Royal Enfield Meteor 350
Indian motorcycle manufacturer Royal Enfield have revealed another retro cruiser style machine that will replace the Thunderbird 350 X that is not currently sold in Australia.
It is unclear as yet which Meteor 350 variants will come to Australia but overseas markets have the Meteor 350 Fireball as the most affordable. More up-spec variants dubbed Stellar and Supernova continue the space inspired naming regimen.
In India the machines are expected to sell for the equivalent of around $3500 but with Australian import duties and licencing costs we can probably expect our ride-away pricing to be in excess of $5000.
The 349 cc singe-cylinder might be air-cooled but it is fuel injected. A little over 20 horsepower is claimed along with around 27 Nm of torque from the long-stroke engine.
Cooling fins add to the retro look of the machine while a single exhaust port dumps in to a long and low slung almost peashooter style chromed exhaust. Even from the amateur videos with so-so audio quality the machine appears to sound quite good, particularly on start-up.
A massive reduction in vibration and improvement in refinement is promised over the machines somewhat agricultural predecessor thanks to a balancer shaft.
A five-speed gearbox and chain final drive completes the drivetrain.
The new Meteor 350 rolls on alloy rims and tubeless tyres. A 19-inch front will aid stability on rougher roads and combines with a 140/70-17 rear. A generous 170 mm of ground clearance combining with that 100/90-19 front hoop should allow for plenty of soft-roading.
A single 300 mm disc with twin-piston floating caliper up front is backed up by a dual-channel ABS system and large 270 mm rear disc.
A circular LED ring surrounds and contrasts with what otherwise looks like a conventional halogen headlight. Huge old school indicators protrude on stalks from the headling housing.
A large round conventional speedometer has a central LCD insert that displays fuel level, gear selected along with a clock and normal odometer/tripmeter functions.
It is flanked by another smaller round display that on start-up displays the Royal Enfield logo followed by ‘Built With Google’. This ‘Tripper’ display enables some extra functionality via an app and Bluetooth, with simple navigation prompts fed from Google Maps and displayed on this additional screen.
Pillion grab-rails and an optional sissy bar will make carrying pillions and/or luggage a simple affair.
The rider controls are a somewhat foot-forward affair but the rider is positioned quite upright with high-set bars. Seat height is 765 mm.
Chassis wise a new double-cradle frame forms the backbone of the Meteor with conventional 41 mm telescopic forks that have 130 mm of travel. A six-stage pre-load adjustable twin-shock rear helps to smooth out the bumps. The wheelbase is 1400 mm.
A 15-litre fuel cell should offer a range in excess of 300 kilometres.
We will have to wait and see which variants Urban Moto Imports will decide to bring to our shores and what price point they will pitch it in the market. With all the improvements in this new model it certainly seems well-engineered enough for our shores, and if priced smartly it might get a decent reception in the Australian market.