Royal Enfield Classic 350 BS6: Expectation vs Reality
Royal Enfield, where’s the all-new Classic 350 we were all waiting for?
When Royal Enfield launched the BS6 Classic 350, we were a bit surprised. Instead of launching the all-new motorcycle that was spotted testing last year, it gave us an updated version of the current Classic 350. Just how Royal Enfield managed to update the age-old 346cc UCE engine to meet BS6 norms beggars belief. As it turns out, Royal Enfield did manage to find a way. Here's why we think the Chennai-based bikemaker made this move as opposed to what we were expecting instead.
What we expected: An all-new Classic 350
As mentioned before, numerous sightings of what was supposed to be the all-new Classic 350 last year made us believe that the cult bikemaker would be launching this motorcycle for the upcoming BS6 era.
The test mules revealed an all-new, possibly larger, powerplant. Based on the size of the motor, we believe it could have a displacement of around 400cc. What was more interesting was that its gearbox casing looked suspiciously similar to the Royal Enfield 650 twins, thus hinting at the possibility of a 6-speed transmission. We believe this, coupled with the new engine, has the potential to make the motorcycle a lot more capable on the highway. What’s more, the test mules also featured a new front disc brake, now placed on the right. The switchgear also looks pretty retro and seems to have been inspired by the one on the Concept KX. Even the instrument cluster on the test mule was new, featuring a digital inset for housing additional information.
What we got instead: An updated version of the existing bike
Royal Enfield managed to make the BS4 Classic 350 comply with BS6 emission norms with the addition of a closed-loop fuel injection system. Apart from FI, select colour variants of the BS6 version also get alloy wheels with tubeless tyres as standard. Additionally, Royal Enfield is now offering a 3-year warranty with 3-year roadside assistance (RSA) as standard. We contacted Royal Enfield for the exact specifications but are yet to hear from the brand. That said, expect the BS6 update to take a toll on either the power or torque figures as we’ve seen in most BS6-compliant two-wheelers. For reference, the BS4-compliant 346cc carburetted single produces 20PS of power and 28Nm of torque.
Underpinnings like the suspension and brakes have remained unchanged. The motorcycle comes with dual-channel ABS as standard as well.
It may be disappointing, but here’s why it probably makes sense:
Launching a BS6-compliant version of the current-generation Classic 350 makes sound business sense because of two reasons. Firstly, it gives Royal Enfield a buffer to clear out its BS4 inventory. Secondly, it also gives the company more time to properly test the new-gen motorcycle before it is introduced in the market. Moreover, with the launch of the new-generation bike, Royal Enfield could replace the 500cc version as it’s getting a bit obsolete. Also, the introduction of the 650 twins have cannibalised sales of the 500cc bike and it doesn’t really make sense for the brand to keep it in its portfolio anymore.
In essence, the recently-launched BS6 Classic 350 will be the more affordable version (Rs 1.65 lakh) whereas the upcoming new-generation motorcycle will serve as the middleground between the Classic 350 and the 650 twins. It could be priced a little above Rs 2 lakh (ex-showroom), which is where the 500cc bike is currently priced at. This way, Royal Enfield will be able to cater to riders no matter the size of their wallets.