350 Classic—Filling a Need
Royal Enfield’s dedication to the middleweight and entry level motorcycle market is obvious. With its 2022 motorcycles falling between 350-650cc, the brand’s offerings fill the needs of new riders as well as those looking for a reliable, manageable, and affordable motorcycle. According to Breeann Poland, Marketing and Communications Lead for Royal Enfield Americas, a large part of RE’s customer base are riders downsizing from larger motorcycles. The 350 Classic is the company’s latest release, sporting a vintage vibe with up-to-date technology.
Old World Charm
It’s a humid morning in the charming historic city of Savannah, Georgia, when I step up to a line of gleaming motorcycles that look straight out of a wartime movie. These are the new Royal Enfield 350 Classic motorcycles, the latest in the Indian brand’s lineup with vintage vibes and modern-age capabilities.
The history of this motorcycle is enough to pull me in. The 350 Classic draws its design inspiration from the 1948 Royal Enfield G2 350 Bullet, a motorcycle that revolutionized the industry with the introduction of its articulating swingarm. According to Siddhartha Lal, Managing Director of Royal Enfield’s parent company Eicher Motors Ltd., “The 350 Classic is a modern and capable motorcycle that symbolizes the timeless post-war styling from the heydays of the British motorcycle industry.”
Despite the bike’s nod to the past, the 349cc, air-oil cooled engine performs like a well-designed modern machine. The single-cylinder dual overhead cam (DOHC) engine is well-balanced and smooth. The 350 Classic offers enough power to easily make its way through town and fun back roads.
350 Classic Riding Impression
As we weave through traffic, I am impressed with this motorcycle’s maneuverability at low speeds. The bike weighs 430 pounds, which is heavy for a smaller bike. However, a low center of gravity and stable chassis make the Classic easy to lift from its sidestand and make slow turns with ease. My only issue around the city is I tend to kick the pegs when putting my feet down. This is something I write off as a result of my long legs and being accustomed to rearset footpegs.
On the open road, I relax into the Classic 350’s upright seating position. The bike’s five-speed gearbox and smooth shifting make for a comfortable ride around the Georgia countryside.
I was advised before the ride to shift at higher RPMs to maximize the capabilities of the 350’s torque range. This indeed helps to tackle long ascents up bridges and overpasses. On the highway, the bike maxes out around 70 mph. Even so, the 350 Classic is perfectly suitable for the urban and semi-urban environment for which it is designed.
Champions for Women Riders
Royal Enfield is a true champion in the women’s motorcycle space. With prominent women represented in the brand’s leadership, ambassador list, and program participants, Royal Enfield embodies the representation of women in a way that feels uniquely genuine.
“Women have been an underrated and underserved segment in motorcycling since motorcycles have existed,” Poland explains. “Our initiatives such as the Build.Train.Race.Program empower women to live out their dreams. Our motorcycles are not only appealing to women but inspire confidence in all riders.”
Clearly focused on leading the way in the U.S. market, President of Royal Enfield Americas, Krishnan Ramaswamy tells us he expects the company to be leading the mid-sized motorcycle segment in the next couple of years. And with so many women filling many important roles in this leadership, WomenRidersNow.com is excited to see the evolution of this brand and its continued success.
The 350 Classic is an affordable, nimble, confidence-building bike for riding around town or back roads. It is appropriate for newer riders with manageable power. The upright seating position and mid-controls are comfortable for both shorter and taller riders. The vintage vibes provide a nostalgic look on this otherwise capable, modern machine.
Specs at a Glance: 2022 Royal Enfield 350 Classic
Engine Size: 349cc
Seat Height: 31.69 inches
Fuel Capacity: 3.43 gallons
Wet Weight: 430 pounds
2022 Colors: Dark Stealth Black, Dark Gunmetal Gray, Signals Desert Sand, Signals Marsh Gray, Halcyon Forest Green, Halcyon Black, Halcyon Blue, Chrome Red, Chrome Brown
MSRP: Starts at $4,599