Thursday, April 14, 2022

Why I'm so excited about the all-new Royal Enfield Classic 350

Royal Enfield Classic 350.
Royal Enfield Classic 350 remembers motorcycle history and its own heritage.

 I'm excited. Royal Enfield brings its all-new Classic 350 motorcycle to U.S. dealerships starting in May. 

"Dealers are now available to order and will receive the units in May," America's marketing director Bree Poland informed me, in an email. 

There's plenty of information out there about the new Royal Enfield Classic 350, most of it positive. Scroll down if what you want are colors, specifications and prices. What has me jazzed goes beyond specs and (almost) beyond cost. 

I can not express my expectations better than this paragraph, from the Royal Enfield website:

"The All-New Classic 350 continues to embody the traditions and craftsmanship of the past as it is reborn. Inspired by the post war G2 model, first born in 1950s, the all new Classic 350 continues to be a testament to the timeless design (that awed) the motorcycling world back in the heyday of British motorcycling. The Classic teardrop fuel tank, the distinctive thump and the hallmark casquette headlamp - all harmonize as one, rejoicing in the masterpiece that is the timeless Royal Enfield Classic."

There's a cliché about things that seem to define their category: If you look the word up in the dictionary, its picture will be there.

That is so true of the word "motorcycle" and the Royal Enfield Classic 350. It looks like a motorcycle. Any other sort of motorcycle, pictured in the dictionary, would raise questions. The looks of the Royal Enfield Classic 350 only answer questions.

Is the Royal Enfield Classic 350 getting by on its looks?


The evidence is that it is coming in, eventually, nine different color schemes.

I'm saying it's "right," not that it's perfect. Other motorcycles are no doubt more comfortable and capable, faster, flashier, lighter, even lovelier for that matter.

What you get with the Classic 350 is a connection to motorcycling history.

Think not? Well, note that two of the nine color schemes are "Signals" models, with military-style paint jobs. These even come with individual military contract numbers on their tanks. They are tributes to the role that Royal Enfield motorcycles, looking not too different, performed in World War II.

Royal Enfield Classic 350 Signals edition.
Royal Enfield Classic 350 Signals models could pose for a vintage photo.

If the brakes could be better and the suspension more supple, well, they're far better than they were in 1950 (or even 1999) and a reminder that the rider still has a role to play.

In a critical review of the Classic 350, European writer Pieter Ryckaert notes with tongue in cheek that "the front brake is also classic."

But he gets it, writing "It’s hard to explain how this kind of (motorcycle) can be so much fun in a world where 180 horsepower allroads with all possible bells and whistles rule the day. Admittedly, for this money there are (motorcycles) that sit better, steer better, brake better, spring better and get uphill more easily. But I can’t imagine any one that can make me as happy as the Classic 350 from Royal Enfield."

2022 Royal Enfield Classic 350

Royal Enfield Classic 350 Dark Stealth Black.
Dark Stealth Black $4,599.

Royal Enfield Classic 350 Dark Gunmetal Grey.
Dark Gunmetal Grey $4,599.

Royal Enfield Classic 350 Signals Desert Sand.
Signals Desert Sand $4,599.

Royal Enfield Classic 350 Signals Marsh Grey.
Signals Marsh Grey $4,599.

Royal Enfield Classic 350 Halcyon Forest Green.
Halcyon Forest Green $4,499.*

Royal Enfield Classic 350 Halcyon Black.
Halcyon Black $4,499.*

Royal Enfield Classic 350 Halcyon Blue.
Halcyon Blue $4,499.*

Royal Enfield Classic 350 Chrome Red.
Chrome Red $4,699.*

Royal Enfield Classic 350 Chrome Brown.
Chrome Brown $4,699.*
*Coming later in 2022.

1 comment:

  1. I plan on getting a Signals one to go with a 1945 Willys Jeep I own


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