The Royal Enfield (RE) Bullet 350 is probably one of the first few motorcycles that I had the privilege to test ride during my early days as a motoring journalist. I can still vividly remember that Bullet 350’s character, especially it's signature vibration.
Fast-forward today, we were again privileged to test another 350 cc from Royal Enfield, this time, it’s the newest addition to their motorcycle portfolio: the Meteor 350.
The new Meteor 350 inherited its name from another iconic Royal Enfield motorcycle from the 1950s. Launched 69 years ago, the Meteor was a significant touring motorcycle with a reputation that has stood the test of time.
For the new breed of Meteor, Royal Enfield pulled out all the stops. They put to work its teams of designers and engineers based at Royal Enfield’s two state-of-the-art technical centers in Chennai, India and Bruntingthorpe, UK to designing and developing Royal Enfield's most critical model yet.
Royal Enfield is also proud of how the new Meteor 350 was developed. RE says the design teams have refined all the mechanical fittings, as well as the overall finish of the new Meteor 350 to make it a true, top-class, modern motorcycle while still retaining the Royal Enfield DNA.
This modern Meteor is powered by a newly-developed, 349 cc air-cooled thumper. To meet current emissions regulations, fuel management is governed by an EFI system. The power output is 20 Ps and about 27 Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm.
According to RE engineers, they have installed a new balancer shaft to make this the “smoothest Royal Enfield single-cylinder” in production, while still maintaining its signature Royal Enfield thump.
Transmission is 5-speed and features a 7-plate clutch design with chain as final drive.
Though the new Royal Enfield Meteor 350’s overall styling pays homage to classic cruisers, there is no shortage of modern features. These include dual-channel ABS along with its front and rear disc brakes for safety. It comes with LED lighting for the front guide and rear lamps, a USB charger for mobile phones, and an analog and digital panel gauge. This top-spec demo unit also comes standard with a windshield.
The Royal Enfield Tripper app as seen on a mobile phone
Also new for a Royal Enfield motorcycle, Tripper, is an app-based GPS that a rider can use by connecting his/ her mobile phone through the bike’s Bluetooth connectivity.
What’s interesting is that, through Royal Enfield’s mobile app, Tripper, the Meteor 350 can actually guide you on your journey through its turn-by-turn GPS screen, just beside the panel gauge.
As mentioned above, the Tripper will then instruct its rider via a small round screen that sits on the right of the speedometer.
The turn-by-turn GPS navigation is designed to integrate with local Google Maps data.
So how was it like riding the new Meteor 350? Two words: Heaven and Earth.
I’m saying this coming from my experience with the old Bullet 350, which is also powered by a 349 cc thumper.
For the new Meteor 350, it was like riding a Japanese motorcycle. It was so smooth that there were times that I totally forgot I was riding a Royal Enfield motorcycle. As for the bike’s ergonomics, its cruiser-like riding position and comfortable seats make this a good companion during long rides.
I said “seats” because I never heard any complaints from my self-proclaimed pillion seat critic, wife. She just said that the Meteor’s pillion seat is soft and that she likes the backrest which is standard for the top-of-the-line Supernova variant we rode.
I also liked how low the Meteor 350’s thumps are on idle. It's pretty much comparable to the hum of classic carbureted motorcycles even though the new Meteor 350 is fuel-injected. It was like Ariana Grande singing a song of Patti Page.
While I was not able to ride the Meteor 350 like the usual ride I do when there’s a demo bike due to travel restrictions brought about by the pandemic, I still enjoyed its laid-back riding character. It served as a welcome change after my usual physically demanding off-road riding onboard my dirt bike.
The Royal Enfield Meteor Supernova is now available at PhP252,000.