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It’s time to slow down and watch the world go by from the comfortable perch of Royal Enfield’s Classic 350.

Royal Enfield Classic 350 Chrome : Living with a modern classic

If you’re into retro motorcycling, there’s a lot to love about the Royal Enfield Modern Classic 350. And I say latest, because despite its convincing old-world styling, it’s more or less an all-new bike with the firm’s redesigned 349cc single fitted to an updated chassis.

Pete Vorst put the bike through the wringer for his ride review at the bike’s Australian launch (AMCN Vol 71 No 17), but it’s fair to say scraping the thing into a vee shape through the hills on the outskirts of Melbourne isn’t exactly what the design team had in mind when they were lovingly recreating what’s one of 121-year-old brand’s most significant machines. You only have to listen to someone from the factory talk about the Classic 350 to know what I’m referring to with the lovingly bit; eyes start to twinkle, voices soften – there’s a clear sense of importance placed around this bike. What’s a small-capacity inexpensive retro bike to you and me is a crucial model for the Indian marque. Which is probably why there’s four different models on offer in a total of nine different colours, an impressive list of genuine accessories and even dedicated lines of apparel and riding gear. That’s R 1250 GS territory.

So instead of a day of mountain-carving shenanigans, we figured we’d grab a Classic, throw a few of the most popular accessories at it and spend some more meaningful time with it in the environment it was designed to cruise around in. And with 15kW of power at 6100rpm and 27Nm of torque at 4000rpm from a machine that weighs 195kg, cruising is definitely where it’s at.

Those performance figures are about half of what a liquid-cooled four-valve 350cc single would be capable of, but the fact that Royal Enfield managed Euro 5 compliance with an air/oil called two single is impressive in itself and, frankly, if you’re complaining about a lack of performance from the very comfortable perch of the new Classic 350, you’ve missed the point of the bike that’s underneath you.

The seat is 805mm off the ground, the tank holds 13 litres of fuel, it has a 1390mm wheelbase and the whole shebang weighs 195kg.

It’s a really comfortable placed to be perched, too. Between those wide bars, large wide footpegs and the extra padding of the optional touring seat really, the upright riding position is really pronounced.

There’s just enough tech to reflect its 2022 model designation. Features like electronic fuel injection, a two-channel ABS system and even a discreet UBS outlet to keep your gadget charged. And that blanked-out dial to the right of the analogue speedo wasn’t actually designed as a place to stick another Royal Enfield logo, it was meant to house the firms innovative and simple turn-by-turn navigation system. However Royal Enfield, like so many other manufacturers, fell victim to the global shortage of microchips and so couldn’t offer the technology as standard fitment, which I’m reliably informed was the intention.

I’ve also been reliably informed that the decision to drop the kickstarter off this latest iteration wasn’t a quick, easy or hastily-made one. For the very many purists within the factory, it had to stay no matter what. But for the rest, it was smarter decision in terms of weight saving, cost saving and making the machine more simple to package. I haven’t missed a kickstarter on a motorcycle for a good number of years, but I completely understand the romantic nostalgia.

I reckon that’s all taken very good care of with the chrome and bronze paint job, the five-speed gearbox, the conventional 41mm fork and dual rear shocks, as well as the wire-spoked 19-inch front and 18-inch rear wheels. Those sizes do hold back some of the feedback you’re used to from 17-inch hoops, but it’s the way these retros roll.

The 349cc two-valve single-cylinder engine is good for 15kW (20hp) and 27Nm and ,matched to a five-speed ’box.

The ABS equipped 300mm single-disc front end’s matched to a 270mm disc and single-piston caliper at the rear.

In terms of the accessories, we’ve grabbed a brown touring rider and pillion seat and it complements the paintwork beautifully, we’ve grabbed a rear rack and the taller of the two optional screens. And after a bit more time cruising around doing what this bike does best, I’ll be back to tell you whether they’re worth the extra shillings.

The extras

This is what we’ve fitted and what it costs

Rider touring seat, brown $160
Pillion touring seat, brown $160

Rear rack $150

Touring windshield $200
Total $670