What makes riding the new Classic 350 in the city a breeze is its engine. The new 350cc motor is smoother and more eager than before. More importantly, vibrations are almost non-existent. As a result, you can keep it in the fifth gear at 40-45kmph and keep chugging along while enjoying the trademark ‘dug dug dug’ of Royal Enfield. Some RE purists might argue that it has lost character due to the softer thump than before. However, the difference isn’t drastic and it still sounds sweet and pleasant.
Now, coming back to being at 40-45kmph in the fifth cog, when you gas it from this point, it pulls away with reasonable urgency and without much drama. This is not only due to the improved acceleration but also courtesy of better fueling and throttle response. As for the gearbox, although it’s not the slickest unit out there, it’s not really troublesome either. Gears shift with a pronounced click and feel.
The new Classic 350 is also fun to flick around in the traffic. That might sound odd for a modern-classic bike weighing 195kg (kerb) with fairly basic hardware. However, thanks to better weight distribution, the motorcycle now changes direction without feeling too lazy. What also helps here is the tweaked position of the handlebar. You sit slightly hunched forward now, which makes the ergonomics more engaging, thereby urging you to do more tomfoolery in the city.
The build quality of the new Classic also deserves a mention here. Forget anything falling off, not even a single component or panel has started rattling until now, which shows RE’s increased attention to putting it all together sturdily. Kudos to RE for that!