In recent years, Royal Enfield has deftly toed the line between modern and retro. The all-new Meteor 350 calls back to brand’s mid-century cruisers while the Google-powered Tripper navigation pod adds contemporary convenience. Presented at EICMA 2021, the Royal Enfield SG650 Concept takes the brand’s unique balance of vintage style and modern function to new heights.
“We are a company in transition,” stated Royal Enfield Chief of Design Mark Wells. “So long a representation of the analog age and now developing new products that keep that same pure soul, yet are fully integrated into the digital present. To celebrate this, we wanted to develop a project that really gave our design team an opportunity to stretch themselves creatively.”
The SG650 Concept blurs the lines between eras with its cruiser-meets-cafe-racer silhouette, cyberpunk paint scheme, and air/oil-cooled 648cc parallel-Twin. The CNC-machined aluminum gas tank and wheels capture the classic forms of the past with modern manufacturing methods. At the fore, the aluminum headlight nacelle, inverted fork, low-rise handlebars, and aluminum switches favor present-day design. Conversely, the rear end’s dual shocks, a floating single saddle, and loop frame clearly nod to the past.
“The design team have done an amazing job in retaining the analog soul, those classic Royal Enfield lines and design nuances – subtle nods to the past – while creatively pushing the boundary of what the Royal Enfields of tomorrow could conceptually represent in form and function,” added Wells.
Though Royal Enfield outfits the SG650 with bespoke components and a flashy paint job, the new concept looks vaguely familiar. The firm leverages the same air-/oil-cooled, SOHC, parallel-Twin found in the Continental GT 650 and INT 650. Royal Enfield then shoehorns that 648cc powerplant into a chassis resembling the Meteor 350’s twin-downtube spine frame.
With the SG650 using current Royal Enfield equipment and tech, we wouldn’t be surprised if the concept finds its way into Royal Enfield’s production lineup in the near future. However, we expect the middleweight cruiser to arrive in a less avant-garde and more production-friendly guise if it reaches the market.
For more information or to find a Royal Enfield dealer near you, visit royalenfield.com.
Bikewale has mentioned that the ‘SG’ suffix likely stands for ‘Shotgun’, which the upcoming motorcycle is expected to be called. The SG650 concept strikes a middle ground between what the company’s existing line-up of retro motorcycles looks like and the direction that its future products are heading in.
The showcased concept features a gorgeous brushed aluminum finish with black side panels, exhaust pipes, and a blacked-out engine. Interestingly, the bike also wears pretty funky graphics and is unlike anything we’ve seen on a Royal Enfield in the past. It’s too early to say if these will make it to the production motorcycle, but considering the brand’s retro roots and theme, it does seem somewhat unlikely.
The motorcycle’s front is, perhaps, the most familiar angle with a round headlight integrated into a nicely designed cowl. Royal Enfield has also mentioned that the tank and rims have been CNC billet machined from a solid aluminum block. It also sports a chopped rear fender and wide Metzeler tires that give it quite the imposing stance.
Interestingly, the SG650 concept also sports a USD fork — a feature we have yet to see on a Royal Enfield. Over the past few months, an inverted front fork has been seen on models that the company is currently testing, but none have been launched yet.
Powering the motorcycle is the same parallel-twin engine as on the Interceptor 650 and Continental GT 650. That’s all we know about the SG650 Concept at the moment, but we shall update this space with more information when it’s available.
What do you think about the new concept? Let us know in the comments below.
Updating a popular and successful motorcycle model can be tricky for any brand’s design team. Mess with the components that enthusiasts consider off-limits, and the update takes a step backwards in the bike’s evolution, not to mention the risk of losing customers.
Royal Enfield confronted that fork in the road when it set out to improve its Himalayan, a lightweight adventure-tourer launched in 2018. With an MSRP of just $4,499, the Himalayan, with its spunky 411cc air-cooled Single, offered what few other ADV bikes could – an affordable price tag.
Adding to the Himalayan’s appeal was modest weight (439 pounds with its 4-gallon gas tank full), a low seat height (31.5 inches), and simplicity – anyone with basic mechanical skills could service it in their own garage or out in the field. Its curb appeal was unique, too, with a quasi-military-spec-meets-retro sensibility.
The combined package added up to respectable global sales over the past few years. Linked by an enthusiastic following on social media, owners worldwide began sharing information about their Himalayan experiences, including road and trail tales, with many describing what they had learned about their Himalayan’s mechanical nuances and strong points. Soon enough the Himalayan Owners Group, connecting enthusiasts from all points via social media, gained prominence on Facebook.
The folks at Royal Enfield paid attention. They added ABS in 2019. For 2022, updates include some modest functional/ergonomic changes and the addition of the company’s exclusive Tripper Navigation system, which debuted earlier this year on the Meteor 350. Designed for the Google Maps platform, it’s a simple, intuitive turn-by-turn navigation pod mounted on the instrument cluster that pairs with a smartphone via the Royal Enfield app.
Royal Enfield hosted a press event for the new Himalayan in Temecula, a hot, dry area in Southern California known for its wineries. The surrounding countryside is laced with fine two-lane backroads and inviting two-track dirt byways – perfect conditions for a light adventure bike.
Besides the nav system, what else is new? The Himalayan’s saddle, still at 31.5 inches high, gets upgraded foam padding and a new suede-like cover that minimizes slip between the seat’s surface and the rider’s pants. Its small windscreen is slightly taller and wider to block more air. The front racks that double as crash guards for the gas tank and mounting points for auxiliary jerrycans were shortened 3.5 inches and reconfigured to offer more leg room for taller riders. The tail carrier rack gains an additional plate to accept heavier loads, and it’s slightly shorter to fit more flush with the seat’s tail section and make it easier for the rider to swing a leg over the motorcycle.
Time to mount up for a test ride. With my 30-inch inseam, I have no problem clearing my right leg over the reconfigured rear carrier rack, and I can get both feet flat on the ground. Thumbing the starter button brings the long-stroke Single (78 x 86mm bore/stroke) to life. It plays a tune at idle reminiscent of those big British thumper engines that populated the motorcycle landscape back in the ’50s and ’60s. A stylish upswept muffler keeps the Himalayan’s exhaust tone 21st-century friendly, yet still allows the cadence of the thumper to be enjoyed.
Find 1st gear and accelerate away smoothly. The upshift to 2nd could use some refinement, but shifting into higher gears feels trouble-free. The fuel-injected Single answers the call for more speed. Cruising along in top gear, the tachometer registers a mellow 4,000-4,500 rpm with the speedometer around 60-65 mph. Claimed output is modest: 24.3 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 23.6 lb-ft of torque at the crank. Top speed is around 75 mph, and it doesn’t get there quickly.
On the road, there’s a gentle but welcome rush of air on my shoulders, arms, and helmet. The revised windscreen keeps enough wind off my torso to allow for a relaxed posture in the sculpted saddle. After about an hour or so the low saddle begins to feel a little confining, and the small cockpit puts an acute bend in my knees. The new seat cover minimizes slip, but it also makes it harder to adjust one’s seating position. No problem, just stand up on the pegs for a quick stretch, which is good practice for the upcoming dirt tracks.
As we leave the pavement, our ride leader signals for us to stop so he can demonstrate the switchable ABS procedure. With the ignition turned off, we’re instructed to press the tiny button directly below the dash-mounted ABS light. It requires a hard push and a slow five-second count to initiate deactivation. Done correctly, the ABS light blinks, signaling that you now have complete control of the rear brake (ABS remains on at the front wheel). Rear-wheel ABS activates anytime the key is switched off.
Time to hit the trail, where the real fun begins. The bike’s low center of gravity, coupled with responsive steering and the deep-tread Pirelli MT60 tires, makes the bike feel responsive to natural terrain. The 21-inch front wheel rolls over obstacles with ease; it’s paired with a 17-inch rear, and the spoked rims require tubes. I skirt around rain gullies, power through stretches of deep sand, and maneuver over unfriendly rocks and ruts in the trail, thanks in part to 8.6 inches of ground clearance.
Braking power is modest, with a 2-piston front caliper squeezing a 300mm disc and a 1-piston rear caliper biting a 240mm disc. Suspension action is adequate. The fork offers no adjustability, the rear shock is adjustable for preload, and travel is 7.9 inches in front and 7.1 inches out back. The Himalayan feels rock solid, but also very much built to a price.
After long and delightful stretches of wandering over hill and dale, we resume our ride on pavement and try out the Tripper nav system. As I did to reset the ABS, I turn off the bike’s ignition. Having downloaded the app to my smartphone, I follow the prompts to switch on the turn-by-turn navigation pod that pairs the smartphone via the app. The small screen on the right side of the Himalayan’s sparse instrument cluster reveals road and turn directions as I continue the ride. It’s a handy feature on a bike that encourages exploration.
Royal Enfield has introduced several unique, attractively priced models over the past few years. Following the Himalayan’s debut in 2018, it rolled out a handsome pair of British-style Twins – the Continental GT café racer and INT 650 standard – in 2019, and then the Meteor 350 cruiser in 2021. Now and in the years ahead, we’ll see them evolve. The updates to the Himalayan have been incremental, but they make the small yet capable adventure-tourer even more practical. The price has increased along the way – MSRP is now $5,299 – but it remains a solid value and an appealing choice for a wide range of riders.
2022 Royal Enfield Himalayan Specs
Base Price: $5,299 Website:royalenfield.com Engine Type: Air-cooled Single, SOHC w/ 2 valves Displacement: 411cc Bore x Stroke: 78.0 x 86.0mm Horsepower: 24.3 hp @ 6,500 rpm (claimed, at the crank) Torque: 23.6 lb-ft @ 4,250 rpm (claimed, at the crank) Transmission: 5-speed, cable-actuated wet clutch Final Drive: O-ring chain Wheelbase: 58.0 in. Rake/Trail: 26.5 degrees/4.3 in. Seat Height: 31.5 in. Wet Weight: 439 lbs. (claimed) Fuel Capacity: 4.0 gals.
Autocar Professional has published a report on motorcycle sales numbers from October 2021, and it doesn’t look good. Six of the major OEMs sold a total of 14,77,313 two-wheelers, which is a substantial 26 percent lower than the same month last year (October 2020: 19,85,690).
The report mentions that a significant factor is the continuously increasing petrol prices, which recently crossed the Rs 100-a-litre mark ($1.35) across the country. The original article mentions that the cost of fuel increased by 6.99 percent over October. A large portion of motorcycle sales from India comes from the commuter segment, and the high fuel prices have kept new buyers away.
Hero MotoCorp: 5,27,779 units (-33 percent)
Hero MotoCorp, the largest two-wheeler manufacturer in the world, sold 5,27,779 units in India in October. This is a 33 percent decline when compared to October 2020, when it sold 7,91,137 two-wheelers. On the bright side, sales numbers were higher than that of September 2021, by 22,317 units — a 4 percent increase from September 2020.
Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India: 3,94,623 units (-20 percent)
Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India (HMSI) saw sales decline by 20 percent from 4,94,459 in October 2020 to 3,94,623 in October 2021. Unfortunately, retail numbers were down from September 2021 — by 15 percent – from the 4,63,379 units it sold in the previous month.
Commenting on the sales performance, Yadvinder Singh Guleria, Director, Sales & Marketing, HMSI, said: “With the much-awaited festival season in progress, we are witnessing a gradual rise in engagement, registering more inquiries from prospective customers with each passing day. We expect this auspicious period to amplify the positivity in terms of conversions.”
TVS Motor Co, which has a 14.24 percent share in the Indian two-wheeler market, sold a total of 2,58,777 units in October 2021 — a 14 percent drop from the 3,01,380 units sold in the same month last year.
However, it saw a 6 percent rise in sales versus September 2021, which sold 2,44,084 units.
Autocar Professional reports that the company’s recently launched Raider 125 commuter motorcycle and Jupiter 125 scooter have garnered decent sales in the past month.
Bajaj Auto: 198,738 units (-26 percent)
Bajaj Auto sold a total of 198,738 bikes in October 2021, which is a substantial 26 percent drop from October 2020’s 2,68,631.
The report mentions that Bajaj’s export numbers have dropped too — from 2,01,659 in October 2020 to 1,92,565 in October 2021. Combined sales are 391,303 units, which is a 17 percent decline from 4,70,290 units sold last October.
Last month, Royal Enfield sold 40,611 motorcycles, while it sold 62,858 units in October 2020 — a 35 percent year-on-year drop. On the flipside, numbers are up by 49 percent compared to September 2021, with 13,378 more units sold in October.
Suzuki Motorcycle India: 56,785 units (-16 percent)
Suzuki Motorcycle India has reported a 16 percent drop in sales year-on-year, from 67,225 to 56,785 units. About month-on-month growth from September to October 2021, the manufacturer sold an additional 1,177 two-wheelers, a 2 percent hike.
Rohan Kanwar Gupta, VP & Sector Head, Corporate Ratings, ICRA (Investment Information and Credit Rating Agency of India Limited), said, “The volumes also reflect some impact of extended supply chain disruptions (semiconductor chip shortages) on the production of high end (>150cc) two-wheelers.”
“Nonetheless, sequential growth in domestic wholesale volumes indicates some revival attributable to the festive season. This is in line with the retail registration data, which also saw a nine percent sequential growth in October 2021, with volumes touching 9,90,000 units. A healthy pace of vaccination leading to abatement of fear regarding further waves of infection, decent farm cash-flows and preference for personal mobility are expected to support volume recovery in the near-term even as elevated cost of ownership continue to pose a risk.”
With India celebrating a festive season that typically brings about a notable rise in numbers, next month will likely paint a more optimistic picture for two-wheeler sales.
Royal Enfield made a big splash in 2018 when it launched the Himalayan, a lightweight adventure bike powered by an air-cooled 411cc Single. Built to withstand the rigors of mountains such as those after which it was named, the Himalayan was simple, durable, and affordable, with a base price of just $4,499.
Adding to the Himalayan’s appeal was a curb weight of 421 pounds and a seat height of 31.5 inches.
The Himalayan was updated in 2019 with standard ABS, which nudged the price up to $4,749 – still a fraction of the cost of most other dual-sport/adventure motorcycles.
For 2022, Royal Enfield has further upgraded the Himalayan with the company’s exclusive Tripper Navigation system, which debuted on the Meteor 350. Designed with the Google Maps platform, it’s a simple, intuitive turn-by-turn navigation pod mounted on the instrument cluster that pairs with a smartphone via the Royal Enfield App.
The 2022 Royal Enfield Himalayan receives several ergonomic upgrades, focused on increasing comfort and capability. Revised seat cushioning allows riders to enjoy extended saddle time while a new windscreen keeps more wind off the rider. The new slimmer and ergonomically adjusted front rack offers a more spacious cockpit with minimal interference in the leg area.
The rear carrier is also revised, now with an additional plate to ensure secure fastening and placement of luggage. Additionally, the rear carrier is now reduced in height, making it easier for riders to swing a leg over the motorcycle.
The 2022 Royal Enfield Himalayan will be available in new Granite Black, Mirage Silver, and Pine Green. Returning colorways include Rock Red, Lake Blue, and Gravel Grey. Bikes will be in dealerships as November 2021, and MSRP is $5,299.
A month from now, two Royal Enfield Himalayans and their riders will embark on a highly demanding expedition. The company recently announced that two of its Himalayan motorcycles would ride to the Geographic or Terrestrial South Pole.
Royal Enfield has dubbed the expedition 90° South, and it will be a 39-day journey covering 770km. Riding the motorcycles will be two Royal Enfield employees: Santhosh Vijay Kumar, Lead, Rides & Community, and Dean Coxson, Senior Engineer, Product Development.
The journey will begin from Novo in Antarctica. After three days of acclimatization, the riders and support team will drive south for 12 days heading to the Indian Research Station on the Ross Ice Shelf. The ride begins here, and the team is expected to arrive at the South Pole by 21st December. While the ride itself is about 770km long, ADVPulse reports that the team will traverse a total of over 3200km, with temperatures reaching -31°F (- 35 °C) and lower.
Considering harsh, sub-zero conditions the bikes will have to perform in, some modifications have been made. The 15-tooth countershaft sprocket has been replaced with a 13-tooth unit for improved torque; the bike has been equipped with tubeless wheels that will allow them to run low tire pressures; a more robust alternator has been added to support the heated gear that the bike will have to power.
The modified bikes underwent rigorous testing in 2020 and 2021 on Iceland’s Langjokull Glacier, but we can agree that Antarctica will test the limits of both man and machine. The ride is to celebrate the brand’s 120th anniversary.
Happy 120th, Royal Enfield! With the company’s celebrations, the Indian multinational motorcycle manufacturers have given us an exclusive range of top-quality, limited edition helmets.
12 helmets have been created for the occasion – one for each decade of work that Royal Enfield has been giving the masses beautiful bikes to swing a leg over.
The first two are already on Royal Enfield’s official website, but they won’t be around long – Access to buy the first helmet will be opened in 1 day and 30 minutes from now, so be sure to go check them out!
RideApart states that each helmet’s availability will emerge in pairs for every week of 2021’s Q4 – the last showing up for the 24th of November.
As always, these limited edition helmets are all handmade – so if you’re not the type to let them get dusty on a shelf, you’re guaranteed a good lid for the can.
Here’s the Helmet Release Schedule (and year run-down) for a quick skim:
*Available within the next 24 hours*
*Available within the next 48 hours*
*Launching the 25th of October*
*Launching the 27th of October*
*Launching the 1st of November*
*Launching the 3rd of November*
*Launching the 8th of November*
*Launching the 10th of November*
*Launching the 15th of November*
*Launching the 17th of November*
*Launching the 22nd of November*
*Launching the 24th of November*
Make sure to stay posted for this – I personally can’t wait to see the helmets for Y2K.
Our first Motorcycle of the Year was awarded to the 1990 BMW K1, and for the past 31 years we’ve limited contenders to current model-year motorcycles that are new or significantly updated. In recent years, however, production timing and model-year designations have become more fluid.
And then there’s the economic shutdown last year caused by the pandemic, which disrupted the global supply chain for everything from toilet paper to semiconductors. Some manufacturers were forced to delay the release of certain models, while others skipped the 2021 model year altogether.
We’ve posted announcements of new/updated 2022 models as early as January of this year. And so far, we’ve ridden 2022 motorcycles from BMW, Honda, Indian, Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Yamaha. To give all makes and models a fair shake during the calendar year when they are released and most relevant, eligible contenders for this year’s MOTY include any new/updated motorcycle released since last year’s award that are available for testing.
There were plenty of motorcycles to consider, and we’ve narrowed them down to 10 contenders and one winner. Without further ado…
1) BMW R 18 B/Transcontinental
BMW entered the traditional cruiser segment in 2021 with the standard R 18 and windshield-and-saddlebags-equipped R 18 Classic, built around the 1,802cc “Big Boxer.” The 2022 R 18 B “Bagger” and R 18 Transcontinental are touring-ready with a batwing-style fairing, infotainment system, hard saddlebags, and a passenger seat, and the TC adds a top trunk with a passenger backrest.
Yes, pigs – or more accurately, hogs – can fly. The Motor Company shook up the hyper-competitive ADV segment when it introduced the 2021 Pan America 1250/Special. Powered by a 150-horsepower V-Twin and fully equipped with all the latest bells and whistles, it proved itself to be highly capable on- and off-road, and the optional Adaptive Ride Height is its killer app.
Honda’s GL1800 won Rider’s MOTY when it debuted in 2001 and again when it was thoroughly overhauled in 2018. Updates for 2021 may seem minor, but they make all the difference when it comes to the two-up touring the Wing was designed for. The larger trunk holds more stuff, the improved passenger accommodations are appreciated, and the audio and styling updates add refinement.
The all-new Rebel 1100 is the sort of cruiser only Honda could make. It has styling like its smaller Rebel 300/500 siblings, a powerful engine adapted from the Africa Twin CRF1100L (including an optional 6-speed automatic Dual Clutch Transmission), ride modes and other electronics, well-damped suspension, good cornering clearance, modest weight, and a base price of just $9,299 (add $700 for DCT).
The KLR is dead, long live the KLR! After a two-year absence, Kawasaki’s legendary dual-sport returns for 2022 with fuel injection (at last!), optional ABS, and other updates aimed at improving reliability, comfort, stability, load capacity, and user-friendliness. It remains one of the best deals on two wheels with a base price of $6,699.
KTM’s street-oriented 790 Adventure and off-road-ready 790 Adventure R shared Rider’s 2019 MOTY. Just two years later, the folks in Mattighofen kicked it up a notch with a larger, more powerful engine from the 890 Duke R, chassis updates, and tweaks to the suspension, brakes, and electronics, all of which contribute to the 890 Adventure R’s all-terrain capability.
To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the original Chief, Indian revamped its entire Chief lineup, with six models that strike a balance between old-school style and new-school technology. Powered by the Thunderstroke 116 V-Twin, the all-new Super Chief Limited has a quick-release windscreen, saddlebags, a two-up seat, ABS, and a Ride Command-equipped display.
Yes, the Meteor 350’s air-/oil-cooled Single makes just 18 horsepower and 18 lb-ft of torque. But rarely have we encountered a motorcycle that offers so much substance for so little money. In top-spec Supernova trim, the Meteor comes with ABS, turn-by-turn navigation, a two-up seat with a passenger backrest, a windshield, and a two-tone paint scheme for just $4,599.
The former winner of the late-’90s top-speed wars got its first major update since 2008. Thanks to more grunt in the midrange, the Hayabusa’s updated 187-horsepower 1,340cc inline-Four helps it accelerate faster than ever before. Refined and reworked from nose to tail, the ’Busa has more aerodynamic bodywork, a full suite of IMU-enabled electronics, and much more.
Designed to be equally capable on- and off-road, Yamaha’s middleweight adventure bike is powered by a liquid-cooled, 689cc CP2 parallel-Twin and has a durable tubular-steel frame, adjustable long-travel suspension, switchable ABS, and spoked wheels in 21-inch front/18-inch rear sizes. Contributor Arden Kysely liked the T7 so much, he bought our test bike from Yamaha.
For the better part of the past decade, the adventure bike segment has been the darling of the motorcycle industry, growing while other segments have been flat or declining and siphoning off R&D resources. With some adventure bikes making 150 horsepower or more, traditional sport-tourers have been all but neglected. Stalwarts such as the Honda ST1300, Kawasaki Concours 14, and Yamaha FJR1300 haven’t been updated in years.
That’s what makes the Yamaha Tracer 9 GT such a breath of fresh air. At less than 500 pounds fully fueled, it’s much easier to handle than the 600-plus-pound S-T bikes on the market. And with a claimed 115 horsepower on tap, there are few motorcycles that will leave it behind.
We first tested the bike that would evolve into the Tracer 9 GT when Yamaha introduced the FJ-09 for 2015. At its heart was the liquid-cooled 847cc CP3 Triple from the FZ-09 – an absolute ripper of a motor. It had an ADV-ish upright seating position and wind-blocking handguards but rolled on 17-inch wheels with sport-touring rubber, while its windscreen, centerstand, and optional 22-liter saddlebags added touring capability. The FJ-09 was light and fun to ride, but it was held back by fueling issues, poorly damped suspension, and weak brakes.
Yamaha did its homework and gave its middleweight sport-tourer an overhaul for 2019, renaming it the Tracer 900 GT in the process. Updates included better throttle response, a longer swingarm for more stability, higher-quality suspension, a new TFT color display, and a larger, one-hand-adjustable windscreen. The saddlebags were made standard as were other features, such as cruise control, heated grips, and a quickshifter.
Two years later, Yamaha went even further. For 2021, the new Tracer 9 GT gets the larger 890cc CP3 Triple from the MT-09, which is lighter, more fuel efficient, and more powerful. An all-new lightweight aluminum frame is made using a controlled-fill diecast process that reduces mass and increases rigidity. A new aluminum swingarm is longer and stronger, and a new steel subframe increases load capacity to 425 pounds and allows an accessory top trunk to be mounted along with the larger 30-liter saddlebags. New spinforged wheels reduce unsprung weight, and they’re shod with grippy Bridgestone Battlax T32 GT sport-touring tires.
In addition to updated throttle response modes and all-new KYB semi-active suspension, the Tracer 9 GT now has a 6-axis IMU that enables a suite of electronic rider aids adapted from the YZF-R1, including lean-angle-sensitive traction control, ABS, slide control, and lift control. It also has full LED lighting (including cornering lights) and a new dual-screen TFT display. The rider/passenger seats have been upgraded, and the rider’s ergonomics are adjustable.
We had an opportunity to test the Tracer 9 GT just before the MOTY polls closed, and it swept the field. Thanks to steady evolution and improvement over three generations, Yamaha has demonstrated just how good a modern sport-tourer can be, especially for riders who value agility over couch-like luxury. Performance, sophistication, comfort, versatility, load/luggage capacity – the Tracer checks all the right boxes and leaves nothing on the table.
Congratulations to Yamaha for the Tracer 9 GT, Rider’s 2021 Motorcycle of the Year!
Inspired by the 1948 Model G2, the Royal Enfield Classic 500 that was launched in 2008 brought post-WW2 styling to a contemporary audience. Over a span of 12 years – until Royal Enfield ceased production of the UCE 500 single-cylinder engine in 2020 – more than three million Classic 500s were produced.
Following the introduction of the Meteor 350 earlier this year, the same 349ccc air-/oil-cooled, SOHC, 2-valve, fuel-injected Single with a 5-speed gearbox will power the new Classic 350. When we put the Meteor 350 on Jett Tuning’s dyno, it made 18 horsepower and 18 lb-ft of torque at the rear wheel.
Like the Meteor, the Classic 350 was a collaborative effort by Royal Enfield’s design teams in the U.K. and India. Its engine is hung from a steel spine frame with twin downtubes, and the bike is suspended by a 41mm non-adjustable fork and twin emulsion rear shocks with adjustable preload. Brakes are from ByBre, with a 2-piston front caliper squeezing a 300mm disc and a 1-piston rear caliper squeezing a 270mm disc, and dual-channel ABS is standard.
Classic 350s released in India are offered with either spoked wheels or cast wheels, with a 19-inch front and 18-inch rear. Seat height is 31.7 inches, fuel capacity is 3.4 gallons, and claimed curb weight is 430 pounds. A handsome instrument panel includes an analog speedometer, a multi-function LCD, and Royal Enfield’s Tripper turn-by-turn navigation system.
The Classic 350 arrives in North America next year, but specs, colors, pricing, and availability have not been finalized. For more information, visit royalenfield.com.
Royal Enfield has just pulled the cover on a very pretty version of the Classic 350, soon to be delivered to the UK for an early 2022 – and they’re keeping the single-cylindered ‘thump’ we have come to know and love.
MCN states that the beauty of a beastie will be getting a few upgrades, most notably in a new primary balancer for the air-and-oil-cooled 349cc engine (courtesy of the Meteor), the upgraded 5-speed gearbox, and a new chassis to hold the heart of the machine.
(If the twin downtube-spine frame is anything like what the Meteor has to offer, we’re getting a lighter, stiffer number that will allow better punch while still allowing for good handling).
That’s not all – Royal Enfield’s Classic 350 will also sport a better braking system, beefier forks, wider tyres, upgraded suspension, new handlebars, a cushy new seat, and the neat addition of dual-channel Bosch ABS.
Make sure to watch for the unveiling of this motorbike at the EICMA in November – until then, expect this beastie to hit dealerships by next spring.