Buy Or Hold: Royal Enfield Hunter 350 vs 2023 Bullet 350
Should you get yourself the most affordable J-series Royal Enfield at the moment or wait for the upcoming next-gen Bullet? Here’s our analysis
Buying a Royal Enfield bike is an unparalleled experience. You don’t just buy a bike, but also immerse yourself into Royal Enfield’s history, heritage and lifestyle. And what better bike to soak in this experience than the Royal Enfield Bullet 350, the most affordable in the marque’s lineup?
But is it actually the best option?
See, currently the Bullet 350 is the sole surviving member in Enfield’s UCE family. But the new J-series engine powering the Classic 350, Meteor 350 and the new Hunter 350 makes a massive leap forward in refinement, performance and in the general “Royal Enfield” experience. Besides, the 2023 Bullet 350 had been spied on test recently, and as you know, it will also be powered by the familiar J-series engine. So that begs a very important question: Should you buy the new Hunter 350, an accessible, affordable and beginner-friendly Royal Enfield motorcycle, or wait for the upcoming Bullet 350 in its new and refreshed avatar?
What Makes The Royal Enfield Hunter 350 Worth Buying Right Now?
It’s accessible: the Bullet 350 is Royal Enfield’s most affordable offering. However, the Hunter 350 is currently the most affordable J-series motorcycle on sale in the Enfield ecosystem, with the entry-level variant priced at Rs 1.50 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi). For this price, it also packs modern bits and optional accessories like tripper navigation and touring accessories, which aren’t available with the Bullet 350.
Next, unlike a typical Royal Enfield, the overall smaller dimensions of the Hunter seem a lot more welcoming. It is lighter and gets a slightly tweaked frame, which makes it more nimble and much easier to ride. It also comes in bright, vibrant colours, as it is meant to appeal to a youthful crowd.
Also, the price difference between the Hunter 350 and Bullet 350 currently isn’t all that high, which makes the Hunter 350 an excellent value-for-money proposition to step into the world of Royal Enfield. Moreover, the 2023 Bullet 350 is expected to be launched around February 2023, by which time we expect the Hunter 350’s price to increase as well.
We got to ride this new Hunter 350 on the streets of Bangkok and here’s what we think of it.
What Makes The 2023 Royal Enfield Bullet 350 Worth The Wait?
The Bullet has the longest unchanged production run of any motorcycle, having remained continuously in production since 1948, while the Bullet marque is even older, and has passed 75 years of continuous production.
The Bullet 350, which is as old-school as you can go, is positioned at the other side of the Royal Enfield spectrum than the Hunter 350. The Bullet 350 was never a perfect product; In fact, it had a number of flaws, despite which it was able to connect with desi bikers and it’s among the most aspirational two-wheelers on sale in India.
And now, based on the spy shots, the Bullet 350 looks almost identical to the Classic 350. It will also feature the same J-platform’s 349cc mill, developing 20.4PS and 27Nm, likely with an identical throttle map and ignition timing as the Classic 350. This would make the 2023 Bullet 350 the fourth motorcycle based on the J-platform after the Classic 350, Meteor 350 and Hunter 350.
The 2023 Bullet 350, however, is expected to be a bit more modern, but will still retain its old school charm to instill a sense of pride and heritage as it thumps down the road. It is not meant to be ridden fast, or expected to cut through narrow bylanes and traffic. It is meant for a more mature crowd.
Hence, if you’re looking to get yourself a friendly Royal Enfield, look no further than the Hunter 350 and grab it as soon as you can. However, if you’re looking to get yourself a piece of legacy, a “proper” Royal Enfield, we’d recommend you wait for the 2023 Bullet 350.