Royal Enfield is making some noise again, this time with yet another 350cc motorcycle – The Hunter 350. The customers of Royal Enfield now have one more option to choose in the 350cc category alongside Meteor, Classic and Bullet. The launch of Hunter 350 along side the new Classic 350 and Meteor 350 is surprising. What is the unique proposition of Hunter? Why you as a customer should consider this? What is the distinguishing character of the new Hunter 350 – Is it the price/affordability or design or performance/ride quality that makes Hunter 350 special? We try to answer all of these questions in this article with a detailed review of Hunter’s looks, engine, performance, riding experience, features, variants and more. So read on.
Design and Looks
The one which we are reviewing here is the Rebel Blue color option which is available as a Metro variant (top trim). The motorcycle’s fuel tank design is very attractive – not only the sculpt but also the color scheme and graphics of ROYAL painted on top of it. You will also notice the Hunter 350 logo with concentric circles in Blue accents at the side. The 17 inch alloy wheels with Royal Enfield graphic accents on Tyre looks pretty cool. Most parts of the bike are painted black and there is less use of chrome.
The motorcycle’s front features a rounded halogen based headlight which is super bright (especially when you project it upwards). This gives a very old-school appeal, the switches on handlebars are of dial type. The side-indicators and the rear tail lamps are halogen based as well. The design of the seat aesthetically looks good. Overall the motorcycle looks very proportionate and it feels like riding.
The motorcycle features a very simple minimalistic speedometer in the front. We really liked how elegantly and smoothly the red needle sweeps through the speedo dial as you move in the road – looks really great in dark. The front panel also features digital readings for Fuel, Clock, Gear indicator, Odo, Trip meter, Service indicator etc. However there is no tachometer to monitor your engine RPM. At the front, you also get a dedicated USB socket – a place where you can charge your smartphone on the go.
Unlike other motorcycles in Royal Enfield portfolio, the Tripper (one with Maps navigation) is absent even in the higher trim like Metro variant. The Tripper is available as an additional accessory which customer has to be purchased separately.
Engine and Performance Specs
The Royal Enfield Hunter 350 is powered by 349cc air-oil cooled single cylinder 4-stroke 2-valve engine. It makes uses of electronic Fuel Injection system. The engine is mated to a 5-speed manual transmission gearbox – clocks 20.2 bhp of power at 6100 rpm and delivers a peak torque of 27 Nm at 4000 rpm.
The seat height of Royal Enfield Hunter 350 is 800mm and it should be okay for riders with short height. Hunter’s ground clearance is 150.5mm – we did not find any issue like floor hitting the ground while negotiating big humps. The Wheelbase of the motorcycle is 1370mm. The fuel tank capacity is 13.7 litres which is useful for long rides. The motorcycle weighs 181 Kgs.
Ride and Handling
The motorcycle is best suited for long distance commute. This machine never gets tired and shows no signs of stress even if your ride 2 or 3 hours straight without stops. The clutch operates really well, the gear shifts happen like you want – the engine is very welcoming. The exhaust noise and how the engine sounds is a treat. The rider can experience every bit of happiness when he throttles the accelerator – Royal Enfield has gamed this so well – No other motorcycle maker can build what Royal Enfield has built and clone the signature thump offered by them.
The Royal Enfield Hunter 350 is powered by brand new J-series 350cc engine which is super refined. We felt it is something new and unique and didn’t find any overlap with Meteor’s engine. What we really loved is the agility which the motorcycle offers – For instance, the Speed breakers on highways makes the rider switch from the top most 5th gear to something like 2nd or 3rd gear — The beauty of Hunter’s engine is it offers a good flexibility here – It doesn’t stop the engine when you break down from 100 kmph to 30 kmph and co-operates with whatever gear you are in — providing a little room for you to think and change gears – You will notice this only when you test ride this yourself. The top speed which we could achieve was between 115 kmph to 120 kmph. We tried super hard to go past 120 kmph and could not. The motorcycle maintained its composure even at speeds above 110 Kmph and cruised like a powerful rocket. Crossing the gap between 80 kmph to top speed takes some time to attain. Once you get there, the speed locks and cruises with confidence.
Talking about handling, the Hunter 350 was easy on manoeuvring in tight spots, it was just like any other medium sized motorcycle. The motorcycle is also not so heavy – it has a decent weight ( 181 Kgs) and you should be all good even when you are struck in traffic and are moving in snail’s pace. This riding character makes Hunter 350 a very good city bike. The shorter wheelbase of 1370mm helps in cornering and quick turns/U-turns. The riding position is very comfortable and you do not get tired when you are on rider’s seat.
Braking and Suspension
The Royal Enfield Hunter 350 has a really good stopping distance and brakes work flawlessly even when you are vrooming at 100 Kmph. All thanks to 300mm disc brake (with twin piston floating caliper) at the front wheel as well as the 270mm disc brake (with single piston floating caliper) at the rear wheel. Since the motorcycle is equipped with the dual channel ABS, it makes you more confident while riding and you have an additional assurance that wheels wouldn’t lock up when you make abrupt stopping/hard baking. The presence of dual discs and dual-channel ABS is really a boon and you will very much notice this on your long rides on highways especially.
The front suspension uses 41mm telescopic forks which has a travel of 130mm and for the rear suspension, the motorcycle makes use of twin-tube emulsion shock absorbers with 6-step adjustable preload. The rear suspension has a travel of 102mm. When it comes to suspension system, the motorcycle does a very decent job – we found zero issues here – performed really smoothly even on rough terrain with lot of potholes.
In the official specs sheet, Royal Enfield claims a mileage of 36.2 Kmpl it may not be very true in the real world. On our weekend ride (Bangalore-Srirangapatna-Bangalore) we got marginally around 30 to 32 kmpl mileage only. Our route was mostly composed of Straight empty Highways and we spent very little time in City roads with traffic. The other thing which bothered us is how the Fuel Gauge worked – the readings are not accurate – It shows upto 5 bars (75%) when the motorcycle is filled with half a tank. As you go post few kilometers, the reading suddenly drops to 2 bars or empty and surprises you prompting you to refuel. Royal Enfield should calibrate the fuel gauge better so the rider has accurate information on fuel consumption to plan his/her upcoming ride.
Having said that when it comes to Fuel efficiency, Royal Enfield Hunter is decent enough and should be well enough for those long rides even with average budget.
We tested the Hunter 350 motorcycle in a very lengthy stretch of about 350 Kms. Based on this experience, we felt the pillion comfort on long rides was pretty average and failed to impress us. The pillion can experience a good ride for only about half an hour, post that it becomes quite uncomfortable to sit. We felt the seats could have been more wider and lengthier plus the grab rails were not so comfortable to hold. Adding to this, the exhaust becomes pretty hot when you travel long distance and the pillion can experience the heat right at their foot which is quite bothering.
Price, Colors and Variants
The all new RE Hunter 350 motorcycle is offered in two variants – Retro and Metro. The Retro variant of Royal Enfield Hunter 350 is the most basic one with spoked wheels, Single channel ABS and offers only two color options – Factory Black and Factory Silver.
The Metro variant of Hunter 350 is the one we tested in this review which gets wide range of color options and is equipped with dual-channel ABS, alloy wheels with a choice of different Royal Enfield graphics on the fuel tank. The color options in Royal Enfield Hunter 350 metro variant include Dapper White, Dapper Ash, Rebel Blue, Rebel Black and Rebel Red. Check all Royal Enfield Hunter 350 Colors with Photos
The ex-showroom price of Royal Enfield Hunter 350 starts at Rs 1,49,900 for the Retro variant where as the Metro variant of Hunter 350 is priced at Rs 1,63,622. The Dapper White and Ash color is priced at Rs 1,57,004. All in all, the on-road price of Hunter 350 in Bangalore ranges from Rs 1.91 lakhs and goes upto Rs 2.07 lakhs.
Verdict – Should you buy the Hunter?
The Royal Enfield Hunter 350 is interestingly priced. We think it is a very good looking motorcycle out of the lot and is quite reachable. The product quality is great, you get super refined engine, dual channel ABS with good brakes and suspension, 17 inch wheels, USB charging, simple yet elegant looking speedo, wide range of color options and variants (Retro/Metro) at different price points starting from Rs 1.5 lakhs to Rs 1.65 lakhs (ex-showroom). Royal Enfield Hunter could have been even better if it offered a good pillion comfort and predictable fuel gauge to qualify for that perfect motorcycle.
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