Royal Enfield Hunter 350 Review
By Preetam Bora
8 mins read
Published on August 10, 2022
- Prices for the RE Hunter 350 begin at Rs. 1,49,900 (Ex-showroom)
- The Hunter 350 is the most-affordable Royal Enfield motorcycle
- Royal Enfield intends to attract new customers into the brand
Bangkok is a bustling city, even at night. And the Royal Enfield Hunter 350 feels right at home, slicing through traffic, and dashing from stop light to stop light. It's compact, light and eager, qualities which make it almost perfect as an urban run-around motorcycle.
Based on Royal Enfield's J-series 350 cc engine, the Hunter 350 has a lot of changes in design, and chassis geometry, to earn it the tag of a new motorcycle in its own right. With the Hunter 350, Royal Enfield intends to attract new riders into the brand, and also to establish it as one of the top three Royal Enfield models.
The Royal Enfield Hunter 350 feels right at home in the urban jungle, slicing through traffic and dashing from stop light to stop light.
Up till now, Royal Enfield is best known for motorcycles with heritage styling, like the Bullet 350 and the bestselling Classic 350. In recent years though, the 650 Twins and the Himalayan have helped Royal Enfield expand its reach and make inroads into global markets. But it's still the domestic market which accounts for nearly 90 per cent of the company's sales volumes. And it's the 350 cc models which form the bulk of the brand's volumes. The Hunter 350 has been designed and developed to attract a wider audience of new riders who may find the quintessential Bullet and Classic models a little too "classic" and a little too heavy and big.
The Royal Enfield Hunter 350 is a compact motorcycle with a low seat height, short wheelbase, 17-inch wheels, and is a full 14 kg lighter than its sibling, the Royal Enfield Classic 350.
Design & Features
Offered across two variants, the new Hunter 350 does look promising. It looks sporty, compact and with the smaller 17-inch wheels, it looks poised and ready to sprint. It still has a retro-inspired silhouette, but there's more hint of modern touches, than classic design elements of Royal Enfield's other 350 cc models. The round headlight is a definite retro touch, but it's halogen, and the turn indicators are bulb type. The tail section with the short rear fender gives it a sporty touch, and the taillight is LED, at least on the top-spec Metro variant. It also gets alloy wheels with tubeless tyres, and dual-channel ABS.
The single-pod instrument console is basic, but covers all necessary information. The Tripper navigation pod with Bluetooth connectivity is an optional extra.
The single-pod instrument console has a small digital screen with the basic necessary read-outs, but the Tripper navigation pod is an optional extra. There's also a handy USB charging point to charge devices on the go. Overall build quality is nice, and there seems to be some attention given to fit and finish. It does make for a striking and attractive pose from all angles.
There is a long list of Genuine Motorcycle Accessories to personalise the new Hunter, including the Make-it-Yours configurator.
And for those looking to personalise their bikes, there are two themes and 26 different accessories to choose from, including crash guards, passenger back rest, luggage, different seats and even bar-end mirrors. The overall combination of six different colours across the Dapper and Rebel trims, and the single-tone colour options with wire-spoked wheels on the base Retro variant, offers a lot of choices.
The Hunter 350 has the same J-series 350 cc engine, but it's been remapped with different fuelling and ignition
Engine & Performance
Get going, and the Hunter 350 feels planted, agile and light on its feet. The engine is the same 349 cc, J-platform unit shared with the Classic 350 and the Meteor 350, but it's been remapped, with different fuelling and ignition, to offer what Royal Enfield says is a slightly crisper throttle response. In numbers, the output remains the same, with the single-cylinder, two-valve engine putting out 20.2 bhp at 6,100 rpm and 27 Nm of peak torque at 4,000 rpm. But with the raspy note from the stubby exhaust, it feels lively and youthful.
The Hunter 350 is best enjoyed riding the wave of torque, rather than chasing the redline, or outright acceleration.
It's still not a very high-revving engine, so if it's outright acceleration and top-end performance one is looking for, the Hunter 350 may not be the ideal choice. It's enjoyed best riding the wave of torque, rather than chasing the redline in each gear. It's relaxed in the 70-80 kmph range, but it will comfortably do 110-115 kmph, without any strain felt from the engine. Beyond 90 kmph, you do feel some minor buzz in the footpegs and the seat, but nothing too alarming, or disappointing. The Hunter 350 is best enjoyed as a relaxed street bike, and for someone looking for that kind of riding, it offers almost everything.
The compact size, light weight and sharp steering geometry allows for the Hunter 350 to be a flickable motorcycle.
Ride & Handling
The engine may be shared with its other siblings, but the Hunter 350 is a new motorcycle in its own right. The 790 mm seat height, smaller 17-inch wheels, sharper steering geometry and light weight (a full 14 kg lighter than the Classic 350) makes it feel compact, light and easy to ride; qualities that will certainly be appreciated by both new riders, and riders looking to upgrade from, say, a smaller 150 cc motorcycle.
The Hunter 350 is perhaps one of the most agile, and sharp-handling motorcycles in the Royal Enfield family.
The 1,370 mm wheelbase is 20 mm shorter than the Classic 350, and the rider footpegs have been moved back by 100 mm to give it a somewhat sporty riding position. The wide handlebar offers very good leverage, and the overall rider triangle offers a comfortable and easy place to be.
Across the city, our final destination for the night is to experience the Hunter's agility and handling on a tight go-kart track. The surface is somewhat slick, and choosing to be safe than sorry, we let the Hunter 350 loose! Its light weight, compact size and agility is immediately apparent.
Exploring the Royal Enfield Hunter 350's handling and agility on a go-kart track was an entertaining experience!
While it's no sportbike, the Hunter 350 certainly impresses with its road manners and flickability. Perhaps with stickier and more premium tyres, the Hunter 350 will definitely grip even better, but not that the Ceat Zoom XL tyres had any less grip or offer any less confidence, or lose traction easily. The Hunter 350 isn't made for track riding, and in everyday conditions, the tyres offer enough grip and more, whether under hard braking, or while taking on the occasional corner.
The Royal Enfield Hunter 350 certainly impresses with its road manners. The chassis, along with its compact size, sharp steering geometry and short wheelbase makes it agile. Perhaps a little more performance would have made it an excellent package.
Price & Variants
Prices begin from Rs. 1,49,900 (Ex-showroom) for the base Retro variant (with wire spoke wheels and tube-type tyres along with single-channel ABS). The mid-spec Dapper trim of the higher Metro variant is priced at Rs. 1,63,900 (Ex-showroom), while the Rebel trim with dual-tone colour options is priced at Rs. 1,69,900 (Ex-showroom).
The Royal Enfield Hunter 350 makes a strong impression as a light, agile and fun motorcycle! The prices just sweeten the deal, and is sure to find takers, both from fans of Royal Enfield, as well as riders who may not have considered a Royal Enfield so far.
Light, agile and a hoot to ride! That's how the Hunter's personality can be summed up! As an entry-level motorcycle, the Hunter makes perfect sense, and will perhaps even appeal to riders upgrading from smaller motorcycles, who, so far, didn't find an accessible and relatively light and agile roadster in the Royal Enfield family.
The RE Hunter 350 is compact, looks good, and makes a very positive impression, not just as Royal Enfield's most accessible model, but also with a level of quality and engineering that makes it a world class motorcycle.
The Hunter looks good, is built well and will certainly help Royal Enfield appeal to a wider audience, possibly attracting a lot of non-Royal Enfield riders into the family. To that end, it covers all bases, but more importantly it underscores the new Royal Enfield, as a manufacturer of motorcycles which are world class in their own right.
Last Updated on September 19, 2023
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