Motoring

Royal Enfield launches Hunter 350

Royal Enfield has launched the Hunter 350 in India. Prices start at ₹1.50 lakh for the base Retro variant, while the higher Metro variant is priced between ₹1.64 lakh and ₹1.69 lakh depending on the colour option. This makes it the most affordable of the J-platform motorcycles, with its siblings the Classic 350 and Meteor 350 starting at ₹1.90 lakh and ₹2.01 lakh respectively.

Compared to the Bullet 350 (priced between ₹1.48 lakh and ₹1.63 lakh), the Hunter is marginally more expensive, but the Bullet is all set to receive an update of its own very soon, which will also be accompanied by a price hike (all prices ex-showroom, Delhi).

The Hunter has been conceived as a more accessible motorcycle than its siblings. It is noticeably more compact than RE’s other 350cc models — a 1,370mm wheelbase vs 1,390mm on the Classic and 1,400mm on the Meteor. And at 178kg for the Retro variant (181kg for the Metro), it is a good deal lighter too, despite carrying a comparable amount of fuel; the Meteor tips the scales at 191kg, while the Classic is 195kg motorcycle.

Seat height on the Hunter is also manageable at 800mm, and overall, it should make for a more beginner-friendly bike. Despite being built on the same J-platform as its siblings, the Hunter has a lot of all-new components that aren’t shared with any other current RE. These include the wheels, suspension, handlebars and exhaust system. RE says very little is shared on the chassis front. All of these new bespoke components have contributed to weight saving on the Hunter.

The difference in weight between the two variants is due to a number of key differences between the two bikes. The biggest visual differentiator are the wire-spoke wheels on the Retro vs the alloy units on the Metro. The contrasting wheels are also wrapped in different rubber (they differ in the model, sizes and presence of a tube), and it is the Metro that has the chunkier tyres, with a tubeless combination of 110/70-17 and 140/70-17 Ceat Zoom XL hoops. The Retro rolls on 110/80-17 and 120/80-17 tyres.

Another big difference between the two variants is in the braking department, where the Metro gets a 270mm rear disc brake and dual-channel ABS, while the Retro only gets a drum brake and single-channel ABS. The two bikes also receive slightly different instrument clusters, with the Retro getting a more basic one. The final few differences are an LED tail-lamp on the Metro vs a conventional halogen bulb on the Retro, and more sleek, stylised rear grab rails on the Metro vs rudimentary tubular grab rails on the Retro.

Coming to the similarities between the Hunter and its siblings, the biggest common denominator is the 349cc J-platform engine, which has been carried over mechanically unchanged. However, RE says it has tweaked the ignition and fuel maps to better suit the character of the bike, and make the throttle response feel sharper and punchier. Output remains exactly the same though — 20.2hp at 6,100rpm and 27Nm at 4,000rpm.

The appearance of the Hunter is also a bit of a departure from traditional RE designs, with a more youthful, modern-looking motorcycle here. There is more than a passing resemblance to the Triumph Street Twin, but the Hunter packs enough distinctive elements to carve out an identity of its own, and it comes across as a rather handsome neo-retro roadster. The Metro gets six colour options, the lower of which are priced at ₹1,63,900, while the more expensive versions retail for ₹1,68,900.

As has been the case with most recent REs, the Hunter has been launched with a sizeable range of genuine accessories, and the bits on offer include LED indicators, flyscreens, touring seats, mirrors, crash protection, a sump guard and a side-box.

The most direct competition to the Hunter comes from other neo-retro roadsters at this price point, which include the Honda CB350RS (₹2.03 lakh to ₹2.04 lakh), the Jawa Forty Two (₹1.67 lakh to ₹1.81 lakh), and the Yezdi Roadster (₹2.01 lakh to ₹2.09 lakh).


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Printable version | Aug 10, 2022 10:40:08 am | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/motoring/royal-enfield-launches-hunter-350/article65749228.ece