Friday, September 10, 2021

Royal Enfield Classic 350 and the missing instrument

Royal Enfield Classic 350 nacelle with hole.
What would you put in place of the Tripper navigation system? 
(Photo from Shifting-Gears)  

 Despite its all-new motor and frame, and plethora of new color schemes, the new Royal Enfield Classic 350 remains a dead ringer for the Royal Enfield Classics that came before.  The biggest reason for this, I believe, is its iconic nacelle.

 Call it the casquette, the console, or the dashboard: it's the distinctive headlight housing that has distinguished Royal Enfield Bullet motorcycles since 1954.  It carries the twin pilot lights (Royal Enfield India calls these "tiger eyes").

 Down through the years it has had openings for the round speedometer, an amp meter and either a big light switch or the keyed ignition.  When electronic ignition lessened need for the amp meter, that opening was filled with low fuel and engine or ABS warning lights.

For the new Classic 350, Royal Enfield added a new opening for an LCD screen that provides the odometer, two trip meters, a clock, and fuel gauge. The screen even has an ECO light to salute you for riding in the correct gear for your speed, and a maintenance reminder. 

Warning lights for battery, ABS, engine and low fuel move into the round speedometer housing. A bright "N" there lights up when the gearbox is in Neutral. 

Royal Enfield thought of everything (well, it didn't think you needed a gear indicator to tell you what gear you're in; can't you count?). 

Royal Enfield Classic 350 console.
Royal Enfield Classic 350 with LCD screen and Tripper in time honored nacelle.

Of course, space was reserved in the nacelle for the Tripper turn-by-turn navigation system powered by Google Maps. It goes into the round hole once occupied by the amp meter.

That is, space was reserved, but not necessarily filled.

As announced, Tripper is an option, at least on most models of the new Classic 350 (it was to be standard on the Chrome edition).

So, what happens to that circular space on the nacelle if you don't buy Tripper?

You get a plug. It's a simple round plug, labelled to remind you that you are riding a Royal Enfield Classic 350.

Royal Enfield Classic 350 nacelle with plug.
Cover for missing Tripper tells you what you're riding, not where.

It also reminds you that you were too cheap to spring for Tripper. Like the "radio delete plate" on a 1964 Plymouth Valiant, it's an inelegant substitute. Literally a "stop gap."

Even for those who know where they are going, and don't need Tripper, it's an obvious waste of dashboard space.

I feel certain that Royal Enfield did not intend to diss riders

My guess is that Tripper was supposed to be standard equipment. It is standard on the related Royal Enfield Meteor 350 model and the 2021 Royal Enfield Himalayan.

Perhaps supplies of Tripper are limited by the worldwide chip shortage. Predictions are that the shortage will end this year, although supply chain effects will linger through 2022.

If supplies improve, maybe Royal Enfield's export markets will never see that "plug" when the Classic 350 is introduced here.

Which, in a way, is almost too bad. I mean it. It's kind of cool.

Here's why I say this. I knew I remembered seeing a previous example of a plug on a Royal Enfield but couldn't remember when it was. Graham Scarth, chairman of the Royal Enfield Owners Club UK, filled me in:

"The 1964/65 USA market Crusader (a parts bin special) is based on the 250 Clipper rolling chassis and has Clipper engine numbers but is to a higher spec. The 1964 model had the Continental forks and headlight assembly. The twin-clock top yoke had speedo only with blanking disc in the rev counter hole."

He even sent a photo of the 1964 "blanking disc" in place. Certainly makeshift and, yet, sort of interesting. Intriguing in a way.

Royal Enfield dashboard with plug.
1964 Royal Enfield Crusader came to the U.S. with a blanking plate.

The same is true of the Tripper modesty patch. Like the one-year-only patch on the Royal Enfield Crusader, it could become an historical footnote all its own.

It might even prove a place for customizers to add some inspiration of their own. Presumably there is electricity beneath it to run a mini-tach or head temperature gauge.

Tell you what I'd like: just a more-or-less matching thermometer to tell me how sweltering hot it is riding in Florida.

RoyalEnfields on Facebook

Please patronize our advertisers

Translate this blog

Follow royalenfields on Twitter