Royal Enfield Classic 350 long term review, 8,600km report


Sometimes, no matter how far away you see an unpleasant situation coming, it’s still impossible to take the bitterness and sting out of it. I always knew I would have to bid goodbye to our long-term Classic 350, and I didn’t need to spend too long with the bike to realise that it would be a tough one.

By the good grace of Royal Enfield, the affable little thumper has remained with us for longer than expected, which has turned out to be something of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, I’m grateful for the extra time we’ve been given together. But that also means that my connection with the motorcycle has deepened even further, making it an even harder goodbye. And that’s despite the bike’s earnest efforts to make itself a little harder to love towards the end.

Smooth engine and lovely soundtrack are great companions on long rides.

In its last couple of months with us, the Classic undertook its biggest ever journey – a 1,300km round-trip to Goa, to attend India Bike Week. In many ways, it excelled. The motor’s high-tempo beat provided a great backing track as it gobbled up vast stretches of highway with ease, and the superb touring seats provided a perfect balance of comfort and support.

Touring seats are more than up to the job, even over many hundreds of kilometres at a stretch.

But Goa’s sleepy little bylanes poked through the bike’s defense, quite literally. A punctured rear tyre. Our surroundings failed to provide a mechanic willing to take on the apparently deal-breaking combo of wire-spoke wheels, tubed tyres and a rear disc brake. Which meant we had to resort to removing the rear wheel ourselves (something that, happily, you can do using nothing more than the tool-kit on the bike, RE’s YouTube tutorial, a little out-of-the-box thinking, and some good ol’-fashioned elbow grease). Fresh tube inserted (the old one was beyond patching) and wheel reinstalled, everything held up perfectly well for the 600km ride back to Mumbai, and everything since.

Combination of tubed tyres and a rear disc brake made a puncture very cumbersome to fix.

Our long-term Classic and our long-term Meteor have both exhibited a sporadic sticky/trailing throttle issue. It seems to get worse over time, and over the course of this Goa trip, it became quite severe on the Classic, with the bike often chugging along for many metres on a completely closed throttle, almost as if it was on cruise control. Needless to say, this is a fairly significant safety concern, and we had the bike looked at by an official service centre as soon as we returned. It was returned after a throttle body cleaning, and the behaviour seems to have almost completely gone away, to the point where it isn’t an issue anymore. But we hope that RE can come up with a more permanent fix.

Sticking throttle issue worsened and became fairly severe over a recent road trip to Goa.

As is always the case, running the Classic 350 for over a year has thrown up positives and negatives. And while it has bared some new flaws in its closing act, old-world simplicity continues to be a cornerstone of the Classic. And that’s despite it having taken a significant leap towards modernity in this current generation, relatively speaking.  The joy of wrenching on a motorcycle, confident that you’ll be able to successfully execute the task, is one that I hadn’t felt in a rather long time, and that is the final sweet taste that the Classic has left in my mouth as it goes to meet its maker.

from Autocar India

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