Royal Enfield Meteor 350: A beautiful motorcycle, but is it the best RE?

The Meteor is a refined motorcycle; Launched last year, it replaced the Thunderbird X 350. On the Meteor, the rider sits comfortably, feet forward, seats low and upright, handlebars without too much stress on the shoulders and ergonomic angles perfect. However, is this the best motorcycle made by Royal Enfield? While its build quality, paint job, and fit and finish are impeccable, how pleasant is the Meteor to live in? I spend three months with it.

The path

Its 349 cc air-oil-cooled engine (power 20.2 hp; torque 27 Nm) is refined and perfectly suited for a motorcycle of this size and weight. The initial acceleration (0-60 km / h) is effortless, but gradual. However, it is the acceleration of 40-80 km / h in fourth gear where the Meteor enters its element (the maximum torque of 27 Nm is reached from 4000 rpm, and therefore even in a high speed at a speed of about 50 km / h he does not feel undernourished).

The driving position

The shift pedal has both a heel shifter and a toe shifter, so you can use your foot or heel to change gears with the same ease. The vibrations of the engine, via the handlebars, footrests and saddle, are fairly controlled, and you can ride long distances, at a speed of around 80 km / h, without tiring yourself. However, at speeds above 100 km / h the handlebars vibrate a lot, although the footrests and saddle remain solid. Also, while cornering is a cinch on well-paved roads, it’s not as safe as the Himalayas on wet and gravel roads.

Carry luggage

Securing luggage in the rear seat area (in case bungee cords are used) is not as easy as on the Himalayas (the gold standard for any bike).

Fuel consumption

I did a 600 km road trip on a highway (where the Meteor returned 46 km / liter) and another 400 km on Delhi roads (where it returned 41 km / liter).

Technology

The Meteor gets a step-by-step navigation module called Tripper. It connects to the rider’s smartphone via Bluetooth and real-time directions, using two-wheel navigation from Google Maps, are displayed on a small screen next to the trip odometer. The Tripper definitely makes road trips easy.

The best part

During the second wave lockdown, the Meteor was parked in the basement of my apartment for eight straight weeks, and when I cranked the engine after that long time, it started with the flip of a switch. Unlike old RE bikes, there was no oil leak, no low battery, no tire puncture, no rust anywhere. This shows that the Meteor is a new age RE.

Is this the best RE?

Priced at Rs 1.75 lakh to Rs 1.9 lakh (ex-showroom, Chennai), the Meteor can be good value for money (similar motorcycles at more or less similar prices include Honda H’ness and CB350R), but in terms of overall ownership and driving experience, it might not match the all-new Himalayan (which is slightly more expensive). While these two bikes are aimed at different types of riders, the Himalayan advantage over the Meteor is that the former can do everything the latter can do, and much more.

Characteristics

Engine: 349 cc, air-oil cooled

Horsepower: 20.2 hp @ 6,100 rpm

Torque: 27 Nm at 4000 rpm

Gearbox: five speed

Ground clearance: 170 mm

Weight: 191 kg (with 90% fuel and oil)

Fuel tank: 15 liters

Brakes: Front and rear discs

Price: Rs 1.75 lakh to Rs 1.9 lakh

(The price is excluding showroom, Chennai)

Riding experience

Total distance traveled: 1,000 km

Energy efficiency (city): 41 km / liter

Energy efficiency (highway): 46 km / liter

Comfortable cruising speed: 70-80 km / h

Value-added feature: Tripper navigation

Feels planted on: highways

Feeling nervous about: Gravel

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