Saturday, September 30, 2023

Royal Enfield Meteor 350: All you need to know


Royal Enfield Meteor 350 (Codenamed as J1D), iconic motorcycle brand Royal Enfield’s new cruiser motorcycle, is finally here. The motorcycle manufacturer has launched the Meteor 350 in three variants, with price starting from Rs 1,75,825 (ex-showroom). The motorcycle is claimed to have taken inspiration from Lightning 535 cruiser.

As RE boss Siddhartha Lal said, he Meteor 350 carries the traditional lines of a cruiser but with a modern touch. Clearly that is visible from the new motorcycle’s overall appearance. The motorcycle comes as the first step of the motorcycle manufacturer’s 2.0 strategy. Under this strategy, Royal Enfield considering the plan to launch over 15-20 products in the next 3-5 years.

Usually a new launch ahead or during the festive season attracts a lot of buyers and drives volumes for any auto company. After the Covid-19 pandemic shock, the Royal Enfield Meteor 350 is likely to boost the company’s sales significantly.

While Royal Enfield took a timely call to upgrade the existing UCE engine for Classic and Himalayan for BS-VI emission norms, it decided to end the life of Thunderbird by December 2019. With this 9-month gap between the Thunderbird 350 and the new Royal Enfield Meteor 350, the company has potentially lost more than 50,000 units sales volume annually.

Strategically, Royal Enfield has also decided to focus on margins over volumes. The company has reportedly shelved the Project V, an entry-level 250 cc motorcycle that was under consideration to challenge new competition. Instead, RE is now focusing on improving the cost structure with an eye on 25% EBIDTA on 50,000 units per month volumes.

The Royal Enfield Meteor 350 is the first new motorcycle from the brand since the introduction of Interceptor. This completely new cruiser comes as the replacement for legendary Royal Enfield Thunderbird, which has been already discontinued. The Royal Enfield Meteor 350 will be available in three different trim options – Fireball, Stellar and Supernova.

The Royal Enfield Meteor 350 comes as a part of the new era Royal Enfield motorcycles, which include the 650 twins Interceptor and Continental GT along with the RE Himalayan.

Royal Enfield aims to strengthen its position in the mid-size motorcycle segment in the Indian market. The new Royal Enfield Meteor 350 will surely help the motorcycle maker in achieving this target.

Before the Coronavirus induced lockdown announced in March 2020, Royal Enfield had plans of introduce one product every quarter in FY21. However, that plan had to be reviewed and timelines recalibrated due to the pandemic.

Besides the new product launch strategy, Royal Enfield is now also struggling to get its supply chain issues resolved. While Hero MotoCorp, Honda and Bajaj Auto have already achieved 90%-100% capacity utilization in the post-lockdown phase, Royal Enfield is currently struggling to cross 55,000 to 60,000 units a month. The Meteor 350 is likely to help the company to overcome that situation.

Recently, iconic American motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson has announced its exit from the Indian market, due to lack of sales. The move comes as part of the Harley-Davidson’s $75 million restructuring steps. During its decade-long presence in India, Harley-Davidson has sold over 25,000 units across the country. The company recently announced that it will focus only on profitable markets including North American countries.

Exit of Harley-Davidson would surely help Royal Enfield to further strengthen its hold in the mid-size segment of Indian motorcycle market. The widely popular motorcycle manufacturer has already said that it will not bring any model below 350cc segment.

Royal Enfield Meteor 350

Royal Enfield Meteor 350 pricing

The Royal Enfield Meteor 350 motorcycle comes priced between Rs 1.75 lakh (ex-showroom) for the Fireball variant, while the top-variant Supernova is priced at Rs 1.90 lakh (ex-showroom).

Royal Enfield Meteor 350 FireballRs 1,75,825
Royal Enfield Meteor 350 StellarRs 1,81,342
Royal Enfield Meteor 350 SupernovaRs 1,90,536

The Royal Enfield Thunderbird 350 that was available in two variants, non-ABS and ABS. These two variants of the Royal Enfield Thunderbird were priced at Rs 1.48 lakh and Rs 1.57 lakh (ex-showroom), respectively.

Royal Enfield Meteor 350

Royal Enfield Meteor 350 competitors

Upon its launch, the all-new Royal Enfield Meteor 350 cruiser motorcycle will be pitted against the rivals like Jawa Perak, Benelli Imperiale 400 and newly introduced Honda H’ness CB350 as well.

Royal Enfield Meteor 350

Royal Enfield Meteor 350 design

The Royal Enfield Meteor 350 as teased, comes with a classic appearance. Like the other Royal Enfield motorcycles, it gets a circular headlamp with circular LED daytime running light (DRL).

There is a twin-pod instrument cluster with analogue-digital display, with an analogue speedometer and secondary TFT colour display for turn-by-turn navigation and Bluetooth connectivity. Being a new-generation model, it gets a connected feature called Tripper that allows connectivity with the RE official app, through which the rider can plan his or her ride and navigate.

The Royal Enfield Meteor 350 is the first RE motorcycle to come with an on-board navigation system that can be accessed with the Royal Enfield smartphone application. Compatible with both iOS and Android.

The Meteor 350 cruiser motorcycle appears to have wide and straight handlebar, just like Classic series. The Meteor 350 gets round-shaped rearview mirrors. The bulky fuel tank comes similar to the classic Royal Enfield models. It gets the Thunderbird 350 like sloping fuel tank and there different colour options available for it.

Being a cruiser, the new motorcycle comes boasting a low-positioned rider seat with a slightly upped pillion. Also, there is a cushioned backrest as well, just like the Thunderbird 350. The round shaped taillight gets LED treatment.

The Royal Enfield Meteor 350 is based on an all-new double-cradle frame christened as the platform J, compared to the single-downtube type frame of Thunderbird 350. It runs on black alloy wheels wrapped with tubeless tyres. The disc brakes on both the wheels come along with ABS ensuring smoother and safer ride. The Meteor 350 gets telescopic forks with twin shock absorbers. 

The Royal Enfield Meteor 350 comes with 5 lakh customization options that can be seen on the RE’s Make It Yours online application.

Royal Enfield Meteor 350

Royal Enfield Meteor 350 powertrain

The all-new Royal Enfield Meteor 350 gets a heavily reworked J-series 349 cc engine.

The air-cooled, motor-injected UCE 349 cc BS-VI engine that churns out 20 PS of power and 27 Nm of peak torque. It is paired with a 5-speed transmission.

The engine gets single overhead cam (SOHC) instead of push-rod actuated valves. Expect the engine to be smoother compared to the engines that work in Bullet 350 and Classic 350.

Also Read: India’s fastest electric bike: What we know about it?

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