This is the new Royal Enfield Hunter 350. It is accessible, affordable, and also customisable. Now the whole point of bringing a motorcycle like this to the Indian market is obviously to make a lot of money, but while doing so, also allows many Indians – college kids, working professionals, even senior citizens for that matter – to ride a motorcycle that is aspirational, stylish, and has a 350cc engine.
With these things in mind, Royal Enfield has developed the new Hunter 350. It is the third motorcycle to come from the J platform. The Meteor and the Classic 350 are the first two. Now the question is, should you buy the new Hunter 350? Or go with the proven Classic 350 and the Meteor 350? Let's find out!
Styling & Quality
Now, the Hunter 350 is one cool-looking motorcycle. And maybe it is due to its minimalistic design language. The motorcycle doesn’t get a lot of body panels and comes with a large fuel tank and side covers.
There are a few more bits that enhance the overall appeal of the motorcycle, like fork gaiters, rim tapes, and some great stickers on the tank and side panels that enhance the urban feel of the bike.
Talking about quality, the Hunter 350 feels solid. The overall fit and finish are nicely done and even the paint feels premium. The chassis welds are appreciable, and so is the switchgear. In fact, the touch and feel of the buttons are good too.
Ergonomics & Comfort
One of the main aspects I like about this Hunter is its overall seating comfort and that’s because the seating triangle fits all sizes. I’m a tall dude but I can easily manage to spend a lot of time in this saddle. The handlebar is placed not too close to the body and since the pegs are centre-set, I get a neutral riding position. But I have to tell you about this seat – it is comfortable and wide and that’s why I got so much room to move around.
Engine & Performance
This Royal Enfield is the fastest and the quickest of all new 350s and that’s because this motorcycle is considerably lighter – almost 14kg lesser than the Classic 350. As a result of this, the Hunter 350 is super eager to go off the line. The bike feels marginally peppier in the initial revs, while the rest of the performance from the 350cc singe-cylinder air-cooled motor is almost similar. Then, the flat torque delivery allows you to do some quick overtakes. The engine is also tractable. With my weight, I managed to ride at 40kmph in fifth gear and this is perfect because a lot of riders don’t like to change gear while riding in the city. The refinement and NVH levels are pretty good too. There are some minor vibes but that kick in post 80kmph and are limited to the handlebar.
The Hunter gets smaller 17-inch wheels and has slightly more cornering clearance. Then you also have the sharper rake. When you combine all these aspects, you get a motorcycle that is super fun to ride in the city and then it just gets more exciting when you have good corners to ride on. Because the Hunter love spending a lot of time scrapping those pegs.
I loved the way this motorcycle moves around. It is quick on its feet. It loves to be handled in city traffic. Plus, the combination of quick steering and a wide handlebar makes it super easy to find your way through city traffic. Then, the turning radius is decent and in case, you are stuck between two tightly parked motorcycles, you can handle the motorcycle without getting on that accessible saddle. The only city aspect I didn't like about this bike is the heavy clutch. For a bike this size and in this segment, a light clutch is a must. It did tire me out a bit while traversing through rush hour Mumbai traffic.
Then there’s also the suspension setup – it is firm, especially at the rear. And this tend to bother quite a bit. While the compression damping is well taken care of, it is the rebound that spoils the experience. I would have loved if there was a bit plush feel on this motorcycle. But that would have got some ground clearance issues.
Now, if you are one of those who has a thing for spirited riding, you should know that this chassis will let you have some fun. The limitation comes from the engine that doesn’t have the kind of performance that the chassis would want to have.
That said, the brakes work well and offer decent power and bite. But the front brake lever needs some effort to get the bike to a complete stop. Plus, I felt there was some brake fade after some back-to-back stops.
Features & Technology
The Hunter 350 borrows the instrument cluster from the Meteor 350. So, it gets the same ride data display unit – part analogue, part digital. This screen shows decent ride information like trip meters, gear position indicator, service due, and clock. Sadly, this motorcycle doesn’t get the GPS screen as standard. You will have to pay for it and get it installed as an accessory – a clear way by RE to keep costs in check.
There’s also a USB port placed right under the left switchgear. This one worked and didn’t face any issues while charging in light rains. But it doesn’t get an LED headlight nor does it come with LED turn indicators. This is despite the Hunter being positioned as a modern urban motorcycle. That said, there’s dual-channel ABS as standard, and so are alloy wheels with tubeless tyres.
Royal Enfield claims a WMTC fuel efficiency figure of 36.22 kmpl for the Hunter and our city fuel run gave us exactly the same. So, with a fuel tank capacity of 13 litres, we are looking at a full tank range of approximately 400kms. It could go more but it also depends on your riding style and the bike’s tyre pressure.
Should you buy it?
Now, should you buy the Royal Enfield Hunter 350? It’s a big yes, provided you have been riding 125cc-150cc motorcycles for many years. Because this bike is for the people who have been commuting on an entry-level motorcycle and now want something bigger. Something more aspirational. Something that allows them to become a part of a brand that is more than just bikes.
As a part, the Hunter 350 makes a lot of sense. It has a super accessible seat height. It is the lightest RE ever. Its overall seating ergonomics are quite comfortable. And then you have that engine – it is torquey, refined, and churns out decent performance too. I mean yes, the Hunter 350 doesn’t offer as many features as some other bikes in the segment. But RE provides something that’s difficult for other brands to offer – accessories and apparel. And then you also get access to the world of RE rides and festivals and this is something a new aspirational rider should definitely experience.
Photography by Kaustubh Gandhi
Royal Enfield Hunter 350 Tail Light