of Bangkok roads, including congested ones at rush hour and gorgeous, swift, and open motorways. The manufacturer even allowed us to ride the bike for a few circuits around a go-kart track.
The Hunter has one degree more possible lean angle at each side than the Meteor (43 degrees left and 42 degrees right), which is good, but you still don’t have to push yourself too far before the footpegs start scraping. But there is enough lean angle available for the majority of real-world scenarios. In addition, compared to a current Enfield, this bike is willing to change directions much more quickly and effortlessly. That makes it entertaining, whether you’re playing about on a go-kart course or simply negotiating traffic.
The Hunter’s new front master cylinder improves its stopping power and progression, while the remainder of its braking system is identical to that of the Classic and Meteor. And much like their siblings, these brakes require a forceful pull on the lever to stop something quickly. Dual channel ABS is a feature that comes standard on the top-tier Hunter Metro model we are riding.
It’s difficult to predict how the Hunter will perform in terms of suspension comfort because Thailand has some stunning roads that, in a way, rival ours. This suspension is, however, a little firmer than either the Classic or the Meteor, particularly in the back. We could tell that this bike will feel firmer than its siblings, but I don’t believe it will become excessive. We won’t be able to ride it on terrible roads until then, though. The Hunter has 150mm less ground clearance than the Classic, but with the firmer rear shocks and the smaller wheelbase, I don’t believe this will be a major issue.
The footpegs are now below you rather than in front of you, which creates a pleasant riding position and makes me think of the Interceptor 650. The footpegs are somewhat rear-set, and the handlebars have a small forward stretch, similar to the Interceptor. Compared to the other 350s, it has a considerably more connected riding posture, which will appeal to many individuals.
Royal Enfield Hunter 350 Prices:
In an effort to make its bikes more approachable and friendly, Royal Enfield has created the Hunter 350. And the price of the bike is exactly right. The Hunter 350 Retro variant’s starting price of Rs 1.50 lakh makes it not only the cheapest motorbike in its current 350cc line-up but also one of the most affordable bikes with an engine displacement of 300cc and above that are available for purchase in India.
Furthermore, the Metro Rebel edition with a dual-tone finish, tripper navigation, and dual-channel ABS is priced at Rs. 1.69 lakh. Royal Enfield has once again shaken the market with the Hunter 350 pricing, something it did with the 650 twins last time, and its competitors aren’t going to be happy about it. However, the low cost also means that it lacks contemporary amenities like Bluetooth connectivity, traction control, riding modes, LED headlights, and more.