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What’s old is new again with the 2021 Royal Enfield Classic 350

Ride in style with the retro-look motorbike

You won’t win any races with the Classic, but it’s all about unpretentious riding fun. PHOTO FROM ROYAL ENFIELD

Royal Enfield has made a name for itself building authentic “modern classic” machines. Retro-styled motorcycles like the Interceptor/Continental GT650 and the Himalayan but with modern engineering underneath. The Classic 350/500 model was its longest-running nameplate, tracing its roots back to the 1950s with the Bullet, and modernized with fuel-injection only in 2009. Still, ever-stringent emissions regulations spelled the end of the traditional Classic this year, and Royal Enfield produced the last 1,000 units for die-hard fans.

And now, it has officially unveiled an all-new Classic 350 that shares much of the same technology with the cruiser-styled Meteor 350. It sports the same handsome lines as before, and fans will love that it retains the signature teardrop fuel tank and triangular side panels.

A new engine and a new frame are just some of the improvements to the nameplate. PHOTOS FROM ROYAL ENFIELD

The all-new bike rides on a modern double-down-tube frame similar to the Meteor’s. The 349cc single-cylinder thumper pumps out a modest 20.2hp at 6,100rpm, but makes up for it with a hearty 27Nm of torque at 4,000rpm.

With a five-speed gearbox to work with, we found the new engine a treat to work with in our Meteor test ride as it’s smooth and refined for urban riding (if a little breathless at the top end). The curb weight of 195kg is roughly the same as the Meteor’s so performance should be similar. Tech is limited to a deliberately retro machine like the Classic, but there’s ABS for the 300mm/270mm front/rear discs.

Check out some of the cool paint jobs on offer. PHOTOS FROM ROYAL ENFIELD

The elegant, analog speedometer has been retained, discreetly modernized with an LCD display for basic trip info. A USB port provides handy charging for phones, and the Tripper navigation system is available on Chrome Red and Chrome Bronze variants. Royal Enfield is one of the few manufacturers that understand how important color is to a bike’s appeal, and the Classic offers no less than 11 choices ranging from Chrome Red to Signals Desert Sand.

Notably, two color options (Redditch Sage Green and Redditch Gray) come with single-channel ABS, while the rest have dual-channel systems—likely to provide the lowest starting price. Whether it will be fitted with wire-spoke wheels or cast alloy rims will also depend on the color.

The cockpit sports an analog speedometer paired with the Tripper navigation system. PHOTO FROM ROYAL ENFIELD

In our review of the Classic 500 last year, we noted the ability of the motorcycle to cheerfully win us over despite its archaic design. With the new bike’s modernized platform, we expect that it will have that very same charm in a package that’s easier to live with.

We reached out to Royal Enfield’s Philippine distributor (Hardcore Brothers) regarding when to expect the new Classic to arrive. There is no definite date yet.

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.