The engines of these bikes are profoundly different in terms of specifications and architecture. The 42 Bobber is better on paper with its power and torque output of 30.2bhp and 32.74Nm, respectively. Its 334cc motor is an oversquare unit with liquid cooling and four valves, and comes mated to a six-speed gearbox. Meanwhile, the Classic 350 runs on a longer-stroke 349cc mill with air-cooling, a two-valve head, and a five-speed gearbox. Also, it makes lesser power and torque at 20.2bhp and 27Nm.
The engine characters, too, are as different as their specifications. The 42 Bobber has a peaky and high-revving nature. It accelerates briskly, majorly after 4,000rpm, and keeps building up pace spiritedly until its redline. In a nutshell, it is substantially quicker than the Classic. Even at speeds of around 90-100kmph, there’s enough pull to execute quick overtakes on the highway. What acts as the chink in its armour is the vibrations, which creep in on the bar at around 80kmph and increase along with the speed.
In comparison, the longer-stroke mill of the Classic favours a more relaxed and relatively lazier performance. While there’s a decent pull from the low-end to mid-range, it doesn’t like to be revved hard like the Bobber. While it can easily do 100-110kmph on the highway, the journey to those speeds is comparatively slower and overtakes need to be planned. However, the Classic provides a more peaceful ride as it’s almost free of vibrations even at highway speeds.
In the city, there are several aspects of the Bobber which are admirable. So, if you’re in the right gear, pulling off overtakes is a quick affair. Even the slipper clutch is extremely light. In fact, despite its long wheelbase, the lighter kerb weight makes it more agile to filter through traffic. However, what hampers the experience is the gearbox which, after a few minutes of riding, becomes clunky and reluctant to shift. Then, the engine doesn’t like to be in higher gears at slow speeds. For instance, if you’re in fifth gear at 40kmph, the acceleration from there is accompanied by a mechanical knocking sound along with vibrations.
Talking about the RE, slow-speed riding is more enjoyable on the Classic. The commendable tractability of the motor means you can keep trudging along in the fifth gear at 30-35kmph and the pull to the higher speeds is clean. Plus, there’s barely any vibration and the Classic keeps chugging along smoothly. Although the clutch is heavier, the crispness of the gearbox makes riding it slow a cakewalk. That said, manoeuvring it through traffic requires you to muscle it more than the Jawa.
Come across a set of corners and the Bobber feels lighter on its feet. It’s much easier to tip in and stick to the line. However, it has a limited ground clearance and the exhausts start scraping in no time. While the Classic can be leaned more than the Bobber, tipping it needs more effort. Then, it also feels a bit wobbly if your inputs aren’t smooth.
It’s a similar story in the braking department wherein the Bobber is more efficient. The front disc has a good amount of bite with decent lever feedback while the rear rotor delivers decent stopping power. The Classic, meanwhile, demands you to pull the front brake lever quite hard and even the bite takes some time to kick in.