Following on from last year’s successful entry into the US market via the cruiser-style Meteor 350, Royal Enfield brings us another small displacement motorcycle in the form of the Classic 350. The new 2022 Royal Enfield Classic 350, which shares its engine. Meteor recalls the much-loved Bullet, thanks to its fond memories and yesteryear simplicity that everyone can appreciate.
- The 2022 Royal Enfield Classic 350 has old school standard ergonomics. The Classic 350 doesn’t get used to straddle. While the 31.7-inch seat height is just over an inch and a half higher than the low-slung Meteor, it doesn’t feel taller. Credit the wide bars, upright seating position, and compact rider triangle for an intimidating first-day experience. The bike has a manageable feel to it.
- Thanks to a clutch with a wide engagement sweep, the Classic 350 couldn’t be easier to operate unless it’s automatic. Dealers tell us that the Classic 350 is attracting new riders to Royal Enfield showrooms, and many of them will never have ridden a standard transmission car. Learning to manage the clutch, especially on two wheels, can be tricky. However, the 350’s clutch is beginner-friendly. Although the clutch pull is not particularly light for a small displacement engine, it engages slowly enough that it is easy on no-starts and minimizes the chance of stalling.
- The transmission is smooth as is the clutch. There is no stutter, or even a click. Riders will need to learn a clean follow-through when shifting from 1st to 2nd gear. I hit neutral several times unintentionally before clearing my loose shifting.
- The 349cc long-stroke vertical single has torque and slow revving, perfect for fun rides and crash avoidance. The air-cooled motor produces 20 ft-lbs of torque at an easily accessed 4000 rpm. That’s enough to get you out of line in front of most cars. The Classic 350 is not about speed or agile maneuvers. New riders will find plenty of grace with the 350 powerplant. It’s easy to ride, forgiving, quick, and happily takes you through any paved road condition with certainty.
- Shift up for the clearest view in your mirrors, as they are blurry at almost all engine speeds. I only get a clear view in the mirrors when I’m in 5th gear at low rpm, just on the edge of lagging.
- The brakes are dialed in just right for the classic 350 rider. The engagement is so soft, I don’t think it’s possible to hold the brake lever hard enough to scare yourself. Also, the single front disc has enough braking power that a strong squeeze will slow the bike down properly. The rear brake is equally comfortable as useful. The 350 has dual-channel ABS, so applying the front or rear brakes separately will automatically engage the ABS if you lock the wheel. It took a heavy foot to intentionally trip the ABS, so the system is non-intrusive.
- When it’s time to decelerate, a strange glitch occurs in the EFI system. When the throttle is released to slow down for a red light, instead of stopping all fuel, the throttle feels like it’s a neutral throttle for a few moments before cutting off fuel flow completely. It’s uncomfortable until you get used to it—an off throttle should mean an immediate off throttle. Although the Classic 350 is new to the North American market, more than three million units have been sold internationally – plenty of time to iron out any EFI issues. Perhaps this is an anomaly for the bikes we tested. Engine compression braking is good, especially when supplemented by a downshift.
- At 430 pounds, the 2022 Royal Enfield Classic 350 is heavier — 66 pounds more than the Honda Rebel 300. Despite its weight, the Classic is quite maneuverable at slow speeds. Fortunately, the 350 is far from a handful. Wide bars, upright seating and smooth power delivery are the secret to its stress-free operation. I can easily pedal the bike into position when parking, as the bars have a lot of leverage. Some of that extra weight can be attributed to the centerstand, which has the desirable side effect of lowering the center of gravity.
- The non-adjustable suspension does a great job in a variety of situations. You get just over five inches of travel from the 41mm fork, and the soft action handles LA’s rough and street conditions well. The 19-inch front wheel 350 helps roll over bumps and ripples in the road. The old-school dual shocks similarly soak up the worst road irregularities, and the thick, soft solo seat contributes to a comfortable ride (our test bike had an auxiliary pillion). While you’re certainly aware of the road conditions on the 350, you don’t need to scrounge.
- Seat tires are perfectly suited for Classic 350 use. Indian-based SEAT may not be a well-known brand in the US, but the Zoom Plus rubber was inspiringly confident on the road, in twisty conditions in the hills, and in flat-outs on the freeway.
- While the 2022 Royal Enfield Classic 350 has plenty of speed for the freeway, it’s not your best choice for long-distance commuters. The long-stroke single can reach speeds in excess of 70 mph, more than enough to keep up with aggressive traffic on the Los Angeles Freeway if you stay out of the left lanes. It doesn’t leave you with anything extra if you need to take quick steps or the road is a bit steep. A soft rev-limiter kicks in around 75 mph, even on down grades. It is fine for commuting on local urban freeways where the speed limit is 55 mph.
- The Classic 350 proves that you don’t need a sport bike to enjoy running on hills. Narrow two-lane roads, like LA’s famous Mulholland Drive and Whittier’s short-but-sweet Turnbull Canyon Road, are perfect playgrounds for the 350’s torquey, stable-relationship personality. I can confidently push into corners, using leverage from an upright sitting position to turn the Classic, and the 350 allows – which isn’t fast. With Seat 19-inch tires, the front end doesn’t sway. There’s plenty of cornering clearance for a sporty lean. It doesn’t take high speed to build adrenaline and have a full blast; A willing, small engine with predictable response allows you to enjoy all of the bike’s power instead of managing only half.
- On high-speed sweepers, you’ll see the Classic 350’s limitations. While the 350 can reliably keep up with a larger displacement bike in tight conditions, you’ll quickly fall behind when the road opens up. Fast runs are not 350 rated. It’s worth noting how stable the Classic feels at the speeds it can achieve, and how well the suspension handles real-world backroads. The planted feel gives a lot of confidence in the motorcycle.
- The original old school dash looks perfect for the Classic 350. The dash is dominated by a sweeping analog speedometer, while a small LCD screen below continuously displays the fuel gauge. Press the small round button on the back of the left-hand switchgear scroll between trip, time, or odometer. The round ignition/kill switch and high/low and passing light switches on the handlebar fit perfectly with the styling of the Classic.
- Speaking of styling, our test bike was uniquely military-inspired Signal livery. It is modeled after the parachute-deployed flying pod used by the British in WWII. The “TP 28” stencil on the rear fender was intended to tell troops the correct tire psi—it’s just a graphic, not an instruction for the modern Classic 350. Other stickers are stylized images, not replicas of designs used by the military; You don’t have to tell anyone at Coffee Bean. A custom touch tank has numbers stenciled on it – this is unique to each bike. Interestingly, our test motorcycle was of course green, although Royal Enfield only offers the Signal trim in Marsh Gray or Desert Sand.
- There are 10 different color/trim options for the Classic, and they change the presentation of the motorcycle dramatically, especially when viewed in person. I was immediately taken by Halcyon Blue – a perfect girly colour, although I probably shouldn’t have said that. When we dropped off the test bike at Southern California Motorcycles, a customer was taking delivery of the Halcyon Forest Green version, which looks sharp.
- The everyday practicality of the 2022 Royal Enfield Classic 350 makes it attractive for a variety of uses. With a friendly power delivery, fair handling, and approachable ergonomics, it’s a perfect platform for new riders to hone their skills. For experienced riders, the Classic 350 is a comfortable, vintage-style ride that evokes simpler times and looks good wherever you park it.
Photography by Don WilliamsRiding style 2022 Royal Enfield Classic 350 Specsthe engine
- Type: Vertical single
- Displacement: 349cc
- Bore x Stroke: 72 x 85.8mm
- Maximum Power: 20 Horsepower @ 6100 rpm
- Max Torque: 20 ft-lbs @ 4000 rpm
- Valvetrain: SOHC; 2 valves
- Fuel: EFI
- Cooling: Air
- Transmission: 5-speed
- Final Drive: Chain
- Frame: Twin downtube backbone
- Front suspension; Travel: Non-adjustable 41mm fork; 5.1 inches
- Rear Suspension: Spring-preload adjustable twin-tube emulsion shocks
- Wheels: Wire-spoke (dark models have aluminum wheels)
- Tires: Seat Zoom Plus
- Front tire: 100/90 x 19
- Rear tire: 120/80 x 18
- Front Brake: 300mm disc w/ 2-piston floating caliper
- Rear Brake: 270mm disc w/ single-piston floating caliper
- ABS: Dual-channel standard
Dimensions and capacity
- Wheelbase: 54.7 inches
- Seat height: 31.7 inches
- Fuel capacity: 3.4 gallons
- Curb Weight: 430 lbs
2022 Royal Enfield Classic 350 Prices
- Halcyon Black: $4599 MSRP
- Halcyon Forest Green: $4599
- Halcyon Blue: $4599
- Signal Marsh Grey: $4699
- Signal Desert Sands: $4699
- Chrome Red: $4799
- Chrome Bronze: $4799
- Dark Gunmetal Grey: $4799
- Dark Stealth Black: $4799
2022 Royal Enfield Classic 350 Review Photo Gallery