Royal Hunter 350 Test Ride Review: Hunt Rivals With True Firepower!

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on the face of it, new Royal Enfield The Hunter 350 comes across as a redesigned version of the Classic or Meteor, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Despite sharing the engine and some other parts, Hunter 350 Nothing like its two siblings in terms of its character or the way it rides.

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Royal Enfield Believes Hunter The 350 will bring a whole new set of buyers to the brand, which includes upgrading from a 150 cc motorcycle to the liking of the first time buyer, who is looking for a light, agile and fun bike. This is a huge task because with the Hunter 350, Royal Enfield will enter uncharted waters in the 350cc segment. So is the new Royal Enfield Hunter good enough to attract the target buyers or not? We rode the length of a motorcycle in a variety of conditions in Bangkok, Thailand to find out and here’s our surprise.

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One look at the Hunter 350 and it clearly looks different from any other 350cc Enfield. Unlike the Classic or the Meteor, the Hunter 350 looks light, sharp and keen in the flesh. More importantly, it feels more accessible and easier to ride and that’s exactly what new-age buyers want. In comparison to the Classic, the Hunter 350 has a shorter wheelbase, wider tyres, lower body panels and a roadster design, which gives the motorcycle a zip zap zoom character. What works really well for the Hunter 350 is its minimalist design approach without compromising on functionality.

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The dual-tone paint job on the well maintained fuel tank does a really good job of adding to the youthful character of the motorcycle, a feature that other 350 cc Royal Enfield motorcycles currently lack and one that makes the Hunter 350 unique .

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The most striking feature for me on the motorcycle was the quality of the paint, which further added to the already rich character. Even the quality of the plastic was impressive, with clean weld spots and wiring clamps in most places. The switch gear was particularly impressive with semi-rotary controls for engine starting and head lamp functions such as the Meteor.

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The Digi-Analog Pod Cluster isn’t entirely new, but works flawlessly in delivering a clear readout. The tripper display also works well, allowing for hassle-free use of turn-by-turn navigation on the go.
Hunter 350 comes in two variants –

Retro Hunter and Metro Hunter

– Both finished with blacked-out engine and components.

retro hunter

Drives on 17” spoke wheels and gets a combined 300 mm front disc brake with 6” rear drum brakes, single channel ABS, an unobtrusive retro-style digital-analog instrument cluster and a choice between two classical, single-colour tanks .

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subway hunter

A more contemporary look has been given with dual-colour livery, cast alloy wheels, wide tubeless tyres and rounded rear lights. There are five colorways in two versions on Metro Hunter. This version is the one that is compatible with Tripper Navigation but only as an accessory.

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Swing a leg on the Hunter 350 and the focus on making the motorcycle more accessible becomes clear. The seat height now sits at a much lower 800mm, meaning even younger riders will have better confidence in the bike they already have. Adding to their confidence will be the fact that the Hunter 350 is the lightest Royal Enfield motorcycle on sale, so even without a foot firmly on the ground, there is less weight to be concerned about.

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The riding position is quite comfortable and upright, which means the Hunter can be used for touring as well. The handlebars and footpegs are in perfect condition and hence one does not strain their wrists, shoulders or back even after a long ride. The well-cushioned seat further enhances the comfort.
performance
The Royal Enfield Hunter is powered by the same J-series engine that powers the Classic and Meteor but has been tuned for faster throttle and low-end response. This change is quite evident as you step out of line as Hunter feels eager to rev up the redline and make his way through the gears. Power and torque outputs are 20.2 hp and 27 Nm respectively.

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In the real world, the performance is adequate considering the urban focus of the motorcycle. It reaches 100 kmph quite smoothly and I was able to touch the top speed of 125 kmph on some stretches but after around 110 kmph the progress is quite slow. The motorcycle feels most comfortable between 90 and 100 kmph and will easily sit at that speed for a day.

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The other thing that did manage to impress most of the riders in Bangkok was the throaty sound from the short and stubby exhaust. With a strong bass, the exhaust sounds good by the time the engine is cranked and is at its best between 3,000 and 5,500 rpm. The five-speed gearbox is paired well with the engine and one can do everything comfortably in second gear when it comes to navigating through dense urban traffic. Shifts are smooth when going to comfortable ratios but rapid shifts at times can make for a lack of gearbox.

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In short, the performance was adequate but I would like to see some more power and top-end in the times to come. This would make the Hunter 350 a far better versatile roadster.
Now that the engine performance lived up to my expectations, what really surprised me was the way the Hunter 350 handles. Our ride started late in the evening, a time when Bangkok traffic is notorious for bad traffic but the Hunter 350 felt to work.

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The low-seat, short wheelbase, 17-inch wheels, wide tyres, tight frame and riding position fell in perfect sync amid some crazy traffic. The motorcycle feels light and the front doesn’t mind changing direction quickly. With agility and agility on offer, we were able to maintain an astonishing speed through traffic. Once out of city limits, we were going at three-digit speeds for the most part and the bike’s stability was impressive there as well.

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The wide rubber grip is helpful and the single-disc setup on both the wheels also helps in fast and confident braking. That said, I would prefer the front to be cut a little more towards the end and feel a little less spongy on the lever.

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Through corners, again the Hunter 350 shone and the Harris-tuned chassis lived up to expectations. You can easily toss this roadster around fast or at high speed turns with great confidence. One limitation I found was the front end which feels a bit light and wavy closer to the limit on high-speed corners. Furthermore, the Hunter 350 proved to be a agile and attractive motorcycle to ride that felt wonderfully easy to ride.

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That said, there are some things that need a quick fix, including the rear view mirrors, which vibrate a lot and therefore don’t offer a clear view of things behind. The headlamp lighting looked almost fine but could have been with some improvements.
conclusion
Obviously, the Royal Enfield Hunter 350 has managed to achieve most of what it claims. This is easily the most attractive 350cc motorcycle in Royal Enfield’s portfolio, so one would expect some classic/retro buyers to shift to the Hunter, right? Well, Royal Enfield does not want this to happen on a large scale as it would defeat the purpose of the Hunter 350.

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The motorcycle aims to bring new buyers to the brand and has all the ingredients to do so. This is a great buy for young buyers looking to upgrade from a 150/160 cc motorcycle or even getting their first motorcycle. The outstanding price of the Hunter 350 makes this deal even sweeter.

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The prices of Royal Enfield Hunter 350 unexpectedly start at Rs 1.5 lakhs, which seriously bothers some of the 200cc roadsters. Also, the higher variant is priced very aggressively and offers great value for money. Overall, after riding the motorcycle for over 250 km around Bangkok and then hearing about the price, I can lift my head and say that the Royal Enfield 350 is a no-brainer in its segment in the country right now. It’s a purchase. A totally fun motorcycle that will put a big smile on your face and all this at a shockingly low price. Who thought all this could be said about Royal Enfield a few days back!



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