Friday, April 28, 2023

Royal Enfield Hunter 350 now in U.S.

Royal Enfield Hunter 350 motorcycle.
The Royal Enfield Hunter 350 is here at last.

 Royal Enfield introduced its new Hunter 350 to the U.S. April 20 with a slow-paced, composed video shot in San Diego, Calif. No wheelies, no carving through city traffic, no ripping through tunnels, no show-off stuff in this video

No nonsense. I like it. 

Finally here in the U.S. (after experiencing huge popularity around the world) the Royal Enfield Hunter 350 promises to win American hearts as a comfortable, accessible, low cost, urban commuter. 

"Agility without Fragility," the website promises. 

Being a Royal Enfield 350, the Hunter naturally offers vintage appeal, clearly being a motorcycle you sit on and ride instead of tucking into a rocket pod or stretching out as though it's a lounge chair. 

I think it's going to be a winner in the U.S. because I've seen this before: the Hunter 350 will remind U.S. riders of the simple, dependable, no-frills Japanese motorcycles that were hugely popular here 50 years ago. 

That was back before every new motorcycle seemed to promise you could act like a racer or a hooligan.

Simple motorcycles taught you to ride, took you to school, to a job, out for a ride in the country on the weekend. You were looking to go places, no frills, few thrills and, most importantly, for pennies.

Old folks like me will recognize the vibe. Riders too young to remember the 1970s will instinctively "get it."

I'm not the only one who thinks so.

"The Royal Enfield Hunter 350 is an unabashed standard motorcycle that if it weren’t of Indian descent, I would compare to the Universal Japanese Motorcycles of the past," writes Evans Brasfield of

"The design is one of functional utility. That’s not to imply that the Harris Performance-designed twin down tube spine frame doesn’t support nice-looking bodywork. It does, and that is part of the Hunter’s appeal."

The Royal Enfield North America website refers only to "Metro Hunters," cluing you that the U.S. gets only the "Metro" version, not get the less expensive "Retro Hunters" model also available in India.

Colors are Dapper White, Dapper Ash, Dapper Grey, Rebel Black, Rebel Blue and Rebel Red. None shows off shiny chrome. Dapper White is the innovative one, incorporating the word "RIDE" into the tank.

Royal Enfield Hunter 350 in Dapper White.
Royal Enfield Hunter 350 in Dapper White. R!DE.

Power comes from the long-stroke 350cc J-Engine familiar in Royal Enfield's Classic 350 and Meteor 350. The website claims the motor gives "the right amount of power and precision for revving up the city streets." There is no claim to doing more than just keeping up on the Interstate.

"For the massive multi-lane freeways of San Diego, it can leave a rider feeling a tad vulnerable when most of the flow of traffic is doing above 75 mph," writes Jen Dunstan of RevZilla. "Out on the backcountry portion of our route, the little Hunter huffed and puffed its way up the hills, feeling to me like it was exhausted from the effort."

Features touted by Royal Enfield include a "Digi-Analog Instrument Cluster." 

"A shoutout to the analogue era but perfectly in sync for modern day riding, the Hunter features a retro-style speedometer along with digital LCD."

There are alloy wheels with tubeless tires making it "the only Royal Enfield in production to feature super maneuverable 17-inch front and rear tires and striking cast alloy wheels. The tubeless tires let you ride uninterrupted for as long as you want minus the puncture paranoia."

Likely to go unnoticed are the "Analog Switch Cubes" that make hitting the starter a matter of rotating a "retro-inspired" knob rather than pushing a button. Not quite as retro as a kick start lever would have been, but those days are gone.

Dual channel ABS with front and rear disc brakes is more likely to be appreciated and low seat height is even more likely to be noticed.

And there is a USB port.

I'm glad to see the USB port, but even happier to seen the center stand on pictured Hunter 350s. That simple, practical device will make the Hunter 350 easier to live with; like the simple, practical bikes we loved 50 years ago.

In fact, I am just nostalgic enough to wish the U.S. could get the "Retro Hunter" version from India, with wire spoke wheels, rear drum brake and tubular rear grab bar. 

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous4/29/2023

    When are production people going to get it. The one guy on a bike was riding with Tennis shoes and no gloves. We need to be thinking safer all the time.


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