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The Royal Enfield Meteor 350 rolls onto Philippine soil

An affordable way to get into the cool bike lifestyle

The Meteor 350's price should get prospective riders excited. PHOTO FROM ROYAL ENFIELD

Late last year, we received confirmation that Royal Enfield’s newest product would debut in the Philippines in 2021. Through its official distributor, Hardcore Brothers Custom, the Meteor 350 has been unveiled through a virtual launch presented by Vimal Sumbly, business head for APAC markets, and Mark Wells, product strategy and industrial design head.

Stylish, approachable and affordable, the new bike promises to entice new riders into the Royal Enfield lifestyle.

The Meteor 350 is a single-cylinder cruiser designed and developed at Royal Enfield’s two state-of-the-art technical centers in Chennai (India) and Bruntingthorpe (UK), with manufacturing based in India.

It may be basic, but this bike doesn't lack soul. PHOTO FROM ROYAL ENFIELD

Its classic lines are characterized by its 15L teardrop fuel tank, forward foot controls, sit-up-and-beg handlebar, and low seat height of just 765mm. Intended to be an accessible motorcycle for riders who are moving up from small-displacement bikes, or as a stylish urban runabout or back-road explorer for collectors, the Meteor uses an all-new J Platform with a twin-cradle chassis and a 349cc air- and oil-cooled single-cylinder engine.

The motor delivers a distinctive “thumping” exhaust note while generating 20.2hp and 27Nm at 4,000rpm. These aren’t earth-shaking numbers by any measure, but legions of Bullet and Classic owners will attest to the fact that, in the real world, it’s enough to get you going at a brisk pace while enjoying the scenery. The electronic fuel-injection system has been optimized for dependable starting and linear acceleration while only requiring a minimum of 87-octane gasoline. A five-speed gearbox, a seven-plate clutch that feels light, antilock brakes, and tubeless tires round out the essential hardware. The suspension uses a 41mm fork with 130mm of travel, while the rear shocks have a six-step adjustable preload. Curb weight is 191kg, wet.

A newly developed frame houses the 349cc single-cylinder engine. PHOTO FROM ROYAL ENFIELD

The Royal Enfield Tripper navigation pod debuts on the Meteor as well. Situated beside the analog-style digital clock, it works with Google Maps and the Royal Enfield App to display turn-by-turn directional cues. The Tripper will also be made available as an accessory for other Royal Enfield models.

While the Meteor may be thin on features apart from the Tripper, Royal Enfield is proud of the fact that it delivers on the “pure” or soulful part of riding. With undeniably beautiful styling to set the mood, the rider is presented with a well-padded seat, a comfortable riding position, and a handsomely styled digital/analog pod. The electronically injected engine starts up quickly and drama-free (Classic owners might be in for a shock right there), and it revs cleanly with just the faintest hint of vibration at the 4,000rpm mark. The sub-400cc displacement will put off customers who need an expressway-legal bike (Royal Enfield has its Himalayan and 650 Twins for that), but urban riders and those in the Visayas and Mindanao regions should have no issue especially when considering the pricing.

Pick one from the Meteor 350's three flavors. PHOTOS FROM ROYAL ENFIELD

Three editions of the Meteor are available: Fireball, Stellar and Supernova. The Fireball (P232,000) is available with either red or yellow fuel tank color and matching wheel rim lining, while the rest of the bike gets blacked-out treatment including the finish on the cylinder-head fins. The Stellar (P241,000) can be had with red, blue or matte-black tanks and color-matched body components along with chrome handlebars and exhaust system, and a small backrest for the pillion. The top-of-the-line Supernova (P252,000) comes in dual-tone blue or brown with matching body parts, machined wheels, and a choice of premium seats and a windscreen.

Andy Leuterio

Andy is both an avid cyclist and a car enthusiast who has finally made the shift to motorcycles. You've probably seen him on his bicycle or motorbike overtaking your crawling car. He is our motorcycle editor and the author of the ‘Quickshift’ column.