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Royal Enfield Meteor 350 review: Should you buy this new-age Thunderbird instead of Classic 350?

Meteor 350 is a cruiser based on a new platform with a new engine and fitted with modern features. Now point is, that how is all of it coming together? Should we buy it? Can we skip the Classic 350?

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Royal Enfield Meteor 350

You look at the Meteor 350 and the first thing you will remember could be the Lightning 535. (I have taken the liberty of assuming this even if you haven’t seen or ridden the Lightning 535. Maybe you are a new enthusiast, maybe a GenZ biker, who is interested in faster bikes. In that case, Thunderbird would work too) Why the Lightning you might ask? The split seat with the backrest could be the reason I guess. The variant I was got was the Supernova one, which comes with the backrest for pillion.

Meteor 350 is Royal Enfield’s latest effort in reclaiming the cruiser space, which had Thunderbird once and price-wise positioned right above the Classic 350. To consolidate its position in the segment, which recently saw an entry from Honda Motorcycles called H’ness CB350.

I test rode the bike before the prices for Meteor 350 were announced, so the video-review didn’t have the prices (it started with the exhaust notes). That is why I am starting the article with the prices only.

2020 Royal Enfield Meteor 350: Price (ex-showroom)

  • Fireball: ₹1,75,825
  • Stellar: ₹1,81,342
  • Supernova: ₹1,90,536

2020 Royal Enfield Meteor 350: Engine, specifications, and fuel efficiency

This chart might not give a clear picture of how different is the Meteor’s engine. To understand that we have to ride it. But, that part comes later. First, let us take a look at the specifications and output numbers, which appear to be in familiar territory. 349 cc single-cylinder producing 20.2 bhp of power and 27Nm of peak torque. The gearshift is 5 speed. The world motorcycle test cycle suggests a fuel efficiency of 36.2 km/l.

Performance of this engine can be expressed in one word, that is refined. The power delivery is very smooth and gradual. I would have loved some extra initial torque though. The grunt RE lovers always enjoy. The laidback take-off.

Meteor is smoother, consistent and powerful in the mid-range. It took some time for me to touch three digits but the engine sounded relaxed and the bike felt planted. Overall I felt the zone around 90 KMPH felt like an ideal cruising speed for this bike.

EngineSingle-cylinder, four-stroke, air-oil cooled
Fuel typePetrol
Fuel systemElectronic fuel-injection air cleaner paper element
Capacity349 cc
CylindersSingle
Power20 bhp at 6,100 rpm
Torque27 Nm at 4,000 rpm
Transmission5-speed constant mesh
Fuel efficiency36.2 km/l (WMTC standard)

2020 Royal Enfield Meteor 350: Size and dimensions

I mentioned the Lightning 535 earlier, which could be one inspiration but the overall silhouette of Meteor 350 looks more compact and balanced. Compared to the Classic 350, Meteor 350 is a bit shorter and lighter but the wheelbase is a bit longer.

Length2,140 mm
Width845 mm (without mirrors)
Height1,140 mm (without mirrors)
1,310 mm (with windscreen)
Wheelbase1,400 mm
Ground clearance170 mm
Weight191 kg (90% fuel and oil)
Seat height765 mm
Fuel tank capacity15-litres

2020 Royal Enfield Meteor 350: Colours

I was riding the new Meteor in the Supernova Brown colour, which is very similar to what we have seen in many cars. Somehow, the colour I liked on the Duster or Ciaz didn’t appeal to me on the RE. Having said that, the blue looks nice and the red and the yellow.

  • Fireball Yellow
  • Fireball Red
  • Stellar Black
  • Stellar Red
  • Stellar Blue
  • Supernova Brown
  • Supernova Blue

2020 Royal Enfield Meteor 350: Ride, braking, and suspension

The suspension and braking setup in the latest Meteor gives it a plush and refined ride. The bike was planted during the regular corners we encounter on the common roads or highways. It took uneven surfaces with ease and maintained its composure. Now, this also had to do with a firmer suspension setup, which will not be too comfortable if the ratio of broken roads in your route is higher than the tarmac. The braking is precise, however, I could use some more bite in the rear brake.

Suspension

FrontTelescopic, 41 mm forks, 130 mm travel
RearTwin-tube Emulsion shock absorbers with 6-step adjustable preload

Tyres

FrontAlloy wheel; 100/90 – 19 inch – 57P (Tubeless type)
RearAlloy wheel; 140/70 – 17 inch – 66P (Tubeless type)

Brake

Front300 mm disc with twin-piston floating caliper brakes
Rear270 mm disc, single-piston floating caliper with dual channel ABS

2020 Royal Enfield Meteor 350: Instrumentation

The handlebar in Meteor feels familiar. The reach, the angle and the material. It feels solid and old school, including the clutch and front brake levers. The engine kill or lights switch come in this old school rotary types. It might take some time to get used to this setting, but I like it nevertheless.

The instrumentation is the place where you find the real difference between Meteor 350 and other Royal Enfield bikes. I am not talking about the combination of digital and analogue display on the bigger dial. Which has most of the regular information like the fuel gauge, speed marked in both miles and kilometres. It is the smaller dial which makes this bike so different from its predecessors. Built with Google, the tripper, which gives you turn by turn indication after you have connected your smartphone with this. A very useful feature, which is standard with all three variants.

Conclusion

Things I likedThings I didn’t like
Refinement Initial torque
GearshiftBraking
Handling Mirrors
Low-speed balance

The latest Meteor 350 is one of the most refined product Royal Enfield has built. Fit, finish, ride quality and equipment-wise this would compete with most of the modern products, and you don’t have to remind anyone that – “Enfield hai”. The price and performance of Meteor 350 don’t fall in the mind-blown emoji category but anyone looking for a cruiser bike now has a modern, refined and solid option

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Sudden accelerations in Tesla cars were user error: US govt

Tesla issued the recall with NHTSA for 9,136 Model X SUVs built in 2015 and 2016 over pieces of the body that can detach while driving due to a lack of primer.

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Tesla Model 3 Electrek

San Francisco, Jan 9 : A year-long review of Tesla cars in the US has concluded that there is not enough evidence to open a full investigation into claims that some Tesla vehicles were accelerating without warning the users.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said in a statement on Friday that “pedal misapplication” at the end of drivers was the actual cause of the problem.

NHTSA received 246 complaints about this “sudden unintended acceleration” phenomenon, reports The Verge.

“There is no evidence of any fault in the accelerator pedal assemblies, motor control systems, or brake systems that has contributed to any of the cited incidents,” the agency said.

“There is no evidence of a design factor contributing to increased likelihood of pedal misapplication. The theory provided of a potential electronic cause of SUA in the subject vehicles is based upon inaccurate assumptions about system design and log data.”

Tesla has settled most of a purported class action lawsuit in 2018 over the acceleration issue.

The review was opened in January 2020 in response to a petition by Brian Sparks, a Tesla investor.

“I believe Tesla vehicles have a structural flaw which puts their drivers and the public at risk. I further believe Tesla must know of this flaw and be unresponsive to it,” he wrote in December 2019.

Tesla responded to the review with a blog post that claimed there was no merit to the idea

“We investigate every single incident where the driver alleges to us that their vehicle accelerated contrary to their input, and in every case where we had the vehicle’s data, we confirmed that the car operated as designed,” the company emphasised.

Electric Vehicle (EV) maker Tesla is under scrutiny over battery and security issues after at least two dozen complaints were filed with the NHTSA.

Tesla in November last year recalled over 9,500 Model X and Y SUVs built in 2015 and 2016.

Tesla issued the recall with NHTSA for 9,136 Model X SUVs built in 2015 and 2016 over pieces of the body that can detach while driving due to a lack of primer.

Tesla also issued a recall for 437 Model Y SUVs over a potentially loose bolt that could result in the upper control arm separating from the steering knuckle.

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Bajaj Auto reports 11% rise in December sales

But commercial vehicle sales during the month under review declined by 34 per cent to 33,948 units from 51,253 units sold during the like period of last year.

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Bajaj Auto Logo

Mumbai, Jan 4 : Two-wheeler and commercial vehicle manufacturer Bajaj Auto on Monday reported a 11 per cent growth in total sales during December on a year-on-year basis.

According to the company, total sales during the month under review grew to 3,72,532 units from 336,055 units sold during the corresponding month of 2019.

However, Bajaj Auto’s total domestic sales declined, standing at 139,606 units — down (-) 9 per cent — from 153,163 units sold in December last year.

The company’s overall exports zoomed by 27 per cent to 232,926 units from 182,892 units shipped out during the like month of 2019.

In terms of two-wheelers, the company’s total sales rose by 19 per cent to 338,584 units from 284,802 units sold in December last year.

But commercial vehicle sales during the month under review declined by 34 per cent to 33,948 units from 51,253 units sold during the like period of last year.

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Ashok Leyland sells 12,762 trucks in Dec 2020

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Ashok Leyland trucks

Chennai, Jan 1 : Commercial vehicles major Ashok Leyland Ltd on Friday said it closed last month with a sales figure of 12,762 units.

In a statement the company said it sold 12,762 units last month up from 11,168 units sold in December 2019.

Cumulatively this fiscal till last month the company had sold 56,657 units down from 99,749 units sold during previous year corresponding period.

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