Now when it comes to commuting, a few things are a given - ease of parking, good slow speed agility, unrestricted paddling in traffic, good visibility via the rearview mirrors, comfy seat, good brakes, and of course, a decent fuel efficiency. The difference between a good and a not-so-good commuter is how far apart the two are in delivering these, and to what degree.
The Classic 350 is the heavier of the two bikes, and it is more cumbersome to park. It’s not as easy to push around as the Meteor, and it’s also more difficult to put on the centre stand. What’s more, the Meteor is friendlier even when it comes to paddling in traffic or just pushing the bike when seated.
Courtesy of its lower seat height and the forward set footpegs, one has better leverage to push, and nothing hits your shins when the bike moves but your feet remain planted. On the Classic, you better watch out for your shins.
Next up, seating ergos. The Classic 350 has a higher seat height. It has neutrally set footpegs, and one has to reach for the handlebar. All of this means the rider sits ‘on’ the bike pressing down on the handlebar constantly. The Meteor has a wider handlebar that reaches out to the rider. One also sits ‘in’ the bike thanks to the lower seat and forward-set footpegs.
We also found the Meteor‘s rider’s seat to be more comfortable; be it on the highway or for shorter rides in the city. It’s better contoured, it’s plusher, and somehow feels more supportive even over longer distances. The pillion seat though is better on the Classic. It has better cushioning, it is wider and longer, and there’s no backrest to rub against your back to cause itching courtesy vibrations.
The difference between the seating triangles of the Classic and the Meteor is clearly a typical street bike vs cruiser one. But, here’s the surprising part - even with the more relaxed seating, it’s the Meteor that feels lighter and more responsive to inputs at slow riding speeds and when filtering through traffic.
It makes quick direction changes in a more linear, predictable, and fluid manner compared to the Classic. It’s probably as much about feel as the handling dynamics here, and on that front, the Meteor is clearly better.
The Meteor then gets our vote as the better commuter.