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2022 Royal Enfield Classic 350 Reborn review : Classical Gas

Derryn Wong
07/10/2022

Royal Enfield’s spiritual successor to its classic Bullet is a refreshingly affordable entry to a old-timey laid-back motorcycling experience 


2022 Royal Enfield 350 Classic Reborn

Launched: March 2022 – Price: from S$20,700 with COE
Small neo-retro/classic style Class 2A motorcycle
20hp, 349cc single-cylinder petrol engine 


PROS
Classic styling, good quality
Light and easy to handle
Cheap to own and run

CONS
Tubed-wheels
Limited dynamics

SINGAPORE
It’s 2022 and everything’s bloody expensive, least of all motorcycles with record-breaking COE prices.

If the last thing you want to do before Armageddon is to ride something with proper biking history,  soul and style, then Royal Enfield has just the thing for you in the form of its 350 Classic. As reissue/classic-themed bikes come, there aren’t many bikes that can offer this much with an agreeable price tag.



Old is new now, if you follow everything from guitars to trading card games and more, more companies are jumping on the reissue wagon, sometimes with questionable results.

Not so Royal Enfield, because the Classic 350 is the bike that takes the baton from the Bullet. Basically, what the Beetle is to Volkswagen, the Bullet is to RE. That bike made history as the longest running production motorcycle (1948 onwards), which is why the thoroughly modern running though classic-looking Classic is what will take its place.

Metal Health

It’s not a sudden switch either, as this is the second-gen Classic replacing the first-gen model (2009), which RE says is totally re-engineered this time around.

As far as we can tell, all of the bike’s bodywork is made of metal – something Ducati was proud of in its own retro classic. Peashooter exhaust, cooling fins, braced fenders, thoroughly halogen lights, it not only looks the part, but feels quite well put together.

It’s fittingly old school, because if you prang the Classic, plastic bits won’t explode off and you can just smack things back into shape and go on your way.



Fittingly it’s the plastic bits – the switchgear – that do look a little rough with excess plastic flash, but it’s no worse than other bikes in this price range. Even the hidden parts, such as the battery compartment behind the side-cover, show some attention to detail.

But what’s most important is that nobody other than committed or classic motorcyclists will be able to tell you’re not really riding an oldtimer, even up close.



For those who want more chrome and flash, the other colour variants of the Classic do the job. But the test bike here shows off the optional special Signals Marsh Grey military-style paintjob (a S$300 extra) – which really looks like flat army green than anything – with darked-out engine cases and the like.

Chrome Red model is far flashier than the military-themed Signals Greyone



It also has a unique badge and iconography, a nod to RE’s own military bike history, and the bikes used by the Indian Army’s Signal Corps. There’s also a Signals Desert Sand version, which wouldn’t look out of place scouting Rommel’s movements in the African campaign.


Unlike a real classic, living with the Classic 350 is not a struggle. While it’s heavy at 193kg, the weight is mostly slung low, and it’s easy to push the bike around. The mostly-metal cockpit is the right way to do minimalist: It features a classic chrome-ringed speedo – there’s no tach – the ignition, RE badge, and a tiny digital display that shows fuel level and trip info.



A to B-eleive

The seating position is pure upright classic-feeling with almost no forward lean, while the squishy seat offers no complaints, and the rider triangle is very neutral. The test bike we rode features a heel-and-toe gearshifter, but Singapore’s Classic 350s will all have a conventional shifter.

The Classic fires up with an unobtrusive cough and settles to a polite idle, which really sets the tone for the bike’s riding experience. If you like your bikes of the simple ‘jump on and ride’ variety, this is it: no modes, no aids (ABS aside) and nothing to impinge on the man-machine interface.


The overall dynamics and major controls are all well-sorted enough that you don’t really have to give them much thought. If that sounds ‘duh’, then keep in mind we’ve experienced bikes where this isn’t always the case.


Its looks belie its appearance, since Classic delivers a wonderfully Zen and well, classic, riding experience, without the pain of being unfixable, kick-starting, and all the downsides of real classic ownership. You can also go pretty far on the frugal single – quoted fuel efficiency is 2.6L/100km, which translates to a theoretical 300km+ before you hit reserve. 



On the downside, the bike isn’t particularly sporty. The top speed is 114km/h, or not that far over the highway limit, so you have to try very hard to burn your licence on it. On the other hand, don’t try to emulate Ago at the TT on this bike, since the tubeless tyres and relaxed chassis do show their limitations and become vague the harder you push.



But you shouldn’t expect it behave that way, as it’s the kind of bike that makes slowly making your way to coffee on a Sunday an event unto itself, feeling the purr of the civilised single-cylinder engine with just enough vibes and thrum, rekindling the joy of taking things slowly.

That sort of spirit is more than worth the price of admission, since it’s something more expensive ‘neo-classicals’ can struggle to deliver. It can even dole out some of that laidback charm on a day-to-day basis, so long as you don’t expect to do a superfast commute.  


If you keep you dynamic expectations in check, the Royal Enfield Classic 350 Reborn has a lot to offer a jaded biker that wants something more than a two-wheeled appliance, without paying classic prices. It ties this all together convincingly in a package that isn’t just affordable, but is a gas to ride.

2022 Royal Enfield Classic 350 Reborn

Drivetrain typePetrol only 
Engine349cc, single cylinder
Power20hp at 6100rpm
Torque27Nm at 4000rpm
Gearbox5-speed manual 
0-100km/h114km/h 
Top SpeedNot quoted 
Wet Weight193kg 
Seat Height 805mm
AgentRoyal Enfield 
Price S$21,150 OTR  (as tested) 
AvailabilityNow


Tags:

classic classic 350 motorcycle Royal Enfield

About the Author

Derryn Wong

CarBuyer's chief editor brings 15 years of experience in automotive journalism. Previously, he was the editor for Top Gear Singapore, and a presenter for CNA's Cruise Control motoring segment. He's contributed to The Business Times, Today, and many other publications, and also covered technology as editor of Stuff magazine. An avid motorcyclist and photographer, he is the Chief Slave of two cats. Follow him on Instagram @werryndong

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