Mounting the Roadster is effortless, thanks to its low 790mm seat height. Plus, taking it off the stand and pushing it around isn’t difficult too, due to the relatively low kerb weight of 184kg. For reference, the Royal Enfield Classic 350 weighs about 195kg. What troubled me though is the fact that the bar-end mirrors keep hitting your wrist during full-lock turns. However, this is an issue only with select colour options that get bar-end mirrors as standard.
The Roadster welcomes you with a neutral and upright riding stance. The flat handlebar is tilted towards the rider and the footpegs are a bit forward set. Although we couldn’t ride it far enough to tell you about its touring comfort, there was no sense of discomfort in about an hour of continuous riding.
Jab the starter and the Roadster fires up with a nice bassy exhaust note, urging you to rev it a couple of times before moving ahead. But as I got going, the experience turned out to be a bittersweet one. To start with the good bits, the engine pulls vigorously as you cross 4,000rpm and there’s a quick increment in momentum until its redline. Progressing through gears too is a quick affair, given the slickness of the gearbox and short gear ratios. Moreover, thanks to the rev-happy nature of the motor, redlining the bike in every gear and hooning around is quite engaging and fun.
What plays a spoilsport here are the vibrations that creep in post 5,000rpm and increase as the revs climb. It all starts with a slight buzzing on the handlebar, followed by footpegs, and culminating on the seat. Although the engine doesn’t feel much stressed even at 100kmph, high vibrations accompanied by some engine noise hampers the overall experience. Not to nitpick, but the throttle response is abrupt too. At times, I felt that the engine’s response time and my throttle inputs didn’t match, with the former lagging behind.
As for the handling, changing directions on the Roadster at slow speeds feels seamless, mainly due to its fairly light weight, compact dimensions, and wide handlebar. But as the speeds rise and you encounter a set of corners, the Roadster feels vague. Now, given its cruiser-centric geometry, we weren’t expecting it to be a fast corner carver. But there seemed to be a lack of connection between the front and the rear while cornering, which was perhaps due to the lethargy of the chassis to communicate. Even the steering takes quite some effort to respond. That said, the MRF tyres delivered a good amount of grip.
On the flip side, the Roadster truly impressed us with its braking setup. The sharp bite from the brake callipers and decent lever feel meant the bike shed speeds in no time. It’s the same with the rear which delivers a nice balance of bite and progression. The ABS, too, intervened only when it was needed the most.
Furthermore, the suspension setup did an admirable job through minor undulations like stones and small potholes. Even at high speeds, the motorcycle felt pretty planted and comfortable. However, ride it a little fast over a rumbler and the front kicks back with a jolt, mainly due to the fast rebound. The rear suspension feels the same, but to a smaller extent. Overall, a little plusher suspension setup would have been appreciated.