The first thing you see when you walk into a showroom is the design of the motorcycle. Now, what you would notice here is the retro styling on these two motorcycles. More so for the Classic 350, thanks to its curvy body panels. It is instantly recognisable as a Royal Enfield, and the Classic 350 hasn’t changed much in that aspect since its introduction. The styling cues include a round headlight with twin DRLs, a massive front fender that runs really low towards the bottom, a tear-drop-shaped fuel tank with tank pads, a peashooter exhaust, and wire-spoke wheels. All of these elements emphasise the motorcycle’s retro personality.
The Hunter 350 takes a slightly different styling route. This model, too, features a neo-retro styling and gets a round headlight at the front along with a curvy fuel tank. However, the front fender here is shorter, most components are blacked out and, most importantly, alloy wheels come shod in tubeless tyres. All of this will appeal to young and first-time buyers. The Classic 350, in comparison, is designed for a more mature buyer.
Both these motorcycles have been with us for some time, the Classic 350 longer than the Hunter 350. We have used them in a variety of riding conditions – including the Mumbai monsoons – and they have held together very well. The paint quality is top-notch while the switches operate with an assuring click. However, the engine cover on the Classic 350 has started showing signs of ageing and even the side panels are losing the black colour over the chrome. Now, this somewhat ruins an otherwise beautiful retro look of the motorcycle. The Hunter 350, on the other hand, has held together well and we do not have many complaints in the build quality department yet. The only issue is the vibrations that affect the rearview mirrors’ performance during traffic.
Looks aside, how difficult are these motorcycles to manage? The Classic 350 tips the weighing scales at 195kg, making it nearly 18kg heavier than the Hunter 350. But, it has a 15mm lower seat height that allows the riders, even the shorter ones, to move it around relatively easily while seated on the saddle. Now, one may think parking the Classic 350 on the centre stand will be difficult, but that is not the case. Royal Enfield did not redesign the centre stand for the Hunter 350 and thus the Classic 350, with its 18-inch wheels, is easier to put on the centre stand. The same task is relatively difficult with the 17-inch wheels of Hunter 350, and you require additional efforts to pull this motorcycle up and back to park on the centre stand.