Royal Enfield Classic 350: One Engine, Different Personalities
A lowdown on Royal Enfield’s famed unit construction engine before the brand closes the curtains on it
The beginning of the new decade saw Royal Enfield upgrade to the new J Platform, starting with the Meteor 350. This new 349cc mill will soon find its way into other motorcycles. Flashback to the late 2000s, when the iconic brand was faced with new emission norms (BS3) and decided to pull the plug on its cast iron engine in favour of the Unit Construction Engine (UCE) that went on to serve us for over a decade.
Royal Enfield Bullet
The Royal Enfield Bullet is one of the oldest names in the industry. At the beginning of the last decade, the UCE motor made its debut, announcing the death of the cast-iron engine and replacing the Standard 350.
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It sported the new 346cc engine making 19.7PS at 5250rpm and 28Nm at 4000rpm that made a little more power than the previous cast-iron unit. In our market, this bike replaced the RE Standard. Over the years, we have seen it get a fuel-injected engine, yet it retains all the unique elements like the winged logo, and the classic saddle to this date.
Royal Enfield Thunderbird Twinspark
The Thunderbird TwinSpark came with the 346cc engine that produced 19.7PS and 28Nm. It used a 14.5-litre tank and a 19-inch front wheel, both of which were shared with the older model. Eventually, the bike was rolled out with a 20-litre fuel tank and 18-inch front wheel.
Over the years, the Thunderbird evolved into a neat, neo-retro kind of cruiser shod with tubeless tyres and alloys (the first from RE at that point). The Royal Enfield Thunderbird X 350 was the last hurrah for the cruiser before it made way for the Meteor.
Royal Enfield Classic 350
The country’s beloved thumper made its debut in 2009 with this engine. Royal Enfield made no changes to it, so it had the same performance figures as the Thunderbird TwinSpark. The modern classic was just as simple as its sibling and it wasn't long before the Classic 350 became the most sought-after companion for long rides.
Over the course of 11 years (and counting) , Royal Enfield spawned many versions of the bike, including some limited editions and special editions like the Pegasus, Signals and Dispatch versions.
Currently, the Royal Enfield Classic 350 is offered in single-channel and dual-channel ABS versions available in five and eight colour options respectively. You could even personalise the bike using Royal Enfield’s comprehensive Make it Yours customisation programme. Royal Enfield is expected to pull the plug on the current-gen Classic 350 to make way for the 2021 model. But that hasn’t stopped the bikemaker from hiking its price.